A very engaging read that pulls you along on a journey through Africa during the British Colonial era with its characters and insights and wild mix ofA very engaging read that pulls you along on a journey through Africa during the British Colonial era with its characters and insights and wild mix of cultured English mannerisms combined with lions and zebras and snakes . . . oh my! Then you follow Dahl through his war exploits as an RAF fighter pilot during WWII. It's upbeat, quirky and has all that you'd expect from one of the century's best storytellers. ...more
the idea of documenting a mescalin trip was novel to Huxley's generation and in Doors he investigates ideas that helped shape a social revolution andthe idea of documenting a mescalin trip was novel to Huxley's generation and in Doors he investigates ideas that helped shape a social revolution and introduce questions onto the nature of reality and perception. I admire him for his insight and I enjoyed his thoughts on what makes art the prime communication vehicle, as well as how vital chemical use is and has been on our social advancement.
I recommend this book to anyone who claims all drug use is bad . . . it's not....more
Mike Matusow writes in stark detail about his life - the good and the bad. It's a wild ride through the perils of addiction, the heights of poker starMike Matusow writes in stark detail about his life - the good and the bad. It's a wild ride through the perils of addiction, the heights of poker stardom and from being broke to being rich in Vegas. I enjoyed the story and even though the writing was rough at times, it felt like a story told from the heart....more
Kitchen Confidential is part an autobiographical tour through the seedy drug-addled life of an up and coming New York celebrity chef, part travelogueKitchen Confidential is part an autobiographical tour through the seedy drug-addled life of an up and coming New York celebrity chef, part travelogue through the names and places of the Big Apple's culinary history, and part awe-inspiring fan letter to the most pure ingredients prepared lovingly by professionals who truly seek perfection. With nods toward the pop-culture icons and recognition of the rolling entourages of powerful people, Anthony Bourdain creates a memoir that takes his readers to those smoky steakhouses and noisy Italian Bistros and makes them sample the greatness that is the New York food scene.
I loved every minute of this book with its clever prose and fast-paced memory tour. Bourdain can not only sear a filet to perfection, the man can write. He can write so well that oft-times it's difficult to believe that he's slaved over grills on endless twelve hour days and still found time to write one of the best books I've read this year - and one of the best back-stage memoirs I've ever picked up. If you can't follow him on his journey and enjoy every morsel he feeds you, you're absent taste buds or a fondness for gritty stylistic prose.
This book is real life, man. It comes with all the ugly and beauty that is life and without one you can't appreciate the other. ...more
First of all, there is nothing wrong with this book. It's engaging, well written, and glimpses the life of a man who helped shape science and our cultFirst of all, there is nothing wrong with this book. It's engaging, well written, and glimpses the life of a man who helped shape science and our culture in his generation and in many generations to come. If I have any problems with the book, it's that I've read these tales before; several times. I like Feynman a lot and I respect nearly unrivaled genius. I think there are lessons to take from his life and use - his work ethic, and especially his analysis of every aspect of life, nature, and physics. The fact that he was such a successful scientist and educator for the entire length of his life speaks to his durability.
I do agree with other reviewers who pointed out the inordinate amount of space dedicated to the Challenger disaster investigation. It's important to be sure, but it doesn't feel like it fits in with the rest of the book very well - I guess it interrupts the flow.
However, for people who know little of the esteemed Dr, this is an excellent primer for his life, his work, and his legacy. ...more
The more I read, the more I became annoyed. There's a fundamental rule in writing and that's Show, don't Tell. However, nearly every incident in LilyThe more I read, the more I became annoyed. There's a fundamental rule in writing and that's Show, don't Tell. However, nearly every incident in Lily Casey Smith's life follows this pattern: Tell the reader an anecdote is coming and that it has a moral lesson, show the anecdote, then tell the reader how hard living and toughness perseveres over soft citified spoiled lives. The book could've been half the size if the reader would've been given the respect and consideration of being able to figure out this litany on their own. For God's sake, it was on every page of the manuscript.
I also had the impression beat into me that Lily Casey was a very insecure woman. I say that because she constantly justified her actions, picked fights, and lived with a chip on her shoulder trying to rationalize her life's difficulties and choices to those whom she felt had an advantage due to wealth, education, or circumstance. This insecurity made for cringe-worthy moments on end.
I would've enjoyed the book if it were a story of one tough woman and her life in the Southwest U.S.A. a hundred years ago. I didn't enjoy the preaching and sermonizing about how no one who didn't live Lily's life was worth a "plugged nickel" or had no common sense.
The author could've used a truthful critique when she was in draft stage....more
This is a quick, easy read - filled with humor, anecdotes and the insights of a boy become man, a musician become legend. It's a look into the mind ofThis is a quick, easy read - filled with humor, anecdotes and the insights of a boy become man, a musician become legend. It's a look into the mind of a humble genius....more
I never watched The Next Generation. It wasn't because of I'm not a nerd, I am. It was because I was busy ruAn Open Letter to Wil Wheaton:
I never watched The Next Generation. It wasn't because of I'm not a nerd, I am. It was because I was busy running around three different continents with a uniform and the rifle and I just never got around to it. As a result, I didn't know that you and ruin the show: completely unaware. In the dark.
You see, I know Wil Wheaton as the guy with the insightful blog, the somewhat nerdy persona, and the guest star on shows like The Big Bang Theory and Eureka. It's not that I didn't know that you were on Star Trek, it's just that I didn't know your role or the fact that you've been under a cloud of anger and animosity from fans and from the show's producers for much of your life.
You're a writer Mr. Wheaton. That's why I picked up this book. I was dragged to W00tStock last year in Minneapolis. I enjoy the show, but you weren't the reason I was attending. Then I heard you perform a story about the first time you went to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It blew me away. "Dude's an actor, what the fuck! He has no business being a writer," I thought.
I don't know if you're great actor. I haven't seen you in enough roles to be able to tell. Granted, you were fantastic in Stand by Me. That's when you were a kid. I do know you're a great writer. One of those writers who made me care about things I never cared about before like Star Trek and conventions and auditions. You made me part of your story and you took me a long and introduced me to people and situations and I cared about them.
Joan Didion laid bare her life in what was at times a very touching journey through grief and guilt and sadness, but at other times was just an out-ofJoan Didion laid bare her life in what was at times a very touching journey through grief and guilt and sadness, but at other times was just an out-of-touch romp through the life of the privileged intellectual elite. There were flashes when I thought I could feel what she was trying to convey, but then she'd drop names and places and fantastical adventures where fabulous people nattered about inconsequential events over cocktails on the Riviera, thinking they were changing the world for the good. It's such a disconnect from the life that 99.9% of the population lives. It got to me, and it made me dislike her, even in her time of sorrow.
People die in everyone's lives, and grief haunts us all. But we don't have maids to clean up the mess, or doormen to note the precise comings and goings of the deceased, or Paris escapes to make our last days comfortable, or random jet flights because we feel like we need different air or water or vintage wines. In other lives, people die and we have to pick up the pieces right there and move on from that spot because there aren't other choices. We have to be strong because to give up means to be trampled.
It's a world apart and Didion made me feel unwelcome....more
A Cliche-filled life! A life where poverty is endearing and alcoholism is a quirk. A life where no matter how bad it gets, if you have some muster andA Cliche-filled life! A life where poverty is endearing and alcoholism is a quirk. A life where no matter how bad it gets, if you have some muster and a bit of can-do, you will get by. A life that I just don't want to hear any more about.
Sure, Jeannette Walls lived the white trash existence only a real Appalachian Redneck can appreciate, due to maternal neglect and paternal addiction and it was a difficult childhood. But there are a lot of things that just don't really add up for me and that's aside from the cliches.
As I hear it, several times she was "almost" sexually abused - well, her and her brother were "almost" sexually abused - but through her strong will she refused to let it happen. She refused to allow grown adults to have their way with her. She was even pimped out by her own dad in a pool hall hustle and she managed to stop the man. I just don't buy it. Children might get away sometimes, but in general when a pervert has the opportunity combined with a perceived impunity, that adult will abuse. I think we got a sanitized version of Ms. Walls life - - the made for t.v., or suitable for Reader's Digest version which will sooth the sensibilities of a readership who wants good to prevail and who wants poverty to be overcome by hiking oneself up and trying just one more time. Blech.
In the real America, neglected and malnourished children don't mature properly, and don't adjust. Those children barely scrape by and they do it without adequate schooling and with skewed morality. There is a reason for perpetual, generational poverty. What Ms. Walls writes about seems real on the face of it, but when examined against evidence it just doesn't ring true, but instead sounds more like the manufactured fable of the self-made man. It's convenient, but it's fiction.
And then there were the cute homilies and country witticisms thrown in on every page. Maybe real people in the real world say those things time and time again, but they aren't clever because they aren't original and they ought not be celebrated as if they are on the written page. It was grueling to read these nuggets of common sense stacked on top of each other like cord wood. Boring even. Poor writing most likely. Irritating definitely.
Putting on my Remember Board: Read No More Jeannette Walls....more
Simply the greatest Christmas story since Dickens. It's clever, funny, sarcastic like only Sedaris can be. What he gleaned from working a season at thSimply the greatest Christmas story since Dickens. It's clever, funny, sarcastic like only Sedaris can be. What he gleaned from working a season at the Macy's Santaland is priceless. Listen to him perform it on the audio version, with your family gathered 'round and you'll also be sore from laughing like I am. ...more