Book Review: Heartless

Most of us read about the Queen of Hearts for the first time in Alice in Wonderland. Heartless shows us a different side to this well-known character. The novel looks at the teenage years of Catherine and follows her journey as she looks to follows her dream of owning a bakery. This is a simple dream and it should be achievable (her family is quite wealthy); however they want her to marry an even wealthier man. Their dream for their daughter looks like it’s going to come to fruition when the King starts to court the 18-year-old Catherine. While marrying a King and becoming Queen would make...

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Book Review: Crazy is my Superpower

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a happy childhood. Some children are forced to grow up far too quickly; AJ Mendez Brooks was one of those children. Her autobiography, Crazy is my Superpower, tells this story. She grew up with young parents who found it difficult to hold down a job. As a result she and her three siblings were often left to fend for themselves. After moving from apartment to apartment the family found themselves homeless. They lived in their car for a while before moving into a motel in New Jersey. Throughout this challenging time AJ found comfort in comic books, video...

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Book Review: Bond Girl

Bond Girl (Erin Duffy, 2012) takes you behind the scenes of Wall Street, an arena dominated by men but this book shows what it’s like to be a young woman trying to carve out a career. Alex Garrett had always wanted to work in finance having taken inspiration from her father. After graduating from college she manages to secure an entry level job on Wall Street. She is one of only two female members of the 40 person team and she soon finds that being the new kid on the block isn’t all that glamorous. She is basically used as the office gofer for the first few weeks at the firm, alongside doing...

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Political Powerhouses: Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune is known for many things: her activism, her philanthropy and her work as an educator and civil rights activist. However, she was also a political activist. Mary was born in South Carolina, the daughter of two former slaves. After completing her education she planned on becoming a missionary in Africa before deciding to become a teacher instead. In 1917 she became the President of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). In 1924 she became the national president of the NACW, and went on to establish national headquarters in Washington D.C.,...

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Political Powerhouses: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

As someone who views American politics from afar, I have some major preconceived notions about Democrats and Republicans. To me, these two parties are the complete opposite of each other, and for the most part I thought all Democrats and all Republicans had the same beliefs and rarely stepped far from their party’s line. That’s why reading about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen such a pleasure. She was born in Cuba but fled to Florida to escape the Castro regime when she was a child. She began her career as an educator before entering politics. In 1989 she made history when she became the first...

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Political Powerhouses: Kamala Harris

The past week has been an incredibly tumultuous one in the United States. How many times this year have we said that? Following the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer social media erupted with condemnation of both those in attendance and the response of the President. One prominent politician who made her voice heard was Kamala Harris. The Democratic Senator from California took to her Facebook page to write a powerful post about the tragic events. ‘Many sides’ suggests that there is no right side or wrong side about what happened in...

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Political Powerhouses: Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth was born in Thailand, but moved around Asia due to her father’s work with the United Nations. As a result she is fluent in Thai and Indonesian, as well as English. At the age of 16 her family moved to Hawaii. She graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Hawaii in 1988, and went on to get her Master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University. Her family has a long history of military service, so when Tammy was a graduate student she joined the Army Reserves Training Corps. At the time–1990–there were limited options for...

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Political Powerhouses: Mazie Hirono

Last week, politicians in the United States voted to save the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Three Republicans stood with the united Democrats in saving the healthcare programme. Two of those Republicans, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have been opposed to the varied Republican proposals to gut the ACA since the beginning. The third, John McCain, is fighting brain cancer: he made headlines around the world for his vote. A Democratic Senator has a similar story to McCain, but didn’t make as many headlines. Mazie Hirono is currently battling Stage 4 kidney cancer,...

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Political Powerhouses: Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia in 1982. She came from a big family, the youngest of seven children. She was raised by her father and grandfather after her mother died when she was still young. In 1991, civil war broke out in Somalia, and she and her family were forced to flee to Kenya. Ilhan and her family spent four years in a refugee camp there before they immigrated to Minnesota. Ilhan graduated with a degree in political science and international studies from North Dakota State University. Afterwards, she worked as a Community Nutrition Educator with the University of Minnesota. She...

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Political Powerhouses: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was born in 1947 near Manila in the Philippines. When she was just 14 years old her father was elected President of the Philippines. As a result of coming from such a well-known family, she received the best education. She spent two years in Washington D.C. studying economics at Georgetown University, where she was a classmate of Bill Clinton. She returned to the Philippines, where she earned a Masters degree, then Doctorate, in economics. She then went on to become a university professor in economics. In 1986 she was appointed as the undersecretary of trade and...

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