Title: Navigating Life Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me
Author: Margaux Bergen
Publisher: Penguin Press
You learn a few useful things at school–the three Rs come in handy, and it’s good to know how to perform under pressure and wait your turn–but most of what matters, what makes you into a functioning human being, able to hold your own in conversation, find your path, know what to avoid in relationships and secure a meaningful job, no teacher will ever tell you.This diamond-sharp, gut-punchingly honest book of hard-earned wisdom is one mother’s effort to equip her daughter for survival in the real world.
Wise, heartbreakingly funny, and resonantly true, Navigating Life has invaluable lessons for students of life of all ages. It will challenge you to lead a more meaningful life and to tackle the bumps along the way with grace, grit, style, and ingenuity. What The Blessings of a Skinned Knee did for the early years of parenting, Navigating Life does for the next, far more perilous chapter, when new graduates are cast out on the high seas and have to learn to swim and find their way by themselves.
About the Author:
Born in Paris and raised in London, educated at Edinburgh University and living in Washington D.C., Margaux Bergen is the mother of three Millennials. She has worked in international development and women’s leadership. And is still learning the extreme sports of raising three children.
When I say Liv Tyler, most people would recognize I am talking about the actress who portrayed Arwen undomiel in The Lord of the Rings but do they know she also has an etiquette expert grandmother, Dorothea Johnson. Liv and her grandmother have come together to write an amazing manners reference book recently.
The book is divided by six major contents: Meetings & Greetings, On the Job, Electronic Communications, Out and About, Dining Skills and The savvy Host. It covers from the most basic handshake, interview, on the job, party to table manners. At the end of each major topic, there are two list to summarize the topic: the DO and DON’T lists. Other the cute cover picture, the one thing I like most about this manners book is the funny little side stories or facts. I actually laughed out loud several times.
Etiquette can be very subjective due to culture, region even within the states, generation. There is no 100% right answer to any rules but there is definitely some big NO NOs one should never do whether in a formal or causal setting. There is one rule I disagree with authors; turn your chopsticks around and use the handle ends to pick up your potions from a communal platter. I think a better way to do it is to ask for an extra pair of chopsticks, most Asian restaurants provide communal chopsticks without asking now a day so asking should not be a problem. The reason why I don’t like to turn the chopsticks to pick up food is because some people like to hold their chopsticks higher (there is nothing wrong with that). If that person were to use the other end to pick up food, it is like using his/her hands on the communal platter.
I would recommend this book to everyone especially young adults who are looking or just started their careers.
4 out of 5 Stars
Received a free copy through Blogging for Books for this review.
Synopsis from the back cover:
Almost seventy years ago, in a nation devastated by World War II, Tei Fujiwara wrote her memoir 流れる星は生きている (Nagareru Hoshiwa Ikiteiru) about her harrowing journey home with her three young children. But the story of her story is what every reader needs to know.
Tei’s memoir begins in August 1945 in Manchuria. At that time, Tei and her family fled from the invading Soviets who declared war on Japan a few days after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After reaching her home in Japan, Tei wrote what she thought would be a last testament to her young children, who wouldn’t remember their journey and who might be comforted by their mother’s words as they faced an unknown future in post-war Japan.
But several miracles took place after she wrote the memoir. Tei survived and her memoir, originally published in Showa Era 24  became a best seller in a country still in ruins. Over the following decades, millions of Japanese became familiar with her story through forty-six print runs, the movie version, and a television drama. To understand the war experience, Empress Michiko urged young Japanese to read Tei’s story.
Now English readers will have the chance to read her amazing story of survival and hope, and understand how she influenced an entire generation and a nation
Tei Fujiwwara was born in Japan in 1918 and moved with her family to Manchuria, China in 1943. As of the printing of this English translation, she is 96 years old and living in a senior home in Tokyo, Japan.
My Review: (more…)
This bread book goes against the norms of normal bread baking books. Standard flour will not cut it for the majority of recipes. I found myself utilizing the internet to provide the required types of grain, which sadly increased the cost of my at home experiments. Darn those boring normal grocery stores all around me.
Furthermore, I am no expert baker or even a novice bake at that. All this seemed to quite intimidating to me at first: creating yeast culture from scratch, sprouting wheat berries, and let’s not forget the long prep times to get everything ready. However, the book handles this well, and managed to keep me from feeling a little in over my head. It provides a list of useful toots, some history and most thankfully a tutorial of everything you will need to know to perform the recipes. This was enough to allow me to produce rather edible concoctions. With more time and experience, I will probably get better at it since this is an art form after all.
The numerous recipes are easy to follow, and most included additional variations as well. The explanations in the tutorial cover the thought process of the author, which I found really helpful as a newbie bread maker. This images of the recipes were quite lovely, however I had little luck achieving the same glamour; maybe with time. One strange aspect about this cook book is the fact it was rather enjoyable to read.
4 out of 5 stars
Review by P.S.
Received a free copy through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from back book cover:
A humorous and moving coming-of-age story that brings a unique, not-quite-outsider’s perspective to China’s shift from ancient empire to modern superpower
Raised in a strict Chinese-American household in the suburbs, Val Wang dutifully got good grades, took piano lessons, and performed in a Chinese dance troupe—until she shaved her head and became a leftist, the stuff of many teenage rebellions. But Val’s true mutiny was when she moved to China, the land her parents had fled before the Communist takeover in 1949.
Val arrives in Beijing in 1998 expecting to find freedom but instead lives in the old city with her traditional relatives, who wake her at dawn with the sound of a state-run television program playing next to her cot, make a running joke of how much she eats, and monitor her every move. But outside, she soon discovers a city rebelling against its roots just as she is, struggling too to find a new, modern identity. Rickshaws make way for taxicabs, skyscrapers replace hutong courtyard houses, and Beijing prepares to make its debut on the world stage with the 2008 Olympics. And in the gritty outskirts of the city where she moves, a thriving avant-garde subculture is making art out of the chaos. Val plunges into the city’s dizzying culture and nightlife and begins shooting a documentary, about a Peking Opera family who is witnessing the death of their traditional art.
Brilliantly observed and winningly told, Beijing Bastard is a compelling story of a young woman finding her place in the world and of China, as its ancient past gives way to a dazzling but uncertain future.
My Review: (more…)
This is one of the first choose your own adventure style of books I have ever read, and I was not disappointed. Although I do not know much about Neil Patrick Harris, I found this genre matched perfectly with some of the characters he has portrayed over the years. If you are familiar with Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) or his on screen version of himself (Harold & Kumar), you will find yourself at home with his writing style. Much of this book reads like a weird challenge concocted by Barney himself.
The book takes the absurd approach of letting you be NPH. You will attempt to take a journey through his life from freshly born baby, child actor, and adult acting career to family man. There are even random pages dedicated to mixed drinks, and magic tricks. Maybe there is even a super secrete hidden page, but that is for you to find out. Although there are many fun and silly moments throughout this autobiography, NPH does cover serious topics in his life such as his sexual orientation or his struggles to escape his childhood character Doogie Howser.
All in all this autobiography gives you a glimpse of the man behind the characters he plays. Although sometimes the real NPH is hard to decipher from the character that is NPH, this is one of the more creative and enjoyable autobiographies you will probably ever read.
Reviewed by my boyfriend
I have never been to a Jim Gaffigan stand-up comedy show or read his first book, Dad is Fat, which was a big success and made it onto the New York Times Best Seller’s list for 17 weeks. All I knew before reading this book was he is a famous stand-up comedian that made fun of “Hot Pockets”. When I received this book from the UPS deliveryman I needed a break from writing something boring, so I was really excited to open the box and found this book in it. Hey, this guy is a comedian right? his book should be funny then and it would be a nice break from what I was doing earlier. As expected, this book is funny maybe hilarious would be a better description. After picking up this book, I still have not gone back to my original writing task (cause I could not put this book down, and yes I read kind of slow)! (more…)
About the Book
Tired of the typical pickled cucumbers? Try some these Asian pickles and they are easy to make. Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves is more than just a collective recipes from the Japanese tsukemono, the Korean Kimchi, Chinese yen tsai/ suan tsai or pickles from the Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malasia). (more…)