Writer’s Block

Writer's Block PhotoHello faithful readers. What a beautiful day it is here in Wisconsin. It is 60 degrees outside and I’m fully enjoying it. Unfortunately, being that it is February in Wisconsin it won’t last long. Sigh.

What else? I should have a book review up later this week. I’m also considering a new series that I’m sure will delight my readers. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to launch it for it involves some financial issues, but I truly want to give back to my readers in a positive and fun way.

And I’d be remiss not mentioning that I have another blogging goody up my sweater sleeve. Later this week, possibly Wednesday, I will launch my new blog right here on WordPress, which will focus on another love of mine, MOVIES! This blog will feature DVD reviews, film news, opinions and features, my love of guilty pleasure flicks and misty walks down memory lane celebrating the best of the classics, and other cinematic treasures! I just finished up some maintenance of the blog, and started writing my first DVD review.

Book Marks

Books about amazing women who dare to #persist

Protesters send books to the Non-Reader-in-Chief

Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie debuts her children’s book “Princesses Wear Pants.” Yes, Princesses can be strong, which the lovely Rosie Blythe proved in her book, “The Princess Guide to Life.”

Emmet Till book inspires cousins to re-open his case more than 60 years after his brutal murder.

AWP (Association of Writers & Publishers) 2017 conference focuses on politics while AWP writers take it to the streets.

Twelve-year-old diversity activist, Marley Dias, gets book deal. Go Marley!!!

Urueña, Spain has 200 residents and 12 book stores.

CBS Sunday Morning’s segment on the popularity of romance novels.

The popularity of fan fiction, more than just a hobby for some.

Fan fiction is a feminist issue.

 

Book Review: No More Work-Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea by James Livingston

For ages, work equaled having a job so you could put a roof over your head, keep your belly full, clothe your back and pay your bills, taxes, mortgage, insurance, car note and other life essentials. And if you had some of your hard-earned paycheck left over you might treat yourself to a day at the spa, a night out on the town or attend a concert or sporting event.

But work doesn’t just mean money. Work also conveys discipline, education, skills, talent, passion, and making contribution to society and culture as a whole. Work is the solution to society’s ills, after all, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right?

According to James Livingston maybe we need to take a look at our age-old idea of work and turn this idea on its head. And he goes into this further in his thought provoking book No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea.

According to Livingston, professor of history at Rutgers University, gainful employment is seen by Americans, of all political leanings, as a proper goal for all of us instead of a problem that needs to some serious overview and overhaul, both morally and economically. We need to examine why we go to work and how it is affecting us as human beings and as a nation.

There are several problems with gainful employment for your average American worker. One includes technology and automation are replacing humans for various business transaction. We do are banking on-line, use the self-checkout at the grocery store, and check out various travel websites rather than talk about our vacation plans with a travel agent.

Another factor Livingston examines in No More Work is how we have reached peak productivity levels that do nothing more than provide a cushion of leisure for most of us. Yet it is mostly the one percent among us who truly benefit primarily due to the how both wealth and work are dispersed. We have far too many workers make less than a truly life sustaining wage, often using public assistance just to make it. And it’s not just people working at Wal-Mart. Even people who are college educated and working white collar professions rely on food stamps and other “entitlements.” Meanwhile, some CEOs make huge sums of money in both income and assets even as they make decisions that can sink a company.

And there is this idea of the “romance of work,” the age old Protestant work ethic most Americans swear by even though it doesn’t always benefit us financially, mentally, emotionally and so on.

So what is the solution according to Mr. Livingston? One solution is taxing corporate profits, which often aren’t used to fully invest in ways that benefit most of us. By now I think most of us realize “trickle-down economics” is a complete myth.

What else does Livingston suggest? Livingston also suggests implementing a guaranteed minimum basic income. This may sound familiar to many of my readers when I debunked Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark’s badly researched take on this concept in my review of their book Right for a Reason.

A basic guaranteed income for all citizens is being examined again and is supported by both those on the left and the right. Personally, I think the idea is very intriguing, and even with this type of income, most of us will seek some type extra of employment to make more money and to get benefits, especially health insurance.

No doubt No More Work is brings up several controversial issues, but I do hope it’s used as a springboard when it comes to the concepts of full employment, corporate America, guaranteed basic income, raising the minimum wage, income inequality, our current tax system, entitlements, and our concepts of work, leisure, life, and money that are deeply etched into our country’s psyche.

Book Marks

Hillary Clinton writing a book on the 2016 campaign and her loss.

Five years after Trayvon Martin was brutally murdered, his parents write a book   about their son and their grief.

On February 21st, a photo book about the January 21st world-wide Women’s March will be available for purchase.

Learn more about Frederick “Amazing Job” Douglass and his first book,  “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.”

More than science fiction, today’s high school students see Orwell’s “1984” as a reflection of today’s society and culture.

Patton Oswalt reveals what caused the death of his wife, true crime-writer Michelle McNamara.

I think I need to read this book.

What is “hybrid publishing” and why are so many authors turning to it?

Have at least $75 to spend? The Shorewood, Wisconsin library is selling a diorama of the book “Goodnight Moon.”

Fun and creative ways to improve your writing.

Writer’s Block

I only read five books last weekHello, my faithful and patient readers. I am so sorry about not updating this blog in nearly two weeks, but real life off-line has kept me very busy with a few things. Furthermore, I had my yearly January cold, which pretty much kept me out of commission for a few days. I still feel a few lingering effects of this cold but hopefully I’m on the road to a full recovery.

I hope to have a book review up by the end of the week or early next week. Then I’m going to begin to read a novel, which I will also review. I will also update blog this with any book and writer related news shortly.

Also, I might have some exciting developments regarding another blog towards the end of this month. But right now I’m keeping that development to myself until further notice.

Take care, and look for my latest review shortly.

Book Marks

Book recommendations courtesy of President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama and what books mean to him.

Book on civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis to be donated to needy schools.

In honor of tomorrow’s worldwide women’s march, here is a list of inspirational books about global women game changers.

Speaking of inspiring women, I find much inspiration in writer Mary Pipher. Here books are a must read.

Pulitzer-Prize winning fashion critic, Robin Givhan, on First Lady Michelle Obama’s fashion choices and sense of style.

Ten rules of writing opinion pieces according to Writer’s Digest.

This blog is a treasure trove of the best presidential biographies.

And let’s not forget the First Ladies.

One of my favorite presidential memoirs, Dreams From My Father.

Book Review: The Secret Currency of Love-The Unabashed Truth About Women, Money and Relationships edited by Hilary Black

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Even in tough economic times, women have a difficult time discussing money. Women will talk about their sex lives, tell you who they voted for in the last Presidential election and go on and on about their weight. But when it comes to money, women usually keep their mouths shut. However, Hilary Black has found women who are willing to write about money and what it means to them. She has published their stories in The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth About Women, Money and Relationships.

The Secret Currency of Love covers not only how money plays a part in love relationships but also the relationships between parent and child, among friends and with near strangers. Joni Evans writes how a high-profile divorce from a very wealthy man didn’t only shake her personally, but how it also affected her professionally. Dani Shapiro’s mother uses her money to control Dani. Love could be bought, even if it was from your own flesh and blood. Sheri Holman deftly describes her relationship with a drug addict and homeless man and how her own ambition never quite rubbed off on him. Sometimes money wasn’t a part of a relationship, it was the relationship.

These stories, written by notable journalists and novelists, are extremely well-written and interesting. I found myself turning page after page, wanting to find out how their stories played out. However, I was also left wanting. Except for a handful, a majority of them live in New York City. They received excellent educations, many at Ivy League schools, usually paid their parents. Their parents often helped pay their way through even after these ladies reached maturity. The writers are pretty much working in careers they love; no low-paying McJobs for these broads. And if attached, their husbands are also flush with cash. For the most part, these writers aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. They aren’t waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about paying the rent and the bills. Their children are thriving and want for nothing.

Yet, a majority of these writers couldn’t be happy with that. I found myself thinking, “You have more than most of us. Quit whining!” Bliss Broyard kvetches about not being able to keep up with her wealthy friends. I wish for once she could have been grateful for what she does have and appreciate the nice things her friends do for her. A very smug Leslie Bennetts tells us that unlike the offspring of the rich parents at her children’s pricey private school, her own kids don’t get whatever they want. What Ms. Bennetts doesn’t seem to realize is the friendships her children have cultivated with families she likes to disparage have given her son and daughter opportunities we can only dream of. Given a chance to spend the summer in France? I wouldn’t bitch.

Fortunately, some writers truly understand how money can really transform lives. A scholarship helped Veronica Chambers escape an abusive childhood, and now she donates money to help other students at her alma mater. After dealing with an abusive relationship, Kim Barnes understands how money can be a means of control and escape.

But sadly, stories like these are in short supply. I wish Ms. Black would realize women beyond her Rolodex of upper-middle class professionals do have interesting stories to tell about money. For instance, Jennifer Wolff Perrine has the means to adopt a child from a poor couple. But what about the woman giving up the child? Doesn’t she have a story to tell? What does this money mean to her and her family? Is it because she’s poor and uneducated that her story is deemed unworthy? I don’t think so. Waitresses from the Midwest have their stories to tell. So do mothers making the precarious leap from welfare to work. And a woman who used to donate to the local food bank but now gets donations from the local food bank might have an interesting story to tell. Sadly, The Serect Currency of Love doesn’t contain these type of stories. I wish Ms. Black and her coterie would look beyond their own privilege to find another unabashed truth about women, money and relationships even if they don’t wear Manolo Blahniks.