Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Fun Fact: Individual animals may also be categorized as introverts or extroverts.
Review Summary: This was fun, easy to read, enjoyable and educational. Also somewhat inspiring for us introverts
The stereotypical introvert is not viewed as someone who could be a great leader, lawyer, or salesperson. Susan Cain challenges that view with both fascinating research and enjoyable anecdotes. This research strongly suggests that society could benefit from the complementary strengths of extroverts and introverts. However, much of American society is designed to favor extroverts. Cain discusses why that is; why we should try to change it; and how we can begin doing so. Continue reading
Title: What You Need To Know Before You Invest
Author: Rod Davis
Fun Fact: The Dow Jones index was created in 1884, when it included 11 companies and was computed by hand.
Review Summary: This was mostly an easy read and seemed like a good introduction to the different types of investments.
Investing is a topic that makes me anticipate being confused, bored or both, so I approached this book with a certain amount of trepidation. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up at all if it weren’t for two things. First, my significant other and I are reaching a stage in our careers where knowing something about investing seems responsible. Secondly, my attempt to read through the Dewey Decimal system made this day inevitable. Fortunately, the majority of the book was a much easier read than I expected. Continue reading
Title: It’s Only A Movie
Author: Charlotte Chandler
Fun Fact: Hitchcock once had a set showing a city street in Holland built complete with working street cars and sewers to drain the fake rain.
Review Summary: The book was a very light read composed mainly of quotes that made me feel like I really got to know Hitchcock.
It’s Only a Movie is a very comprehensive biography, covering Hitchcock’s career from his beginnings as a title designer through the final movie he was never able to complete. Even the plots of his movies are included. Mostly though, this was an intimate portrait of the man, told through quotes from him and those who knew him. Continue reading
Title: Under the Tuscan Sun
Author: Frances Mayes
Review Summary: This is a wholesome, lovely, refreshing read with lyrical prose describing a beautiful location but it is a little undirected.
First let me tell you what this book isn’t. It’s nothing like the movie; it’s not a romance; and it isn’t even a book with much of a plot. Instead, it’s a beautiful collection of anecdotes loosely tied together by the progression of time. The primary focus is on the author’s experiences restoring a Tuscan villa, but her focus on food is a close second. Some of her experiences as a tourist remind me of a travel memoir, but I particularly enjoyed the other parts that describe the experience of actually living in Italy. Continue reading
Title: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World
Author: Michael Pollan
Fun Fact: A tulip grown from seed doesn’t flower for 7 years!
Review Summary: This was one of the most fun non-fiction books I’ve read, because of both the content and the author’s enthusiasm.
The author’s starting premise in The Botany of Desire has two fascinating parts. First, that plants benefit greatly from domestication, so our relationship with them could just as easily be viewed as them domesticating us. And second, that domesticated plants have evolved to meet some basic human desire, making plants of the past a great way to learn about what previous civilizations valued. The bulk of the book is devoted to stories of particular plants that illustrate this point. Although I expected more of a history of the plants in question (the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato), I very much enjoyed the collection of anecdotes presented instead.
Title: An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
Author: Venetia Murray
Fun Fact: In Regency England it was considered a great honor to be invited to watch the fashion icon Beau Brummel get dressed.
Review Summary: The tone is straightforward and factual, but the information included is fascinating and engaging all on its own.
Regency England was a time period that technically lasted from 1811-1820 and which you might recognize as the setting of the genre known as “regency romances”. An Elegant Madness is an impressively thorough discussion of the time period, with chapters on everything from clothes to dinners, to society and scandalous sex lives. Although the author’s tone is fairly scholarly and dry, the topics and first hand accounts make for some fascinating reading. Continue reading