How to be a Woman book review

How to Be a WomanHow to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really freaking liked this book, which is a light commentary on feminism framed around events in Moran’s life as she ages from 13 to 35 years old. It’s cheeky and borderline rude in parts, but the observations are so wise. There are gut-punch parts and laugh-out-loud on the train parts.

I’m infertile, so the “Why You Should Have Children” chapter stung. But that’s my own hangup. The next chapter “Why You Should Not Have Children” helped, but it’s obvious what side Moran’s on. And that’s okay. Again, my own hangup. Sometimes good writing stings.

If you’re a capital-A Academic, you’ll probably prefer other books on the subject. If you’re easily offended, this isn’t your book. But if you’re a GenX woman who wasn’t a Women’s History major, this book is like listening to one of your crazy best friends talk passionately about feminism.

Somewhat relatedly, out of the 11 books I’ve read so far in 2015, 8 of them were written by women!

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Alexander Hamilton book review

Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I, like many, am caught up in the giant swirl of love for the musical “Hamilton.”After listening to the soundtrack dozens of times, I was ready to dive into the source material.

This is a very long, very well-written, very exhaustive biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers who simultaneously made great things, and HUGE mistakes, with his overactive pen and mouth. After a crappy childhood in the West Indies, A.Ham (with the help of benefactors) made his way to the British colonies in America. He fell in with the right group of people, and the rest is history. Literally!

I’m not a history person, and the only part that made me almost quit was the Federalist Papers. Luckily, there wasn’t a test at the end of the book, so I accepted that I didn’t have to memorize this stuff, just appreciate it. And I did.

What struck me most is that the Founding Fathers were making it all up as they went along. They were flawed men with large egos who preached that doom would happen if opponents were listened to. So, pretty much JUST like today.

I chuckled at how our leading thinkers ripped each other to shreds through “anonymous” newspaper essays and letters. Those writings are the building blocks upon which today’s newspaper comment sections are built!

Joking aside, Chernow did a fantastic job of not only describing the events of Hamilton’s short and brutish life but making sure we knew that all of the players were human.

Also, Eliza Hamilton had a hell of a second act. I’m glad her story was told, too.

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