I am about 160 pages into this book, and I can't tell you how many times I tried to put off doing errands over the weekend so that I could continue reI am about 160 pages into this book, and I can't tell you how many times I tried to put off doing errands over the weekend so that I could continue reading! If I could have delayed grocery shopping, a trip to Home Depot, and dinner with my visiting family on Sunday, I absolutely would have read my way through the weekend. I didn't want to put it down, I really didn't!
Here you have three perspectives on living in Jackson, Mississippi during the incredibly tense civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960's, in the absolute hotbed of racial inequity. You have Aibeleen, the sweet African American maid who has a long history of raising white women's children just long enough for the kids to reach the age where they start to treat her like a lesser class. Then there's Minnie, the smart-mouthed African American maid whose cooking can usually make up for her inability to bite her tongue. And then, standing tall and awkward is the single, white, aspiring writer woman, Skeeter, who sees the behind-the-kitchen-door stories of women like Aibeleen and Minnie as her tickets to New York to pursue her dream career as a journalist. Just what do the maids think about the new initiative by the Ladies club in Jackson to convince more white families to build separate bathroom for "the help" to prevent the spread of supposed "diseases" that poor black folks carry to the toilet? And what exactly are the white women doing with their time while the black women are busy raising their children, cooking their meals, washing and ironing their linens, and polishing their silver? What do you do, as a maid, when a white kid starts calling you mama -- or perhaps worse, what do you do when the kid gets old enough to realize that society believes the black woman who has raised them so tenderly comes from a lesser class, and should be treated as such?
Even though I tend to dislike the film/TV adaptation of books, I'd love to see The Help turned into the South's answer to Mad Men. I can't wait for my free time this week to continue reading!...more
I read an interview with this author in Bitch Magazine, and within a few days, I found myself ordering it from a local bookstore (Pegasus on College,I read an interview with this author in Bitch Magazine, and within a few days, I found myself ordering it from a local bookstore (Pegasus on College, if you care to know, haha). As a stylist with an admitted shopping problem (can't tell you how many times I've caught myself in Marshall's with a cart full of clothes and I realized I didn't need any of them and that in a few weeks, I wouldn't like them anymore, anyway), I knew I had to read this book, even if it brings a rude wake-up call to my current habits.
A few chapters in, I really appreciate the honesty this author puts forth about her own shopping habits as she explains why cheap/fast fashion is not good for the environment, let alone for our wallets in the long run. She also provides solid numbers that will make your head roll. In 1900, a fairly priced woman's suit cost $15, which would be over $100 today. Go into any Forever 21 though, and you can probably find the modern equivalent for $15 still.
Does the triumph of buying stylish clothing and accessories at rock bottom prices outweigh the overload to charity shops (one Salvation Army in NY claimed that they receive 5 million TONS of clothing a year) and landfills, and even though we're getting more for less, are we also spending more in the longrun? I am looking forward to finding out as I read on :). ...more
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
Oh to be 15 and awkward again. Wait, no, actually, I'd prefer the opposite. Being a teenager is awkward, confusing, strange. Parents don't seem to undOh to be 15 and awkward again. Wait, no, actually, I'd prefer the opposite. Being a teenager is awkward, confusing, strange. Parents don't seem to understand how your needs change as you get older. They don't seem to have any idea what kind of life you really lead. If you weren't born privileged, gorgeous, or a combination of both, chances are, the pretty guy or girl at the lake isn't going to fall madly for you unless you have a few tricks up your sleeve.
This is a book for the nice guys who are tired of finishing last, the average kids who often have to contend with their exceptional peers, and if nothing else, a reminder to the hormone rage that no matter how much you want her, most girls aren't worth going to jail for. This book is painfully honest, funny, and even dark at times. As crazy as Nick gets, it still feels real.
Don't see the movie; it's a disappointment even with the hilarity of Michael Cera's portrayal of Nick Twisp's alter ego. ...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
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.
Chelsea Handler is by no means my favorite comedian, but My Horizontal Life called to me from B&N's ebook selection with a $1.99 price tag, and I'Chelsea Handler is by no means my favorite comedian, but My Horizontal Life called to me from B&N's ebook selection with a $1.99 price tag, and I'm not one to turn down a cheap laugh.
You know a book is funny when you spend half of the time reading it wondering just how much of it could actually be true. Waking up next to the "little person" who served Handler chips out of his sombrero the night before? Hiring a gigalo to finally pull her prudent roommate's V-card? Washing urine out of said roommate's hair after a guy Handler brought home mistook the roommate's room for the bathroom and pissed on her head? I wondered as I read this book if people close to Chelsea Handler often shake their heads and say "Only Chelsea. Only Chelsea would put herself in situations like that."
I think we all have had a friend like Handler; she's the friend whose unbelievable but totally true stories get embellished by friends at parties and gossip gatherings for years to come. "Remember that one time Friend X got locked out of her house dressed as a green M&M at 5 am and was caught by her ex (who was also her landlord at the time) trying to break in through her kitchen window?" Yeah, there's story after story like this one.
If you have a Nook and you're looking for a hammock read (I will never take my Nook to the beach, I'm sorry), then I recommend spending the $1.99. A great summer read....more
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.
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