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Posts from the ‘non-fiction’ Category


#Non-fiction Has China Won?



  1. China is on its way to being number 1 superpower in the world.
  2. Forget the US president or Putin
  3. no world leader will have more influence
  4. on the future than Xi Jinping.
  5. America has a strong macho culture
  6. but it is the pragmatic China that is going to win!
  7. Mr. Muhbubani sketches the strategic steps and missteps
  8. that both America and China have made.
  9. The more I read about China….the more I admire
  10. its long-term plans,
  11. Chinese defense rationale (no stockpiles of nuclear weapons)
  12. and a meritocratic government which chooses only best and the brightest.


  1. Ch 3: KM is a Singaporean diplomat with a sense of humor.
  2. Laughing out loud when I read:
  3. ” …the world is genuinely shocked that America has elected a
  4. president who could not pass an Economics 101 undergraduate
  5. exam on international trade.”
  6. Trump presented to China a geopolitical gift b/c his
  7. decisions were erratic with NO long-term strategy.
  8. USA is a rogue superpower
  9. ….and China will become THE world leader!
  10. #MustRead

#Non-fiction The Jakarta Method



  1. This book is accessible, clear, easy to digest and impactful.
  2. It is a necessary and terrifying read.
  3. Vincent Bivens is an experienced journalist (Washington Post, LA Times)
  4. The act of writing requires a constant plunging back
  5. into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.


  1. Mr Bivens does just that…lifting the scab off of the USA’s
  2. …aggressive policy during the Cold War.
  3. Remember….Guatemala 1953? — Iran 1953?
  4. When the leader of a land was considered a problem
  5. rather than the solution to the crisis…the USA
  6. based strictly on Cold War calculations…organized a coup!
  7. This book highlights Indonesia that we tend to forget to add to the
  8. list of countries forced to be “quiet, compliant partner” on the United States.


  1. But Mr Bevins goes further to demonstrate “The Jakarta Method” used
  2. in Chili, Brazil and Argentina!
  3. #Fascinating book with using recently declassified documents,
  4. archival research and eye-witness testimony collected
  5. across twelve countries to reveal a shocking legacy that spans the globe
  6. #MustRead

#Non-fiction A Promised Land

  • Author: Barak Obama
  • Title: A Promised Land
  • Published: 2020
  • Genre: memoir  (7 parts, pg 768)
  • Trivia: Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir & Autobiography (2020)
  • List of Challenges 2021
  • Monthly plan



  1. I was looking for a soothing voice to guide me out of my pandemic rut.
  2. An audio book that would captivate my attention and push me out the
  3. ….door every day just to continue the story!
  4. A Promised Land: A Memoir  by Barack Obama was the book I needed.
  5. I had been cooped up at home from November – February.
  6. My body was withering away (muscle strength)
  7. …and I needed to take action.
  8. I embarked on a 6 week plan:  during Lent I
  9. would bike every day for 1 hour outside.
  10. …only with exceptions for a storm
  11. …with wind and rain that would have me pedaling
  12. 5 feet forward only to be blown back 3 feet!
  13. No need to become a masochist…or catch pneumonia!


  • Very enjoyable audio book for daily bike rides.
    Obama always speaks from the heart!


  • Sometimes people like books because
  • they think they’re supposed to
  • but how could you NOT like this book!


  • This book is a great historical “look behind the scenes”
  • during Obama’s first years in office.


  • Just helped Obama pass the Affordable Care Act
  • while on my bike in glacial winter fog. Life is good! #AudioBook


  • I heard how Obama surprised everyone and attended in
  • Copenhagen on December 18 the final day of the meeting
  • about the so-called Copenhagen Accord.


  • He knocked some heads together and
  • did some “gangsta-sh*t” and got the job done.
  • Not often do you read about Obama’s
  • “street creds” in the newspaper….but you do in this book!


Last Thoughts:

  1. Reading this book was like drinking fortified wine.
  2. It was heavy and sweet and bitter and swirled in my head long
  3. after I came home from biking and took off the earphones.
  4. I consumed the book daily…. in slow sips.
  5. It was  an honest and eye opening perspective of what life
  6. was like as President of the United States…first black American.
  7. Thank you, Barack, the world needs this gorgeously written
  8. ….raw honest truth.
  9. #MustRead

#ReadingIrelandMonth21 Anseo

  • Author: Úna-Minh Kavanagh
  • Title: Anseo  (120 pg)
  • Published: 2019
  • Genre:  biography
  • Title: Here! (describing a location of a person) Anseo
  • Info:  Úna-Minh Kavanagh is a Gaeilgeoir from Co. Kerry. Her book, Anseo, is about growing up in Kerry, the Irish language, identity and racism in 2019. Úna-Minh now edits and is a member of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Committee. She also live-streams broadcasts in both English and as Gaeilge.
  • List of Challenges 2021
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  • #DiversityInIreland


Who is Úna-Minh Kavanagh?
Freelance Writer, journalist/editor, freelance content creator and Kerrywoman.
She has been working as a regular on streaming giant Twitch.
There she plays the latest video games in Gaelic for a dedicated audience.

Ms Úna-Minh Kavanagh is a media professional.
She noticed there were NO Irish-language streamers
…and decided to do something about it!
Here is just a look at what she does!  Lovely to hear the Irish language!!

What makes Úna-Minh Kavanagh so fresh and exciting?
She has used her positivity and media savvy to make a difference to celebrate
diversity in Ireland!
But Ms Kavanagh reveals how rampant racism is on
Twitter, Facebook, Trolls and Doxxers.
This is scary stuff!



  1. This a a gem of a book!
  2. I really enjoyed reading Ms Kavanagh’s life story
  3. …and her stand against racism!
  4. Today’s phrase of the day is:
  5. ní ghlacaimid beag ná mór le ciníochas
  6. Meaning: we have zero tolerance for racism
  7. #Gaeilge #FrásaAnLae


Best quote:
“…the false deduction that what a person looks like
is the equivalent of how a that person identifies.”



  1. 1-35 % birth, adoption, life 1-15 years… and a love letter to her grandfather
  2. 36- 45% college life (2009-2012) in Dublin…and a love letter the the Irish-language
  3. 46-55% casual racism and physical attacks
  4. …the corrosive ‘drip, drip, drip effect’ it has on her life


  1. 56-60% what is going on with Irish identity today?
  2. …it is a multicultural society should be celebrated
  3. “Where are you really from?” a question that infuriates Úna-Minh Kavanagh.
  4. “All strangers care about is my physical appearance
  5. …nothing deeper than how I look”


  1. 61-63% working life (2013-2015) as freelance journalist
  2. prolific in Irish and English language
  3. 64-67% entertainer as a live-stream gamer “as Gaelige” (in Gaelic)


  1. 68-70% grassroots social media diversity project (2017)
  2. on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. ….stories of people like Úna-Minh Kavanagh who spoke to
  4. the beauty and diversity in Ireland and how
  5. they had been challenged about their “Irishness”
  6. The hashtag...
  7. #WeAreIrish
  8. #IsÉireannaighMuid were born.
  9. HAVE A LOOK ON Twitter!!


  1. 71-76 % TROLLS…and the dark world of
  2. This is one of the scariest corners of the wild and weird web.
  3. It is an image based forum
  4. …all users are anonymous and approximately 70% male.
  5. It gets pretty dark quickly
  6. ….and the users corrupted images of Úna-Minh Kavanagh to exploit.
  7. 22 million people use the website each month
  8. ….42 billion users have visited the site since its inception in 2004.
  9. Úna-Minh Kavanagh does not shy away from the darkish….trolls.
  10. Good advice:
  11. …if the are not bots, they are entrenched in their views.
  12. Their goal is NOT to change a user’s mind….it is to upset the user.
  13. Don’t waste you precious energy, time and headspace
  14. to engage in any amount of discussion with them.


  1. 77-86% passion for learning a language. Is Gaelic a dead language?
  2. No….it is useful because it can connect you to your ancestors’ culture.
  3. I agree with Úna-Minh…the key to learning a language is immersion.
  4. My own experience living in The is the only way to learn Dutch.
  5. When I first came to this country I took a job “immersed’ with people
  6. ….a grocery store cashier!
  7. Within 6 months I could hold my own in Dutch conversation.
  8. It took a few years after that
  9. to master the written part of the language….at night school.
  10. Jumping into a new language can be daunting
  11. …but attitude is everything.


  1. 87-89% “term on the day” project
  2. …tweeting Gaelic phrases that are short, snappy and humorous
  3. The hashtag…. #FrásaAnLae is born!


  1. 90-100% Úna-Minh Kavanagh concludes her book with
  2. the hope she can give people real reasons to communicate in Irish.
  3. Through ups and downs, Irish had given her shelter
  4. …it is an innate part of her.
  5. Irish is hers to cherish!



#Non-fiction Dying of Whiteness



  1. Metzl’s timely book looks at
  2. Trump’s Right-wing backlash policies:
  3. unraveling of Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act)
  4. resist available health care (anti-vax)
  5. amass gun arsenals
  6. cut funding for schools
  7. ...these politics are literally asking people
  8. to die for their “whiteness”.


Strong point:

  1. Read the introduction carefully before starting the book.
  2. It is filled with information that help you
  3. get a helicopter-view of the right-wing policy in USA.


Strong point…..but you have to see why!

  1. There are pages of statistics and
  2. methods of data gathering
  3. that my numb you. 
  4. But graphs will show that the results of
  5. distructive policy are quantifiable!
  6. That is crucial and the core message of the book.


  1.  I suggest skimming and highlighting the results
  2. …you want to remember.
  3. Example: 
  4. Compare gun laws in Missouri vs Connecticut
  5. …and numbers of gun inflicted suicide.
  6. White men become the biggest threat
  7. …to themselves in Missouri.
  8. They die by their own guns 2,5 x
  9. more often than do white men in Connecticut.


  1. But please, keep reading if only to see how
  2. budget cuts have devastated the public schools in Kansas!


  1. This is just so shocking.
  2. Trump and his enablers promote issues and policies to
  3. defend and restore white privilege.
  4. Dr. Metzl has gone into the America’s heartland
  5. to have conversations with people in
  6. Tennessee, Missouri and Kansas. (2013-2018)
  7. The author reveals to what 
  8. …depths these white Americans
  9. will go to  and vote  for
  10. …American backlash conservatism.


  1. This book  is such an eye-oener.
  2. I was so frustrated while reading how people can be so stupid
  3. …so convinced that Trump is working in their interests.
  4. He is not.
  5. Trump is a con-man and
  6. …it is killing America’s heartland.
  7. What is most frightening?
  8. Yes, Trump is leaving the White House but
  9. …Trumpism is here to stay!
  10. #MustRead

#Ireland Don’t Touch My Hair



  1. Ms Dabiri’s book begins with her upbringing in Ireland,
  2. moving through to pre-colonial West Africa,
  3. to the slave trade in America.
  4. She discusses the market dominance of beauty products
  5. how black hair is valued and misunderstood.
  6. Hair texture and style have no bearing on one’s ability to succeed.
  7. Black hair has been and continues to be judged by white standards
  8. …used as a tool to discriminate.



  1. Black identity is told through the prism of African hair.
  2. Historically, the way you wore your hair
  3. signified your marital status, your tribe, your class
  4. …and your position in society.”
  5. Black hair is much more than just hair….!
  6. Hairstyle  is an embodied visual language.
  7. Ms Dabiri gives White people this advice about African hair:
  8. “…our hair is spiritual. Look but don’t touch!” (pg 47)


  1. Strong Point:  Ms Emma Dabiri KNOWS  what she is talking about!
  2. She attended the prestigious school  SOAS University of London .
  3. SOAS is one of the world’s leading institutions for the
  4. study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


  1. Strong point:  this book made me look more closely at art….
  2. …and the hairstyles represented in it!


  1. Strong point:  I thought I was going to get a book just about hair
  2. but Ms Dabiri has touched on many themes relating to hairstyles.
  3. Themes of personal identity,
  4. cultural traditions, modern aspirations,
  5. and social and political issues.
  6. She deleves deeply into her own Yoruba roots
  7. … Benin Africa.


  1. Strong point:  Personal…describing life in Ireland as a black girl:
  2. “…an environment characterized by a pervasive and
  3. constant refrain of black inferiority...
  4. I was bombarded with it.” (pg 88)
  5. But Ms Dabiri  did add some humor into her story….
  6. “being black and Irish in Ireland
  7. …was to have almost unicorn status” (pg 5)


  1. Weak Point: I was not very interested  pages 103-122
  2. …about A’Lelia Walker (1885 –1931)
  3. She was the only surviving child of Madam C. J. Walker,
  4. popularly credited as being the first self-made female millionaire
  5. promoting hair products for  African-American women.
  6. I skimmed this section.
  7. Chapter 5:
  8. …honestly, not interested in Shea Moisture,
  9. Madonna or Kim Kardashian’s  cornrows.


  1. Strong point:  chapter 6 
  2. Ms Dabiri discusses complex geometric shapes used in braiding.
  3. Braiding was used also in ‘intellignce networks’.
  4. Hair was used a a form of mapping
  5. …a means of communication.
  6. The hairstyle was a form of  signal
  7. …so escape could happen in blocks of slaves.


  1. Strong point:  TITLE!!
  2. …Solange on Spotify   “Don’t’ Touch My Hair”
  3. Somehow these lyrics just give expression or emotion to
  4. …the deep feeling  of African hair.


Don’t touch my hair
When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found
Don’t touch what’s there
When it’s the feelings I wear

Last Thoughts:

  1. This book was more scholarly than I anticipated.
  2. Ms Dabiri has completed her PhD and her expertise is apparent.
  3. She uses a mixture of scholarly and popular sources.
  4. But Ms Dabiri has produced a very readable book about
  5. looking at indigenous cultures from a new perspective.
  6. She  emphasizes the strengths of African society in divination,
  7. architecture design, entrepreneurship and…so interesting
  8. the unchanging tradition of hair braiding!
  9. #AbsoluteDelight  to read!

#Non-Fiction The Dead Are Arising



  1. Decades of research went into the creation of
  2. The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
  3. by Les Payne and Tamara Payne, a fully realized portrait of Malcolm X.
  4. Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne set out to interview anyone
  5. who had ever known Malcolm X, and after his death in 2018,
  6. his daughter and researcher Tamara Payne completed his work.
  7. This was a absloutely stunning book!
  8. Part 1: Malcolm’s young years 1- 15 yrs
  9. Part 2: Malcom move to live with half sister in  Boston
  10. ….he is street wise and soon ends up in jail.
  11. These two sections are just the pre-show
  12. …and can feel a bit slow at times.
  13. Do not stop reading because Malcolm’s biography
  14. … is a riveting a page-turner!
  15. Les Payne has included many new items of information
  16. that  Malcolm X…LEFT out of his own
  17. autobiography written with Alex Haley.


Last Thoughts:

  1. This book filled in a lot of gaps in my memory of the 1960s.
  2. Growing up I had heard of Malcom X
  3. ….but only knew he was assassinated on February 25 1965.
  4. Why?  Who was involved?  I had no idea.
  5. The mainstream media placed
  6. …the spotlight on Martin Luther King
  7. …and left Malcom X in the shadows of my mind.
  8. Now…finally I know why Malcom X was killed
  9. …but it took 55 years and the painstaking research of Les Payne
  10. to solve this crime
  11. #MustRead

#Non-fiction Body Count

  • Title: Body Count
  • Author: Paddy Manning
  • Genre: non-fiction  (pg 292)  (end notes pg 293-323)
  • Published: 2020
  • Trivia: Shortlist Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2021
  • Trivia: Shortlist Walkley Award 2020



  1. Suddenly, when Australia  caught fire,
  2. …people realized what the government has not:
  3. that climate change is killing us.


Strong point:

  1. Prologue:   The Black Summer
  2. Very good  introduction (hook) describing the
  3. story about  Dick Lang and his son Clayton.
  4. trapped in bushfires on Kangaroo Island.
  5. I’ve added this link to so you can see some
  6. “before and after” foto’s
  7. Before and after fotos Kangaroo Island



  1. Unfortunately the rest of the book
  2. did not live up  to my expectations.
  3. I hoped to learn much more about the “Black Summer”
  4. fires in Australia (Dec 2019-Jan 2020).
  5. Instead Mr Manning has given me  his analysis
  6. of articles  (2009 – 2020) found on websites of the
  7. The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald,
  8. medical journals, inquiries, inquests
  9. …and royal commission reports.


  1. The author highlights topics starting with Black Saturday
  2. February 7 2009 and continues to  describe
  3. the affect of heat, flood, disease, poor air quality,
  4. drought and heat waves  have on Australians.
  5. That is a lot to process in just  292 pages.
  6. Mr Manning is  good at giving the
  7. reader the broad ‘climate challenge’ picture
  8. but expected more depth about the most current
  9. disaster Black Summer 2019-2020.


Last thoughts:

  1. So my score for this book (2 stars)
  2. …is purely based on my opinion:
  3. what I wanted and what I got.
  4. It’s hard to dislike this book because
  5. it is an important topic:
  6. how climate change is injuring human health,
  7. but in my case it is even harder to defend it.

#Non-fiction How To Do Nothing


What are the two lessons in the book?

  1. Doing nothing is hard.
  2. It requires resistance:
  3. refusing the frame of reference
  4. which value is determined by productivity
  5. maintaining the importance of nonverbal communication
  6. …and the experience of life as the highest goal.


  1. Doing nothing is hard.
  2. It requires rootedness:
  3. being firmly established, connected to ancient roots
  4. …the present grows out of the past.


What is the structure?

  1. Chapter 1 – disruption is more productive that work of maintenance
  2. Chapter 2 – to head for the hills?..or remain and escape from commercial social media
  3. Chapter 3 – create a space of refusal: “I would prefer not to.”
  4. Chapter 4 – how can art teach us new scales/tones of attention
  5. Chapter 5 – pop the filter bubble around us and how we view others
  6. Chapter 6 – utopian social network, more private communication



  1. It was a collection of ramblings of Ms Odell
  2. hoping to come across as philosophical.
  3. I couldn’t get through a single chapter.
  4. I started each one, hoping it would be
  5. …less awful than the last, to no avail.
  6. The book was OK…
  7. ….but I would not have included
  8. it on a best books list!
  9. #DisappointedObama !

#Non-fiction: Say Nothing



  1. The books concerns the Troubles in Northern Ireland
  2. …beginning and ending  with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.


Strong point: 

  1. This is a very good book if you want
  2. …to know what it felt like during The Troubles
  3. fear, omertà, code of silence  title: “Say Nothing”.
  4. Keefe’s writing style is cinematic.
  5. — POV meant to simulate the experience of watching a movie.
  6. setting, characterization, structure
  7. create visually dynamic scenes
  8. London car bombs, ch 11
  9. force feeding Dolours and Marion ch 14
  10. gruesome hunger strikes (Dolours, Brendan and Bobby Sands)


Strong point:

  1. Keefe realizes that this book has its ‘edgy sides’, unpleasant to read...
  2. …but he also knows the only way to keep the reader (in this case…me)
  3. engaged from cover to cover it to use the “glue” of empathy.
  4. Dolours is mentioned 525 x (…thank you Kindle).
  5. I keep reading because I feel connected to Dolours
  6. …interested in her plight.
  7. …wondering what makes a girl become so revolutionary, political?



  1. Hook1972 – chapter one as Jean McConville is dragged
  2. out of her house
  3. ….and thrown in a van by masked thugs.
  4. Her body was finally found 43 years later in 2003.
  5. The crime remains unsolved.
  6. This book was slipping away… from me but
  7. …on page 50 things started to change!
  8. Chapters alternate between the Prices sisters (Dolorus and Marian)
  9. ..and the McConville’s (Arthur and Jean….and their children)
  10. …top-ranked IRA Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes.


  1. This is a lot to take in
  2. ….it is almost numbing to read about  The Troubles.
  3. Many key players are dead,
  4. Brendon ‘the Darkie’ Hughes (1948-2008)
  5. James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (1950-2017)
  6. Dolours Price (1950-2013)
  7. …one is still living Gerry Adams (1948)
  8. Irish republican politician who was the
  9. …President of Sinn Féin until 2018.
  10. He advocated for a political movement to run
  11. parallel with the armed struggle.


Last Thoughts:

  1. I learned more about a period in recent history
  2. I hadn’t known much about.
  3. It was a loose framework for a historical look at
  4. …some of the everyday people who got caught up
  5. in the violence of the IRA.
  6. It’s a sobering book
  7. It is a hard read so…
  8. …prepare yourself to be drained
  9. ….when you close the book.
  10. #HistorySeenInRearViewMirror