Amanda Steinberg is the founder of the website Daily Worth, a mecca for all sorts of financial advice specifically targeted to women. Recent posts include Childcare And Taxes: Five Things You Should Know, Is Pet Insurance Worth It and How Your Health Affects Your Long Term Wealth. The site even has a post for book lovers like us on the 10 Best Finance Books For Women.
Steinberg decided to recently publish her own manual on how to take control of your financial life called Worth It. It was one of the books featured on my February 2017 Book Releases list and I was lucky enough to get a copy from the publisher to review.
I’ve read my fair share of personal finance books, and I think what Worth It has to offer that others books I’ve read don’t do as well is a framework through which to reflect on your current financial practices and money personality. Steinberg is dead honest in the book about her own past financial mistakes and introduces topics like investing, buying a home and cash flow through the experiences of other real life women just like her. If you’re looking for detailed advice on investment vehicles, types of mortgages or budgeting strategies, this isn’t the right book to turn to. It’s the right pick for someone who wants to start to re-evaluate their relationship to money and rethink their attitude towards managing their finances.
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I know what you’re thinking. What’s up with this girl that she chose to read a book all about Cannibalism? Or maybe if you’re a science geek like me, you’re just as fascinated by the topic. Believe it or not, whether you’re so grossed out about cannibalism that you would never choose to read about it or not, cannibalism is a natural part of the animal world. We, as humans, are kind of aberrations for having mostly abandoned it (though I’m pretty thankful that no one is planning to eat me).
When I included Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History in my February 2017 Releases list, I RAN to Net Galley to make sure I could score a copy, and I devoured the whole thing (no pun intended) in a couple of days. It’s everything that I love in books about a specific scientific topic – filled with disparate and enthralling examples, wide-ranging in its scope and yet super easy to follow, and most importantly, concisely written. If you love learning about science and about weird aspects of the life that surrounds you like me, pick this one up.
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The first book I read by Dinah Jefferies was The Tea Planter’s Wife (read my review here) which was set in what is now Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in the 1920s and told the story of a young Englishwoman who married a plantation owner and moved to Ceylon to live with him.
I found the plot of Before The Rains, Jefferies’ new book, to be a bit less surprising and engaging than that of The Tea Planter’s Wife, which had a major twist that I absolutely did not see coming. I also felt like the central character of The Tea Planter’s Wife was more rounded and complex than the main character in Before The Rains. I think in general Before The Rains felt less multi-dimensional than The Tea Planter’s Wife, which is why I gave Before The Rains 4 stars instead of 5.
However, Before The Rains was still a thoroughly enjoyable read that had me staying up past 2AM to finish it all in one sitting. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, I think this is a great one to add to your TBR, but I would read The Tea Planter’s Wife first.
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A few months ago I joined Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s new online book club. It’s $10 a month and allows you to participate in discussions of the books chosen each month in an online forum or on the book club’s Facebook group, as well as take part in a scheduled live discussion for each month’s book, just like in a regular book club. I’m not paid to promote her Book Club or anything, I’m just trying it out and sharing my impressions with you.
For This Is How It Always Is, in addition to the regular discussion forum on the website, Modern Mrs Darcy was amazing enough to organize a live chat with author Laurie Frankel. I sadly had to miss it since I’m still very busy with my job change, but what’s so great about the online book club is that all webchat book discussions or other events like the one with Laurie Frankel are provided as recordings after that fact to members, so that you can still benefit even if you can’t make the event live. I tried to listen to the chat ahead of this review, but my internet wasn’t cooperating. I’m definitely adding it to my weekend to do list.
This Is How It Always Is would have been on my radar even without Modern Mrs Darcy‘s recommendation (I included it in my February 2017 Releases post), but I have to say that so far her recommendations have been excellent. She’s aced 2 out of 2 to date for me. Her March 2017 pick will be A Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline and I’m already looking forward to it. In the meantime, here is my review of the amazing, moving, thought-provoking This Is How It Always Is.
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A few weeks ago, after attending the Women’s March in LA, I put together a book list of books about Feminism that I wanted to read to provide a stronger educational framework for my understanding of feminism from a historical and intellectual perspective. Caitlin Moran’s hilarious book How To Be A Woman was featured on that list, and when the audiobook became available from my library holds list, I decided to start listening to it during my commutes. I was laughing out loud in my car from the start.
Moran has the gift of bringing a sensitive topic like that of feminism to the masses in a very accessible and down-to-earth way, but for those who are very sophisticated in their feminist views, it may seem simplistic. I think that in How To Be A Woman, Moran wasn’t trying to provide some kind of definitive ideological treatise about feminism, but wanted to share her experience growing up as a woman and a feminist, in a way that I, and I think many other women, will find relatable. Don’t expect statistics and valid historical commentary, but rather humorous anecdotes from Moran’s life that tie into feminist themes.
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It goes without saying that going into reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead I had huge expectations. It was an Oprah pick, has received endless buzz in the bookish world since its publication in August 2016, and most recently was selected as the 2016 National Book Award winner for fiction. Basically, it’s a pretty big deal.
I was prepared to be at least marginally disappointed but instead the novel not only met but exceeded all of my expectations. It’s gorgeously written, moving, thought-provoking, and magical while remaining historically accurate and painful to read. I had to join the bandwagon by giving it an extremely well-deserved 5 star review.
As a side note, I’ve been looking for a good nonfiction book on the history of the underground railroad, but have had a hard time finding one with consistently good reviews. I purchased and started reading Bound For Canaan by Fergus M. Bordewich, but I found his writing lacked cohesion, which made the book very hard to follow. He strung descriptions of people and anecdotes along with not much to connect them to a larger overarching point. I may have given up on it too soon though and may have to revisit it. If you’ve read it can you let me know what you thought in the comments?
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