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DO NOT IGNORE YOUR MORTALITY

PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM A FUNERAL & FINANCIAL INSIDER

An authoritative, useful overview of making final arrangements.

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Barnsdale offers a brief but useful discussion about planning for death in this nonfiction work.

With his combined expertise as a licensed funeral director and a certified financial planner, the author is uniquely qualified to discuss both the temporal and financial aspects of dying. Five short but informative chapters cover communicating end-of-life wishes, creating a will, funeral planning, estate planning, and powers of attorney and health care directives. Recognizing the difficulty of the subject for many people, he offers a helpful list of five “icebreakers,” questions designed to prompt further discussion, such as, “I’ve been thinking more about my life and how I want to be remembered. How will you remember me?” The book goes on to present basic information about preparing a will, including a discussion of the executor’s role and using a lawyer versus a do-it-yourself service. A section that specifically addresses “funeral, cremation & burial planning” may be the most unsettling for some readers; in a sensitive yet objective manner, the author covers such issues as whether or not the body of the deceased should be viewed, what happens if a death occurs away from home, the increasing popularity of cremation, the “death awareness movement,” organ donation, and natural, “green” burials. The author offers a brief overview of estate planning with the caveat that he is a financial planner but not an estate attorney. The final chapter addresses the creation of legal “incapacity documents”; Barnsdale advises, “Thinking about our potential incapacity is not uplifting, but considering the risks of doing nothing, it is important.” This book is more of an introduction to the process of death planning than a substantive discussion. Still, it can act as a valuable conversation starter for a difficult subject.

An authoritative, useful overview of making final arrangements.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2023

ISBN: 9781525584916

Page Count: 120

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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