Monday, December 31, 2018

December Wrap-Up and Plans for January


Reading


Highlights were Nine Perfect Strangers and Jane, Unlimited. It was a month of distractions so I kept bouncing around and picking up random things which is how I also ended up reading some random self-help books.

Listening


The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory was a fantastic audiobook, and exactly what I needed during a month with so much going on that I was feeling really distracted and unfocused.

Otherwise I just listened to my regular podcasts like By the Book, Code Switch, and Unlikeable Female Characters. I got a bit away from listening to Slow Russian, though I did manage to catch a couple of episodes.

Watching


I'm sure you'll agree it's the Blue
Velvet poster in the background
that really makes it festive.
I watched some of my favorite Christmas movies: White Christmas, Elf, and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. I was hoping to also watch It's a Wonderful Life at some point (you know, the most depressing Christmas movie ever made) but didn't get to it.

On the day I considered watching It's a Wonderful Life, and I ended up instead watching Dumplin' on Netflix, which was fantastic and way more uplifting. (I listened to the audiobook a couple of years ago and posted about it here.)

I also started watching Salt Fat Acid Heat, which is a four episode series based on this book. I've heard some people say that this show really improved their cooking. I'm not getting that sort of applicable information out of it, but I am enjoying it.

I was going to continue watching Parts Unknown, which I've neglected for a while, but now the first several seasons are gone from Netflix. This was especially upsetting as I was making a point to watch them in order rather than skipping ahead to the ones I was most interested in, which was obviously a huge mistake because there was an episode about Russia that I now can't watch. So I'm going to watch the seasons that are there, but start with the places that most intrigue me. I've watched Antarctica, which was great though there wasn't much food in the episode.

Cooking


I made a couple of new-to-me dishes, including the Caramelized Broccoli Soup from Dinner by Melissa Clark. The only reason I picked this recipe is because I had some extra broccoli and potatoes hanging around, but I'm so glad I did! It took me longer than it should have (what doesn't?) but it was delicious! I'll definitely be making this soup again.

Maple-roasted tofu
I also made a cake I've been wanting to try since I got my bundt pan, the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake from Smitten Kitchen. I couldn't find dark molasses, so used a mixture of regular and blackstrap. But the cake wasn't cooking on the inside so I had to leave it in the oven longer and it got kind of burnt on the outside. I don't know what the problem was, but it was very disappointing.

Otherwise, I mostly made old favorites, like the Spicy Corn Quesadillas from Moosewood Cooks At Home and the Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan With a Vengeance.

Oh, I also made a sheet-pan dish called Maple-Roasted Tofu from Dinner, and basically ruined the pan. That's the problem with these sheet-pan dinners that are all the rage. How the hell do you get your pans clean with all that burnt-on sauce? I asked Facebook and ended up buying a Silpat baking mat, which I haven't yet used but which kind of begs the question of how to get burnt-on sauce off of that. At any rate, it was tasty and the only thing I cooked this month that I remember to photograph.

Doing


Modeling the new blood crown
Work has been a bit trying, as they say. Starting in mid-December, the elevator has been out of service for a major overhaul and will continue to be down until mid-January. Have I mentioned that my office is on the fourth floor? So that has been fun and of course makes it difficult/impossible to do anything that involves moving large quantities of books from one floor to another. Also, everyone has been out either for holiday vacations or other reasons. So there's not enough coverage for the reference desk and I'm completely unmotivated the rest of the time.

However, I bought my department a crown so we can take turns wearing it when we feel like we need a boost. We're calling it the Crown of Blood and Misery, which would also be a great title for a young adult fantasy novel.

I've gotten together with friends on various occasions though, including an afternoon outing with a group of friends to see Mary Poppins Returns, which was a lot of fun!

Also this month I saw my first Boston sportsball game, which was totally unplanned, but I went to a Bruins game. It was fun! There was more punching than I expected, but you know, get more than 3 men in one place and they can't help but erupt into violence...ok, maybe that's an exaggeration but sometimes it feels true.

The Museum of Fine Arts had some great exhibits nearing their end and I hadn't been there in a while so one day I headed over and caught the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibit, which I felt like I should see since everyone was raving about it. It was ok, but definitely geared towards all the screaming, shrieking children that were there. I was super excited for the French pastels exhibit though, and I only wish I had gone earlier so I could have visited it for a second time. I also really enjoyed the propaganda exhibit.

Christmas was our regular dinner out at Eastern Standard in Boston, but this year we also had Christmas Eve at Eric's dad's house. It was a very late evening but we had a ton of delicious traditional Venezuelan food which I forgot to photograph. Sorry! Too busy eating!

The month is ending with hosting a New Year's Eve party tonight which I'm really looking forward to!

Plans for January


I'm going to start seeing a physical therapist to take care of shoulder pain that has been plaguing me since around July, maybe earlier.

I've also been working on my new planner which I'll start using in January. I'm going back to a DIY-style planner, though it's not exactly a Bullet Journal as I'm not strictly following that format. My only concern is that it's a larger size than I've used before. It will be great space-wise for writing everything I need, but will it fit comfortably in my bag for carrying around? We'll see.

In late January I'll be going to see a production of Othello. I'm looking forward to it and sorta feel like I want to read it first but I have not yet made any move to do so.

How was your December?

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Proposal

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018), narrated by Janina Edwards

Jasmine Guillory busted into the romance scene earlier in the year with her debut, The Wedding Date, and already has a second book. The Proposal stars Carlos, best friend of The Wedding Date hero, Drew. His love interest is Nik, who he meets after she experiences a humiliating public marriage proposal at a Dodgers game in the opening scene. Nik was in a casual (she thought) relationship with a pretty actor who spelled her name wrong on the Jumbotron when proposing, and after she turned him down he stormed out. All eyes (and cameras) were on her until Carlos and his sister Angela helped her ditch the paparazzi and escape from the stadium. Nik invited them to have a drink with her friends, after which she and Carlos couldn't stop thinking about each other.

Nik, with the encourage of her best friends Dana and Courtney, decides that Carlos would be a great rebound. Happily, they agree to keep things casual because neither of them wants a relationship. Of course this is a romance so things don't stay casual, and that's the point of conflict for the novel.

Nik has a great group of best friends in Dana and Courtney, and when Nik begins receiving threatening texts from her now-ex boyfriend, they agree to take a self-defense class with her. This was a pretty excellent side story, especially when Nik, a journalist, decides to do a story on the owner of the gym. Plus they all loved the class, which made them feel strong and empowered, and - in one of my favorite scenes - Nik ended up putting her newfound fighting skills into action before the story was over.

Carlos had his own life stuff going on here as well. He's very close to his sister Angela and their cousin Jessica. Jessica is pregnant and has been prescribed bed rest because of problems with her pregnancy. Carlos is a doctor and really shouldn't be so anxious, but he is. He decides to buy her some reading material and runs into Nik at the book store; it turns out that just like Jessie she enjoys true crime, and she gives him some great book recommendations. Carlos feels like he has to take care of his family because his father is dead, and he also wants to keep Nik separate from them since they are only dating casually, and these both become points of contention.

I loved a lot of things about this book. Carlos is what Sarah from Smart Bitches would describe as "emotionally fluent" and I liked that about him. I also appreciate that the conflict wasn't based on the characters being stupidly neurotic or not having one conversation that would have fixed everything. It was about what happens when two people decide to keep their relationship casual and then start falling for each other, and one of those people in particular doesn't feel ready after their last romantic catastrophe. Carlos and Nik spent a lot of time eating delicious things, and it made me want to eat tacos and cupcakes and enchiladas (more than I already do) and I am generally just a big fan of food-prominent romances (see also: Bet Me, A Bollywood Affair, The Wedding Date.) I especially appreciated that Nik didn't scold herself for eating well or even feel guilty about it. Which brings me to...

Feminism. This book has it. So much. Everything from emotional abuse to why Carlos feels the need to be "the man in the family" now that his father is dead. One thing I appreciated a lot about his relationship with Nik was that neither of them was jealous or controlling, even in a "cute" sort of way like in some romances (and which I never actually find cute.) There was a great conversation about how ads and other media always portray women hiding their spending from their husbands ("Don't tell my husband I bought this! Haha!") as though it's a joke we're all in on and it's perfectly normal. One woman was in a relationship with a guy who retained tight control on their finances, but because she thought it was normal she remained in the relationship much longer than she should have. Those "don't tell my husband" comments have always irked me and I'm so glad it was addressed. Also, did I mention that Nik punched a guy who deserved it? That was very satisfying.

In summary, Jasmine Guillory is amazing and I will probably read anything she writes. I noticed that I gave this a higher rating on Goodreads than The Wedding Date, but that may have been my inconsistency and not that the previous book wasn't as good. I remember liking it a lot. Is it possible that this one was even better? Yes, maybe! If you like romance or chick lit or feminism or books with a lot of food in them I highly recommend checking this one out. The audio version was great too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Jane, Unlimited

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore (2017)

This is one of those books that I was highly anticipating, but then when it finally came out I somehow didn't get around to reading it. Then it kind of fell off my radar for a while until fairly recently when somebody mentioned it and my interest was renewed.

Jane is a young woman raised by her Aunt Magnolia after her parents were killed. Aunt Magnolia was a very adventurous photographer and has recently died on an Antarctic expedition. Jane is invited by her acquaintance Kiran to her family's mansion and Jane remembers her Aunt Magnolia making her promise that if she was ever invited to Tu Reviens, she'd go. Once there, she sees a number of suspicious happenings and tries to decide which to investigate. Here, the story splits into five different paths, each representing a different choice Jane makes at that juncture.

Cashore explains that the concept for the book was originally going to be an old-school straight-up Choose Your Own Adventure, but instead she chose one decision point and one story for each path chosen by Jane. This could have very easily fallen flat, but I'm happy to say that it worked for me and I enjoyed all of the stories. Ok, maybe some of them more than others, but each was compelling or entertaining in its own way. There were so many different things going on in that house, and each story delved into one part of it, though there was crossover to the other goings-on. Different characters featured in the stories too, so we got to know some of them better in some plotlines than in others.

I loved Jane and how she was at loose ends without her beloved Aunt, yet still an intrepid and curious explorer. She wanted to get to the bottom of the mysteries at Tu Reviens! Kiran's family, their staff, and friends were mysterious and quirky and Jane didn't know who to trust but she sallied forth and took risks that paid off. Jane was also an artist who made beautiful, inventive umbrellas. She was kind of attracted to Kiran's twin brother Ravi, but also kind of attracted to one of the house staff, Ivy. Soon after arriving at the house, she quickly developed a very close relationship with the resident basset hound, Jasper.

Altogether I found this novel to be a very fun surprise! It's quite different from Cashore's other books, which are also very good, but I think this one is more my cup of tea. Splitting off into different stories was risky and it could have been confusing to read, but it wasn't. Each story was different enough that I didn't find it hard to orient myself and keep the plot straight. I didn't want to put it down. I hope we don't have to wait too long for her next book, especially now that I've learned from this post that it takes place on a ship in the Arctic. It already sounds like my kind of book!

Friday, December 21, 2018

2019 TBR Pile Challenge



It's time it's time it's time! It's time to make a book list for 2019! Yay!

As you may know, I've been doing the TBR Pile Challenge for many years and it never gets old. In fact, there were a couple years when Adam at Roof Beam Reader wasn't hosting it and I just did it on my own. This reading challenge works for me and I can't let go of it.

The way it works is this: you make a list of 12 books (and 2 alternates) that have been languishing on your TBR pile or list for more than a year and try to read them in the upcoming year. Right now this means books I've been wanting to read since before January 1, 2018. I don't own a lot of books myself, so most of mine are from my Goodreads "to read" shelf, which I stopped using for a while and started again in mid-2017. Most of these are from that list, but a few are books I do have copies of sitting around.

My 2018 list is here, and as you can see from my linked reviews, I read all but one book on my main list and both alternates. Which counts as a win! It was such a great list too - I can't believe how long I put off reading some of these amazing books. Here's hoping this year's list is as good.

1. Nefarious Twit by Tony McMillen (failed in 4/19)
2. Shattering Glass by Gail Giles (finished 1/18/19)
3. Version Control by Dexter Palmer
4. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (finished 3/17/19)
5. We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Grey Carlisle (finished 5/18/19)
6. Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller (finished 2/19/19)
7. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (finished 2/3/19)
8. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
9. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (finished 3/10/19)
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (finished 5/28/19)
11. Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright (admitted defeat 2/17/19)
12. Paradox Bound by Peter Clines (finished 4/28/19)

My two alternates:

1. The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
2. My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

This is a very different list from last year. For one thing, I've only got three nonfiction books on the list, and one of those is a memoir. Two of them are fairly short, though Prairie Fires is apparently over 600 pages. Yikes. The only other books over 400 pages are Pachinko, Red Sister, and Version Control and I'm not super worried about them because they're all fiction and still under 500 pages.

I am most excited about Pachinko and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, because I've heard so much about them! And most intimidated by Prairie Fires, now that I realize how long it is. I'm so interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder though. As you can see I've also got another book about that family on the list - the novel, Caroline: Little House Revisited.

As usual, as I complete and post about the books on the list I'll update the list above with links to the reviews. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A few nonfiction self-help books

I've read a few books of advice recently that I started, not knowing if I'd finish, skimmed bits, but then ended up reading most of. So here's a rundown!

Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring For Your Mental Health by Kati Morton (2018)

Written by a marriage and family therapist, this is a basic guide to mental health, knowing when to get help from a professional, what kind of help is available, and what it's like to see a therapist. There are also a few chapters on particular issues like toxic relationships and communication problems, which honestly felt a little out of place. It would have made sense if they were in their own section. I suspect this guide was written for young people as it mentions seeing your school counselor, but that was the only indication and I think it's probably helpful to anyone. I haven't seen this sort of guide before and some of the most helpful bits were about seeing a therapist, how that might work with insurance, why you always have to leave a message when you call, and what it's like when you go for an appointment. Practical, useful advice.

A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (2018)

At my workplace we've got at least three non-binary staff members, and recently every department was given a copy of this book because people have been struggling with pronoun usage. This is a very short quick comic-style guide to what it all means, why it's important to use the pronouns people tell you to use for them, and tips for practicing using the pronouns and recovering when you make a mistake. Fun, friendly, informative guide!

Your Best Year Yet!: A Proven Method for Making the Next Twelve Months the Most Successful Ever by Jinny Ditzler (1994)

I just heard a quick mention of this book somewhere - possibly in the Facebook group for the By the Book podcast? - and since it's December and I'm thinking about goals and setting up my new planner and whatnot, I thought I'd check it out. I wasn't planning to necessarily read it all, but I ended up doing so and completing the exercises by answering questions about my past year and what I accomplished as well as disappointments, and using this to formulate goals for the new year. I don't know if the goals are different than they would have been anyhow, to be honest, but I found it useful and heartening to look over the past year at everything that happened. (It was a better year than I had thought.) Each chapter was about one of the questions and explained what it meant, why it was important to answer, and how to answer it, sometimes with other helpful exercises included. At the end is a Best Year Yet Workshop section, which confused me because it seemed to just be a shortened, more concise version of the whole thing. I wondered if I was meant to read the chapters but not answer the questions yet and then do it all at the end? Yet the chapters seemed to be telling me to do the exercises as I went along. I also found that, like most self-help books, there was a pretty heavy focus on money. It was just in the examples, so it didn't really affect my experiences, but it bugged me. As I worked through, I sometimes felt like it would have worked better had I answered previous questions differently. But I *always* have that experience in any exercise where you answer a question and then use that answer for something else. The examples are so neat and tidy! But my life and experiences aren't. Anyhow, it was still helpful.

Whew! That's a lot of advice! And generally just a lot of nonfiction to be reading basically all at the same time. But I got something of value out of each of them. I really like getting advice about things and then just taking what I need and find useful, and not worrying about the rest.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (2018)

Nine people arrive at a health resort called Tranquillum House, hoping to change their lives, heal wounds, or lose weight. The methods promise to be unorthodox, but this group has no idea what's actually in store for them.

First we meet Frances, a romance novelist whose career seems to be on the wane and who has just been the victim of a scam artist. Next is Lars, a lawyer who makes a hobby of visiting health resorts like this one (well, not quite like this one.) Young couple Ben and Jessica won a lottery and it's destroying their lives. The Marconi family have suffered a loss they seem unable to recover from. Tony is a former athlete trying to deal with news he's just received about his health. Carmel is a stay-at-home mother of four whose husband left her and has remarried, and who is obsessed with her weight.

Then there's Yao, who we meet in the prologue when, as a paramedic, he is called to help a woman in distress. That woman is Masha, former corporate executive and now owner of Tranquillum House, where Yao now works.

The ten-day retreat begins as it always does. There's meditation, healthy food, a few days of complete silence. But then Masha introduces some experimental elements to the retreat, and things do not go as expected for anyone.

The story shifts between perspectives of all these many characters, which could have been confusing but isn't at all. They're not all represented equally - Frances is the predominant narrator here, with other characters' perspectives peppering the story. We get to know the first couple of characters before more are introduced, and this makes it easy to keep everyone straight. It also helps that they're all so different from each other.

I liked Frances a lot. Twice-divorced, being a romance novelist doesn't mean she's idealistic about love. She says early on "Once you knew everything there was to know about someone, you were generally ready to divorce them." Her most recent book didn't sell, and when she learned the man she was ready to move overseas for wasn't who he claimed to be, she decided she needed some help. A friend had visited Tranquillum House and highly recommended it. Frances decided to try it, though she wasn't completely sold on all the ideas. For instance, she snuck in some contraband wine and chocolate, which was immediately confiscated.

The Marconi family were Napoleon and Heather and their daughter Zoe. Her twin brother Zach had died just about three years ago, and none of them were dealing with it well. The parents were incredibly overprotective of Zoe now, and all three of them harbored guilt over Zach's death but didn't talk to each other about it.

Oh, and Masha had some pretty intense secrets of her own. Also, she is batshit crazy. All of the characters were compelling in their own way, and seeing them together in a situation that became rather desperate was the best part of this novel.

Even though Moriarty's books have dark, serious themes they are always so much fun! She creates such vivid characters and intriguing situations but she's also very funny. They're just a joy to read and this newest offering is no different. If you've enjoyed her other books, this is a must-read, but I'd also recommend it to someone trying her work for the first time.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2013)

Since this has been made into a popular movie, you probably know the basics. Nicholas Young is bringing his girlfriend Rachel Chu to Singapore for the summer because his best friend is getting married. But he hasn't told Rachel much about his family, who are extraordinarily wealthy and inhabit a social sphere that Rachel probably doesn't realize exists. He thinks there will be no problem with this. It's as though he's never actually met his own family or friends before.

His cousin Astrid - one of the two characters I like in this book (the other being Rachel) - tries to warn him, but Nick is pretty stupid and won't listen to her. So of course Rachel is caught completely by surprise, his family won't accept her, some of his acquaintances decide to try and sabotage their relationship, and basically it's like a terrible reality show with a tacked-on happy-ish ending that doesn't actually make sense.

These people are mostly all horrible and nobody actually learns anything during the course of the story. Nobody grows as a person or learns anything new. Perhaps Nick realizes he should have been more forthcoming with Rachel, but that's it. (Minor rant: he also "learns" that if a woman breaks up with you, you should continue to pursue her until you get her back, because obviously women do not know what they actually want and no probably doesn't mean no.) Everyone is completely self-centered, vapid, and uncaring about anyone not in their social sphere. It's hard for me to like anything about that.

The writing was a bit forced in parts, too. For one thing, grown women in this story are constantly giggling at odd times that don't make sense. Some of the dialogue was also a big unrealistic, such as when Rachel discovers a nasty prank in her room, a kind person asks if she's ok, and she says, "No, no, I'll be fine. I'm just shaking involuntarily." Hello, let me narrate my signs of distress right now.

Here's what I did like: I liked Rachel and Astrid and their stories. Astrid was having marital difficulties (spoiler: they were fabricated, which was a totally cheap plot point), and was the only wealthy character who was anything other than a collection of eccentricities slapped together on the page. Rachel, as a "regular person" was the only other one I could really relate to. She has this great boyfriend but he hasn't shared much about his life, keeping some pretty key information from her and then just setting her down into the middle of it all and leaving her to deal with it. I felt bad for her. Nick was ok, there just wasn't much to him and, as I said, he's kind of stupid.

I also liked the settings, which were mostly in parts of Singapore and Hong Kong. As you may know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I visited Hong Kong in 2012 and I really like reading books that are set there. That's probably one of the reasons I ended up reading this, and I did enjoy reading about parts of Hong Kong that I recognized.

I also like the cover design. Simple, yet eye-catching.

I don't even know what made me pick this book up, to be honest. I don't enjoy wealthy entitled people being horrible, but I guess I hoped there would be more to it. Especially given that it's over 500 pages long. Surely there would be some real substance here. There's not.

I almost put the book down several times in favor of something else (I had the new Liane Moriarty on deck!) but wanted to find out what would become of Astrid's marriage. It wasn't really worth it. And once again, I always find much more to say about a book I don't really like than one I do. I'm actually rather curious how the movie compares and I may still see it, since most of this is about the settings and clothing and I think it might be visually entertaining. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Working Stiff

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell (2014), narrated by Tanya Eby

I bought this audiobook impulsively when Audible was having a sale and I was in the mood for memoirs. I had never heard of this one, but was intrigued by the description as it says she worked as a medical examiner in the wake of 9/11.

Judy Melinek intended to be a surgeon, but the grueling schedule wasn't for her (and, to be honest, didn't sound like it was very healthy for her patients either.) So she quit her residency and began working as a forensic pathologist in New York in the summer of 2001. Mostly, the book was more thematic than linear, with chapters focused on different types of deaths like homicides, suicides, accidents, and those from substance abuse. She talks about her experiences performing autopsies, the things she looked for, and what she learned.

It was about 3/4 of the way through the book when she talks about 9/11 and its aftermath. Although that was what reeled me in, and I was initially disappointed that it wasn't more of a focus of the book, I found everything about her job so fascinating that I'm glad she shared so much of it. Obviously 9/11 was a huge catastrophe, but what really set it apart from her other work was the scale, and the need to devise a different workflow. The actual work was similar, except that there were a lot of, um....incomplete bodies, which affected the organizational system. I'm not going to get more specific here because it goes into a territory that is not going to be comfortable for a lot of people.

So that's one important thing to know about this book. It's pretty graphic, and it has to be in order to get a feel for what Melinek's job is actually like. If you are easily grossed out or upset by things having to do with the human body, things that can happen to it, and vivid descriptions of horrific deaths, this is not the book for you. However, I find this kind of thing fascinating. And so does Judy Melinek. Of course she was affected by some of the things she saw. There was even one situation in which she paused over a body bag containing more than one small child (from a plane crash that happened just a couple of months after 9/11), and a coworker quickly volunteered to take that job. He knew she had young children.

Mostly though, she wasn't bothered, and it didn't make her worry more for her family. She saw a lot of death and knew that the more horrific accidents were actually pretty rare. She's just extremely interested in the human body and loves learning more about it, and happens to not be especially bothered by dead people. She talked a lot about her mentors and what she learned from them, and she also touched on her father's death when she was a teenager and how that has shaped her view of suicide and affected how she interacts with the families who are left behind.

It was a fairly short book (the hardcover edition is 258 pages) and the narrator was great, so I was pretty engrossed and flew through it. It was a great impulse buy and exactly what I wanted to listen to at the time. If you're interested in this kind of science, or just like learning about unusual jobs, I recommend it.