The Mathematics of Love, by Hannah Fry

Find in catalogInteresting and enlightening….the last chapter shows a formula for marital strength, and in my own words coining a popular phrase it essentially is: ‘if Mama ain’t happy aint nobody happy”…which pertains as long as the wife is affected emotionally by the husband’s behavior. Which I think would cover most marriages. Other chapters cover chances of success in online dating, when statistically to choose a permanent mate, and how looks factor in to online dating chances.

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Female Chauvinist Pigs: women and the rise of raunch culture by Ariel Levy

An inquisitive look into the image of the 21st century “liberated” female, Ariel Levy’s book “Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture” discusses some of the biggest questions in culture and feminism as they pertain to the media’s representation of women in America. Levy’s book outlines and scrutinizes the growing trend of lewd self-objectification by today’s women, both by those with considerable power and without, with an approachable humor and undeniable logic. Her thorough investigation at the way American society treats women and sex reveals a complex cultural dilemma that casts the (seemingly) most promiscuous as role models for today’s women and girls. In addition, Levy explores the notion of sex as a cultural currency for women rather than as a tool for pleasure – as it is represented for men. Overall, this book takes a look at our modern popular culture through a forward-thinking, logical feminist lens and is a great read for those who wonder why we choose people like Kim Kardashian and the women of Jersey Shore as our female role models.

Reviewed by Ariel

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Complex tale of Walter, Patty, and their family, mid-westerners, in the 1980s. His characters variously love or are unfaithful,  engage in sibling rivalries,  make a buck by cheating the government on a contract, succeed or fail in life’s enterprises. Franzen casts a satiric eye  on many current issues:  environmentalism, business practices, ethics, marriage, friendship.

There are several ironic twists, but I found the amount of  introspection tedious.  I enjoyed Franzen’s earlier “Corrections”  and found it comic, but this did not appeal as much. I’d like to hear from soneone who can show me what I am missing.

Reviewed by Sara

Grief Recovery Handbook by J. James and R. Friedman

For me, this book ranks up there with those that have a good probability of being life-changing. It’s a great self-help book in which very specific guidelines are given bit-by-bit to help the reader find peace for emotionally ‘incomplete’ relationships or experiences with significant others. Writing is involved, and it is strongly advised to find a trustworthy listening partner; however, it can be done on one’s own.  If you find a quiet, beautiful spot in which to read and write as you go through the book slowly, you may find the satisfaction I did in completing the exercises. I hesitate to say more, but at the end you will have written down your previously unspoken truths, in a constructive and clear manner, and in doing so given yourself more tools to deal with repetitive pain.  Blessings.

P.S. I’d recommend the Library’s 20th anniversary reprint as it contains addendums.

Reviewed by Laura R.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Three characters, three separate stories all tied up in hope and despair and love. Lynnie, mute and locked up in an asylum. Martha, a 70 year old retired school teacher, caring for a newborn child for the first time in her life. Buddy, black and deaf, intelligent and uneducated, is running for his life, trying to get back to Lynnie. Well written by an author able to convey each of their stories with compassion and insight, giving us a glimpse of their thought and hopes and dreams.

Reviewed by Kate