A New Book Explains the Power of Women at Work

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Own It by Sallie Krawcheck, which was released on January 17. Krawcheck is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women that launched in May 2016, chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s networking group founded in 1997, and chair Of Pax Ellevate Management, which launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund in 2014. Krawcheck has worked for big Wall Street companies, sometimes being the only female in the room, in the past and has used her experiences as the basis for Own It. She truly does want to change the way women are viewed in the corporate business model of today and to change how women see themselves as compared to men. Krawcheck states in Own It that her approach is different because she wants women to stop trying to be like men and to just be women. Krawcheck’s writing style is upbeat and at times humorous. Her honesty about how she was treated at those big Wall Street firms shines through in her writing. I appreciated her candor. There were many times in the book though where I felt Krawcheck’s audience are women like her, those who are attempting to climb the corporate success...

An Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

This year, Americans are estimated to spend $136.57 on Valentine’s Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. I am hoping that this amount is spent on something besides candy, cut roses, Pandora charms and giant stuffed bears because I think people can do way better than those clichéd gifts. It’s time to think outside the gift box! For introverted book lovers, give a year’s subscription to Amazon Kindle Unlimited. The book lover can check out ten books at a time from a collection of over one and a half million e-books. Remember to ask the new Kindle Unlimited fan what he or she is reading and pay full attention to the answer. A certain author or genre of particular interest can spark ideas for future gift-giving moments. For book lovers who enjoy talking about books with others, give the gift of a Little Free Library. It is truly a gift that will keep on giving. Give the new LFL steward a supply of books from thrift stores and secondhand bookstores, a collection of totes or a beautiful bookshelf to contain the library stash or accessories for the little library, such as twinkling fairy lights, on future gift-giving occasions. For techie geeks, give the latest techno gizmo he or she has been talking about or posting about on Facebook. Alternately, search crowdfunding sites to discover a cool start-up that mimics his or her interests and buy into the start-up in his or her name. The start-up will usually send supporters new product once production begins. Read up on tech items or search Google for future tech gift ideas....

B. Smith Book Examines the Challenges of Alzheimer’s

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s written by B. Smith and Dan Gasby with Michael Shnayerson, which was released on January 19, 2016. Smith is the B. Smith who, in her youth, became America’s first African-American supermodel who went on to experience stunning restaurant and home goods fame before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. Gasby, Smith’s husband since 1992, is Smith’s business partner at B. Smith Enterprises. He became and remains Smith’s primary caregiver after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Shnayerson is a long-time contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the author or co-author of seven books. It is unclear exactly how Shnayerson contributed to this specific written work. Before I Forget is beautifully written from the heart. The format of the book is in chapters that start with Smith’s perspective on her disease in italics before moving on to Gasby’s experiences, thoughts and feelings as Smith’s primary caregiver and ending in lessons learned that include knowledge about Alzheimer’s itself and tips for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The book’s tips of how to be a better caregiver are insightful and can even translate to any disease state in which someone is a caregiver in the...

Exploring the Placebo Effect on the Mind

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body written by award-winning science writer Jo Marchant, which was released on January 19. Cure is Marchant’s third book. Marchant’s Decoding the Heavens solves the mystery of the world’s first computer and The Shadow King explores the life of King Tut’s mummy. Based in London, Marchant has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology. Her formal education in science shines through in Cure in the way she presents material in this book. Marchant zipped around the world compiling research for Cure. She discusses the placebo effect, in which there is a beneficial effect of a medical treatment that is attributed to the mind itself because the treatment is inert, for various disease states, such as autism, chronic pain and Parkinson’s. She spoke to many doctors, researchers and patients for different perspectives on the placebo effect itself and looked at research about the placebo effect. Marchant explores the nocebo effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect, in which a negative expectation of a phenomenon causes it to have a greater negative effect than it otherwise would. She uses the present-day example of suspected mass poisoning of female students at Bibi Hajerah High School...

A New Book Explores Breaking Up in a Whole New Way

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After written by Katherine Woodward Thomas, which was released on October 18, 2016. This is Woodward Thomas’ second book. I chose Conscious Uncoupling because I was curious about what Woodward Thomas’ thoughts on ending relationships “in a whole new way.” When the book arrived, I had to explain to my partner Dutch that this was for a book review project. It was this book or a book on 52 ways to meditate. Dutch laughed at my dilemma because I cannot sit still long enough to relax, little on meditate. Since I blog about sexual health and relationships, Conscious Uncoupling seemed to be the best book review option at the time. Woodward Thomas wrote her latest book because her own marriage was ending in divorce and she did not want to create bitterness or unpleasantness for her daughter as her divorce progressed and eventually finalized. Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist, backs up her suggestions on keeping a break-up civil with solid grounding in sociology and psychology. She uses splashes of positive quotations throughout her book, which I enjoyed. An example I particularly loved is, “Divorce becomes a holy moment when you choose to use...

New Book Tells the Jaw-Dropping and Inspirational Story of an Amputee

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Tough as They Come by retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne, and coauthored with Marcus Brotherton, which was released on October 27, 2016. The foreword is written by American actor and veteran advocate Gary Sinise. The cover of Tough as They Come states, “Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier’s story.” This description is essentially why I choose this book to review. I work in the medical field and was hoping SSG Mills’ personal story would help me find new motivation for helping my patients through their disease diagnosis and subsequent progression. This book certainly delivered motivation, by the truckload. Tough as They Come has been the best book I have reviewed thus far through the Blogging for Books program. “Best” in the sense of wanting to read the entire book without putting it down. I read every word on every page and did not want to be distracted in the process, which I cannot say about my previous book review choices. SSG Mills’ story is written from the heart and is humorous and gritty, even when recounting his darkest days after having...

Author Sheds Light on Clandestine Escapes from East Berlin

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by American author Greg Mitchell, which was released on October 18. Mitchell has written a dozen non-fiction books on United States politics and history of the 2oth and 21st centuries. Miller blogs actively about media and politics. His writing is on point and will hold the interest of the reader until the very end of the story. I chose this particular book because I wanted to learn more about the Berlin Wall, which existed when I was born and was removed when I was a little girl. I knew the clinical aspects of the Berlin Wall without knowing much about the personal perspective of those who experienced life behind the Berlin Wall. The Tunnels is a collection of accounts of real people who were desperately trying to flee East Berlin. They risked their lives, prison and Stasi torture to liberate themselves, their friends, family and even strangers from East Berlin. As the Berlin Wall became a more permanent structure that was increasingly difficult to cross, the liberators went underground and began tunneling under the Wall. Tunnels were physically dangerous and put the liberators at great...

Sexual Violence is Not a Laughing Matter

Sexual violence against women is not a joke. For a public figure, especially someone who is running for the highest political office in the country, to think sexual violence is humorous “locker room talk” is despicable as well as disrespectful to victims of sexual violence. “This was not just a lewd conversation, this wasn’t just lock room banter, this was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior,” First Lady Michelle Obama said in a speech on October 13. She summed up the situation very well and that started my thinking of the facts and data on sexual violence in America and what can be done to reduce its prevalence. Every two minutes an American is sexually assaulted and the majority of victims are between the ages of 12 and 34, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This set of statistics includes all cases of sexual violence. One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetimes, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This set of statistics just looks at rape and nothing else in the sexual violence crimes category. I’m not a sociologist, a criminologist or a police officer. I am not a judge or a prosecutor. I am a college-educated and real-life trained journalist. I am a human being with intelligence. I am a woman — one who has survived sexual assault. I’ve been thinking for a long time about sexual...

A New Book Explores 50 Fearless Women Pioneers in Science

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My second book selection is Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky,  which was released on July 26. I chose this book because, when I was younger, most of the books available about history and science focused primarily on the contributions made by men and subsequently overlooked the accomplishments made by women. To see a book devoted to women in science was very exciting. I jumped at the opportunity to review this book! When the book arrived, I was a little bit disappointed. The main font used in this book is less than the standard sized font used for most books, which can be a physical challenge for some readers. The second font used in Women in Science for the side elements is a different type-set and one I had to get accustomed to reading because the “e” is written as a backward “3.” In addition, I question the design choice to use bright colors such as fuchsia and yellow on dark grey backgrounds on the illustration pages as this is garish and headache-inducing. Black type set on the same oddly colored background colors was just slightly easier to read on the biography pages. Ignotofsky pairs an illustration with...

When a Penis is More Than a Penis

My partner Dutch and I were sitting down to watch restored films in our friend Todd’s backyard last night when someone in the audience asked for a bottle opener. Todd’s new neighbor, a young blonde woman, whipped out a bottle opener which was penis-shaped. Of course, I had to ask her where she found such an item. “Spain,” she said as she handed me the opener to admire. The opener was beautifully decorated wood with a lovely shape that fit in my hand perfectly. It was painted black with scrollwork in gold and white with the tip of the penis etched and painted gold. Quite simply, it was a beautiful piece of working art. Even Dutch agreed that our simple unadorned wooden shoe bottle opener from The Netherlands doesn’t compare to this woman’s penis bottle opener. A Google search revealed that her penis opener can be found in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain. Sadly, I cannot locate any history on why the penis is offered as a bottle opener — if it is a tourist money-maker or if there is a cultural reason. My internet search revealed that other penis bottle openers are sold as souvenirs in Bali and Greece as well. Travelers to Australia can purchase a furry kangaroo scrotum bottle opener. The genuine kangaroo balls are harvested and processed according to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service rules and regulations, meaning the kangaroo scrotums are harvested only after the kangaroos are killed for other reasons, such as for meat consumption. Visitors to The Icelandic Phallological Museum, located in Reykjavik, Iceland, can enjoy the world’s only museum dedicated to...