Book Review: How The States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

synopsis single

Why does Oklahoma have that panhandle? Did someone make a mistake?

We are so familiar with the map of the United States that our state borders seem as much a part of nature as mountains and rivers. Even the oddities—the entire state of Maryland(!)—have become so engrained that our map might as well be a giant jigsaw puzzle designed by Divine Providence. But that’s where the real mystery begins. Every edge of the familiar wooden jigsaw pieces of our childhood represents a revealing moment of history and of, well, humans drawing lines in the sand.

How the States Got Their Shapes is the first book to tackle why our state lines are where they are. Here are the stories behind the stories, right down to the tiny northward jog at the eastern end of Tennessee and the teeny-tiny (and little known) parts of Delaware that are not attached to Delaware but to New Jersey.

How the States Got Their Shapes examines:

Why West Virginia has a finger creeping up the side of Pennsylvania
Why Michigan has an upper peninsula that isn’t attached to Michigan
Why some Hawaiian islands are not Hawaii
Why Texas and California are so outsized, especially when so many Midwestern states are nearly identical in size
Packed with fun oddities and trivia, this entertaining guide also reveals the major fault lines of American history, from ideological intrigues and religious intolerance to major territorial acquisitions. Adding the fresh lens of local geographic disputes, military skirmishes, and land grabs, Mark Stein shows how the seemingly haphazard puzzle pieces of our nation fit together perfectly.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

If you´re interested in American state history then look no further. This book is exactly what you need to understand how borders formed and reshaped throughout the early period of America.

Interesting. Insightful. Fascinating.

 

`How The States Got Their Shapes`  is exactly what the title suggests. A book on how each of the 50 states got their shapes. Not necessarily important to know but interesting nonetheless. How the states got their shape

If you´re anything like me you´ll inhale this book and appreciate the knowledge handed out here. Some things I already knew about but some other things, like- the equality of height of the prairie states and the equality of width of the western states is just…

 

A great read with tons of facts on states. My expectations were met.

The only complaint I have is about how some states didn´t receive as much detailed spotlight as others. I don´t know why. Maybe there wasn´t enough available info? Who knows.

America is one big fat game of Tetris.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Sure. It´s a quick read with loads of interesting facts.

Would I reread this book? Yes, I would.

Since this is a History / Geography book on American History I will skip my usual 4 point speed rating. 

4 stars

 

You can purchase `How The States Got Their Shapes` by Mark Stein on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: The Diary Of A Bookseller – Shaun Bythell

synopsis single

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

What a charming read. A pessimistic bookseller ( Shaun, the author ) reveals what goes down in his bookshop. Not the first person who had this idea for a book but, to be honest, I don´t mind that at all.

`The Diary Of A Bookseller` by author Shaun Bythell is the most charming ( with a less charming bookstore owner ) and charismatic non-fiction/memoir I´ve read this year.

 

Peculiar. Sarcastic. Amusing. Enlightening.

 

Online sales, customer dealings, employee interaction, book sales/trades/purchases,… So much wonderful insight presented in a diary format. This sounds like a book lover´s dream come true. And, it IS a book lover´s dream come true. For everyone else, this is probably the worst book that has ever ben published. The Diary Of A Bookseller

I really enjoyed this book but I would have enjoyed it more had it not been so repetitive at times.

The issue with a 310-page book that is filled with diary entries is: It´s hard to keep them exciting all the time. I admit- I felt a strong urge to skim every other diary entry, but I didn´t. I felt I owed it to the bookshop owner for some reason.

Here´s a guy who´s put so much time and effort into documenting his experiences. His snarky comments, the sarcasm, his voice… I fully appreciated everything. This book deserves attention from a book lover.

After having read this book I´m 100% positive that I never want to be a bookshop owner. Like- Ever. Hats off to Shaun, though. For keeping the bookstore tradition going.


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. If you love the diary format then you´ll love this non-fiction. Also a great read for fans of bookshop owner Bernard Black from the British sitcom Black Books!

Would I reread this book? Probably not. There are definitely parts I´d like to reread sometime but from start to finish? I don´t think I will.


 

 

The Cover – 4 Stars:  A perfect cover for this book. Very fitting.

The Story – 3 Stars:  The book is a memoir. The author graciously granted insight on the monotonous life as a bookseller. If it wasn´t for the dragging entries…

The Character – 4 Stars:   You could feel sorry for Shaun but then again- He chose the bookshop and it looks like the shop has turned him into a snarky yet humorous person. He´d be my friend in real life, I´m sure.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Satisfied.

 

4 stars

 

You can buy `The Diary Of A Bookseller on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck – Mark Manson

synopsis single

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Out of all the people who usually recommend books to me – It was my brother who pushed me to buy `The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck` by author Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck

Mind you- I wasn´t and still am not on the search for immediate or permanent happiness. I´m good. Things are fine. Everything´s boogy in my neck of the woods. So, the idea of buying a self-help book, knowing I don´t need help is a little pointless, wouldn´t you think?

 

“You don´t have to be on the lookout for happiness to enjoy this book. I guarantee you- You´ll like it even if you don´t need it.”  Is what my brother said.

 

He was wrong. I didn´t end up liking `The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck`. I loved every single thing about this book. I think it´s a brilliant piece of work.

 

Entertaining. Provocative. Funny. Eye-opening. Helpful. 

 

It´s safe to say that this book, with the way it´s written, is not for everyone. I happen to be the type of person who enjoys profanity in books ( lots of profanity ) and can see the beauty in the author´s directness without being offended by his ideas or notions. I believe this is one of the best eye-openers on the market.

 

“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

 

From mornings to evenings… From January to December… The fucks I have to give are sparse. The fucks I do give are used wisely, though. This book will talk about this topic, along with ways to free oneself from the cages we locked ourselves in, in an easy to follow way.

Mark Manson talks about how happiness is a problem, discusses self-worth and even reveals his take on failure and success in an understandable way.

My brother was right. You can fully enjoy this book without actually needing all the advice inside. You can sit back, relax and, for once, have fun reading a self-help book ( because most self-help books aren´t entertaining ).


 

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. I can see this book helping many people ( if needed ). A great read even for non-help seekers

Would I reread this book? Absolutely. The language and writing is right up my alley. If there ever was a book for me then this would be it.


 

`The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck` is a non-fiction, philosophy, psychology, self-help/personal development book so I´ll keep the rating simple.

 

5 stars


 

This book is available for purchase at Amazon.com

 

Reading List – May 2018

Good – bye, April. Hello, May.

 

Yeah, I know, I know. I´m late with my reading list…again. But I have a great excuse. One that will have you shrugging your shoulders as if to say ” So?”.

I was extremely busy. Busy as in I – had – to – be – social – for – once.

It was tough but I survived. My brother is married and now I need some quality time away from people.

 

It´s still early in the month, though. So, technically…. I´m not THAT late with wanting to present my reading list for May.

Ready to see my wicked list of books that I randomly picked to read and review?

 

A Court Of Frost And Starlight ( A Court Of Thorns And Roses #3.1 ) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court Of rost And StarlightGenre: Fantasy / NA

Pages: 229

Publication Date: May 2018

While I wasn´t happy with books 1 – 3 from the ACOTAR I´m still willing to give this “what happened after ” read a try. Why? Well, I don´t like unfinished business. The author created so many characters in books 1 – 3 that there´s a small chance we´ll get to see some of these characters get their own spotlight. Fingers crossed!

A Court Of Thorns And Roses , A Court Of Mist And Fury,  A Court Of Wings And Ruin

 

The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well – Meik Wiking

hygge Genre: Non – fiction

Pages: 240

Publication Date: September 2016

I saw this book on one of my book shopping sprees and had to have it. I haven´t read it yet but from the looks of it the book looks and feels like an oversized magazine about Denmark rather than being a self-help book ( it was also classified as Self Help ).  I´m loving the cover and loved what I saw while I scanned through the pages before I bought this little gem. I can´t wait to see what the Danish have that can improve my already weird and wacky lifestyle. I´m hoping for learning more about the country and what the people do that makes them so awesome.

 

Little Black Book – Otegha Uwagba

little black book

 

Genre: Non – Fiction

Pages: 113

Publication Date: June 2017

 

I´m a working woman. I want to see what the toolkit has to offer. Maybe I´m doing something wrong that I´m not aware of? Who knows. All I know is that I like the package of this book. Not so much the fact that it´s also in the feminism category. I´m a little suspicious about that because if there is anything I dislike more,  it´s a book written by a 2.0 feminist who wants to shove her extreme beliefs down my throat. Let´s hope that this is just a simple “how to juggle work and life” booklet.

 

Ash Princess  ( Ash Princess Trilogy #1 ) – Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess

Genre: Fantasy / YA

Pages: 432

Publication Date: April 2018

I can´t have a reading list without including at least one fantasy read, right? I don´t know why… but I´m actually looking forward to read `Ash Princess`. Sounds like something I´m in desperate need of.

 

And of course, I´ll be working off my TBR list while reading these awesome picks.

Let the fun begin!

 

Much love,

Morgana xx

Book Review: The Internet Is A Playground – David Thorne

Synopsis

The complete collection of articles and emails from 27bslash6 such as Overdue Account, Party in Apartment 3 and Strata Agreement plus articles too litigious to be on the website.

 

My Thoughts

There are only 4 things in life that have the ability to make me cry from laughing so hard ( 4 things I can think of ).

  • The movie – Men In Tights ( Mel Brooks is just ❤ )

  • My 38-year-old husband trying to impress 12-year-old boys with his non existent skateboarding skills.

  • The Breathalyzer Fail video ( this particular one )

 

  • David Thorne´s emails.

 

 

Now, I´m all for laughing and having a great time. You could actually be my best friend for life if you have a sense of humor ( or if your humor matches mine ). I also love brilliant minds. People who can think quick and give answers that´ll literally knock the wind from your sails. There´s nothing like a good comeback that sits / stings / burns others.

Have you heard of David Thorne?

If you haven´t then I highly recommend you read some of his emails  here or buy his book, `The Internet Is A Playground`.  the internet is a playground

I swear on all that pink and fluffy… this guy is a genius. A genius jerk who has the ability to make me laugh uncontrollably.

`The Internet Is A Playground` is only one of many books that have a collection of his wild and bizzare email exchanges with victims  people.

Whether it´s an email exchange with his neighbor, Justin, or an email exchange with Shannon about her missing cat, Missy…. All emails had me in a laughing fit.

 

It´s obvious that David Thorne ( the true victim ) feels harassed and harasses the people who contact him. It´s extremely painful to read some of the poor soul´s replies as they struggle to keep up with David Thorne´s responses or give decent replies at all. But hey…. everyone get´s what they deserve… Either Karma kicks in or David Thorne shoots back.

I´d rather have David Thorne send me an email than have to deal with Karma.

My favorite email exchange would be from David and Justin, the neighbor with the blinding floodlight.

David Thorne
Snippet taken from David Thorne´s Site

 

With his bedside lamp off, the shades drawn and the covers over his head… he read a book with sunglasses on! DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? 

And then there´s this. This is what made me fall off my chair from laughing so damn hard.

David Thorne 1
Snippet taken from David Thorne´s Site

I can´t even.

I´ve seen some people rant against David Thorne and feeling offended by the things he has published or feel pity for the “victims” when it´s clear that most of them are just idiots asking for it.

Of course, David Thorne crosses a few lines and pokes at the bee’s nest. He´s provocative. But it´s all in the name of humor. It´s about having fun when there´s no reason to have fun. Lightening the mood.

I love it and can only recommend his work.

Would I recommend this book? I would. Over and over and over again.

Would I re- read this book? ( see answer above )

The Cover – ( I don´t really care for rating this cover because it´s not significant.)

The Story – ( What story? The book is filled with email exchanges.)

The Characters – ( Each victim deserves a medal for surviving  David Thorne. And David Thorne deserves a medal for trying…  )

My emotional state after finishing this book – I´m in heaven.

5 stars

 

Purchase Links  

Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.de