LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK AND THE WILL TO LEAD by Sheryl Sandberg
Feminism for Dummies. A reductive, pedantic and whiney book, by a writer who equates success with being the boss. Did I say writer? Not really. The writing is pedestrian. (“Find the right career for you and go all the way to the top… I would not suggest that anyone move beyond feeling confident into arrogance or boastfulness. No one likes that in men or women. But feeling confident—or pretending that you feel confident—is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché, but opportunities are rarely offered; they’re seized.”) A national bestseller? Well, okay. If what she’s saying is new to you, then you need this book.
While I’m at it, Sandberg is yet another person reviling teachers and making inaccurate generalizations about us: “Boys are more likely to call out answers and when they do, teachers usually listen to them. When girls call out, teachers often scold them for breaking the rules and remind them to raise their hands if they want to speak.” True in some classrooms, no doubt. But decidedly not the case in many others.
ANT FARM by Simon Rich
Uh-oh. Has my roll of fabulous summer reading run its course? Thumbs down for two-in-a-row. I was in the mood for something light and funny; Rich’s book had a laudatory quote from Jon Stewart, and was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor (okay, so I’ve never heard of the Thurber Prize). But I read all of Part I without so much as cracking a smile. These literary potato chips—a page or two in length apiece—are, imho, obvious and not funny. (Oh, and full of nitwit teachers.)