Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich – Goodreads book review

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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really love this book, although I’m not sure why considering just how depressing it is. I think perhaps just because of that. Ehrenreich truly tells it like it is, and there’s none of the sugarcoating of economic abuse and exploitation that you get with even supposedly impartial media like the BBC and UK liberal press these days. Also I’m into it just because I love memoir beyond any reasonable point and every detail of Ehrehreich’s wilfully grim and dispiriting experiences is fascinating to me.

There is a temptation, as a reader, to keep second-guessing her choices, and the choices of her more truly blue/pink collar colleagues. To think and hope, wishfully, deludedly, that given the same circumstances one would do better, would rise above somehow and bootstrap one’s way up. It’s perhaps the same ‘blame the victim’ mentality associated with rape, bullying or whistleblowers – it feels so much safer to convince yourself that the system works, the target slipped up and was at fault somehow, and it could never happen to you. But it ain’t so, bud.

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Image – DustinGinetz.Photography on Flickr, public domain.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression – Goodreads book review

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The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lot of reviews comment on the disorganized nature of the book, and also on the privileged status of Solomon (which reads a bit as ‘what does he think he has to complain about?) Not really unfair, but neither criticism really bothered me. His personal story was interspersed between categories and into more detached analyses, but I love memoir so that’s fine by me. The interviews and accounts of other people’s experiences were also great, moving, and with some really good poetry in there. And yes, Solomon is rich and lucky in lots of ways, and perhaps takes it a little for granted. Don’t we all take our blessings for granted?

Imperfect, jumbled, but fun and absorbing and great to dip into here and there. Not a flawless book, but a very good book.

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Image – TOUZIMSKY, Josef Jakub, no known copyright restrictions.

Fourth law of robotics: BUILD FRAKKIN’ ROBOTS! ROBOTS ARE COOL!

This sounds so awesome!  It’s not often I wish I was a schoolkid again, but I’m so envious I’m Kermit!15510782533_254e1e29b1_z

Schools are invited to enter a new competition from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851: Catch the Robots Bug! It is a fun and simple competition to generate enthusiasm for robotics, engineering and STEM more widely. Aimed at upper primary and lower secondary schools, little or no equipment is required to enter, or […]

via Catch the robots bug | — Echo Chamber Uncut

Image – Matt Cooper, public domain.

“The universe that constantly spins out new galaxies wants to shine through you, to speak through you, to expand through you.”—A tweet I tweeted out this morning Elizabeth Gilbert tells a funny story in her book, Big Magic. She was working as a cook on a ranch in Wyoming. She was drinking beer one night […]

via Get your boom box on the right frequency and call in miracles — Pam Grout

Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

#GIRLBOSS#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great fun read, and Amoruso seems like she would be the funnest person to hang out with. Her sheer drive and wit and energy are inspiring – it’s just a shame that Nastygal itself seems to have crashed and burned, judging by the news stories. Still, I’m sure that Amoruso will rise from the ashes. (I just hope she’s managed to hang on to some of the money, after all her hard work.)

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