One-Minute Book Reviews

July 22, 2021

What Sex Workers Want You To Know About Their Work

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I had no idea police could legally have sex with suspected hookers until Michigan became  the last state to outlaw the practice in 2017. The recent book We Too describes that and other abuses I mention on @Medium.

https://janiceharayda.medium.com/5-things-sex-workers-want-you-to-know-about-their-work-9a3e54258a87

July 12, 2021

How ‘The AP Stylebook’ Can Help You If You Don’t Work for a Daily Newspaper

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Some people call The Associated Press Stylebook “the journalist’s bible.” Others call it the journalist’s book of Job. Either way, if you’re a writer, it can help you fine-tune your work.

By whatever nickname, this newsroom stalwart gathers in one volume the AP’s rules for grammar, spelling, capitalization, and other writing-related matters.

The 640-page paperback edition has more than 3,000 brief, clear, and alphabetically arranged entries, many on topics not covered by Grammarly, Microsoft Editor, or similar tools. Why should you care about its rules when more than 2,000 newspapers have died since 2000? Isn’t that like feeding insects to pterodactyls? What if you hope to write not news stories but a memoir or Amish romances or blog posts that go viral?

If you’re interested, you may want to check out my essay “The Book Writers Love to Hate and Hate to Love” on Medium, in which offers some thoughts on the stylebook based on years of working with it.

July 4, 2021

The Case Against Reading on the Beach

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You might think that I (or any other critic) would be leading the cheers for reading the beach this summer.

But I’ve never been able to concentrate well amid all the distractions of a beach–the shrieks of the gulls, the crashing of the waves, the sounds of Drive-by Truckers coming from a boom box two blankets away. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that reading on the beach isn’t ideal. Research has found, for example, the background noise reduces reading comprehension.

Here’s my attempt to tie all of it together, “Why Reading on the Beach Is a Terrible Idea.”

July 2, 2021

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Is the Most Overrated Novel of the Decade

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With its racial stereotypes and romance-novel tropes, Where the Crawdads Sing is the most overrated novel of the decade. And now there’s a movie coming out from Reese Witherspoon. Why aren’t more critics calling out the obvious problems with the book? I dig into the issues the novel raises on Medium:

June 1, 2021

Why Has Wanda Gág’s Classic ‘Millions of Cats’ Outlasted Other Books About Animals?

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You don’t have to be a cat lover to love Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats, the oldest American picture book still in print. I posted a few thoughts on why it has outlasted so many other children’s books about animals:

https://janiceharayda.medium.com/the-genius-of-wanda-g%C3%A1gs-millions-of-cats-f1e93f3bbbbf

May 25, 2021

A Hidden Theme in the Harry Potter Novels

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Harry Potter was the literary influencer-in-chief for millennials. But did he shape their lives, or did they shape his? Journalist Charlotte Alter teases apart the issues in her new book about millennials, The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For. I write about Alter’s view, and why it isn’t incompatible with J.K. Rowling’s comment that the Potter novels are about death, or coming to terms with mortality, in my Lit Life feed on Medium.

May 19, 2021

A Review of the Charming Novel “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” Which Will Be a 2022 Movie

Filed under: Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:44 am

Leslie Manville of “The Crown” will star in a 2022 movie version of Paul Gallico’s charming novel, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, along with Isabelle Huppert. My thoughts on the book: https://medium.com/lit-life/the-discreet-charm-of-mrs-harris-goes-to-paris-337c03e57147

May 16, 2021

5 Good Books About the World’s Worst Pets

Filed under: Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:06 pm

You think your dog is bad because it chewed up your new leather wallet? Or stole your underwear and dropped it on a neighbor’s doorstep?

Cheer up. You could be Charlie Gilmour. He lived with a meat-eating bird that liked to sit on the rim of his bathroom sink and gaze intently at his penis while he urinated or showered. I write about his Featherhood and four other memoirs of lovable but nerve-rattling pets in “5 Good (But Slightly Hair-Raising) Books About Bad Pets” on Medium.

May 7, 2021

A Fresh Look at Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things” Are

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A while back I wrote a post about one of my favorite children’s books, Where the Wild Things Are, that I’ve recently updated and posted on Medium. Please check it out if you’re interested. Thanks for visiting One-Minute Book Reviews. Jan

March 13, 2016

What Made ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ So Influential? Quote of the Day / James McPherson

Filed under: Civil War,Classics,Novels,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:15 pm
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Uncle Tom’s Cabin was, as James McPherson notes in Battle Cry of Freedom, “the most influential indictment of slavery of all time.” But today it’s more widely known than read. What made it so influential? McPherson writes:

“Written in the sentimental style made popular by best-selling women novelists, Uncle Tom’s Cabin homed in on the breakup of families as the theme most likely to pluck the heartstrings of middle-class readers who cherished children and spouses of their own. Eliza fleeing across the ice-choked Ohio River to save her son from the slave-trader and Tom weeping for children left behind in Kentucky when he was sold South are among the most unforgettable scenes in American letters.”

McPherson added:

“Even the heart of an occasional law-and-order man could be melted by the vision of a runaway manacled for return to bondage. Among evangelical Protestants who had been swept into the antislavery movement by the Second Great Awakening, such a vision generated outrage and activism. This was what gave Uncle Tom’s Cabin such astounding success. As the daughter, sister, and wife of Congregational clergymen, Harriet Beecher Stowe had breathed the doctrinal air of sin, guilt, atonement, and salvation since childhood. She could clothe these themes in prose that throbbed with pathos as well as bathos.”

Jan is an award-winning journalist who has been the book critic for Glamour magazine and for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Please follow her on Twitter at @janiceharayda.

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