Books

Political Reads

When it comes to political books, I must admit that my favorites are the fictional political intrigue novels rather than nonfiction. A Song of Ice and Fire is one of my favorite series. That said, there are lots of other political books, from those about actual politics to others based more on theories and issues, that interest me, too, and I thought I'd ask about everyone else's favorites.

The world of erotic literature

It’s not as seedy as you think!

Yesterday marked the publication of my first ever eBook—ever book, really!—and said book just happened to be an erotic romance about a faery and some bikers… Yeah, I’m losing you already.

You probably think I’m some sort of sick weirdo, or someone piggybacking off of 50 Shades of Gray (which, by the way, I have never read). I guess I’m in between; I realize that there’s a need for erotica for women, and I happen to enjoy it myself—among just about every other genre—and I decided to try a hand at it for a contest. I won, hence my book.

I’ve been meeting many authors while I try to promote my book, and this erotic lit world is not nearly as seedy as people think it is. I still feel embarrassed to admit what it is to close family and homeschooling friends—several other authors are homeschoolers, so I need to make a note to ask how they do it!—and find myself referring to it as “supernatural romance,” which isn’t a lie, really…

As women, we are raised to be a lot of things. We are supposed to shoulder the burden, be ladies, not enjoy sex, not have confidence in our bodies or be athletic at all… Even though my parents didn’t teach me all of these things—they did teach me some of them—the media and our very culture, from our teachers to our friends’ parents, still do. I don’t know if I would like 50 Shades or not, but I do know that I like that women are finally getting their own erotica, that a sexual revolution that doesn’t just mean “freely have sex!” is happening. That revolution was important, for sure, but we still need more!

Host a viewing of Half the Sky

Help raise awareness for violence against women worldwide.

While speaking with my cousin and good friend, a Marine and cop in training, about violence against women worldwide, I found myself getting more and more discouraged. Though he could tell you about how many registered weapons versus non-registered existed within our country and other stats, he knew virtually nothing about violence against women.

He didn’t know about the hundreds of thousands of rape kits collecting dust on shelves across the country, never being run. He didn’t know that a woman is raped every ninety seconds, that less than 10 percent of rapists will serve a day in jail, that human trafficking is the second largest industry today. These are things that I, as a woman, know and he, as a man, does not.

The Hunger Games – A ‘fun’ way to get educated

The Hunger Games are Amazon’s top selling books of all-time.

That is right! The Hunger Games are more popular than the Harry Potter series or 50 Shades of Grey. Additionally, even Mitt Romney and Missy Franklin are fans of the Hunger Games. A Romney aide describes how Governor Romney settles down by reading the Hunger Games after a hard day on the campaign trail.

The aide went onto say that it was one of Mitt Romney’s fun books. It was funny that she would say that because the Hunger Games are anything but fun. It is about a time in America’s future where the children are fighting with each other over resources. It seems to be similar to Congress nowadays.

Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan: True love?

Would the deceased writer Ayn Rand have agreed with Paul Ryan?

More than a few conservatives discuss Ayn Rand; according to the New York Times, Paul Ryan is also a fan of the conservative author and loves to hand out copies of “Atlas Shrugged” to his friends, family and whoever else may be on his gift the list. The question posed in the article in the New York Times, however, focuses on what Ayn Rand would have thought of him. 

Would Ayn Rand have been a fan of Paul Ryan’s particular brand of conservatism? Does Paul Ryan really understand the concepts that Ayn Rand is trying to discuss? Is it likely that Paul Ryan is really thinking WWARD (What Would Ayn Rand Do) when he is making policy decisions and considering federal legislation?

 

Jennifer Burns of the New York Times doesn’t believe that Paul Ryan’s policies are all that closely aligned with Ayn Rand. Here’s the gist of her argument:

The Big Questions

There have been many books on the big questions of life to educate yourself

As a free market voter, I think the best way to approach voting in the upcoming presidential election is by focusing on the big questions and how you think each candidate stands on these big questions. I know you probably think your vote doesn't matter and voting itself is such a waste of time. But if you look at the big picture, you will see how important it all will be.

As an American, I feel it is your responsibility to see how the decisions of the most powerful man in the planet impact the world at large. I have always had a firm belief in ending poverty and ensuring that every individual on this planet has purposeful life that will advance mankind to unprecedented levels. 

Some good books on economics and philosophy

Broaden your mind.

I have talked about taking a very individualized approach to education. Education is a way of broadening the mind as much as I love practical degrees and hard courses that pay off in the grand scheme of things. In keeping with that theme, I am going to suggest three books that should prepare you well for college and a great career after that.

The Big Questions: Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics by Steven Landsburg.

This is such a great book in every way. It has my three favorite subjects being used as ways to tackle those 'big questions' that mankind has always wondered about. Mathematics is the universal language, physics is the way to understand the universe and economics is utilized to explain the ways of man.

The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers

This book is the second besting selling economics book of all-time.

This book that was in a freshman seminar by Harvard Professor Gregory Mankiw got me so interested that I actually picked it up and read it cover to cover. Being the economist that I am, I really had to do so. It was worth the read to be exposed to the economic thinkers of the past and how the book had gotten so much right with regards to the characteristics of man.

I read it because I wanted to continue my informal education of economics, but I encourage you to read it. As a free market voter, you want to be as exposed to different ideas and types of economic thought as you possibly can. The Worldly Philosophers gives you a great overview of different economic systems and will make you come to a well-informed conclusion about where you are on the economic system scale so to speak.

A rare moment of democratic leadership

That’s democratic leadership with a small “d.”  Thank you, John Roberts.  Whew!  The Chief Justice just preserved what is left of public confidence in the Supreme Court. Through a somewhat convoluted rationale in which he protected the will and intent of Congress by correcting their mistake of labeling a tax as a mandate, he kept his more conservative colleagues on the Court from yet another massive “overreach” of their authority. Progressives and Democrats can be happy while conservatives and Republicans dig in their heels for November. The real winner here is American democracy. 

A little over a year ago I began corresponding with a couple of high school classmates on political issues.  Despite the fact that I was introduced to politics by my mother, an Eisenhower-Nixon Republican, over the years I have found myself more comfortable with the liberal progressive narrative.  My classmates on the other hand, who probably raised their hands for John Kennedy as high school freshmen, are firmly entrenched in the conservative narrative.  Given that we all came from modest middle class backgrounds, went on to college, raised families, worked hard, played by the rules and love our country, I thought it might be fun to explore both our differences and what we might have in common.  I was naïve.  It has turned out to be quite an effort to get past the polemics of left-right, liberal-conservative, Democrat-Republican.  Thanks to their good nature we are making some progress but the question remains "why are polemics so perverse and pervasive?" 

Black Domestic Workers Trivialized in The Help

The movie was funny and smart. It also gave black workers injustice.

But then again, what doesn’t give black workers injustice? I am not being sarcastic here, either; from pay to unequal schools—in both standards and in testing—to everything in between, blacks tend to get the short end of the stick—particularly black women—most of the time. So why am I surprised that the movie (I have not read the book yet) The Help was no different?

I suppose it’s because I had heard that the movie was different; that the black leading ladies in it gave stellar performances that were multi-layered, that the subject material gave more hope and accuracy in the portrayal of domestic workers’ lives in this time period. But I just didn’t see it that way. Sure, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis—the former new to me and the latter an extremely underused actress whom I’ve loved for years—gave incredible Oscar-worthy performances; sure, the movie was enjoyable and seeing a comeuppance here and there was satisfying. But that’s just not the way it is.

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