emilysamp's reviews
19 reviews

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, by Angela Garbes

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Did not finish book. Stopped at 61%.
I actually liked a lot about this book, but it was more of a memoir than I anticipated. I went in wanting more science and cultural analysis, so I think I need to move on to other books for now.
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--And What You Really Need to Know, by Emily Oster

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I feel like this is a must-read for anyone who is or is thinking of getting pregnant. Whereas many pregnancy resources are based in control and fear mongering, this book aims to empower pregnant people to make decisions in an informed and data-driven way.

My main critique would be that the author, a white, educated, cisgender lady, centers only her own experiences. I also happen to be a white, educated, cisgender lady, so I felt "spoken to" by this book, but I recognize that it completely ignores disparities in healthcare outcomes for different groups of people, such as women of color and queer folks. That being said, the information in this book is still valuable and I would recommend it with the caveat that you'll have to adapt what you learn to suit your own needs.
Feminism Is for Everybody, by bell hooks

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This is a primer on some of the basic principles of feminism, written in an intersectional and accessible way. For anyone who has spent a decent amount of time studying the feminist movement, the content of this book won't come as a surprise, but it was still a quick and interesting read.

One thing that I learned from this book is that the fight for abortion rights is, in many ways, a white feminist issue -- for centuries, forced sterilization has been a huge reproductive rights battle for communities of color, but because white women often do not face this same issue, it has been brushed under the rug in favor of abortion rights. Interesting!
The Chosen and the Beautiful, by Nghi Vo

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slow-paced
There were many things I liked about this book and some I didn't. The prose was absolutely beautiful. I thought it was a very imaginative retelling, and I I loved that it focused on the immigrant experience in America, where The Great Gatsby all but ignored it. I also thought Vo did an excellent job capturing the voices and personalities of all the characters. I wish that the magic aspect had been played up, but I did like how the story walked a line between realism and magic. Not sure I'd read again, but I'm glad I read it once.
Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel

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challenging mysterious reflective medium-paced
What would you do if you went to a dinner party where you knew how every other guest was going to die? This book uses large philosophical and ethical quandaries to bring together seemingly disparate time periods. The story itself spans centuries, but the questions it brings up are timeless and fundamentally human.
Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler

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challenging dark emotional
This book is a masterpiece. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching but so, so good.
Crossings, by Alex Landragin

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I was so excited to read this book, but I’m sorry to say that it was overhyped. The premise of the book is that you can read it in two ways - as three short stories, or as one complete story by jumping around to different pages. However, these don’t result in significantly different reading experiences. This is just a multi-POV story where each POV is separated out into its own short story and the reader has to do all the work of putting the chapters in order 😅 The characters were flat, and the historical setting was nothing but backdrop.
The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss, by Edmund de Waal

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mysterious reflective sad slow-paced
This book was surprisingly awesome. It is a beautiful combination of art, politics, and family history that leaps off the page.
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
You know when you finish a good book and you have the feeling of being absolutely gutted because you’ll never get to read it for the first time again? That’s how I feel right now. This was very good in a painful way. Every character felt so real. I see the  women in my family in Sunja, Kyunghee, and Yangjin. Wow.
Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software, by Nadia Eghbal

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informative slow-paced
This book gave me so much more than I bargained for. It is a reflection on the history, culture, philosophy, and economics of open source, with fascinating examples and stories from the open source world. This book introduced me to many topics and ideas I had never heard of before. I don't often say this about nonfiction books, but it was truly gripping. One of my favorite reads of the year so far.