Running with Scissors was the first book I read by Augusten Burroughs and it's the only one I ever like. Most of his books strike me as self-indulgentRunning with Scissors was the first book I read by Augusten Burroughs and it's the only one I ever like. Most of his books strike me as self-indulgent whining. The general theme of each is that he's strange and therefore his life has been hard. It's everyone's fault but his own.
In Running with Scissors, Burroughs tells of his thoroughly bizarre childhood. His mother and father are both shown to be as strange as he is, but in this book he presents it as just the way things were. I never had the feeling he was trying to vilify anyone and it never seemed like he was fishing for sympathy. Things were even more insane while he lived with his mother's psychiatrist, to the point where one had to wonder is this was really what he lived through or if he was embellishing for entertainments sake.
The description of the book states that this book is an "account of an ordinary boy's survival." This is kind of misleading. Burroughs is no ordinary boy. As I mentioned above, he's strange. As a child he had an obsession with neatness that went beyond the norm. He had a fixation where he needed to boil and shine any change he came across. As his family life deteriorated and he became more and more immersed into the psychiatrists lifestyle, he became manipulative. He engaged in a public sexual relationship with a 33 year old man when he was 13. He then used this relationship as a way to control the man. While the relationship shouldn't have been accepted to begin with, his reaction to the situation was not ordinary. Instead of acting like someone being abused, he became the abuser. What should have left me cheering for his empowerment made me think he was on the path to becoming a sociopath.
The book is entertaining and well written. As a novel, I couldn't praise it more. As a memoir, I find it mean spirited. Living through the hell he experienced, one would expect him to be damaged. And as far as I can see, he is. Instead of getting over the past and moving on, he churns out book after book bashing everyone who's ever done him wrong, becoming famous in the process. One has to wonder about someone who wants to be known for having a horrendous past. I never want to say harsh things about an author personally, but as he is the subject of the memoir, I can't help discussing him personally. I'm never made it a secret that I'm not a fan of Augusten Burroughs. Which is why it kind of embarrasses me when I have to admit that I really enjoyed Running with Scissors. If you ever have any interest in reading one of Burrough's memoirs, this is the one to pick up....more
I dislike biographies. In fact, I have never read a biography that I enjoyed even slightly. That all changed after reading Mockingbird: A Portrait ofI dislike biographies. In fact, I have never read a biography that I enjoyed even slightly. That all changed after reading Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. I absolutely loved this book. I loved how the stories and anecdotes were woven to tell the tale of Harper Lee, one of America's most famous female authors. After reading this book I feel as though I know Lee on a personal level and I really like her. I very much enjoyed reading about her childhood, her friendship with Truman Capote, her journey as a writer and how fame has its price. Mockingbird is one of the very best non-fiction books I have ever read. ...more
The Good: I liked Are You There Vodka so much more than My Horizontal Life. I actually kind of get why people really like Chelsea Handler and are inteThe Good: I liked Are You There Vodka so much more than My Horizontal Life. I actually kind of get why people really like Chelsea Handler and are interested in her life and stories. This book didn't shy away from her sexuality, but rather just put its main focus on the ludicrous situations she gets herself into without a common theme. She comes across as very humorous in this collection and it may very well motivate me to read some of her other books.
The Bad: You still have to take Handler with a grain of salt. She's not anywhere near as self-important as in My Horizontal Life, but she definitely has a way about here that can and will rub people the wrong way, even when they're enjoying her stories. It may be her writing style, but either way, it deters from fully enjoying what she's telling you....more
Why read: Heard the book was equally scandalous and humorous.
What impressed me: Handler lays it all out there, without shame. There is no notes of apoWhy read: Heard the book was equally scandalous and humorous.
What impressed me: Handler lays it all out there, without shame. There is no notes of apology in her tone, which pleased me to no end.
What disappointed me: For a comedian, Chelsea Handler just isn't very funny. I applaud anyone who is open about their sexuality, especially when they don't conform to today's moral standards, but Handler comes off as trying to hard to be outrageous as opposed to just being secure in herself.
Recommended: Maybe. I'm going to try another one of Handler's memoirs, but I fear she may continue to come off undeservedly self-important a la Augusten Burroughs....more
Delving into every aspect of female history, biology, psychology and sexuality, The Second Sex must have made quite a stir when it was first releasedDelving into every aspect of female history, biology, psychology and sexuality, The Second Sex must have made quite a stir when it was first released over 50 years ago. Over the course of those years, many theories proposed in the book have either become verified fact or have been completely disproven.
To a reader discovering this book for the first time today, it is nothing more than a mix of common sense and misleading data. The words, though, get into your psyche. While reading I could feel myself getting worked up, wanting to stand up, be counted, rebel against, well, men.
Simone de Beauvoir seemed to be fighting for absolute sameness between men and women and that's where she lost me. While she admits that men and women differ biologically, she rather convincingly tried to reason that someone was to blame for that difference. That men were stealing women's power because women were forced to carry and raise the children they had. It doesn't even make sense as I write it here, so maybe I lost the true meaning in the never-ending cry of it's-not-our-fault-that-we've-been-held-down.
She pointed out that women are forced to bow down to men because they have been raised that way. Inversely, shouldn't she also accept that men take control of women because that is the way they were raised to behave? The message to rise against biology and psychology and to change the system is a very important one, but blaming the entire male gender for women's fear of standing up for themselves is prejudice. If I was a man, I would be horrendously offended.
As a women, I see the value of that kind of passion about our gender. The Second Sex is powerful and compelling and often times inaccurate. It's to be expected based on the multitude of changes garnered by the feminist movement over the last 50 years. The book makes you think and that is always a good thing....more
The Good: This book, with its large glossy pages, is a very easy read. It's styled in such a way to make even the least scientifically inclined undersThe Good: This book, with its large glossy pages, is a very easy read. It's styled in such a way to make even the least scientifically inclined understand its message. Pictures, charts, highly quotable factoids, everything eye-catching and yet very basic. Through this book, you really feel Gore's passion for saving the world from global warming.
The Bad: Unfortunately Al Gore is sort of a boring man. He drones on, which is clear even through the vibrant background. And while this book is informative, it's hard to decipher where the line is between his politics and the cause at hand....more
Tuesdays with Morrie was unlike anything I have ever read. I don't usually go for memoir type books or really anything in the non-fiction genres, butTuesdays with Morrie was unlike anything I have ever read. I don't usually go for memoir type books or really anything in the non-fiction genres, but I found Tuesdays with Morrie to be crushingly emotional. There were many instances of the bug, ugly cry over while reading this rather short book.
The book is so simplistic in its writing, but so profound in the ideas it relates. Accepting death, making your life meaningful, living a spiritual life without religion and truly living your life instead of constantly focusing on what you want in the future are just a few of the many concepts Morrie Schwartz and Mitch Albom discussed as Morrie was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease.
Hard subjects are dealt with in Tuesdays with Morrie. Subjects that we often dislike talking or even thinking about. That Morrie was had accepted his death and was able to relate his thoughts on life in this fashion is nothing short of remarkable. He seems to have been an amazing man and I loved the way Albom told the story of his life and death and how it related to himself. It must have been an honor to know a man like Morrie Schwartz....more
What impressed me: I loved the concept of Huxley writing essays commenting on how the things he wrote about long agoWhy read: Enjoyed Brave New World
What impressed me: I loved the concept of Huxley writing essays commenting on how the things he wrote about long ago in Brave New World translated into modern life.
What disappointed me: Unfortunately, modern life isn't what it once was. While Huxley drew parallels between things he created and that which ended up actually occurring in the course of his lifetime, his lifetime ended over 50 years ago, making the book less than accurate. Things he foresaw coming to pass soon never did and things have changed in ways he never imagined or at least mentioned.
Recommended: Not really. Too much time has past since Huxley wrote Revisited and it just doesn't hold up given modern developments....more
As many may know, I shy away from nonfiction - especially that of the self-help variety. There are multiple self-help books for every possible conundrAs many may know, I shy away from nonfiction - especially that of the self-help variety. There are multiple self-help books for every possible conundrum and each offers different advice. How helpful could the advice be if the "experts" can't agree on a proper course of action? I chose to read David Richo's Daring to Trust for two reasons: I haven't seen many books on the subject of trusting others before and I believe it's a common problem that many have trouble with.
Richo's theory that most interpersonal problems stem from a lack of trust seems solid. He looks in depth at the past and its impact on how people respond to situations in the present. A lot of positive ideas in the book such as trusting oneself, being trustworthy towards others and not expecting those who have proven untrustworthy to change provide a healthy perspective on the idea of trust and life in general.
While Daring to Trust's psychology resonated with me, some other aspects of the book did not. Actions such as writing poems that express what you learn about yourself aren't exactly my cup of tea. The book relies heavily on references to Shakespeare (especially Hamlet). I failed to see the correlation between trust and Hamlet. There are also many references to Buddhism and its practices. While I appreciate the advocacy of ones higher power not necessarily having to be God and the absence of advice steeped in organized religion, there was enough Buddhist practices in Daring to Trust to alienate those who like their self-help completely free of religion. Much of what Shambhala, Daring to Trust's publisher, publishes focuses on Buddhism, feng-shui, yoga and other spiritually based themes. It most likely will not distract from the advice in the book for those who expect it, but I would have liked if the new age flavor would have been made known somewhere in the synopsis of the book and hadn't been surprised by it.
I applaud David Richo's tackling of a topic such as trust. Generally, people are either trusting or they are not and remain that way their entire lives. The psychology in Daring to Trust gives me hope that people can actually change this aspect of their personalities. ...more
The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide brings together two of my favorite things - books and tattoos. Many people live under tThe Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide brings together two of my favorite things - books and tattoos. Many people live under the misconception that those who love books don't get tattoos and vice versa. The World Made Flesh goes far to prove just how wrong that line of thinking is.
Tattoos are often used to show something someone loves. Words are a powerful thing and when you read a particularly profound passage in a book, you yearn to share this thought with others. Tattoos are the next step in this love of words. What's more powerful than tattooing words that touched you? To me, literary tattoos are the next logical step in book love.
The Word Made Flesh showcases tattoos of passages and artwork inspired by books, from single words in a tiny font to entire sleeves or back pieces. Beautiful pictures of the tattoos accompany short explanations of why the person got the tattoo or what it means to them.
The Word Made Flesh is a fascinating look at literary tattoos. The perfect coffee table book for the tattooed literature lover. ...more
The Good: Al Gore is a smart, impassioned man. He's been in the upper tiers of government and seen things the rest of us can only imagine. When someonThe Good: Al Gore is a smart, impassioned man. He's been in the upper tiers of government and seen things the rest of us can only imagine. When someone in his position practically begs you to just consider that government isn't working the way it should, you should listen. He articulates his views well and provides enough information for even a layperson to understand his concepts.
The Bad: Al Gore is dull. His passion just doesn't translate through his writing. What could have been a wake up call to Americans is easily forgotten after reading....more
This book had a fabulous message for tweenage girls. You can be a princess without being super skinny, athletic or popular. Being a princess comes froThis book had a fabulous message for tweenage girls. You can be a princess without being super skinny, athletic or popular. Being a princess comes from being confident in who you are and believing in yourself. Being a princess means not dressing skanky, not being rude and for thinking of others before yourself sometimes. I'm a grown adult and I learned some things from this book that I hadn't known before so I'm definitely going to pass this one on to my nine year old daughter....more