Book Review – Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World


TITLE: Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World
AUTHOR: Doug Saunders
PAGES:  384 pages
PUBLISHED: October 4th 2011
PUBLISHER: Vintage Canada
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Canadian, Urban Planning, Architecture, Sociology, Economics/Politics

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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The twenty-first century is entering an epoch that is reshaping our cities and economies by the appearance of Arrival Cities, a term coined by Saunders, which explains the final migration from the rural village to urban areas. This isn’t a localised event focused on the developing world, it is a global phenomenon that is affecting everyone worldwide. These arrival cities establish new lives, where immigrants integrate themselves into a new world socially and economically, to set up life for themselves and their family. Saunders explores slums, gecekondu, favlas, barriadas and various other arrival city enclaves, which provide low-cost housing usually on the outskirts of major cities for individuals to gain entry-level jobs and to generally provide money for their family back in the village until they can make the full transition to urban and middle-class life.

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Arrival City is a richly-themed study of migration across the world, looking at a very old problem in a new way. Saunders casts arrival cities in a positive light, especially the slums which were previously thought as dysfunctional but as he explains, are very organised and an integral part of our society. He explains clearly the role that is needed for producing functional arrival cities and more of the process of acculturation than total immersion. I personally enjoyed this book and how he provided an unromanticized view of village life which is still a big hindrance for governments resisting arrival cities as they have a warped sense of village struggles and culture. I also enjoyed how he humanised the phenomenon by introducing us to real individuals and their personal stories. From this I could make the connection from my own families immigrant history to Canada, and the migrants presented in the story, and perhaps our lives aren’t so different even thousands of miles away.

I noticed that Saunders omitted any discussion about the role of economic growth in playing a part of raising the living standards of migrants. In places like China and Brazil, countries he wrote about, their economies are growing at an alarming rate and at what point does the wealth trickle down to the poor? Following the ‘trickle-down theory’ which essentially gives tax breaks to business which in turn creates more jobs for lower and middle class individuals and leads to goods at lower prices, these seem like all things that would be very beneficial to migrants who are in need of jobs and cheaper goods but Saunders doesn’t speak much about the effect economics play into arrival cities.
Saunders raises many issues not just about what is happening right now but for the future of our cities. After I read the book, I wonder what the consequences of mass migration to cities with non-functioning enclaves in the future will be, especially if governments continue to ignore communities that feel complete isolation and then diverge into more extremist ways of living

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ARC Book Review -Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles)


TITLE: Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles)
AUTHOR: Sarah Andersen
PAGES:  128 pages
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
GENRE: Graphic Novel/Comic Book, Humor, Non-Fiction

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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I received this as an ebook and I’m so curious if this will have that same velour fuzzy stuff on the cover that the first novel had. That stuff was the best.

Much like the first comic book of Sarah’s Scribbles, I feel like all introverts need to read this. Sarah Andersen is so relatable it’s mind-blowing. Even things that don’t have to do with being introvert or having social anxiety were relatable to me. Like how she always steals her boyfriend’s clothes (hmm big sweaters) and the panel that describes all the alternative things a boyfriend brings to the relationship (I checked off each one). It feels like Sarah Andersen knows you personally, which makes me happy because it reminds me that even if I often feel alone in this world there are many people who do think/act like me.

Even though there were a few panels that were very similar to previous ones I felt like the entire book was more inspiring than the last. I loved all of the female friendship positivity.

And I might be an outlier here but I think I like this one better than her first book. Maybe just marginally as I gave them both 5 stars. Sarah you can do no wrong!

P.S. I would also like to know how some girls have beautiful hair after four days of not washing. I’m definitely the second-day = gross hair type person. No amount of dry shampoo can tame these locks.

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)


TITLE: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
AUTHOR: Mindy Kaling
PAGES: 222
PUBLISHED: November 1st 2011
PUBLISHER: Crown Archetype
GENRE: Non Fiction, Humor, Autobiography and Memoir.


Rating - 3 Bird


Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

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I thought I would enjoy this a lot more than I did. It just wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, especially compared to Tina Fey and Ellen Degeneres’ book but it did have a few brilliant moments. There was probably only 2 really laugh-out-loud moment in the whole book though which was disappointing for me.

And after reading this I feel like Mindy has a lot more in common with Kelly from The Office than previously thought (which could be taken as good or bad). I mean most of the book was about boys and relationships. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, I just thought the book was going to be different. She talked a little about her struggled before making it big on the Office but I wish there was more writing on that and less on the qualities of men she wants to date. I have to say, the thing about loving her parents too much and them being “pals” I realllllly loved.

So it had a few shining moments, and I did like that she was completely unapologetic in terms of what she liked (style, music) and how she feels but overall what I took from this is that Mindy Kaling would make a seriously awesome best friend but a very annoying coworker.