Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change

Title: Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change

Author: Danica Roem

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Format: E-Book

Genre: Non-Fiction

Sub Genre(s): Memoir, LGBTQ


Summary: Danica Roem made national headlines when–as a transgender former frontwoman for a metal band and a political newcomer–she unseated Virginia’s most notoriously anti-LGBTQ 26-year incumbent Bob Marshall as state delegate. But before Danica made history, she had to change her vision of what was possible in her own life. Doing so was a matter of storytelling: during her campaign, Danica hired an opposition researcher to dredge up every story from her past that her opponent might seize on to paint her negatively.

In wildly entertaining prose, Danica dismantles all the stories her opponents tried to hedge against her, showing how through brutal honesty and loving authenticity, it’s possible to embrace the low points, and even transform them into her greatest strengths. Burn the Page takes readers from Danica’s lonely, closeted, and at times operatically tragic childhood to her position as a rising star in a party she’s helped forever change. Burn the Page is so much more than a stump speech: it’s an extremely inspiring manifesto about how it’s possible to set fire to the stories you don’t want to be in anymore, whether written by you or about you by someone else–and rewrite your own future, whether that’s running for politics, in your work, or your personal life. This book will not just encourage people who think they must be spotless to run for office but inspire all of us to own our personal narratives as Danica does. -From Goodreads


What I Liked: I enjoyed the conversational style way this book was written. Roem’s voice is unique, and it seems like the publisher let her just go for it and write what she wanted to write and tell any story she wanted to tell. She doesn’t hold anything back and I appreciated that. I particularly liked her insight into campaigning and how hers was successful, despite her opponent finding everything he could to use against her. She is very open about her past and her family without being intrusive and her advice to younger LGBTQ folks was touching. I think where the book excels is her openness about being Transgender and the difficulties she faced with coming out. These are the moments I wish bigoted people would read and learn from so they can know what it is like to not feel like you are being your true self.

What I Didn’t Like: I found myself skimming over a lot of the sections in this book about Roem’s love of heavy metal and her exploits with her band because most of it felt repetitive. I wouldn’t have minded this so much if I felt there was a point to some of the stories, but they didn’t connect well to what Roem was trying to say.  

Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in running for public office can learn from Roem’s story and would benefit from reading this book. Anyone struggling with their gender identity would also find Roem’s words heartening and inspiring.

Review Wrap Up: This is an important book because everyone should know Danica Roem’s story and how important it is to elect LGBTQ representatives. I enjoyed the insight into what it’s like to be a freshman legislator and how we can work together in this country for the better good. I liked that Roem was given free rein to write her story how she wanted to but I wish some of the stories had been tighter and fit more into the overall narrative.

Favorite Quote: “That is something we seem to have forgotten about as a population: it’s possible to be several things at the same time. You can think different thoughts and hold different identities and be fascinated by different things all at once. It doesn’t make you weak or distracted; it makes you human.”


thespinsterlibrarian
*Thank you to Netgalley and Viking for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America

Title: Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America

Author: John Della Volpe

Series: N/A

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Non-Fiction

Sub Genre(s):  Politics


Summary: 9/11. The war on terror. Hurricane Katrina. The 2008 financial crisis. The housing crisis. The opioid epidemic. Mass school shootings. Global warming. The Trump presidency. COVID-19.

Since they were born, Generation Z (also known as “zoomers”)—those born from the late 1990s to early 2000s—have been faced with an onslaught of turmoil, destruction and instability unprecedented in modern history. And it shows: they are more stressed, anxious, and depressed than previous generations, a phenomenon John Della Volpe has documented heavily through decades of meeting with groups of young Americans across the country.

But Gen Z has not buckled under this tremendous weight. On the contrary, they have organized around issues from gun control to racial and environmental justice to economic equity, becoming more politically engaged than their elders, and showing a unique willingness to disrupt the status quo. -Goodreads


What I Liked: This book made me have hope not only for the future but for the future of our government and its institutions. Using real world examples, interviews, and surveys, Della Volpe managed to lay out exactly how Gen Zers view the world and the changes he believes they will bring about in the next 5, 10, even 30 years. One of the most fascinating parts of this book was his theory on the major events that shaped Millennials and Gen Z and the impact those events had on their lives. While this book is structured like a paper, it doesn’t read like one, and the ideas within are easy to understand. The moments in this book that had the most impact on me were the interviews he had with students about gun violence and how they live their lives in constant fear of dying, just by going to school.

What I Didn’t Like: While not the premise of this book, I would have liked some ideas or action items for how non-Gen Zers can help the younger generation.

Who Should Read It: Della Volpe clearly has a liberal bias (that’s not a bad thing) but it’s going to prevent the people who actually need to read this book from reading it. Despite this, I still feel like everyone would find something interesting or worthwhile in this book.

Review Wrap Up: What could have been a depressing book filled with horrifying statistics and disheartening anecdotes is in fact a very inspiring and hopeful book about the future. If you’re feeling down about the state of the world, this book will surely make you feel better.

Favorite Quote(s): “To this day, few moments in a focus group have had a greater impact on me than when I asked for an explanation of what older generations don’t get about Generation Z. Grace, a biology student about to turn twenty-one at the time told me: ‘an older generation would not understand walking into a classroom and thinking how easy it would be for someone to shoot it up. The same daily weight on an adult’s shoulders over bills or taxes is what children feel about living or dying.’”

“Zoomers yearn for a capitalism open to everyone and do not shy away from debating the merits of other political and economic systems. The data-driven outcomes from the modern Nordic version of market-driven social democracies-less poverty, more innovation, more family time, and overall a more relaxed, healthy and satisfied citizenry-are worth exploring and learning from, they tell me.”


thespinsterlibrarian

All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership

Title: All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership

Author: Darcy Lockman

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 7th, 2019

Format: Audiobook

Genre: Non-Fiction

Sub Genre(s):  Relationships, Parenting, Feminism

Summary: The inequity of domestic life is one of the most profound and perplexing conundrums of our time. In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data show that one area of gender inequality stubbornly remains: the unequal amount of parental work that falls on women, no matter their class or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work full-time, mothers’ contributions—even those women who earn more than their partners—still outweigh fathers’ when it comes to raising children and maintaining a home.

How can this be? How, in a culture that has studied and lauded the benefits of fathers’ being active, present partners in child-rearing—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children?

Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own case-study as Ground Zero, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the reasons both men and women are culpable. Her findings are startling—and offer a catalyst for true change.


What I Liked: This book is written in an accessible way so it doesn’t read like a non-fiction book. You wouldn’t mistake it for fiction but I never found myself thinking I was reading a text book like some non-fiction books. I liked that Lockman approached this topic from personal experience and shared stories from her own life. It made this the topic more personal and I appreciated her openness. Two sections in particular stuck out to me: the studies done on how babies interact with each other and how quickly they start to pick up on our habits.  The other section that was interesting and enraging was how people still view women taking their husband’s last name when they get married. The personal anecdotes in this chapter are worth a read if only to see how dated some people’s views are and how strong the patriarchy is.

What I Didn’t Like:  If I had one minor complaint, it’s that the women she interviewed for the book started to blend together after a while because their stories were spread out over the entirety of the book instead of being told all at once. I couldn’t remember who was who by the end. This didn’t ruin anything for me but I found it a bit annoying. I also wish that Lockman had included steps people can take to influence change.

Who Should Read It: I honestly think everyone should read this book, even if you aren’t a parent or aren’t planning on having kids because a lot of the book focuses on communication between people in relationships and that’s something that everyone can relate to. However, if you’re a parent or thinking about having kids, I think this would be a great book to read.

Review Wrap Up: Sometimes the title of a book doesn’t match the contents of the story or the emotions you’ll feel while reading the book….that’s not the case with this book.  I felt ALL the rage while reading but it also made me think and want to recommend this book to everyone I know. This is an important book and I highly recommend it.

Favorite Quote:(s) “Sociologist Sharon Hayes writes that maternal behavior is ‘…neither a choice made by women nor a symbol of love and progress in society; rather, it is an indication of the power of men, whites, the upper classes, capitalists and state leaders to impose a particular form of family life on those less power than themselves.’”

“Research in Sweden has found that for female candidates, winning a race for government office doubles the baseline risk of subsequent divorce; campaigning and then losing does not. Whether a male candidate wins or loses an election has no direct bearing on his marital future. The same Swedish study found that married women who become CEOs are twice as likely to divorce within three years of this achievement than men who accomplish the same.”


thespinsterlibrarian

The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

I first saw Casey Wilson on the sitcom “Happy Endings” and have been a fan of hers ever since. Her over the top style of comedy always makes me laugh so when I heard she was publishing a book of essays, I immediately ordered it for my library.  This book lived up to my expectations and even surprised me with poignant and emotional moments I didn’t expect.  This was a wonderful collection of essays that made me laugh and cry.

Continue reading “The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays”

Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College

No one, no matter your political affiliation, can deny we are living in a divisive time for American politics.  There is not much we seem to agree on, and the fighting seems to never end.  This would seem to be the worst time for this book to come out, but I would argue there is no greater time to advocate for the end of the electoral college. Jesse Wegman lays out a very succinct argument for ending this misunderstood process while providing well-researched historical context for this archaic and anti-democratic system.  Every American citizen should read this book.

Continue reading “Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College”

A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear

Fair warning: I feel like I should get this out of the way right off the bat: I really can’t stand Libertarianism as a concept or ideology nor can I put up with Libertarians in general so I fully admit that I was hoping for some schadenfreude while reading this book.  While my beliefs about libertarianism didn’t change, this book was nothing like I thought it would be and I found myself moved by several of the townspeople’s stories and left with a feeling of sadness about the world that I didn’t expect.  The story told in this book is also humorous, irreverent, and timely in a way that I don’t think Hongoltz-Hetling could have imagined when he began to write it.  I would recommend this book for both political and non-political book fans.

Continue reading “A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear”

The Library Book

I don’t know why I waited so long to read this book.  It has been on my radar since it was released and I had heard good things but it took being quarantined for me to read a book about my profession (maybe this is a sign that I’m missing work.) While marketed as a true crime book, this is also a love letter to libraries and the librarians that dedicate their lives to ensuring these institutions stay vital parts of the community they serve.  I would recommend this for anyone who has ever wondered what librarians do all day.

Continue reading “The Library Book”

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

I am in several book clubs and as such find myself reading books from all different genres and subjects, something I appreciate as it forces me out of my reading comfort zone.  I actually picked this book as my book club’s next read, knowing that it sounded good and that non-fiction is usually not my genre…and that I am participating in a non-fiction genre study for the next two years and could use this for one of the reading prompts.  I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book (as much as you can enjoy a book about murder victims) and would recommend this, especially to those who don’t like non-fiction and are looking for a more narrative telling of a true story.

Continue reading “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑