What I’ve been reading…

I just finished a really interesting book by Hanna Rosin called “The End of Men and the Rise of Women”.  I know, I know, but it’s not what it sounds like.  I’m not a feminazi and it’s not a feminazi book.  Trust me, I did my best to hide the cover while I was on the train lest others judge me.

Rather than a feminist manifesto, Ms. Rosin makes a pretty convincing case in the book that men are falling behind women in terms of economic progress because of their failure to adapt.  In other words, when women flooded the workplace decades ago, they adapted themselves to perform in new arenas and in new roles, both at home and in the workplace.  Conversely, men failed to retool themselves to fit into this new space.  The majority of men couldn’t cope with the feminization of the workplace and instead of fitting themselves into it, they stuck to the old way of doing things.  Thus, they’ve been left behind.

Employers now look for what are called “soft skills” such as interpersonal relations and teamwork, skills which are intrinsically female.  Ms. Rosin argues that men have the capacity to embrace these skills as well, but they are resistant to do so.  Again, they get left behind.

I’m definitely oversimplifying the arguments but this is the gist of them.  The book is a fascinating sociological study over time of how we’ve gotten to this moment, both in domesticity and in the workplace.

I saw Ms. Rosin on Bill Maher’s show, which peaked my interest in her book.  Interestingly, the book was written in 2012 so it’s already a few years old, but still so many of her ideas are playing out today.  There’s no better evidence of her theory than the rise of Trump and his supporters.

What I’ve been reading…

What I’ve been watching…

Bosch Season 3 (Amazon Prime) – I’m only about halfway through but so far, this season is great.  I’m also starting the Bosch books from the beginning, though I think I read some of them back in the 90s.  This season is supposed to be a combination of two of the early books.  There’s a lot going on – a serial killer in Koreatown, the murder of a Vietnam vet, the murder of a young woman, and the murder of one of Bosch’s former nemesis.

My favorite characters are still J. Edgar and Irving, probably because they were both on The Wire.

Gomorrah Season 2 (Sundance, Wednesdays) – Sundance just aired the first four episodes of season 2 these past 2 weeks.  That means there’s only 4 weeks left, which makes me want to savor every single second of this delectable show.

I didn’t watch the Sopranos, but the consensus on twitter is that Gomorrah makes that show look like The Brady Bunch.  Spoiler alert!  Ciro killed his own wife, and the show then killed off my favorite character, Salvatore Conti, by slitting his throat in a church.  Great stuff, but I wish Conti was still alive.  I loved the religious imagery in his apartment juxtaposed with his brutality.  He will be missed!

Louis C.K. Seasons 1 – 4 (Netflix) – So how did I not start watching this guy until now?  He is hilarious!  He’s like a raunchy Seinfeld.  I’m now on season 4 which is getting super serious.  I don’t love the storyline with the foreign woman so hopefully that’s done for good.  I can’t wait to watch his comedy specials when I finish the show.  I also loved seeing Allan Havey in one of the episodes.

Billions Season 2 (Showtime, Sundays) – I think this season is better than the first, which is saying a lot.  The penultimate episode this week was terrific.  I totally didn’t see that twist coming, which is a sure sign of great writing.  I hate the fact that Rhoades won this round, especially since poor Ira was a pawn and the ultimate loser in his little game.  And Rhoades is a sucker if the thinks that Axelrod won’t crush him when it counts.  We’ll see.

Better Call Saul Season 3 (AMC, Mondays) – I’m not sure where they’re going this season but I can’t wait to find out.  I wonder if they’ll get to the part where Mike does start working for Fring?

What I’ve been watching…

What I’m reading…

I literally just finished reading “Killing the Rising Sun” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. I’ve read the other books in the “Killing” series, with the exception of the Jesus one, and they’re all good at keeping my attention.  This one was no different.  I finished it in two days.  The authors have a way of combining all of the different narratives that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next, even though we know how it ultimately turned out.

This book covers the end of World War II and the transition to rebuilding afterwards, with the focus on Japan.  I’m a big fan of Douglas MacArthur and enjoyed the portions devoted to his exploits both during and after the war.  He certainly had a big ego but he got the job done when it needed to be done, without apology.  We need more of that in our leaders today.

The book also caused me to consider what the world would be like if Japan had prevailed in the war.  It’s hard to imagine.  There’s a show on Amazon Prime called “The Man in the High Castle” that contemplates this and it’s an interesting series.

I also finished “The Nightingale” recently (Kristin Hannah).  It was a good story about two sisters living in occupied France during World War II.  I’m not into fiction as much as non-fiction but the story was good.  Predictable, but good.  It was recommended to me by a colleague who was reading it for a book club.  It appears to be very popular and was hard to get from the library.

Waiting for “Exit West” and “A Man Called Ove” from the library but it may be a while.  Happy reading!

What I’m reading…

2016 Wrap Up Report

We’re about to embark on another year so instead of coming up with “resolutions” I’ll never keep, I decided to do a year end wrap up:

Best book:  “River of Doubt” by Candice Millard.  Lots of great books this year but this was my favorite by far.  Waiting for Ms. Millard to come out with a new book in 2017.

Best new tv show:  Tie between “Happy Valley” and “Gomorrah”.  Two totally different shows but I just can’t decide between them.

Best tv season:  “Game of Thrones” – ’nuff said.  Honorable mention:  “Better Call Saul”.

Best line:  “What’s the point of having fuck you money if you never say fuck you?” – Billions.

Best song:  I am so not qualified to judge this but I find Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” oddly addictive.

Biggest surprise:  Hillary Clinton lost the election.

Most upsetting celebrity death:  Tie between George Michael and Prince.

Show I broke up with permanently:  The Walking Dead.

Best podcast:  “In the Dark”.

Best documentary:  “OJ Simpson:  Made in America”.

 

 

 

 

2016 Wrap Up Report

What I’ve been reading…

Sorry for the long hiatus, readers, it’s been a busy few weeks.  I just finished reading two great books I’d like to share with you.

The first was “River of Doubt” by Candice Millard.  Shout out to my co-worker Judith for the recommendation!  The book is about Teddy Roosevelt’s trip in the Amazon down a previously undiscovered river.  Sounds boring, doesn’t it?  Well I couldn’t put it down.  It’s a fascinating story about his decision to go on the trip, the challenges the group faced even getting to the start of the journey, and the starvation, rapids, and threat from Indians while traveling on the river.  As soon as I finished, I requested Ms. Millard’s other books, one of which is on Churchill and the other on James Garfield.

The second was “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance.  I waited a long time for this one from the library because it’s hugely popular right now.  Mr. Vance grew up in Kentucky and Ohio and describes in the book the challenges he and his family faced growing up as “hillbillies” in these areas.  He ultimately went to Yale Law School.  It’s an interesting sociological overview of what life was like growing up in this environment.

I should be getting the book on James Garfield from the library today.  I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it.  Happy reading!

What I’ve been reading…

What I’m reading…

Just finished reading “A First-Rate Madness” by Dr. Nassir Ghaemi.  I heard Dr. Ghaemi on Michael Smerconish’s Sirius show recently, so I put myself on the waitlist for his book at the library.  I started it on Saturday and couldn’t put it down.

The premise of the book is that successful leaders had some form of mental illness which made them successful, especially during wartime and periods of uncertainty.  Alternatively, leaders who were considered “normal” were terrible wartime leaders.  The theory is that challenges and/or adversity in the form of depression, mania, bipolar disorder, etc. developed resilience in these individuals, as opposed to “normal” people who never had to stare down such difficulties.

The author outlines specific examples such as Hitler, Lincoln, Chamberlain, Bush, and Churchill to illustrate the point.  It really is a fascinating read and gave me a lot of food for thought.

Now on to “Seinfeldia” by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

What I’m reading…

What I’m reading…

So I just finished Richard Engel’s “And Then All Hell Broke Loose” about the history of the tension in the Middle East from inception to present.  It was a great overview of those conflicts especially for someone like me who has a very limited knowledge of it.  It’s amazing to realize how our government paved the way for ISIS by both its action and inaction over the last few decades.  Highly recommended.  I tore through it in a few days.

I just started “Underground Airlines” by Ben Winters.  I’m intrigued so far by the story of a fictional world where slavery is still permitted in four states (called “The Hard Four”).  The protagonist is a former slave who now works for the government as a bounty hunter, tracking and locating escaped slaves so that they can be returned.  It’s a totalitarian state horror scenario where the slaves have tattoos on their necks indicating who owns them.  Tough read so far but it’s an interesting one given the societal climate we’re in currently.

I’m on the waitlist at the library for Lenny Dykstra’s book “House of Nails”.  I heard an interview with him recently.  He’s certainly obnoxious but at least he owns his lifestyle and mistakes.

Happy reading!

What I’m reading…