Tag: Books: Nonfiction


Review: Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials

Posted 4 February, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials
By: Malcolm Harris
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and immature. We’ve gotten so used to sloppy generational analysis filled with dumb clichÈs about young people that we’ve lost sight of what really unites Millennials. Namely:

– We are the most educated and hard-working generation in American history.

– We poured historic and insane amounts of time and money into preparing ourselves for the 21st century labor market.

– We have been taught to consider working for free (homework, internships) a privilege for our own benefit.

– We are poorer, more medicated, and more precariously employed than our parents, grandparents, even our great grandparents, with less of a social safety net to boot.

Kids These Days, is about why. In brilliant, crackling prose, early Wall Street occupier Malcolm Harris gets mercilessly real about our maligned birth cohort. Examining trends like runaway student debt, the rise of the intern, mass incarceration, social media, and more, Harris gives us a portrait of what it means to be young in America today that will wake you up and piss you off.

Millennials were the first generation raised explicitly as investments, Harris argues, and in Kids These Days he dares us to confront and take charge of the consequences now that we are grown up.

I ended up picking up this book after reading an article recently on Buzzfeed, How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation and how it perfectly encapsulated the challenges and realities our generation faces. I was curious to read more analysis on the matter so I picked up this book.

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Review: The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity

Posted 18 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
By: Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy
Source: eBook; my purchase

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama.

Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.

I picked this volume up around the time of former President George HW Bush’s funeral. There was a lot of talk about the small club of former presidents and how they only meet on occasions of presidential libraries being open and funerals, and I remember coming across this book time and again so I decided to check it out.

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Review: On Writing

Posted 20 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By: Stephen King
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

I haven’t read much of Stephen King’s works although his stories are well known and I’m aware of many that he’s written. I’ve often seen On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft in many lists about the craft of writing so it’s long been on my list of books to check out. I suppose after experiencing a bit of a frustrating drought on writing recently I decided to pick this book up to spur my creativity onward.

What can I say about this book? He does a wonderful job of weaving lessons on writing with his own experiences and journeys as a writer, providing examples, and giving sage advice that he had learned over the years. I didn’t know much about Stephen King’s life and how long he had been writing, so I learned quite a bit there as well. For fans and readers of his book, this book is quite the treat in that he gives a behind-the-scenes insight to his novels, where he got some inspiration from for some of his novels, and so forth (I’m always a bit fan of reading the behind-the-scenes stuff). From a writer’s perspective though this book is quite comforting: he’s straight-up about his advice, but at the same time he reminds the writer that you’re writing to write, you’re writing for yourself, that you make the rules because it’s you putting down those words.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading On Writing. Part memoir, part writing advice, an excellent read all around.

Rating: ★★★★★

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: The Unwomanly Face of War

Posted 10 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Unwomanly Face of War
By: Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The unforgettable oral history of Soviet women’s experiences in the Second World War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, The Unwomanly Face of War is Svetlana Alexievich’s collection of stories from Soviet women who lived through the Second World War: on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. As Alexievich gives voice to women who are absent from official narratives – captains, sergeants, nurses, snipers, pilots – she shows us a new version of the war we’re so familiar with, creating an extraordinary
alternative history from their private stories.

Published in 1985 in Russia, The Unwomanly Face of War was Alexievich’s first book and a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union, establishing her as a brilliantly revolutionary writer.

Svetlana Alexievich has been on my wish-to-read list ever since I heard she had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her specialisation is oral history in major Soviet events, and I was quite intrigued when I heard that this particular book was published in English a few years ago.

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Review: Just Watch Me: the Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1968 – 2000

Posted 22 August, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Just Watch Me: the Life of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1968 – 2000
By: Johnny English
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift

This magnificent second volume, written with exclusive access to Trudeau’s private papers and letters, completes what the Globe and Mail called “the most illuminating Trudeau portrait yet written” — sweeping us from sixties’ Trudeaumania to his final days when he debated his faith.

His life is one of Canada’s most engrossing stories. John English reveals how for Trudeau style was as important as substance, and how the controversial public figure intertwined with the charismatic private man and committed father. He traces Trudeau’s deep friendships (with women especially, many of them talented artists, like Barbra Streisand) and bitter enmities; his marriage and family tragedy. He illuminates his strengths and weaknesses — from Trudeaumania to political disenchantment, from his electrifying response to the kidnappings during the October Crisis, to his all-important patriation of the Canadian Constitution, and his evolution to influential elder statesman.

I made it a point to read the second volume of Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s biography before school started as there was no way I was going to get through the 800+ page volume once the assignments started rolling in.

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