Book Review: Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side

Who is evil? What is evil? Dr. Julia Shaw makes the argument that evil is a subjective concept in which we, as a society, need to have a more nuanced discussions around.

Dr. Shaw dissects evil throughout eight chapters and asks the reader to think about each example of evil through a different lens. It was a fascinating examination about evil. With each example, she asks us to examine our gut reactions and move away from naming behaviors as evil until we examine the underlying causes. It takes some of those uncomfortable topics and makes the reader really think about them without the labeling or othering that typically comes when discussing ‘evil’ topics..

If you’re interested in human behavior or human psyche, then you will love this.

Who’s has this on their TBR list? Who has read this book?

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Book Review: Girl Wash Your Face

I’m about to be in the minority but Rachel Hollis book is not impressive.

I was having doubts about her in the first four chapters. Then we arrived at Chapter 5. It could have been a good chapter but then she detailed her borderline abusive first year of her relationship with her now husband. The title of the chapter gives the indication that she realized having a man is not important. When in reality, she is perpetuating the myth of the big gesture. She is perpetuating that if you give an ultimatum then the man will change. Threats will make someone change.

The reality is that if he acts like an asshole, he is an asshole. This chapter tinged the way I took the rest of her advice. I find that the “lies” she is trying to correct, she was still doing them herself.

Beyond that, I found her writing style to be convoluted. She has some good points but they were lost in the way she wrote about them. I found her to be privileged and unable to see her privilege.

There are a plethora of self help/self improvement books out there. There are plenty of other ones that can actually help you get to where you want to be.

April Book Dump

I have no idea what I even did with April. I finally had some more time for myself. I picked up two books that I started in January and put down after about 20 pages. April felt like the right time to puck them up again.

April brought a lot of big changes to my life. It seems fitting that I finally finished two self improvement or self help books this month.

I finally finished the Year of Yes. Shonda Rhimes is my new hero. It also has caused me to dive head first into catching up on Grey’s Anatomy. For those who care- I will also be catching up on Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. I have a whole new found respect for Shonda Rhimes. I need to see all of her bodies of work.

I also finished Jen Sincero’s You are a Bad Ass. Everyone had those moments where they doubt how awesome they are. Her concise chapters drive home her points in a fun and relatable way. Anyone can benefit from reading her book and I recommend that everyone does.

Who has read either of these books? What self help or self improvement book would you recommend?

February Book Reviews

Short month means short list of completed books, right?

**Cringe**

And one of the books I finished I started in 2018.

**Cringes even harder**

I started a handful of books this month but I had a hard time completing anything. Unique to this month is the fact that I highly recommend both of the books I read.

The Best American Short Stories 2018 Edited by Roxane Gay – I already wrote a review on this but THIS WAS GOOD. I haven’t picked up many shirt story collections but when I saw Roxane Gay was the editor I said “TAKE MY MONEY.” She did not disappoint. She selected diverse and thought provoking stories.

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley – The article that ignited the internet has become a book. I’ll be writing a long post on this later but the big takeaway is I think this should be required reading for everyone.

September Book Dump

Happy Fall Everyone!

I tore through 8 books in September. Lots of travel time, four 14 Day library books, and beach time made it be a very productive reading month.

The books I read in September were:

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Who is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant

I was surprised by What She Ate. It sent me on a spiral into learning more about Eva Braun and Third Reich. I’ve picked up a few books on the topic. I’m pretty sure Kneckt stole a Siena College professors’ life story for her novel. I’ll be writing reviews of the books and posting in the upcoming weeks.

After the Albany Book Festival I’m feeling inspired. Hearing all the authors speak about their work was energizing. It reminded me why I begin this pet project. Reading is important. Reading is thinking. The more people who read the better off we are as a community. If I can help contribute to someone else picking up another book or reading a little bit more, then the time I invested in Literary Lady is worth it.

 

August Book Dump

What a month. I finally paid back my library fines to Albany Pubic Library so I’ve been a power user this month. Three of the four books were library books. All three were 14 day reads. I am VERY proud of myself for returning them early and not incurring any more fines.

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Fast Takes:
I Know This Much Is True was a BEAST. 897 pages. I started it on vacation in Germany but it is a HEAVY read so I flipped between that and some lighter reads.

Jessica Knoll is the MASTER. If you love the Real Housewives, then you need to read this book.

Dopesick is powerful and timely. It is something that everyone needs to read.

Vox had a tag on it labeling it “Science Fiction” but it is a story that creeps you out because it’s something that isn’t too far from actually happening.

Reviews to follow in the next couple of weeks.

 

July Book Dump

I spent the spring wishing for summer to arrive and now I have no idea where it went. July was a complete whirlwind.

July was the month from travel. I spent a week on the beach, a couple of days in D.C. and then a week in Germany for a wedding. Lots of travel means lots of time for reading all of the books. This month’s books were an eclectic group. Two of the books had been sitting on the my shelf for a few months. Two were books I picked up on vacation at Elements. One was an impulse buy in response to a celebrity death. All of them receive the Literary Lady with Libations stamp of “You Should Read This.”

The books I completed in July:

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Red Clocks – Lena Zumas

White Houses by Amy Bloom

I’m assuming I’ll have a bigger list for August. I’m currently vacillating between four books. Four very different books. I’m teetering on finishing all of them.

What did everyone else read in July? What was your favorite read?

2018 March Book Dump

TRYING TO BE BETTER. But it would appear I failed for another month seeing as its April 23rd. I’m currently on the road for my full time (“real job”) and have found myself with an extraordinary amount of alone time in hotel rooms over the last few days.

The books I read in March were:

1) Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

2)There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker

3) Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

4) Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel

5)Girls Burn Brighter by Shobhan Rao

Fates and Furies knocked my socks off. I only moved it up on my #TBR list because she has another book coming out that has a lot of buzz surrounding it.

I hate to do this but I’m doing it. Sisterland was so incredibly disappointing. Which I think speaks more to me than Sittenfeld as a writer. I have high hopes and then am always disappointed by her stories. I should just stop reading her. The stories she tells don’t engage me in they way I expect to be engaged. (I take that back, I loved American Wife. However, I think that it set the bar too high for any of her other novels to follow up and be satisfying.)

I read Girls Burn Brighter in one day. Which says two things: 1) it was a great story 2)I was at my parents house for Easter break and had nothing to do. It was an eye opening book and am in the midst of doing a deep dive into the background information on the book.

Happy Reading and Drinking!

2018 February Book Dump

The February Book Dump has finally arrived! I have big aspirations to write about all the books I’m reading but that just isn’t going to be in the cards anytime soon. (It’s good to have goals though!)

They are listed in order of when I completed them.

1) Peach by Emma Glass

2) The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan

3) The Wife by Alafair Burke – see my review here.

4) The Power by Naomi Alderman (Review is forthcoming)

5) The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

My favorite book for the month was The Wife. While I’m writing this post, I was trying to put my finger on why I liked the book so much. The best answer I can come up with was because everything about it was so unexpected.

I read The Couple Next Door in a mad dash to finish it in time for book club. Then I arrived at book club to find no one but me had read it.

I have been reading Chelsea Fagan since she was over at the Thought Catalog. Her book is a great resource for anyone who is looking to learn the basics about money. She gives great information in an easily digestable way for the finance newbies.

Have you read any of these?