book review Politics

Book Review: This Fight Is Our Fight

Anyhow, continuing on with my series of Democratic candidates and their books, we have Elizabeth Warren who happily has written more than one book. So, this one isn’t as full of all the campaigning as some others that I’ve read.

By now everyone has heard the story of how Elizabeth’s family was able to stay in their home because her Mom got a minimum wage job at Sears. Today that would not be the case. I think many people find that to be the crux of the problem in the US. You can trace so many problems back to the fact that enough people don’t have jobs that allow them to own a home even with multiple adults working full time. You know all this, so please excuse this and the rants below.

Here’e the thing. I believe Elizabeth and she’s put the time in talking with regular people and I think because she grew up middle class she hasn’t lost her edge of normality. Sure, she went to law school and she’s doing okay now, but she never stopped listening. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that she knows how much a gallon of milk costs.

If her concern is all an elaborate campaign strategy then she’s been running for President for at least the last two decades. This book and the experiences that she shares about Washington DC make me feel sad and maybe that’s the goal, this is the fifth? book I”ve read in the last couple of weeks and although I’m preaching to the choir, I’ve got to say once again that our system as it stands is not sustainable for anyone other than giant corporate giants. We as a country need to make huge changes to make it a place that we want our kids to grow up and thrive as adults.

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ARC Review: The Hive (YA)

The Hive
Sept 2019

This was eerily similar to a future that I could see for all of us in our real lives. Between our obsession with reality TV and social media, we could head straight for this. In this world, you get a rating based on your behavior and society as a whole judges you in public for things you write online. They also carry out your sentence, which can range from a warning up to public execution. The teen MC makes one joke, and we follow her story for the rest of the book. It turns out her Dad was an early architect of the system that punishes her, and so the plot turns towards that mystery as well. I loved the whole thing.

Cassie’s dad has died and her Mom constantly frustrates her for being basically anti- social media. She’s typical teen and agrees that when The Hive (a internet sanctioned social justice mob) hands out a punishment than the person in question probably deserves it. There is a star system in place that everyone is connected to and must obey under a Presidential order or law? I wasn’t quite clear on that. But, it doesn’t seem to be voluntary. The platform is called BLINQ and it tracks your use on the internet as a whole and users use hashtags as they do now to try and trend positive. The problem is that you could viral (by reblogging and boosting) which will really hurt you or help you. If enough people “condemn” your comment it triggers a Hive Alert and that’s when the mob steps in.

Cassie makes a mistake online and soon The Hive is after her. You’ll learn a bit about coding, AI, and what the internet could turn into from this story. It’s an entertaining mystery above all else. It’ll be released in early September.


Book Review: Off the Sidelines

There are books that immediately capture my attention and after I start reading them I don’t stop until the end. There are other books that I start and then put aside and never go back to. This one is one of those in the middle. I began reading, put in down, picked it up, put it down, and finally finished it. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. Except that clearly I’m not the target audience and I should be as a voter.

All books cannot be all things to all people, that’s a given. However, Kirsten seems to want to inspire women to step up and get involved in politics. I fully support her admission that “having it all” is crap. You cannot have it all and be in successful in all things. Something has to suffer. I also liked the prevailing theme of “How can you get off the sidelines in your own life?” I think some men need that message too.

What this doesn’t do is convince me that Kirsten is the right person to be President of the United States. For one thing her ideas are coming completely from an upper middle class view point. Most people in the US right now can’t think about giving more to charity, or volunteering at a community garden because we are all working flat out to keep food on our tables.

What was helpful? Getting a peek into what working in our government is like. Honestly, it sounds like it sucks and maybe we should work on that so that our representatives maybe don’t burn out or get corrupt trying to make it all worth it.

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Book Review: The Right Answer

Here we go with the next installment of read a Democratic Candidates book. I’ll admit that when I started this book I had to check the dust jacket to see which of the white guys this was. I know that isn’t great. But, gosh, there are so many people in this race. That’s why I started this project. The lesser known candidates aren’t getting much screen time and I like reading their words in their own voice.

So, John Delaney is an attorney, a business owner, a third term Congressperson and he is running for President of the United States. He seems to have thought out a lot of the logistics of his day to day plans as President and is what I’d call an optimist as far as how we would breach the divide between Democrats and Republicans.

He goes over his childhood, parents, education etc. He describes how frustrating it is to get along in Washington, to get any sort of cooperation between the two parties. He tells you everything about how it is now and his ideas for changing things from the top down.

Overall, its a good book for the kind of book it is- which is political, not literary. I will say that I liked him personally from reading the book. I’m not sure how much he can really get done. I didn’t get the sense that his plans were so awesome that they were all plausible. I’d be okay with him as a Vice President or in the White House somewhere, but not as Chief.

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Book Review: The Truths We Hold

I held off posting the review for this because I didn’t have time to dig up Kamela’s actual prosecutorial record. I still didn’t have time as it turns out, so I’m reviewing this based on what she wrote in her book and not anything printed about her outside of it.

I’ll send you to this article in the NYT for reference.

I feel like this more than any of the other books I’ve read (authored by other candidates) is a campaign book. She (or her ghostwriter) did a great job with it, but it definitely hits all the points that she needs it to have a chance at making the primary election cycle. It isn’t as annoying as some of the books end up being.

Its an easy read for sure. I liked her and felt like she told us a lot of truths about herself. I mean most of these candidates are looking to give the voters full disclosure in the light of the secrets on the Republican side of things.

Also, taking a law and order approach may appeal to centrists in both parties. I thought telling the story of how she handled the mortgage crisis in California as well to, I mean everyone is in favor of sticking it to the banking industry.

Caveat: I’m still leaning towards Elizabeth Warren, hopefully her book will turn up on my library hold list soon.

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Book Review: The Editor

It took me a week to read this. Not because I was bored, or it was slow, simply because I was savoring the words. I borrowed it from the library based on the description of Jackie Kennedy Onassis being “The Editor” in question. I’ve read quite a few books about the Kennedy family but almost none include this time period (the 90’s).

Too late I discovered that it is entirely fictional, I was already emotionally involved in the story. But, it could have a kernel of truth somewhere about her work ethic etc. and it was an excellent plot.

Fictional Jackie sounded like an excellent editor. She pushes James just enough to get him him to dig deeper into his autobiographical story, even though his Mother is still alive and will not like her story being told in a book.

After poking around the internet I see that this is going to be a movie!

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Book Review: United

Second in a series of books written by Democratic candidates for President in 2020. This sort of sounded like Cory Booker. It also sounded like an outline of counterpoints to other front runners.

Me being fake Cory Booker:

Oh, Elizabeth Warren took a DNA test and it didn’t show what she expected? Mine did. On the other hand, did you like Barack Obama? I’m so much like him, this book is eerily similar to the book Obama wrote like 10 years before he ran for President. (  Dreams from My Father)

This is another call to action much like Marianne Williamson’s book. In order to change America, we need to all get involved and start from the ground up. I give it extra points for not just being a long version of his stump speech and I actually came away liking the guy much more now that I know his origin story.

He gets a few mentions of God and the Bible in there to sway any centrist Republicans into thinking he might be okay. That’s sarcastic of me, I know. I just wish I knew how much is marketing and how much is sincere?

book review Politics

Book Review: A Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution

The first in my series of books written by Democratic Presidential candidates. I started here because I thought this book would be the least likely not to have been ghostwritten. Marianne has a few books out and is a gifted speaker, so I figured this would be her voice alone.

Her overall central idea here is simply this: Our government is controlled by special interests who seek profit for the elite at the expense of the people.

Whether you identify as a conservative or liberal I think most of us can agree that there is a grain of truth there. The question is, what do we do about it? This is a lost opportunity as Ms. Williamson doesn’t provide a concrete plan and her rhetoric needs to bridge the gaps that divide us if she wants to be a candidate of substance.

In this book I don’t see that at all. I feel like her heart is in the right place, but her ideas are going to be outright dismissed as hippy rants by conservative, and since she doesn’t have a concrete plan, liberals aren’t going to open up to her either.

We didn’t get to hear much from her at the debate, and I doubt she will be on the stage at all by September, so I don’t feel like I wasted my time. It’s worth a read if you can get it at your library.

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ARC Review: The Memory Police

I found this hauntingly sad, and it left me with so many unanswered questions? What was the point of the memory police? Why did they need everyone to forget things?

Let me back up, the MC lives on an island, where things disappear sporadically as ordered by the Memory Police. Her own mother was taken away for not forgetting. First its things like hats, ribbons, birds, and some flowers. The population just goes with it out of fear of being taken away. While this is going on the MC (an author) is writing a book and when her editor is about to get taken away she hides him in her basement.

The prose was gorgeous, and I read through it faster and faster trying to get to the part that answered my questions, but in the end, I guess we’re all supposed to guess what the real reasons were. Unless it was all in her head the whole time? I liked it but didn’t understand it if that makes any sense at all. Maybe it’s a fable about the horror of memory loss? Read it August 13, 2019 and let me know what you think.

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ARC: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People

This book was adapted for Middle Grade students from the original: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. One or both of these books deserve a spot in every library. I actually recommend the Young Peoples edition as the original was not an easy read in content or in an emotional sense. Obviously, it contains graphic violence, but the YP version words it better.

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. Any history of the United States that doesn’t include their history and how European settlers destroyed much of their culture is severely flawed. You may think you have a general sense of colonizing, but until you read first hand accounts from another point of view, you may not really grasp the brutal reality of that time period.

Looking to add this to your classroom? Teachers will love that it includes 25-30 maps, graphics, and historical images, and a glossary, timeline, and questions for class discussions and activities. I’m going to include it in our American history studies this year.