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Beverly A. Mcphail "texasfeminist" RSS Feed (Houston, TX)
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Matryoshka Madness Robot
Matryoshka Madness Robot
Offered by Running Crow toys
Price: $15.15
13 used & new from $13.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, fun toy with some educational benefits, December 24, 2011
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Matryoshka Madness Robot (Toy)
My little boy neighbors loved our Russian matryoshka wooden nesting dolls, but when I was going to get them some for Christmas they were pretty pricey and I would worry about them playing with what really is a keepsake.
These little nesting dolls were perfect! The loved fitting them together, and have to figure our sizes so it is educational, engaging their brains. I did not find them flimsy as others have suggested.
Great gift and the guys loved the ninja and computer man themes.


A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
by Janny Scott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.01
258 used & new from $0.01

13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched book that sheds new light on a fascinating woman, May 12, 2011
This well-researched book is an excellent examination of the life of a complex and intriguing woman, S. Ann Dunham, who deserves to be known for much more than the "white woman from Kansas" or "mother of a president" or "food stamp recipient" labels that have been too often ascribed to her. In this biography Ann and her remarkable work as an anthropologist and development worker really come alive. I enjoyed learning about her life, work and relationships. She was a dedicated mother. It's unfortunate that too often she has been judged for being separated from her children in order to both pursue her commitment to her work and earn a living for her family. The sexual double standard is alive and well for actions that would be lauded in a man/father are criticized in a woman/mother. The author does not attempt to make her into a saint; Ann is a fabulously flawed and fully human woman who lived richly and loved deeply. The stories about her portray her as courageous, adventurous, dedicated, passionate, quick-witted, and hardworking. I came away from the book wishing I could have sat around her dinner table in Indonesia with all its lively chaos, passionate debates, love of food, friends, and family. One can glean how she shaped President Obama, as a result of her strengths and some of her weaknesses. The author deserves rich praise for assembling such a detailed portrait, often through the eyes of friends and co-workers, while resisting the impulse to psychoanalyze her subject. A wonderful read and Ann's early death is made all the more tragic once we come to appreciate and admire her in these pages.


Hitch-22: A Memoir
Hitch-22: A Memoir
by Christopher Hitchens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.99
223 used & new from $0.47

29 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read, December 11, 2010
This review is from: Hitch-22: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I admire Christopher Hitchens for his stand on atheism and his vast knowledge of literature and intellect. However, this book is poorly written and edited. He displays little insight and introspection and much name-dropping, drinking, and glorifying his male relationships.
He does not seem to like women very much, dismissing the women's movement in a few words with disparaging words on identity politics. He quickly dismisses a gendered perspective on the world and how women have overcome their historical lack of power and then spends pages on silly rhyming word games that he seems to think shows how clever he and his friends are. I wanted to know more about his wife and children, but as many others have observed, they are largely absent here. Their absence seems rather telling. Memoirs are usually a favorite of mine, but this is the first one where I started skipping chapters and then skimming the rest of the book. A disappointment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2013 10:19 PM PDT


The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brené Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.46
179 used & new from $4.00

441 of 472 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book with my whole-heart., September 30, 2010
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The Gifts of Imperfection is a little gem of a book that offers readers a way to change their lives through adopting the practices of "wholehearted" living. Brené Brown shows us how to live more authentic and compassionate lives, while learning to embrace our imperfections, and recognize what issues get in our way, such as shame and fear. Although the book is an easy read on one level, it is a complex blueprint for living could take a lifetime to put into practice. The author challenges long-held notions and helped me see the world in new ways. She unpacks concepts such as the difference between happiness and joy and courage and heroics. The journey to a wholehearted life can be a spiritual process, and Dr. Brown is a rather unusual guide, a cross between the Dalai Lama and Wanda Sykes. One moment her words inspire hope and compassion and then belly laughs. She is brutally honest about her own strengths and struggles, so her words come not from an elevated plane, but from walking right beside, or maybe a little ahead, of the reader. Words such as "life-changing" and "revolutionary" are too often used and very clichéd, but they do describe this book. It would be a revolution in this country, and this world, if everyone practiced wholehearted living. That is a world that I want to live in. I am signing up for the revolution today, with my whole heart.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2013 8:19 PM PST


A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian
A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian
by Luis Palau
Edition: Paperback
141 used & new from $0.01

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing not a real dialogue or real friendly, May 7, 2008
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I was intrigued by the title of the book, A Friendly Dialogue between an Atheist and A Christian, and was really looking forward to an informative and entertaining exchange, but was very disappointed. It was wonderful idea, but poorly executed as Zhao Qizheng is brilliant and well versed in multiple disciplines, but Luis Palau is not his intellectual equal and could only respond with limp platitudes. So the "dialogue" was one sided and even the "friendly" was a misrepresentation. Mr. Palau tells a story where theologians are laughing at scientists and then later pronounces that one is free to say no to Jesus "And if you say "no" you are on your own." Well, I am from Texas and that doesn't meet our state's standard of friendly. And when Mr. Qizheng poses a lovely conundrum, that is, he refuses to discriminate among religions so they must all be right and so there are multiple gods or they are all wrong and there is no god, The best Mr. Palau can come up with in response is "It's too easy to answer that one. There's no God? Forget it. You've got to get serious and say `I am going to find God if it is the last thing I do.' You're a scientist, you have to dig, dig, dig." My question to Mr. Palau, who needs to get serious here?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2010 7:05 PM PST


I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
by Brené Brown
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from $7.86

145 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful book and an engaging read, February 6, 2007
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To be perfectly upfront, I would like to acknowledge that I am a friend and colleague of the author, Brené Brown. But also to be perfectly upfront, I would really appreciate her book even if I was not.

This book is powerful in its scope and impact as it lays out what shame is, how women respond to shame, and how women can respond differently to shame in order to become shame resilient.

Brené helps women identify what their shame triggers are, how to develop a critical awareness about how shame is impacted by larger forces in our lives, such as media images of extremely thin and beautiful women, how women can reach out to others, and how to learn to "speak shame."

As Brené was writing the book and I was reading early drafts, I was already learning to apply her concepts to my life. For instance, previously when I experienced a shameful moment I would curl up in a little ball of pain, constantly replay the shamming incident in my head, castigate myself over and over, and then wait for the passage of time to relieve some of my symptoms, although even years later I could get flashbacks of the event and the accompanying pain. Today, due to Brené and her book, I react very differently. I call multiple friends and share my painful story and seek out comfort, caring, and empathy. I begin to "contexualize" the shameful event, that is, I see how political, economic, and social forces have shaped my personal experiences. For instance, that expectation that women must be "superwoman" juggling kids, work, partners" perfectly, which is an unreasonable expectation that no woman can live up to. That helps put my experience into context and allow me to see the broader picture.

This book is a gift to women from a committed scholar and researcher. Although the hype on many books is that "it will change your life," this book has that potential. And it doesn't hurt that it is written in an accessible, friendly tone with many stories to illustrate her ideas that will make you both laugh and cry.

I highly recommend the book. I predict it will be one of those books you read and then go out and buy for your mother and sisters and best friend. I know I did.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2014 3:08 AM PST


American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare
American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare
by Jason DeParle
Edition: Hardcover
172 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making a policy book a page turner!, October 6, 2005
This book is an excellent discussion of welfare policy, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Although another reviewer suggested skipping the policy pieces, I wouldn't recommend it. It is all fascinating and the author has great skill at weaving policy and the women's stories in a way that is vivid and urgent. A real page-turner! And it was interesting to note how another reader focused on the women (mentioning their race as well) receiving benefits as being carried by taxpayers, but did the reader miss how largely white men were creaming off thousands if not millions of dollars in their contracts to deliver largely useless programs, also at the taxpayers' expense? The one fault I do find is the author's causal and incorrect use of the title "social worker." Social workers are degreed individuals with much skill and professionalism. The people described in the book were not trained social workers, but rather unskilled, untrained office help, or perhaps one could call them generic social service workers. If we had degreed social workers in those positions, and were willing to pay for that expertise and training, I think the outcomes would be better. For full disclosure, I am a degreed social worker.


Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families
Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families
by Pamela Paul
Edition: Hardcover
79 used & new from $0.01

23 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good work, but missing a vital piece, September 18, 2005
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Pornified is a helpful addition to the debate on pornography. The book's strength is bringing the harms that pornography can do to men and heterosexual relationships to the forefront, rather than relying on the usual arguments that often focus on harm to children and or the morality argument. Paul is to be applauded for producing a very readable and interesting book that may get people talking about the issue and seeing it in new ways.

However, what I found unconscionable about the book is that Paul mentions Catherine MacKinnon and the late Andrea Dworkin only in passing on a single page. Nowhere does she outline their extensive and important writings. She does not fully appreciate radical feminists' long-time opposition to pornography, but rather regurgitates old, tired augments used again the radical feminist position, that is, that they "ignore anyone who rejects the idea that all women are victims and that all sex is rape" (p. 259). These criticisms are untrue and shallow. Paul did not do her homework

These inaccuracies undermine the work as Paul fails to clearly outline the nuances of the radical feminist position, which is well-documented, and then goes on to champion a harms-based opposition to pornography that was the hallmark of MacKinnon's and Dworkin's work. Paul does not seem to realize that she is standing on the shoulders of the women who came before her. Or if a feminist can use a sports metaphor, Paul started on third base, but mistakenly believes she hit a home run.

I do think this book is important and represents some good work. I would recommend it. It would be a great, though unexpected, choice for women's books clubs across the nation. (If there are men's books clubs, I would highly recommend it to them as well). However, it is hard to overlook her trivializing and marginalizing the work of the women who came before her.


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