Tag Archives: non-fiction

Geek Girls Unite (Leslie Simon) – Review

Geek girls unite : how fangirls, bookworms, indie chicks, and Other misfits are taking over the worldGeek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon
Age: Tween / Teen
Genre: Nonfiction / Pop Culture / Women
Source: Publisher
Publisher: It Books,  2011
ISBN: 9780062002730
193 pages

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I think the full title of this book explains the entire concept:

Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks and Other Misfits Are Taking Over The World.

In this book by author and music journalist Leslie Simon, we explore the world of girl-geekdom. This book is a representation of the cultural progression towards a new identity, that of the geek. Particularly the variety of geek that is no longer relegated to the world of awkward boys. Being a geek is now cool, and its something that women around the globe are embracing and being celebrated for.

The book focuses primarily on 6 types of geek: Fangirl Geek, Literary Geek, Film Geek, Music Geek, Funny-Girl Geek, and Domestic Goddess Geek. There is also a chapter at the end that runs through a number of other geek varieties: tech geek, fashionista geek, athlete geek, etc.

Each chapter has a specific format, a certain breakdown of the geek in question. The format goes as follows (with my general review and thoughts in parenthesis):

  • Pop quiz to gauge how well-versed the reader is in this field. (The questions were something similar to a Seventeen Magazine teen quiz, and Simon probably could have varied the answers in each chapter, as the answer was always the same letter for each quiz).
  • Character Sketch (a quick run-down of what makes up this certain type of geek)
  • Say What? (the lingo most associated with this subset of geek)
  • Geek Mythology (a deeper look into the start of this geek movement, and who was involved in its evolution over time.)
  • Geek Goddesses (notable names of contemporary icons and figures in the media that best reflect this subset of geek)
  • Frenemies (Posers, frauds or phonies. People who think they fit into this geek category, but really don’t because of a series of bullet point, overly broad generalizations as listed and created by Simon).
  • Geek Love (another series of overly broad generalizations and ideas that do more to propagate the stereotypes associated with this level of geek, this time in regards to romantic matches.)
  • Required Reading / Web Bookmarks, Movies / Playlist (this part is actually my favorite of each chapter. I think Simon did a great job assembling a selection of resources for young girls to further learn about their desired geek-topic. Although there were a few links and notable names that I found missing in the book, I think this end summary did a good job of getting young girls started on their path of development.)

Had I known from the get-go that this book was aimed at the tween/teen age range, I would have approached it with a different frame of mind. As a 28-year-old, this book really didn’t appeal to me, or reach me on any volume, even though I am a self-proclaimed literary/domestic goddess geek married to a music geek. I think young girls will fully embrace this book and relate to the notable names (Tina Fey, Natalie Portman, etc). Although I did find the requirements for each type of geek to be restrictive, Simon does make a point to mention that geeks can be anyone who embraces a level of cultural with a passion and intensity and one type of geek is not better than the rest. This book is full of resources for anyone interested in learning more, or even just learning about the different subsets in this book. I’ve already jotted down a number of books to read, movies to watch and CDs to explore.

Book 58 of 2011

Read A Likes

book jacket book jacket  book jacket

  1. Geektastic by Holly Black
  2. She’s Such a Geek! by Annalee Newitz
  3. How to be a Geek Goddess by Christina Tynan-Wood

 

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough – Review

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough is a guide for young, independent women with a tendency to over shop and not pay attention to their finances. A group of five friends gathered to form a money group, where they were brutally honest about themselves in terms of their financial standings; debts, savings, income, etc. Although the group seems to be pretty diverse, they are for the most part single, or dating with no kids, and live the Sex and the City lifestyle of shopping at expensive stores to keep up the appearance of wealth and glitz. It took me a while to get into this book, to be honest. Once I realized who the target audience was, I was better able to analyze their tips and tricks for saving money, investing in stocks and just coming to terms that women have to take financial responsibility and accountability.

The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough: How Five Young Women Got Smart, Formed a Money Group, and Took Control of Their Finances CoverThe organization of the book is hard to follow, especially if you are looking for a structured plan of action. This isn’t a book you can pick up and say “In week one, I’ll do this.” The group tends to jump around with their path. They’ll have you create a spending plan early on in the book, but towards the later half, they’ll actually mention the most relevant elements that go into a spending plan. Each chapter had its own focus, and within each chapter, each of the five woman wrote a little blurb about their experience in this situation and how they got out of it. The book is also a bit repetitive, which is a shame, because there is a lot of useful and important information that I feel got lost in the jumble. There were also a lot of topics that I wish they had expanded on instead of just glossing over.

The very last few chapters actually felt like a financial self-help book when they started discussing stocks, investments, savings plans and even real estate purchases. There are a lot of good facts sprinkled through the book about financial awareness, and the secret fees and fines from credit companies.  For my situation, the first half of the book was the most relevant. Sitting down and looking through 3 months worth of bills, bank statements and investments. There is a worksheet included  for all this information to really see where the money goes each month. Later on in the book there is another worksheet for planning the actual budget, the spending plan. This was an especially useful tool, particularly for women who can’t seem to keep their credit cards at bay. The tip I thought was the most useful was to designate a special fund called “fun money” each week. The women would set up a certain amount to take out from the bank each week, and this would be the cap for all non-necessity purchases; such as shoes, accessories, manicures, etc. I’ve been trying to do something like that for a while, but it never quite worked. Taking out the money in cash and keeping it in an envelope is a great way to really be aware of what you are saving and on what you are spending that money.

The ladies do emphasis that saving money does not mean forgoing all your favorite stores and restaurants. When you’ve learned to be in control of your spending habits and can be confident that you can actually afford that purchase, then they encourage you to buy those jeans, or whatever the case may be. In addition to the worksheets, there are also a number of inexpensive alternatives for hanging out with friends, and co-workers.

As I said above, this book is primarily geared towards women in their late 20’s, early 30s who are mostly single and are shopaholics. This book can also be used for women recently divorced and just coming into a world of financial responsibility and awareness. If you’ve never actually been in control of your finances before, this book will certainly be the encouragement needed to pull out that paperwork and get a plan in action. There is even a section in the back that gives advice on starting your own money group, but you can still continue individually. A money group acts as a support group, someone to call when you needed to be talked out of an expensive purchase or to share ideas with.

This is book 2 for my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 300s century. The call number for this book is: 332.024 Smart

FINAL GRADE: B

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough
w/ Jean Barrett
Delacorte Press, 2008
ISBN 9780385342445
211 pages

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The Addict – Review

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The Addict by Michael Stein
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir

The Addict, by Michael Stein gives an insiders look at the life of an internist in the big city, I believe Philadelphia, although the city wasn’t mentioned in the book. Michael Stein has previously written the Lonely Patient, a  story of treating a young woman hooked on prescription painkillers”. Well, the Addict is virtually the same thing. This book tracks his one year committment to helping keep Lucy off of vicodin, and their therapy sessions which lasted about a year.

The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year CoverTo be honest, I’m not exactly sure who this book is meant for. Michael Stein is an internist; a physician who specializes in treating and diagnosing non-surgical diseases. In this case, addiction is the disease and Stein is the expert. He is a highly intelligent man, full of information about addiction, how it develops and how its slowly taking a grip over the nation. Addiction isn’t limited to just lower class minorities, not with painkillers, he stresses. Addiction can haunt the soccer mom using vicodin to get that extra boost of energy to cart the kids around. It can haunt the upper class lawyer who just wants to get away from the reality of his job.

While the focus of his story is on one patient and her progress under his care, Lucy Fields, he does digress to talk about other patients and their addictions. I think this sets up a nice balance and highlights that addiction is handled differently on a case by case basis. Each addict has their own backstory to why, when and how they started and each addict reacts differently to the same drug.

Stein met Lucy at the hospital he works for because of the program he runs to help people quit vicodin. His method is basically to switch them from one pill, vicodin, to another, Buprenorphine. My first reaction to this was, how is that any better? Buprenorphine works as a stopper for vicodin, it sends signals up to the brain saying “you don’t want vicodin, you don’t want vicodin.”  Stein never discussed if Buprenorphine is addictive and if addicts latch onto that instead. He does actually address the point of pill-switching later on in the book, which I greatly appreciated. The switch is monitored and the pills are given out at the hospital and are tied to either weekly or monthly sessions with Stein. In this regard, he keeps them hooked to the sessions and can continue to treat the mental issues behind the addiction.

This was a really insightful book and very well written. Stein has a way of setting up the scene so that you feel like you are there. I wish we could have learned more about Lucy, or heard from her perspective. Her life story was told in choppy bits during the course of the year long sessions and she seems like a really interesting young woman. One thing that bugged me was when Stein would talk about addiction or the addict, he would switch pronouns, talk about the addict as a he in one chapter and a she in another chapter. Although its good to know that addicts come in all shapes, sizes and sexes, the pronouns would be too confusing especially since he would go into one of these side-talks right after talking about a patient in an example.

As I said above, I think the audience of this book is for future medical practioners, I think some families may benefit from hearing Lucy’s story, as well as at least learning the facts about addiction and its development over someone’s life.

This book is for my Dewey Decimal Challenge, 600s century. The assigned call number to this book is: 616.8606 Stein

The Addict
by Michael Stein
Harper Collins, 2009
ISBN 0061368134
275 pages

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