Perhaps a three star rating is not really fair for this book, in that I'm probably not the target reader. I went to William and Mary sARC for review.
Perhaps a three star rating is not really fair for this book, in that I'm probably not the target reader. I went to William and Mary so I was interested in the story because, a. set in Williamsburg and in and around the College, and, b. I love me a good set of letters and a romance no less.
However, these are actual letters and not an epistolary novel, so it's not as if these letters were being written for my eventual entertainment in 2015 (and don't you think that Eliza and Trim would die of embarrassment if they knew? If they weren't already dead. And maybe not Eliza, because she often seemed a bit full of herself). Anyway, it was good that Maillard included a foreward which offered a bit of context. Eliza and Trim met when Eliza was 11 and Trim in his twenties, perhaps and going to W&M. He boarded with Eliza's guardians (her aunt and uncle, apparently it was quite common for a big family to send one or more of their children off to be raised by someone else in the family).
So, as far as I can tell Trim "set his cap" (isn't that a lovely description? I think I got it from the Little House series which makes it semi-correct in time, too. (Yes, I realized that I'm actually on the internet right this second and could look these things up, but I prefer to guesstimate and go blithely on my way.....poor Ms. Maillard, researcher extraordinaire having the likes of me review her book)) for Eliza AT THAT TIME, which is a little creepy, but my great-grandmother married at thirteen, so who am I to judge? This is where their correspondence begins and most of the early letters are a recitation of who visited whom, who married whom, who went where and so on. Again, very interesting if you are into learning about the customs of the period (though I will warn the non-academic reader that the emphasis on the "belles" in the title is a bit misleading - I was hoping for more information on what it meant to be a "belle" during that period - the formal process of "coming out" and such, but these letters don't focus much on that....it just appears that there was a fairly popular poem from the time referring to the "Belles").
Trim is clearly much older than Eliza, but she holds her own and actually seems to care far less for him, both at the beginning and throughout than he does her. This makes sense when she's eleven, but she turned down his eventual proposal at least once and Tristrim often lamented that he wrote multiples letters for each one she sent (a terrific breach of etiquette) and while he goes on about his love for her she seems much more interested in keeping the whole thing secret than the upcoming marriage itself. Poor Tristrim (and (view spoiler)[he really remains sad throughout as we learn in the afterward (hide spoiler)]. Their road to love was NOT smooth.
For those interested in life in Williamsburg and eastern North Carolina (home of Tristrim) during this period will be fascinated by these letters. I enjoyed learning about time (I didn't know that warring internal factions forced the College to be closed for a year) and I quite enjoyed being a fly on the wall for the courtship. You'll know from the title whether it's right for you.
Brown, like most women in America, started agonizing over her weight while she was still in her teens and this continued for a large pARC for review.
Brown, like most women in America, started agonizing over her weight while she was still in her teens and this continued for a large portion of her adult life. Then she had a daughter diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and as she sat in the ICU she quickly realized that thing does not always equal healthy (this despite the fact that her daughter would get compliments on her svelte figure even from acquaintances who knew she was suffering from anorexia). So, since thin ISN'T always good, perhaps it followed that overweight does not always equal lack of health. She then spent years exploring the issue and came to several conclusions.
As Brown notes, "in a culture so entrenched in the fat-is-bad/thin-is-good dichotomy" we often forget to be objective observers. According to Brown, as many scientific studies debunk this notion as support it (and she lists them and goes into detail about their findings, something those on the other side often fail to do), and often the researchers doing such studies are financially supported by the diet industry, which relies on repeat customers to make a profit.
As we've heard a million times, most diets don't work and less than 5% of those who lose a large amount of weight keep it off over three years....and, anecdotally, for those few who do it becomes the primary focus of their lives, "what some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease." (Alexander Pope).
In fact, what studies seem to show is that it is physical inactivity, versus pounds themselves that are a best barometer for health and the "healthiest" (least likely to die of the diseases most often linked to weight) are those who fall in the "overweight" category of the BMI tables, versus "normal". She also notes that weight is a very individualized issue, yet the medical industry has always promoted a "lose weight and everything will be better" one-size-fits-all approach, when what is healthy for me, might not be healthy for you and vice versa.
Brown offers no advice but is a voice of sanity in today's anti-fat world, exhorting the public to use common sense and unveiling bias where it exists. I hope this well-written, well-documented and interesting book finds a large audience. When you consider how the latest diet book is always on the top ten bestsellers list, it's worth a moment to take a broad look at this controversial subject.
Part of Book Riot's 2015 Read Harder challenge. ...more
This book was originally published in 1987, when the Michael Alig/Club Kid murder was still big news this book covers a time frame ofARC for review.
This book was originally published in 1987, when the Michael Alig/Club Kid murder was still big news this book covers a time frame of the Nightlife(trust me, you get used to the capital letter) from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, which is a LOT to cover adequately in just one book, especially because the title leads one to believe that the book will be about Studio 54 but actually covers so much more (I had only read 35% of the book when Steve Rubell was sent to prison, which effectively ended the heyday of Studio). Afterward we are treated to a laundry list of every important club that came after, but the focus was on the business of getting them opened, not necessarily the fun and hedonism which occurred at them (and I was definitely looking for the latter).
Haden-Guest seems to have been a part of the Studio 54 crowd and he makes a good case that the rise of Studio was also the rise of the papparazzi, but also the last time that those photographers had a sense of decorum in that certain photos were not printed or even taken, especially within Studio itself. I also didn't realize that Steve Rubell kept on trucking for a while after his release from prison and that there were many attempts to revive Studio, which shows that Haden-Guest is correct in his description that, much like Haight-Ashbury, Studio became a piece of "psychic real estate" that extended far beyond its actual physical space.
While perhaps Studio 54 really did capture the zeitgeist of the 1970s and the disco era this book talks much less about the glitter, glitz and fabulousness of the place (and all that came after) and almost reads like a flow chart of the business deals and legal hassles involved, including primarily names I didn't know (one that I did though, Ann Magnuson who is from here in Charleston and with whom I had dinner a few years ago). Perhaps it's because I'm not from the era so it isn't directed at me as a reader, but I was really interested....just not in the interchangeable names of a dozen businessmen who opened/owned/ran clubs in the city.
Haden-Guest is also a bit of a name-dropper....I can't imagine caring about an ex-husband of a niece of Winston Churchill, but Haden-Guest thought that I should. Perhaps I should also have cared more about Maurice Brahams, Jerry Brandt, Eric Goode and Ian Schrager, but I didn't even know who they were and, truthfully, after I finished, I still didn't care very much. I'm sure there is a great Studio 54 book out there and covers the glamorous parts, but this isn't it (but for the 80s section I might recommend Party Monster by James St. James (he also appears in the latter half of this book.
So, overall, if you lived in New York during this period and were into the club life, you would probably find this far more interesting than someone like me who missed it all....more
I feel a bit embarrassed for having enjoyed this as much as I did. It's really a book version of US magazine, focuses on Bravo's Andy Cohen (how in thI feel a bit embarrassed for having enjoyed this as much as I did. It's really a book version of US magazine, focuses on Bravo's Andy Cohen (how in the world does he have so many celebrity friends? It makes me a bit curious to read his first book to find out, because a lot of the people mentioned here don't even get last names....they are either THAT close to Andy, or they aren't required. Trust me when I say that Andy sees more of SJP than does her husband and probably her children.)
Overall it's a year in the life of a weight-obsessed, name-dropping, dog-obsessed (that part didn't bother me at all, except for the fact that he probably mentions that Wacha came from a "kill shelter in West Virginia" and makes a number of rather snide remarks about the Mountain State. Andy is what is he is - fairly shallow and happy to own up to it. I hope he continues these diaries and names even more names - it's trash, but really fun trash (especially if you watch a lot of Bravo). No real recommendation needed - if this is a book for you, you'll know it!
Part of Book Riot's 2015 Read Harder challenge. ...more
I'm a bad person. I bought this for my brother, the biggest Prince fan I know, for Christmas, then I hurried up and read it before I wrapped it.
I amI'm a bad person. I bought this for my brother, the biggest Prince fan I know, for Christmas, then I hurried up and read it before I wrapped it.
I am of exactly the right age to have been caught up in the "Purple Rain" phenomenon. I vividly remember buying the cassette at a record store in Myrtle Beach, SC while I vacation and then seeing the movie multiple times in the theatre. With all that said, I really enjoyed this book, but this is definitely not a definitive biography of the artist, more like a moment in time of a two-ish year period of making the music and the movie with a bit of rumination on Prince's place in pop culture history.
This can occasionally get a bit "in the weeds" if you don't care about both the film and the soundtrack equally, and the book focuses a bit more on the music than the filming, but since this was my soundtrack to 1985 I thoroughly enjoyed it.....and I think I managed to read it without leaving any tell-tale chocolate smears or anything. ...more
A solid 3.5 stars, rounded up. I didn't read Patton Oswalt's first book, but there was a fair amount of memoir, especially the years 1ARC for review.
A solid 3.5 stars, rounded up. I didn't read Patton Oswalt's first book, but there was a fair amount of memoir, especially the years 1995-1999. The subtitle is a bit misleading as to the amount of film discussion involved - really it's a love letter to the New Beverly Cinema, an old-time movie house, lovingly tended for years by Sherman Torgan, mixed with Oswalt's bona fides as he was coming up in the comedy scene - there was some good stuff here, but you'll definitely wish he had been willing to name names.
While all this was very enjoyable there was simply a bit too much filler. A good 10% of the book is a reprint of a blog post Oswalt made after Torgan's death, describing thirty days worth of movies that Oswalt wished existed so that Torgan can watch them in heaven. Then nearly 35% is simply a list of the movies he saw during those five years, along with the name of the theatres in which he saw each film. Look, there's nothing that I love like lists, but I might not be thrilled if I shelled out $30 for this book only to find such a large list.
Despite that, if you are a Oswalt fan or really enjoy older cinema or want a great look at LA's comedy scene in the late 1990s this is certainly worth reading. ...more
A solid 3.5 rounded to 4 stars. Readers should take a look at the subtitle - this is NOT a true crime book and doesn't spend pages andARC for review.
A solid 3.5 rounded to 4 stars. Readers should take a look at the subtitle - this is NOT a true crime book and doesn't spend pages and pages detailing Kevin Schaeffer's crime (with which I was not familiar but I'm guessing that it's quite well-known in and around Gettysburg), but rather is an interesting and thoughtful story of Amy Butcher's close relationship (and possibly near miss) with a mentally ill young man who commits a murder. Butcher's book is unique in that it's the story of how one can feel guilt and immense grief at the actions of another, even when those actions aren't directly at the individual involved.
As a true crime reader (and Butcher was also a fan...or at least a devotee of Unsolved Mysteries) one often reads stories that include searing information about the grief of the immediate family of the victim, but we do not necessarily see the huge network of people affected, friends, family, employers, teachers of both victim and victimizer. Butcher does a thorough job with this - obviously Emily lost her life, but many, many people lost something on the date of her death, and it's definitely worth exploring that as well. Well worth reading. ...more
I liked Cheryl Strayed after reading Wild. I ADORE Cheryl Strayed after reading this book. As Steve Almond says in his great introduction she is "bothI liked Cheryl Strayed after reading Wild. I ADORE Cheryl Strayed after reading this book. As Steve Almond says in his great introduction she is "both irreverent and brutally honest...a woman with a troubled past and a slightly reckless tongue."
First, this is not simply a book of advice and it's not just for women (a fair number of the questions come from men) - this is a reflection on Strayed's life and how our experiences both make us human and unite us all.....I highlighted a number of sections of the book, not because they were necessarily fabulous writing (although the writing is great...Strayed is a born writer) but because they spoke particularly to me, either something I've always worried about or something that perfectly encapsulates the way I feel but I've never been able to find just the right words for. Most are incredibly personal to me, but, trust me, any reader is going to find something of him/herself here, and even if the questions posed don't fit your situation at all, all the answers are worth reading (Strayed's response to a father who has lost his adult son is a thing of beauty).
An absolutely wonderful read. Highly recommended. ...more
This is not my normal type of read - I've never been a diet of the week person (you can look at me and tell that) and I'm not sure I'veARC for review.
This is not my normal type of read - I've never been a diet of the week person (you can look at me and tell that) and I'm not sure I've ever actually purchased a book about diet. However, since I have a sneaking suspicion that I am one of the food junkies to which the title refers, I thought I would give it a try.
Tarman is a good writer and she doesn't hesitate to rely on knowledgeable sources. Here's the gist - the first quarter of the book is spent defending the idea that food addiction exists - apparently that is not at all settled within the medical and/or research communities. Tarman's evidence, while often anecdotal (there's a surprisingly lack of peer reviewed study on the issue) rings true, so I bought the premise. The idea is that some people overeat (I'm concentrating on those overeating, though Tarman often notes that food addiction can often plague bulimics and anorexics as well) because of emotional issues (using food as a drug to create good feelings) but perhaps many more are actually "allergic" to various types of trigger foods - especially....drum roll, sugar, flour, fat, and salt with sugar and flour the largest culprits. For the second type of the person, the only real hope for long term success is complete and total abstinence from these foods. Forever. No cheat days, no excuses. Essentially it's a chemical dependency just like alcoholism or drug addiction and should be treated in the same way.
For me, even in the anecdotes that Tarman uses to justify this hypothesis nearly every individual discussed seemed to be a mixture of these two types of people, so I think that some of the scientific distinctions between the two were too subtle for me to fully grasp. Then the last third of the book is basically an endorsement of the paleo diet and at no point did I come away thinking I could ever make the changes trumpeted by Tarman.
Anyway, an interesting read if you are a fan of these types of books as it offers a good review of the current state of science on eating disorders, especially binge eating and food addiction and it provides a good list of resources. ...more
Yeah, OK, I get the complaints about Dunham's incredibly privileged background and her oversharing (though I think the claims regarding sexual abuse aYeah, OK, I get the complaints about Dunham's incredibly privileged background and her oversharing (though I think the claims regarding sexual abuse are ridiculous). I'm also much older than Dunham so I can't totally relate to her experiences, growing up in the crazy internet age, but, still I found her to be clever and smart....if I had a daughter she could do worse than to have Dunham as a role model. ...more
This was a tough read - lots of typos, partial sentences and words used incorrectly (including "the dye is cast." Twice.) If you are looking for a fulThis was a tough read - lots of typos, partial sentences and words used incorrectly (including "the dye is cast." Twice.) If you are looking for a full biography of Lindsay Lohan this isn't the book for you as there is scant mention of her early years, her years with Disney and even movies like "Mean Girls" - instead this book is all about her downfall, presumably to capture the interest of those who watched the "Lindsay" series on OWN and it's really a compilation of news stories with very little new information. Can't recommend this one, even for fans. ...more
I was interested in this true crime because it occurred in Morgantown, West Virginia (several hours north, but West Virginia is a small state) - thereI was interested in this true crime because it occurred in Morgantown, West Virginia (several hours north, but West Virginia is a small state) - there was some coverage of the crime in the Charleston paper, but not much and I was interested in reading more. This is another of those crazy teenage girl on girl crimes which seem unbelievable - I wish there had been more focus on the girls and a little less on the investigation, plus, where were all the photographs? It's always more interesting for me to have a picture of the principles in my mind.
Worth reading if you are especially interested in this crime, Morgantown or really like true crime. ...more
I've read a number of books about the West Memphis Three (in addition to all the movies, of course) and this was an interesting addition - Echols reflI've read a number of books about the West Memphis Three (in addition to all the movies, of course) and this was an interesting addition - Echols reflects on prison life, the trial, meeting his wife and even a bit about life after his release. There was a bit too much reflection on "magick" (why do people insist on spelling it this way? Is it significant in some way?) but overall a worthwhile read for those interested in Echols and the subject. ...more
Imagine, if you will a book version of the SNL skit "Girl You Don't Want to Talk to at a Party" where said girl is a flight attendantARC for review.
Imagine, if you will a book version of the SNL skit "Girl You Don't Want to Talk to at a Party" where said girl is a flight attendant who hates all her passengers and most of her co-workers and she wants to tell you, in great detail, how much they all suck. She then punctuates the conversations with many, many mentions of her own beauty. That is this book.
Normally I love behind the scenes looks at professions (hotel concierge, chef, waitress, etc.) but this was just hundreds of pages of complaints. Essentially any passenger who has the audacity to be in her "workspace) (all areas of the plane other than the cockpit) is an incredible buffoon and bother, especially when said passenger forces her to interrupt her reading or her chatting with co-workers. It's also unrealistic - if she actually said even ten percent of the things she SAYS she said to passengers she would have no job at any airline. So, possibly this is just a parody, and there's no real Sydney Pearl out there? If there is, she needs to update her resume and work on some people skills, stat. And I hope that her next flight begins with her being vomited on by an unruly two year old. ...more
This book is yet another that is an extended version of an article that appeared in Rolling Stone and I feared that there wouldn't beARC for review.
This book is yet another that is an extended version of an article that appeared in Rolling Stone and I feared that there wouldn't be enough here for a whole book, but Lohse is a talented writer and if you are interested in the Greek system and hazing you'll enjoy this (well, you need a fairly strong stomach, too. Don't read this while snacking. Promise me.)
Lohse is a middle-class guy who barely got in to Dartmouth (his grandfather was a graduate and he had a family friend intervene with the admission board). He and his roommates decide to pledge Sigma Alpha Epsilon and, to be fair, it appears that they knew from the start that the pledging process might be a bit tougher at SAE than at some of the other houses they visited, and it is, with copious amounts of alcohol abuse and other general grossness. Lohse has some angst about all this and ultimately turns on his brothers, outing them to the administration and, with no response, publicly.
Full disclosure - I am a Chi Omega alumnae and never suffered any hazing at all. Although I was aware that fraternities hazed a bit more than sororities, I really thought that much of the type of hazing Lohse described ended in the 80s after some highly publicized death, and I was definitely surprised that it was going on at a national fraternity which should, one would think, have a bit more control/knowledge about what is going on at their houses. Anyway, this was a good read for me and many former Greeks will likely enjoy and spend time reminiscing about the good old days, but if you aren't interested in hazing you likely won't find it worth your time, as there's next to nothing included other than fraternity life - no classes, other extracurriculars and very little about relationships other than those between the brothers. ...more
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I started highlighting every other paragraph before I stopped and just gave myself up to the excellent writing - tARC for review.
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I started highlighting every other paragraph before I stopped and just gave myself up to the excellent writing - there aren't new points here, just well-put argument from an author who brings a unique perspective. Buy multiple copies and hand it to every woman you know who doesn't want to be called "feminist". Give to your teenage daughters. Read it. ...more