This really isn't a book about atheism. Which is fine, but it's really more of a memoir and I sort of came away not liking him very much, while at the...moreThis really isn't a book about atheism. Which is fine, but it's really more of a memoir and I sort of came away not liking him very much, while at the same time appreciating his occasional frailty.
I found it interesting that he gave no empirical reasons for atheism (other than the standard he can't see God with his own eyes) yet was SO ADAMANTLY AND FORECEFULLY for it, while at the same time commenting often that the louder he protests something, the more he's hoping for someone to prove him wrong.
Quotes I liked:
On talking about how the magic he and Teller do are mostly just dumb things they practice for much much longer than they are worth to get right: "Our deep secret is simply misplaced priorities."
Why he hates the Frosty the Snowman song: "'There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found, for when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around.' Correlation is not causation, you stupid Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys Song-composing motherfucker!"
On securityedition.com: "It's a website that sells little playing-card-sized metal copies of the Bill of Rights, with the Fourth Amendmenet (search and seizure) highlighted... The Security Edition Bill of Rights sets off the metal detector and you say to the guard, "Oh, here -- take my rights."(less)
This was another not-sure-whether-to-give-it-2-or-4-stars book. Also, another book that was categorized as humor that I did not find in any way remote...moreThis was another not-sure-whether-to-give-it-2-or-4-stars book. Also, another book that was categorized as humor that I did not find in any way remotely funny. But I love memoirs. And that this one (much like the Glass Castle) was written in an unnerving, objective, passing no judgements recounting of crazy with an underlying current of oh my God, I can't believe I didn't know this was crazy. Which I can greatly identify with. I thought this one was perhaps less true to life and more rachet-up-the-crazy-just-a-bit-more-than-reality-so-people-really-get-the-crazy-message than The Glass Castle. And I think it would have been a better book if it were more honest and less no-you-don't-understand-really-it-was-crazy.(less)
I love books on cooking and entertaining and hospitality and particularly I love cookbooks that are random and strange and full of recipes with lots o...moreI love books on cooking and entertaining and hospitality and particularly I love cookbooks that are random and strange and full of recipes with lots of cheese and potato chip crumbs. I also like hearing about the Sedaris childhood.
So I liked this book a lot. And I liked that it was straight up actual entertaining book, with random ridiculousness thrown in. For instance, in the midst of an actual, real set of recommendations about making guests at a party feel comfortable, she advises, "if you see someone boring someone else, just be grateful it's not you" and "if you see a shy person, ask them some questions, like "why are you so shy? Tell everyone. We're all listening."
I read this on my iPad but I might buy a physical copy so I can keep it with the rest of my cookbook collection and make some of the recipes.
I'm not super into her writing style though. It's a bit too rushed and frenetic. It's sort of like she's frantically running from one idea to the next, trying to avoid any lulls in conversation. I don't know if it's because she hops so much from one subject to the next or what. I've come across this writing style before and I just find it very distracting.
I'm sure she'd rather not be compared with her brother, but honestly, the style is a bit anti-David Sedaris. Particularly when you hear him read his writing, it has a soft flow with pauses and quiet reflection. Sort of like being in in a warm pool of a luxury spa. Whereas her writing is more like being pelted with rocks.(less)
Believe it or not, I had no idea who Craig Ferguson was before I read this book, but I picked it up because I really really wanted to try and make boo...moreBelieve it or not, I had no idea who Craig Ferguson was before I read this book, but I picked it up because I really really wanted to try and make book club this month and thought I'd better read the book. Of course, as always, I was not able to make book club, dammit. But I did like the book. That I liked it without knowing who he was (hey, I don't watch TV, I can't help it) I think says something good about the book.(less)
Maybe what I find the most compelling about memoirs is the mix of self-awareness and complete lack of it (as it makes me wonder about the times I've b...moreMaybe what I find the most compelling about memoirs is the mix of self-awareness and complete lack of it (as it makes me wonder about the times I've been this way with my own life). The author might say (as happens in this book), "here's this completely ridiculous thing that I did that was clearly insane, and obviously, here's how it turned out", and then other times, present (seemingly) equally ridiculous events as completely rational.
Of course, even with a memoir, where the author is letting you see a bit from her perspective, you can't ever really be in someone's place and understand their motivations or say entirely what you would have done in the same situation or even what the right thing to do is. Which is another compelling point of memoirs - they remind you of this.
In this case, what I found hardest to understand was Mary's continued relationship with her mother. Just her go, I kept wanting to tell her. But there seemed to never even be a moment when she thought about that possibility.
I liked the bits of meta here, when she described how she had her mom and sister read her first book, as they were the main characters and the book was no holds barred.
Of course, neither of these points were the main focus of the book. I found the whole book to be honest. And again, as an aside, It is amazing, as she points out, how certain moments that are so important to the turn of events in your life become out of focus and lost to time.(less)
I wanted this book to be more interesting than it was. I also wanted the author (as he's a journalist) to be a better writer. I found parts of it inte...moreI wanted this book to be more interesting than it was. I also wanted the author (as he's a journalist) to be a better writer. I found parts of it interesting -- especially as much of it focused on Brazil, where I just was.
But honestly the most fascinating part was how delusional he seemed to be. He gave lip service to stats on slavery issues with the sex trade, but spent considerably more time talking about how all the women he's been with obviously were thrilled to be there and were only prostitutes because they loved sex so much. (No, really. I think he actually believes this.)
He also seemed to really believe that women were with him not so much for his money, but because deep down, they really liked him. In fact, several times he tells stories of how he spent a night or more with a woman and then when she asked him for money, he said no way because he thought she was hanging out with him because she wanted to, not for the money. I hope these stories aren't true, because if so, he's just ripped off a prostitute. He prefers the GFE (girlfriend experience) to a quickie, but then seems to convince himself the girls who provide the GFE service really *do* want to be his girlfriend.