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gimley's books

Currently Reading (View all 42)

A Self-Portrait

5 stars

This isn't the kind of book you "read." I mean, sure you read it but not like you rad a novel or a history, and this IS sort of a history--the history of the struggle for gay rights from the perspective of a lesbian photographer who also knows how to write prose. Her personal history, included almost as "extra" in this book of photographs, is beautifully told and sometimes even more compelling than the pictures which are hard to see outside their historic context. I also suffer fro being old enough to have lived through the decade and thus am burdened with distracting nostalhia.

Martin Hägglund: This Life (2019, Pantheon) 4 stars

Review of 'This Life' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book, as far as I've gotten, (not all that far) is making an argument and it's not uninteresting. The problem is, it's not one I need to hear, and I am already finding holes in it. For example, eternity (non-finitude) is presented as a situation in which there is nothing that needs to be done, that since you can't die, there's no room for improvement. If that were true, being condemned to hell would be no worse than being in heaven. All eternity is equal. Hence, only finitude has any real stakes and any real choices. I haven't yet chosen whether to continue reading.

My second objection is the idea that this kind of argument is superior to "faith" because it is rational. I don't see the rational finite way of understanding as a given. It presumes what you're trying to prove. From our (or my, at any rate) …

Kathryn Schulz: Being Wrong (2010, Ecco) 4 stars

Review of 'Being Wrong' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I just finished Chapter 1 and already I am finding things wrong!

That sounded more dramatic than I intended because I also am really enjoying this book. It begins with the notion that no one ever believes they are wrong about anything. This presumes that there is no such thing as inner conflict, or, in the current parlance, that we aren't made up of "parts."

The concept of parts has been a staple of psychodrama, gestalt therapy, IFS (Internal Family Systems), Focusing, and likely several other models of the self. It allows one part of us to believe something true while another part doubts it or believes it false. I, your reviewer, am often insecure about many of my beliefs. That is, I am not confident in their rightness. (One belief I have, though, is that confidence isn't necessarily a good thing.) I have encounted others who fit Ms Schultz's …

John Crowley: Little, Big (2006, Harper Perennial Modern Classics) 4 stars

John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young …

Review of 'Little, Big (P.S.)' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

I still remember the days before Goodreads gave one the chance, or you might instead say "urged one," to begin a review as soon as one admitted one was reading it. It feels recent and yet it may have been several years ago when this turn was taken. I welcomed it at first because by the time I reached the end of a book I had so often forgotten things I wanted to say at the beginning but once it became the default, that opportunity to not forget turned threateningly in to a frontloading of the reading process. As one who abandons more than I complete, though I wasn't always such, I wonder if I will become more likely to DNF once I've already had my say.

Some things, it is clear are not going to change in the pages that follow (though I am listening to it in audio …

Ann Weiser Cornell: The power of focusing (1996, New Harbinger Publications) 5 stars

Review of 'The power of focusing' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I learned Focusing from Gendlins’s book of that title but never got into it until relatively recently when meeting others of the Focusing Community. Who knew there was one? Most of them learned from Ann Weiser Cornell and used her language and techniques. I remained a bit skeptical and stuck with Gendlin’s writings. I began reading his philosophy papers and books and preferred his way of phrasing things.
And so it was a surprise to find this book so readable and practically useful. It begins with a description of how she learned about Focusing , including the difficulties she had to overcome. I realized I had some similar problems starting out. Her explanations were uniformly clear (something I can’t say for Gene Gendlin’s philosophy papers) and I especially liked her chapter on trouble shooting.
Even she admits that for some, saying hello to a bodily felt sense, seems peculiar (suggesting …

Review of 'Explaining Humans' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

How does a person with ADHD ever manage to finish writing a book? Often I find it hard even to finish reading one, and this is one of those.

The main reason I stopped was because I was misled by the title. Humans aren’t being explained in this book. If I didn’t feel a need for such explanation I could perhaps overlook this mismatch but I was really hoping the author could provide me with one. Back when I was growing up, diagnoses like ADHD and ASD were hard to come by. When my parents brought me in to be “evaluated” (I had mediocre grades and no friends) I said some pretty bizarre things to the psychologist but he just ignored them because when he tested my IQ it was high so all my other problems were ignored. And I was functioning, more or less. If I could finish my …

Heather Cox Richardson: How the South Won the Civil War (Hardcover, 2020, Oxford University Press) 4 stars

Review of 'How the South Won the Civil War' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Don't know much about history, as the song goes. That song written a few years before this book's author (who I'll call HCR) was born. In part, this is because I went to school back when America was great (in the opinion of those who wish to make it great again) and much of the subject matter was taught in a way to emphasize America's greatness. We were also taught that we lived in a democracy, unlike, say, the Soviet Union, but also that we lived in a meritocracy. The obvious differences we saw all around us were attributed to the greater merit of the winners. Hierarchies in school were everywhere, from the academic (I did well) to the social (I did poorly) and were also clearly a part of the world outside of school. I was bullied in school and came to believe that the world outside was also …

Kerry Patterson: Crucial conversations : tools for talking when stakes are high 4 stars

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High was first published in 2002 by …

Review of 'Crucial conversations : tools for talking when stakes are high' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

"I spoke in absolutes, only pointed out facts that supported my view,..." explains a participant in a failed conversation in an example in the beginning of chapter 4. He was saying what he did wrong--why the conversation failed (though he explains that this happened because his boss provoked him first).

If you consider a book a conversation, it is one-sided. The author(s) speak to you and, with the exception of the reviews we give it, we don't get to speak back. I read this book, like many (as I noticed reading other's reviews) because it was given to me as an assignment. There's a power imbalance right there to begin with which reminds me of the earlier example about buying this book for another, saying "You'll love this, especially the parts that I've underlined for you." This is meant to be an obvious bad example and yet it is a …

James Nestor: Breath (Hardcover, 2020, Riverhead Books) 4 stars

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, …

Review of 'Breath' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

There's a lot to be said about breathing and its place in our lives but I'm not sure this book is saying it. Oh, it might be but it's not convincing for some reason. It's a little too dramatic--a little too "this revolutionary truth is being overlooked"--but at the same time, there are such overlooked truths about breath, I think . . . Maybe I need to do all the breathing exercises and experience it directly but some are scary--they come with warnings--and others need to be repeated over a long period for results that aren't exactly clear.

The first surprising truth is that mouth breathing is bad for you. The "proof" is experienced by the author who has his nose sealed off as an experiment, but I'm not sure it proves what he says it does. It may merely show that having your nose sealed off has adverse results. …

Michael Cohen: Disloyal : A Memoir (Hardcover, 2020, Skyhorse) 4 stars

This book almost didn’t see the light of day as government officials tried to bar …

Review of 'Disloyal : A Memoir' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Ghostwritten, I assume, since he mentions getting a ghost writer when he was going to write a book that praises Trump, but quite entertaining. He says we'll hate him but I did not for most of the book. It's told as the sorrowful tale of one who was in a cult, now out seeing the error of his ways. His love for Trump is convincing even as he sees the horribleness he is part of. I believe all his stories and his portrait of Trump certainly matches all the evidence and what I've read in [b:Rage|53317913|Rage|Bob Woodward||81657197] which I read at the same time. When he finally gets arrested I was pleased to see him suffer, if even that can be believed. Is this a book of a reformed man? Or just a vengeful hit job? Hard to tell, especially since it's ghosted so I can't get close …

Robert Petkoff, Bob Woodward: Rage (2020, Simon & Schuster Audio) 4 stars

Review of 'Rage' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I'd give the epilogue 5 stars. Worth reading on its own. But if you think about it, you can't really interview a salesman who is only there because he's trying to push a product. Still, it's interesting to watch Bob try. I'm simultaneously reading the Michael Cohen book which is fun too.