There definitely needs to be more books like this one. It is eloquent, beautifully written, intelligent and at times humorous. Almost like literary crThere definitely needs to be more books like this one. It is eloquent, beautifully written, intelligent and at times humorous. Almost like literary criticism, but for video games. Bissell explains why video games matter, but mainly to himself. The book is very personal to the author, but in the specific you can generalize to all. ...more
This is a quirky book, from an admittedly quirky author. It’s about Barry Yourgrau's attempt to clean up his apartment. He isn't sure if he's a hoardeThis is a quirky book, from an admittedly quirky author. It’s about Barry Yourgrau's attempt to clean up his apartment. He isn't sure if he's a hoarder or not, he likes to think he's just a messy collector, but when his girlfriend comes to visit and can't get into the door because of all the stuff, well something has to be done. So begins The Project. Yourgrau has a tendency to desperately try connecting himself to almost anything, which is an unnecessary part of the narrative. Like the Collyer brothers, famous hoarders that lived in New York City until their demise in 1947. And there are more fleeting aspects than they both live in New York.
The girlfriend's name changes several times throughout the book, and her mother's as well near the end. It's just a distraction. There are bits of extraneous information everywhere. Most of the parts with the girlfriend aren’t necessary to the story, but if you think of the book as a memoir, then it works better. Yourgrau early on talks about how distracted he gets, so this extra fluff is really part of who he is ultimately.
Yourgrau visits therapists and support groups, like Clutterers Anonymous and investigates other places of hoarders and the people who help them clear their stuff. Of course the television shows of hoarders are mentioned, how could it not? Yourgrau is particularly bent on comparing his problem of stuff with others, often pictures are mentioned but none are provided in the book. Yourgrau definitely has emotional issues tied to his things, and most particularly Father issues, which is explored in the book, as part of The Project.
Overall it is very readable, and interesting to a degree. The writing style and approach is cutesy and a can be annoying at times. Near the end the point of view changes, jarring, unnecessary, but I suppose adds to the quirky distracting nature of the overall book. This is not a book to read to try to fix your own problem, no, it's more just one man's tale of what his experience with his stuff and his life, or how his life affected him to accumulate stuff. And how he de-cluttered, cleaned up. The subtitle really does explain what the book is about. If you want a book to help you declutter your life look elsewhere, but if you're fascinated by the topic this is a good enough read.
One of the most poignant quotes gleaned from the book, a quote from someone else, Susan Pearce an "expert on collecting", she said: "Souvenirs are lost youth, lost friends, lost past happiness; they are the tears of things."
Really couldn't get into this book. I tried several times, then finally gave up. I ended up giving it away because every time I looked at an unpleasanReally couldn't get into this book. I tried several times, then finally gave up. I ended up giving it away because every time I looked at an unpleasantness came over me. Not due to the book contents or topic. I think I felt like it should have been something I liked, but couldn't do it so I just felt bad. Probably wasn't the best first Irving book for me to try....more
This book is a little jumbled. Linda Tirado’s story about herself is confusing. She is going to school, but wait no, she decided that it didn't make sThis book is a little jumbled. Linda Tirado’s story about herself is confusing. She is going to school, but wait no, she decided that it didn't make sense for her. She dropped out. She has NO TIME. She is unemployed. She works two part time jobs that barely give her 20 hours each. She has NO TIME. I get the always being tired part, but the time issues...hmmm… something isn't right.
It isn't a great book. It has a lot of flaws, like Tirado herself. But there are some points that are accurate. No one can deny it's rough being poor. The beginning of the book she talks about not bettering herself, no one does because they have no hope things will ever get better. Once you are poor you are always poor. So why did she go back to school? That was never explained. Certainly you have hope you can make things better if you’re spending time and money to get a degree. And really I have to question her initial premise that education doesn't help you. Also, why is she saving up to help your kids go to college if that won't help? This is one of the major contradictions in the book. A slight explanation on how her decisions changed would have helped.
I find it sad to find out that many people are giving Tirado a hard time because she didn't grow up poor. She never said that she did. Her experience is what she is writing about, during her time spent as being poor. It is not too terribly clear by the end of the book if she is out of the big hole of poverty or not. But she is now a homeowner instead of a renter and that will bring some stability just in the nature of not having to move so much, nor rely on awful landlords. Certainly you can dirt poor and be a homeowner, so I’m not saying that just by that she is now middle class, but it seems by Tirado’s own words that she is climbing out of poverty.
I do question Barbara Ehrenreich's introductory remarks that Linda can write about this topic better than herself. Seriously been meaning to read more of Ehrenreich books, but I bet hers is better. Also, I’m sure the editors did a lot with the book, but they needed to work on it more. It feels like a mess that needs to be straightened out more. In the end this felt like a work in progress, like a first draft that still needs polishing.
Despite all the problems, there are some good points raised in the book. Although, some of it just felt like a tirade against the readers, because obviously they have more money than her since they read books. I guess she doesn’t know about libraries where they let you have books to read for free. Always. And hey, in passing she mentioned buying a gaming console for entertainment...books can be that too, but quite a lot cheaper.
It felt like her main point is – hey, you have a cushy job is you don’t have to ask permission to go pee. And don’t expect me to be happy serving you when my boss knows how often I pee.
I enjoyed this collection of short essays about various people’s core beliefs. Some make you laugh, but none make you cry. They are what you may expecI enjoyed this collection of short essays about various people’s core beliefs. Some make you laugh, but none make you cry. They are what you may expect, and some are quite surprising. It starts after an explanation, then an introduction by Studs Terkel, with a Community College English teacher, Sarah Adams, and her belief in "Be Cool to the Pizza Delivery Dude."
Quite a variety of people provide their short essay on "What I Believe" Some very famous: Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson and Bill Gates. To the average every day person, professors and lawyers and everyone in between. It's a fascinating collection that makes you think about your own personal truths. The book ends, after a history of how the project started in 1951 on CBS radio, with how to write your own essay. After listening to these essays it does make you ponder at what is at your core? What is your belief? Perhaps a short 350-500 words or so is too short to encompass the entirety, but it can cut to the quick of the most important of how you live your own life.
Very enjoyable, highly recommended. Listening to audio is particularly nice since the authors all read their own essays, with a few minor exceptions - such as Albert Einstein's audio recording has been lost. There were many from the early years as well as more modern essays.
If you do feel so inclined, the website still takes submissions and you can read any and all that were submitted over the years at thisibelive.org. ...more
This was a good book, learned quite a lot actually. But it wasn't great. It felt like the editor got her friends, or at least people she knew to writeThis was a good book, learned quite a lot actually. But it wasn't great. It felt like the editor got her friends, or at least people she knew to write the essays. There was quite a lot of similarity between some of the stories. Yes, much diversity too, but easily could make a few groups out of the stories. The places where the writers grew up could be placed in just a few different areas, such as the Bay Area. We all know that unfortunately, poor are everywhere. So that may account for some of the sameness feeling I got.
There was also a lot of anger, really felt like it was toward whomever was reading the book. Which I feel is displaced. There is a lot of heartrending stories, injustices, deep tragedy as one might expect. But there is also hope, courage, determination and always strength. I knew classism was abundant, but these stories tell you how far it goes. Even when one makes it out, it is still very evident. One author really dislikes Barbara Ehrenreich, since she is writing from another class. But isn't more good being done because of Ehrenreich's books, despite her temporarily "slumming" it? Her books brought attention to poverty in a different way than how it was typically talked about. Certainly Ehrenreich had a net and didn't truly experience what it's like, the depth of always not having enough. (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is one of my next reads...)
Despite the negatives I'm glad I read the book. As several other goodreads reviewers also said, there should be more anthologies like this one.