Book Review | Kids These Days : Human Capital and the Making of Millennials by Malcom Harris

kids these days book cover.jpgHarris has written a well researched piece about the woes of the economical and political environments in which millennials exist. The book gives an explanation for how and why millennials have turned out the way they have. Harris provides sound, well-backed arguments in a thought-provoking text. There are many footnotes and an extensive notes section at the end with source details. This said, a reader must be open to hearing new ideas and appreciate a non-fiction, research piece in order for this book to be a worth-while read.

The subtitle of Kids These Days was changed at some point from “The Making of Millennials” to “Human Capital and the Making of Millennials”. The description also changed slightly to emphasize the socio-economic focus of the text. Without this information originally, this book was not what I had been expecting, but I was able to appreciate it for what it was. There are similarities in reading this book for leisure and reading a research paper in grad school. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.


Book Review | Incorporating Culture: How Indigenous People are Reshaping the Northwest Coast Art Industry by Solen Roth

Previously authored for and published by Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Reviews in March 2019.

incorporating culture book cover.jpgIncorporating Culture, by Solen Roth, a postdoctoral researcher active in cultural anthropology for over ten years, details the history and evolution of the Northwest Coast artware industry. Roth defines “‘artware’ as products that could be left blank but instead are decorated with an artistic motif.” In this case, the motifs are Native American cultural images from the Pacific coast of northern California, north through Canada, and into Alaska. Roth adeptly illustrates the multifaceted nature of many of the industry’s controversial issues, especially with regard to topics in the following chapters: “Expansion | Protection,” “Globalization | Localization,” “Property (and) Stewardship,” “Accumulation | Redistribution.”

Roth shares her extensive knowledge of the field supplemented by the perspectives of many industry participants and stakeholders. She equitably presents multiple opposing viewpoints on key issues of contention. This text presents historical field information and Roth’s own ethnographic research. She addresses a wide array of topics and synthesizes them in this monograph, giving it far reaching value. While a more concise text could have been written, it may not have allowed for all of the intricacies of such controversial issues to have been adequately expressed. In this text, since some subjects requested anonymity, Roth made the choice to anonymize input from all individual sources. While this choice is clearly explained, it sometimes allows for ambiguity. Topics are appropriately divided into chapters, which enables the reader to approach them individually.

The writing is scholarly, with some complicated sentences, rendering this book more appropriate for an advanced audience of researchers and academics. Some basic knowledge of economic principles would be helpful for potential readers. There are not many visuals included in the book. Each chapter opens with a black and white image of Northwest Coast artware, but additional illustrations or reproductions are not included. Though the book is not lacking without supplementary images, they might have added value to it.

The index, notes, and bibliographies are all quite impressive in their inclusivity. Specifically, the “Other Sources” section of the bibliography would be a very helpful resource for scholars seeking information on related topics.

The physical design of the book works well. The paperback format would have significant life on library loans, and its small size also makes the dense text possibly more readable than it would be in a larger format. Pages are appropriately thick and held by a solidly glued spine.

Incorporating Culture provides a solid history of the growth of Northwest Coast artware industry and is recommended to academic or research libraries within that scope.

Book Review | You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper Weiss

you all grow up and leave me cover.jpgRelaying her experiences as one of the teenage tennis players coached by Gary Wilensky, You All Grow Up and Leave Me relives Piper’s coming of age in early 1990’s New York City. As a Jewish girl attending private school, she shares specific memories from her adolescence including times with friends, family and Gary, as well as her emotional journey into adulthood. While the book is billed as focusing on the “Gary story” of teenage obsession, it’s actually more of a memoir of Piper’s coming of age and personal social issues.

Weiss’s writing style drew me in more than the story of this memoir. Her words lay bare a character from the past who only she could access and share. The directness of the text is very appealing. Weiss does a good job interweaving all of the facets of her early teen years in a story that becomes more than just a memoir because of it’s relation to a publicized scandal. This book would appeal to readers of coming of age memoirs or those interested in true crime. Check it out from a library near you.

I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond

hal koerner's field guide to ultra running book cover.jpgChances are that if you’ve signed up for your first ultra-marathon, you’re likely heading into unknown territory. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning will help with some of the fundamental aspects of training and provide background knowledge that will be helpful on your journey. From fueling and hydration, to gear and self care, Koerner shares his accumulated wisdom in this straight-forward and casual text. Detailed training plans are also included that spell out daily mileage and when to incorporate certain specific types of runs.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to the topic of ultra-marathon training. It is well written and organized, providing a very accessible set of tips and training advice. Short anecdotes are interwoven in a way that allows the text to flow seamlessly. Section and chapter breaks are of appropriate length for the book to easily be picked up and put down. Highly recommended for those interested in taking on their first ultra, or those who may be jumping from one distance to a significantly greater one. Check it out from a library near you.

Book Review | Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love

Dear Heartbreak- YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love book cover.jpgTo be released on Tuesday, Dear Heartbreak is a collection of letters written by teens concerning their heartbreak struggles and the corresponding responses from YA authors. The authors provide encouragement, life tips and personal anecdotes to address the teens’ issues. Topics dealt with include loneliness, self confidence, disability, assault, depression, termination of a relationship, lack of a relationship and self love, among others. Clearly some letters and responses will be more relatable to readers experiencing those specific issue. As each letter response comes from a different YA author, this book could also provide solid future reading suggestions based on the discovery of these new (to the reader) authors.

Though not quite yet published, check to see if a library near you has ordered this title, and if you can place a hold on a new copy.

I received an advance reader’s edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, young adults dealing with stress or troubling situations may appreciate the insights offered in Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life by Gina Biegal (2018).

Book Review | Sometimes Sneezing Hurts: The Journal of a Divorced Bachelor by C. Sleek

sometimes sneezing hurts.jpgWritten in diary form, Sometimes Sneezing Hurts reveals Sleek’s dating life as he approaches his 40th birthday. As a divorced bachelor he shares custody of his 12 year old daughter, works a 9-5 job with side gigs, and still finds plenty of time to match with chicks on Tinder while banging a string of them. Readers who shuttered at that last sentence won’t be able to handle this book.

The story is interesting from the beginning, but after a while it drags a bit. It’s a little challenging to keep the seemingly endless string of females straight. Some readers will be captivated by hearing what goes on inside the mind of a male serial dater, while others may just be put off. Certain people may also be able to gain something from the author’s shared experiences. The edition I read would have benefited from an editor catching a couple of textual errors.

I received a Kindle ebook edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of Sometimes Sneezing Hurts may be interested in We’ll Sleep When We’re Old by Pino Corrias (2017). 

Book Review | Mindfulness for the Mindless by John Burley

Mindfulness for the Mindless cover.jpgAs mindfulness becomes more popular, introductory texts such as this one are quite advantageous. Mindfulness for the Mindless in particular is an accessible read for all audiences, written in a casual style. Burley’s goal of sharing a summation of what he has learned about the definition and practice of mindfulness is clearly attained within this quick read. Readers will gain an understanding of what being mindful means, how mindfulness may benefit them, and further, brief introductions to several forms of meditation. Burley includes an extensive list of further reading, which could be helpful for those wanting to pursue additional specific topics. Perhaps I received an early edition, but my copy was in need of a good editing. There were a few repetitions and grammatical errors that may have been fixed in later editions. At present, only one library reports holdings for this text.

I received an ebook version as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, adults dealing with or overcoming trauma may appreciate the insights offered in To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning (2018).