Showing posts from September, 2019

Review: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy My rating: 4 of 5 stars At the center of Leovy's masterful investigation is a nuanced critique of how American society investigates crime and where it so often puts its resources and emphasis in the criminal justice system. By examining how a determined homicide detective pursues the murder of a fellow officer's son in Los Angeles, Leovy shows that there's a fascinating intersection between the historical racism of the criminal justice system with the underfunding of homicide departments, particularly in urban and impoverished area that create a system of violence and murder that impacts many people's lives in urban environments. What I appreciate about the author's work is that she humanizes both the police, the criminals, and the people who must navigate their lives between them. Additionally, the book as a whole is constructed around the murder of and pursuit of the murderer through

Review: Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker My rating: 2 of 5 stars Shortly after the original Dracula was published, it was translated and published in Iceland. However, this version is a significantly different version of Dracula than what readers are familiar with. This version focuses about two-thirds of its time on Thomas Harker (as opposed to Jonathan in Stoker's original novel) and his time spent traveling to and in Dracula's castle. Within the castle, readers are exposed to entirely new plot threads that include a seductive female vampire that Harker is repeatedly seduced by, a more complicated plot to invade Europe, and a degenerate race of vampires within the castle. While this version is told in first-person and is elaborate in its detail for the first half, the second half (the part readers are most familiar with taking part in England and the like) flitters by quickly in third-person and feels more like summation than story. As someone inte

This Is 40

Here we are again, a year later.  I started this at 38 and continued with 39 .  Obviously, it's now a thing to do each year.  So, this is 40.  First, let's update some facts.  Post-morning selfie, September 2019 Home:  Arlington, Massachusetts Relationship status:  Married (5+ years) Cats Owned:  2 (Bear and Pumpkin) Other Pets:  1 mud turtle (MJ) Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate) Degree working on:  Phd in Higher Education Credits Completed Toward Dissertation: 69 out of 72. Reading in 2019: 207  books, graphic novels, and audiobooks Work:  full-time: (1) Instructional Designer and Faculty Development Specialist at Brandeis University.  (2) Freelance reviewing audiobooks and graphic novels for Audiofile Magazine and Publishers Weekly.  Teaching courses at  (3) North Shore Community College and  (4) Southern New Hampshire University Short Stories Written:  1 Social Media Consulting Gigs:  1 Weight:  247 pounds Longest Distance Run Thi

Review: The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die

The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne My rating: 4 of 5 stars Payne's is an insightful and useful book to consider in making sense of the rise of populism in the world today. There are several significant points that he brings to the table to discuss how inequality impacts out daily experiences and perceptions. One key piece that he highlights and drives home throughout the book is how increased inequality (and awareness of that inequality) decreases trust in the systems and trust in people. Societies (like the US) where the unequal incomes become increasingly extreme (such as CEOs making 400 times more than the front line employee) further destabilizes society. Coupled with this, he emphasizes that some in a society may feel like they are subject to inequality, even when they are not. This sense of inequality can often result in a more reactive society that seeks quick gains (illicitly or immorally) while also ca

Review: What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte My rating: 4 of 5 stars Catte, a native from Appalachia country sets down the path to redefine and open up the definition of Appalachian country from a limited, white, working or impoverish class dominated by an honor and warrior society. She sets about this with two main goals; deconstructing the myth and its impact on Appalachia culture--most recently perpetuated by J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy--and articulating the complexity of and richness of identities, including strong representations by people of color, non-Scots-Irish descendants, and LGBTQA people. As someone who has grown up, left, and now returned to her Appalachian roots, Catte finds the depictions of her place of origin problematic on a person and intellectual level and therefore traces the history of that depiction and the ways in which images and concepts of Appalachia has been used to promote eugenics, squash workers' rights, and as a s