Apparently I never added this to my shelf?! I have no idea when I read it (initially at least ten years ago, and a few times more recently). It is oneApparently I never added this to my shelf?! I have no idea when I read it (initially at least ten years ago, and a few times more recently). It is one of the most beautiful, most hilarious things I've ever read. ...more
This was a quick read that I think has lots of good ideas in it. I'm very attracted to the idea of throwing out anything that doesn't "spark joy" - buThis was a quick read that I think has lots of good ideas in it. I'm very attracted to the idea of throwing out anything that doesn't "spark joy" - but then again, I'm also not someone who keeps much for sentimental value and I love getting rid of extraneous ~things~ in my (very small) apartment. And I will confess, for all the book says again and again that for it to work you have to do it all, exactly as described, and you'll never be messy again... well, I probably won't. That's how I feel about most self-help advice: mine it for the parts that resonate and feel like they'll make a genuine difference, and don't worry about the parts that don't.
The book is also originally Japanese. I don't think all of the cultural pieces translate as well (in terms of culture; linguistically, they're fine). But that could also just be a case of them not speaking to me, personally. Shrug.
(This should be three and a half stars, but it wasn't quite enough to round up.)...more
A really fascinating, in-depth look at how Scientology developed and how it functions, why it's so closely linked to Hollywood, and why people have suA really fascinating, in-depth look at how Scientology developed and how it functions, why it's so closely linked to Hollywood, and why people have such a hard time getting out. It's very thorough -- I just wish it had a few more recent developments (Katie Holmes and Leah Remini leaving in particular). ...more
The jacket says this is a book for people who wish Amy Poehler was their best friend. I would also say if you read this book you will, by the end, wisThe jacket says this is a book for people who wish Amy Poehler was their best friend. I would also say if you read this book you will, by the end, wish Amy Poehler was your best friend (if you didn't already, which you probably did).
This book was funny and honest and made me cry. (To be fair, that's what I get for reading the chapter about Parks and Rec the same week as the Parks and Rec finale aired.) It also made me want to reread it and highlight all the passages that feel strikingly relevent to my life, or profound, or important to remember. I have literally never wanted to do that with a book before.
I'm so glad Amy Poehler is a person who exists....more
There is a lot of jargon in this book, which makes it somewhat annoying to wade through. It also, at its core, isn't that revolutionary - you can be mThere is a lot of jargon in this book, which makes it somewhat annoying to wade through. It also, at its core, isn't that revolutionary - you can be more productive by having a clear sense of what you need to do on each project you're working on, and by tracking all of your projects and actions.
That said, it was a very long look into a method of *how* to do that. Revolutionary, no; helpful, yes. I have always been pretty good with to-do lists, so this gave me a bunch of tips on organizing and tracking but didn't fundamentally change my method. My suspicion is that for folks like me, who already are pretty organized, it may be useful; for people who aren't, it'll either change their lives or be completely useless.
(Also, the inbox flowchart method was worth the price of the book itself.)...more
Hmm. A decent enough conversation starter, but overall pretty shallow. There's very little practical advice, and what there is applies only to a veryHmm. A decent enough conversation starter, but overall pretty shallow. There's very little practical advice, and what there is applies only to a very tiny fraction of women in the workplace (white, wealthy, upper management). It also doesn't really get into how to combat things like women's socialized need to be likable or the actual career consequences of ignoring that standard -- a few women may be able to excel simply by ignoring it, but most pay career penalties. It acknowledges that such things exist, but basically just says to ignore them, but if ignoring them and being penalized hurts your career, what exactly is the point?
The book says in the introduction that it tackles things women can do, as opposed to societal changes. I don't think the two can be separated that cleanly, and by ignoring the needed cultural and societal changes, you pretty much just tell women to ignore the idea of having it all by...working hard to have it all despite all of the challenges the book ignores. Basically: "I hope you've got a great supportive partner, ladies, 'cause otherwise you're doomed; PS you do want kids, right?"
I dunno. I can see the book's surface value, I just don't think it had any genuine substance. Bummer....more
I'm not a screenplay writer, but this was fascinating and has basically changed how I look at media. I find myself nodding along, recognizing the beatI'm not a screenplay writer, but this was fascinating and has basically changed how I look at media. I find myself nodding along, recognizing the beats described in the book in almost everything I read or watch....more
More like three and a half stars -- very readable prose, and an interesting subject (then again, I was 16 when the boy band wave hit big, so I might bMore like three and a half stars -- very readable prose, and an interesting subject (then again, I was 16 when the boy band wave hit big, so I might be biased...). I wish there had been more about what actually made Pearlman tick, though. On the one hand, I can see why that wasn't a huge part of the book (beyond some pretty simple "he liked being liked" speculation), since there weren't any primary sources that covered that so it would be speculation and conclusions drawn from what documents do exist; on the other hand, without it, the book feels a little lacking. Pearlman is a larger than life figure (he clearly needed to be to pull of everything he did), so not getting more into why he did these things is disappointing. But heck, I have an abysmal track record with finishing nonfiction and I still tore through this, so I can't really complain....more
Let us be up front about this. You know I'm going to love any book where the acknowledgement section ends with, "I'd like to close by thanking MarianoLet us be up front about this. You know I'm going to love any book where the acknowledgement section ends with, "I'd like to close by thanking Mariano Rivera. Not because he helped with this book or anything … just for existing." The book is a series of autobiographical essays by Span, some about her experiences as a sports writer covering the Yankees and the Mets, but most are more generally focused around being a baseball fan. (Span is a Yankees fan, who is Mets sympathetic, and the book actually spends more time on the Mets.)
I loved this book for a bunch of reasons, the first of which is that I giggled aloud almost the whole time I was reading it, and kept stopping to read sections to my sister. The anecdotes are delightful -- trying to interview Pedro Martinez, but waiting for him to put on pants first, only to have him never put on pants, for example -- and there were plenty that made me laugh out loud while reading on the subway (the look back at the Mets' them "Our Team, Our Time," if only because I remember listening to that the first time and laughing so hard I cried).
It's also the only baseball book I've ever read where I actually identify with it. That's mainly two reasons: Span focuses mostly on the teams starting around 2003, which was the year I actually started watching baseball, so I've got a much better idea what she's talking about than in most baseball books I've read -- I remember Kevin Brown breaking his own freaking hand after a bad start -- but also because the way she describes watching baseball is something I identify with:
When I first got interested in baseball, and stopped treating it as background noise and actually focused on it, it was the characters that drew me in, the personalities, and the drama, more than any inherent beauty of the game. I didn't really care what kind of pitch someone threw or whether a batter had shortened his swing; I just wanted to see if Paul O'Neill was going to beat himself up all night, cursing his perceived failures in the dugout, terrorizing innocent water coolers. I wanted to see how the rookie replacing Tony Fernandez might overcome what I assumed had to be a bad case of nerves and succeed in the big leagues. I wanted Bernie Williams to do well because I wanted a shy, awkward dude with glasses to win one for sky, awkward people with glasses everywhere.
And just, yes, that's it exactly. People complain about the slow pace of baseball, but for me, watching my first game when I was 20, it was perfect. The fact that it's one guy batting at a time makes it much easier to figure out who's who, and gives plenty of time for the announcers to speculate wildly about his mental state, personal life, and whatever else seems interesting. The moments of human drama were more interesting to me than the game at first, and gave me an entrance point that got me watching and kept me interested.
Finally, the book is also basically a love letter to New York. My hands-down favorite essay is "Frankie Furter, Chorizo, and Guido," in which Span travels to Milwaukee to see a Mets-Brewers game. The thrust is that it's lovely: the stadium is nice, and cheap, and the people working there are helpful and friendly. The Brewers fans were also nice, and totally welcoming to out-of-town fans, happy to give directions, and cheerfully inviting Mets fans out for drinks after the game. And, as she enjoyed herself there, Span realized that she wouldn't trade in the hurried, rude, dirty, crowded New York experience for anything:
Let me just say here that I understand why people from other parts of the country get annoyed with New Yorkers' refusal to see their city as anything other than the center of the world. It's obnoxious and dismissive, this attitude towards the rest of America, grudging respect for L.A. and (maybe, sometimes) Chicago aside. There are lots of great cities in the United States and plenty of sophisticated people between the coasts.
That said … come on. If New York isn't the center of the world, what is?
And you know I've been a New Yorker for awhile, because of my nodding agreement. (Sorry, entire rest of the country.)
Span touches on lots of other subjects, ranging from the near-and-dear-to-my-heart topic of being a female fan (and female sportswriter), to watching broadcasts of American baseball games while staying in Taiwan, to stats and why people are still arguing over how accurate they are, and so on. It's a short, quick read, extremely smart, and extremely funny. It's going right on to my reread list, as soon as I'm done loaning it to everyone I know....more