This is the first of all of David Sedaris's books that I have read, and by far my favorite of them all. I went through a phase in college where I wasThis is the first of all of David Sedaris's books that I have read, and by far my favorite of them all. I went through a phase in college where I was on every list possible to know when another of his books would come out, and I'd go see him speak every chance I got. If you thought you grew up in a dysfunctional family - read this book, and you may walk away thinking that your family is a lot closer to normal than previously believed. For any Amy Sedaris fans out there (Strangers with Candy), yes, David is her brother, and he offers hilarious moments of growing up with comedienne, as well as his quirky, yet despite their flaws, somehow lovable family. Sedaris himself is quite the character, recounting stories of trying to work around a speech impediment by using words that didn't contain the 's' or 'th' sounds, even if it meant using words that most people in the general population had never heard. When he moves to the French countryside later in life with his partner, he has more battles with language, as he knows only one word in French, the random, and hilarity-ensuing word, "bottleneck." Imagine moving to a place where the only word you know is going to be completely useless to you in conversation. If you're Sedaris, you use it anyway, as though "bottleneck" is a universal word for, well, anything. If you want a book to make you laugh, this, and any book by David Sedaris will not disappoint, from beginning to end. ...more
I've decided that if I am going to list a book as a "favorite," it should have a review, and when it comes to Tom Wolfe's books, I have quite a few reI've decided that if I am going to list a book as a "favorite," it should have a review, and when it comes to Tom Wolfe's books, I have quite a few reasons for listing this one in particular.
Bonfire of the Vanities is Wolfe's first novel, capturing the entitled and vain lifestyle of Wall Street in a compelling and - while not shocking - definitely exciting story of self-proclaimed "Master of the Universe," bond trader Sherman McCoy. He has a mistress (of course), and millions of dollars, and a fancy apartment, and a child he never sees. As much as we want to hate him, however, our attention turns to the motivations and manipulations of key players in McCoy's future after a terrible "accident" occurs that could land McCoy in jail, smear his name and end his career.
I challenge anyone who reads this book to walk away not hating all of the characters in the book. With that said, I also challenge you not to be anxiously reading in anticipation for what happens next....more
If you ever want to have a conversation with a clerk at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco (yes, home of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and so on) that doesn'If you ever want to have a conversation with a clerk at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco (yes, home of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and so on) that doesn't leave you feeling frustrated, tell him/her that you are a big fan of Max Frisch. Their response will turn from, "Modern fiction? I am bored with modern fiction," to "I LOVE Frisch, have you read..."
Picture this: a man lands himself in jail, far from his supposed home, accused of being someone else. People from this man's past begin showing up to the jail, but he claims not to know who they are. As these people recount stories of his apparent past to him, he forms his own judgments on the man everyone believes him to be. Is he really the man who everyone thinks he is, or an identical look-alike? Has he suffered from a sudden fugue, or is he an impeccable liar?
If you are the kind of person who needs a resolution to a story, something to tie it all together in a nice little package and make sense of everything, this book is not for you. I highly recommend this book for book clubs; it's so controversial, it's not unusual for one person's conclusions to sound remarkably different from a friend's. The one thing everyone will probably agree on is that this suspenseful mystery is nevertheless exciting from beginning to end.
I have had the fortune to not only hear Anne Lammott speak, but also to meet her in person. I had just graduated from college and was working as a repI have had the fortune to not only hear Anne Lammott speak, but also to meet her in person. I had just graduated from college and was working as a rep for a box office when Lammott approached me at the Will Call station for a literary event in San Francisco one night. I told her I had seen her speak at my school in San Diego, and found her writing immensely inspirational. She graciously received the the compliment with a cool, yet friendly "Thank you. I like your glasses."
While I haven't had any interactions outside of this fan to hero moment with Lamott, I walked away feeling like she really is the person she presents on paper. Her creative non-fiction writing is so honest and raw at times, even if I hadn't met her in person, I would still assume her stories are nothing but real. From dealing with the feelings and aftermath of an angry outburst towards her son, to battling addictions, Lamott tells it like it is, but with grace. Her writing is a great reminder that even the smartest people can be both wise and dumb,have both ugly and beautiful moments, and at the end of the day, are always inherently fallible.
Easy to read and a real page-turner, Traveling Mercies is a great read for anyone who has ever felt like he or she fell short on personal goals, or maybe just woke up one day and said, how did I become this person? It's not a self-help book, but Lamott's written forgiveness of her own mistakes and honest recounting of the ups and downs of her past will make you feel like you've finally come in contact with someone who truly understands what it's like to be human. ...more
Eric Schlosser offers incredibly in-depth looks at both the fast food and meatpacking industries, in this modern-day version of Upton Sinclair's The JEric Schlosser offers incredibly in-depth looks at both the fast food and meatpacking industries, in this modern-day version of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Even if you are a bonafied die hard carnivore, reading the heart-wrenching real-life stories of meat packing employees being mistreated by greedy corporate executives who may never even step foot in factories they control is enough to swap your steak for carrots. Animal cruelty or not, it's the inhumane treatment of the people presented in this book that made me think differently about the food industry. I think this is a must-read for anyone who cares even the least bit about people, and the cost of what you consume....more
I think this book is a great follow-up guide to everything Michael Pollan has written and filmed about the current state of the food industry, and howI think this book is a great follow-up guide to everything Michael Pollan has written and filmed about the current state of the food industry, and how we as consumers, can create positive change. After I saw his documentary, Food Inc. (also a book), I was not only sad for farmers, but confused about what to do about it. Don't eat anything that's not organic? Swear off soy? What else? Avoid certain brands? How do I know who makes what?
Food Rules offers a simple, easy and brief guide on how to eat smart, as both a responsible consumer and someone who simply wants to make the healthiest choices. Rules like "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother's never heard of" and "Avoid foods with ingredients you don't keep in your pantry" (i.e. maltodextrin, xanthan gum, etc).
I wouldn't call Food Rules a weight loss book, but I also wouldn't be surprised if people who follow the Food Rules start to shed a few pounds. This is definitely a book to help consumers feel empowered, rather than helpless, to reshape the food industry for the better....more
Living green is hard. It's expensive. It's sometimes inconvenient. And on top of that, the excuses are myriad. "I'd unplug all of my plugs at the endLiving green is hard. It's expensive. It's sometimes inconvenient. And on top of that, the excuses are myriad. "I'd unplug all of my plugs at the end of the night to conserve energy, but some of my outlets are stuck behind heavy furniture, and at the end of the day, I am too tired to worry about it. I'd buy locally made clothing to help the environment, but I don't like or can't afford what's available. Being a frequent consumer of things helps the economy!" Sound familiar? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't guilty of any of these things at some point in time. Being green takes effort and money, and most of us don't have the time and the resources to make it happen fully all the time.
Books like Green Design help to through excuses like these, showing readers how designers all over the world are coming up with fun, fashionable, and in some cases, even highly affordable solutions to the challenges of trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I highly recommend this book to architects, designers, and lovers of all things chic for inspiration and ideas on how we can improve the way we live....more
It's nice to read a book featuring Latina ladies for a change, rather than 4 white women with different-colored hair, haha. I thought this book was pr It's nice to read a book featuring Latina ladies for a change, rather than 4 white women with different-colored hair, haha. I thought this book was pretty funny as chick-lit goes, and definitely a book that fans of Sex in the City would enjoy. My mom actually recommended it to me over the summer as a good "beach read," and that's exactly how I'd categorize it. It's not a book you read to learn anything, but it's a book you read for pure entertainment, and Valdez-Rodriguez brings the jokes, mishaps, and drama involved with dating in full-force. ...more
Even though I myself am a blond, I think I may be getting tired of seeing and reading about my own kind. This was a yard sale purchase for the purposeEven though I myself am a blond, I think I may be getting tired of seeing and reading about my own kind. This was a yard sale purchase for the purpose of vacation reading. Bushnell might be one of the writers for Sex in the City, but I wouldn't pay full price for this in a store.
It's just ok. There are plenty of chick-lit books out there that are better. Or maybe I'm just tired of reading stories about desperate women who wouldn't know what true romance looked like if it dropped to one knee in front of Tiffany's and proposed to them. There were definitely times where I felt some empathy for these women, but for the most part, I just thought they were proof that feminism has gotten way too confused with narcissism and entitlement....more
If ever there was a more fitting title for a series of shorts, I'm not aware of it.
David Foster Wallace quickly became one of my favorite writers aftIf ever there was a more fitting title for a series of shorts, I'm not aware of it.
David Foster Wallace quickly became one of my favorite writers after I first picked up this book on the recommendations of one of the clerks at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. DFW makes you think, makes you sad, makes you angry, and makes you shrug...a lot. He's so good at capturing the ugliest part of the human condition, and those who have gone too far over the deep end, on paper in a way that sends shivers up your spine. I walked away from this book thinking that he's someone I'd like to hear speak, and maybe even meet in person. It turned out, I was about a year too late; sadly, David Foster Wallace, one of the greatest writers in the 2nd half of the 20th century, killed himself in 2008.
The thing about good books that makes them so amazing, is that they have the ability to capture a writer's spirit, as if he or she were alive and present in the room with the reader. While I'll never get to hear DFW speak live or meet him in person, his stories are portrayed so vivid and simple, it's as if they were happening presently outside of my window. Absolutely, without a doubt, a must-read book, from an incredibly important author. ...more
If I thought there was any chance that he'd read this, I'd use this review space as an open love letter to Chuck Klosterman. It's mostly coincidentalIf I thought there was any chance that he'd read this, I'd use this review space as an open love letter to Chuck Klosterman. It's mostly coincidental (or says something deeper about me that I'm not interested in examining) that my boyfriend looks like him.
Oh hell. I'll just write some version of a letter anyway.
Blame John Cusack if you'd like Chuck, but after reading your book, I closed the hardcover of my copy of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs wanting MORE. You tease me with this effortless weaving of pop culture through your (mostly true) personal stories, and then what? The book ends? No more thoughts? Like you, I blame Coldplay too; Gwenyth Paltrow seemed a little less self-righteous before she gave birth to fruit and created Goop, and somebody has to take the blame, so I'm blaming Coldplay.
No, but really though, Chuck, I miss you. I watched the late night madness bubble up like Bobby Brown's crack on the stove and wondered, "What would Chuck say about this? Is Leno the Judas of late night?" Is Lady Gaga a sign of a musical apocalypse, or did that begin with the entrance of Limp Bizkit onto TRL a decade or so ago? Do you ever miss Klaus Nomi or Freddie Mercury, too? I know at least one inquiring mind who wants to know. Chuck, I need more from you.
I guess it's a good thing that you've written more than just one book. Looks like I'll be in touch more, in the future.
I don't reread a lot of books. Half of the fun for me is the anticipation in not knowing what's coming next. This book gains an exception in my readinI don't reread a lot of books. Half of the fun for me is the anticipation in not knowing what's coming next. This book gains an exception in my reading, because there are so many great little stories in here, that rereading them is like finding a pair of shoes under my bed that fit just right or rediscovering an album I used to love.
There's no one theme with these stories outside of the fact that they are all very short and consequently, very quick reads. This is a great book for a person who loves to read but never has the time, or someone with a really bad short-term memory. ...more
Every time I read an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic book or see a movie in the same genres, I think of The Plague. I think of how I was assigned to rEvery time I read an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic book or see a movie in the same genres, I think of The Plague. I think of how I was assigned to read this book for a class, and often found myself reading more than I was supposed to because it was just too good to put down. Camus doesn't just tell a story that is devastating and so real, but he tells it beautifully. It takes him 8 words to say what could take another author 20 to express. In many ways, the story of a town that is literally shut out from the rest of the world after a deadly disease quickly devours its citizens is quite a depressing tale. And yet, there is always this glimmer of hope, and a desire to find the light on the horizon that is so compelling in its own right, and at the same time, so true to the nature of many human beings, despite all suffering. This is not a story of disease and disaster, but a tale of coping and survival. ...more