Thanks, PG!, John Isaac Jones

Thanks, PG!, John Isaac Jones

Thanks, PG!: Memoirs of a Tabloid Reporter

In Thanks, PG!, John Isaac Jones takes us on an in-depth exploration of the world of tabloids through the eyes of Billy Don Johnson, a pharmacist turned reporter from Alabama whose ideals of reporting are not matching up to the realities of the traditional press. Driven to seek out something new and different, he tries out for the National Insider, a tabloid headquartered in Florida. Once there, Billy Don is immediately enthralled by the complete contrast of the Insider’s style with the papers he’s worked for previously, and awed by the mythos of PG, the owner and editor in chief. Billy Don goes on to cover everything from the history of the ascension of Mao Zedong to the many affairs of Marlon Brando.

John Isaac Jones’s protagonist is an Alabama boy with a yearning to break away from the expectations set on him, willing to take some risks to make his dream for his life come true. As a character, he is eminently relatable, and that underlies and links the cameo stories of events and people that comprise much of the book. Written in a quirky first person, this book will draw you into Billy Don’s life and offer a fascinating, insider view of the world of tabloid reporting. Thanks, PG! showcases the proverb that the truth is stranger than fiction. Definitely a recommended read.

Life Without Ceilings, Mary L Gorden

Life Without Ceilings, Mary L Gorden

Life Without Ceilings: A Woman’s Career in Computers

Life Without Ceilings is the memoir of Mary L. Gorden, describing her early life as a Navy child in the years following World War II, and the fascinating and unique story of her path to a career in the emerging field of computer programming in the 1960s.

In a twist that many of us may be familiar with, being told what she couldn’t or shouldn’t do from an early age proved to be a catalyst rather than a hindrance, and Mary’s interest in science, mathematics, and engineering survived through multiple moves and a series of religious schools that either didn’t offer those subjects, or didn’t understand why a girl would want to study them. Mary graduated straight into a computer programming position with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and found herself in a niche perfectly suited to allow her to make use of her strengths.

I’ll be up-front and admit I don’t read a lot of memoirs. When I do, I’m often pleasantly surprised by how engrossed I can get in someone else’s life. Life Without Ceilings definitely fell into that category. I found myself grinning in sympathy over the ‘girls don’t’ sections, and drawn in by interests touching my own career as Mary described her time working with Visa in the early days of chip encoding. Above and beyond the fact that Mary’s story is well-worth the read, the book is very well-written and full of insights that take it far beyond a bare recital of facts.

Life without ceilings cover

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