I remember thinking at the time that it was amazing that the dude could write so well about drugs without having ever done drugs . . . but I don't thi...moreI remember thinking at the time that it was amazing that the dude could write so well about drugs without having ever done drugs . . . but I don't think I had done drugs at the time, so what the heck does THAT mean?(less)
My dad lent me this, but I'm having a tough time getting going on it. I'm interested in the subject matter theoretically, but man, I just can't stick...moreMy dad lent me this, but I'm having a tough time getting going on it. I'm interested in the subject matter theoretically, but man, I just can't stick with a non-fiction book! I get distracted. I have a short attention span.(less)
Wow, this took me FOREVER to read. It was in my bathroom, so I only read it sporadically, but STILL. I go to the bathroom EVERY DAY.
I think it could h...moreWow, this took me FOREVER to read. It was in my bathroom, so I only read it sporadically, but STILL. I go to the bathroom EVERY DAY.
I think it could have been shorter if it had been edited better. This was only the second "oral history"-stylee book I've read (the other was Gonzo) and it wasn't put together nearly as well. The interstitial writing was so pandering and complimentary that it made me want to barf. And the interviews themselves were very repetitive (newsflash: Lorne Michaels doesn't hand out compliments very often. Tell me one thousand times!) and sometimes poorly edited. Can't you take out all the "likes" and "ums"? I mean seriously.
The stuff about the early years was interesting, but the more recent years aren't very interesting because no one is doing drugs or screwing each other. But there are still just as many pages devoted to them.
All in all, it was okay, but I had heard SUCH great things about this book, and it pretty much shot its load in the first 150 pages. Also it was almost never funny. (less)
Eh . . . I really did not like this book very much, and if it weren't for Michelle's recommendation of it, I probably wouldn't have bothered to finish...moreEh . . . I really did not like this book very much, and if it weren't for Michelle's recommendation of it, I probably wouldn't have bothered to finish it.
For a dude who is supposedly from New York City, Berendt uses a particularly naive voice for this book, and I found it extremely frustrating. He's flabbergasted by the most mundane things. His description of the Lady Chablis, in particular, I found to be very condescending. C'mon, this is the first drag queen you've met? Seriously?
I think I would have liked this book more if it were a novel. I found the narrator's presence to be a problem. Sometimes people act as though he's not there. Other times he describes scenes -- at which he was not present -- to such a degree of detail that it's absurd to believe he could have heard such a story secondhand. And at yet other times, people are confiding in him to a degree which is unbelievable, based on how much we know of his relationship with the person in question. It constantly bugged.
The most interesting parts to me were the discussions of city planning. Which says as much about me as it does the author, but still.
The narrator, Jeff Woodman, didn't help. He did an adequate job with the voices and whatnot, but his reading made the narrator seem even MORE "wtf" than he had to be, which only added to my annoyance.
So, all in all -- I can't recommend it. Though I would like to visit Savannah at some point.(less)
A really great guide for beginner birders. I wouldn't say it's a replacement for Birding for Beginners, necessarily -- I'm glad I read both -- but thi...moreA really great guide for beginner birders. I wouldn't say it's a replacement for Birding for Beginners, necessarily -- I'm glad I read both -- but this one covers things in a little more detail.
Also, Pete Dunne is from New Jersey, and is currently the president (or something) of the Cape May Bird Observatory, so most of his chapter-beginning anecdotes take place in New Jersey, which is neat. For me.(less)
I didn't finish this before I had to return it to the library, but it was pretty helpful.
The author was/is a trainer for professional bowlers, and boy...moreI didn't finish this before I had to return it to the library, but it was pretty helpful.
The author was/is a trainer for professional bowlers, and boy, he does not let you forget it! He mentions about a zillion anecdotes. "You should use this sort of approach, even though Joe Schmo used a different kind for years and won twelve PBA championships, and Mike Roller used THIS sort of approach and sucked until I helped him and then he won nine PBA titles" etc etc etc ad nauseum. You can skim all that stuff, though, and there's a lot of good advice in there.(less)
I got through the first few chapters but was unimpressed, so I am reading Bowling Execution instead, which I checked out from the library at the same...moreI got through the first few chapters but was unimpressed, so I am reading Bowling Execution instead, which I checked out from the library at the same time. But I'll probably give this more of a perusal before I return it.
ETA: Returned it to the library without finishing it. It was okay.(less)
A well written, fair account of a dumb kid. I thought that by the end I'd feel either pity or derision for him, most likely derision -- but Krakauer m...moreA well written, fair account of a dumb kid. I thought that by the end I'd feel either pity or derision for him, most likely derision -- but Krakauer made me feel more sympathy for him than I thought I would, and helped me to understand him. So good on him.
I think that if I had been reading a paper copy of this, or even just listening to it in the car, I would have been bored. But I had it on whilst I pa...moreI think that if I had been reading a paper copy of this, or even just listening to it in the car, I would have been bored. But I had it on whilst I painted and re-painted twenty (20) kitchen cabinet doors, and I enjoyed it.
I think I really like Hemingway. And I learned a lot about bullfighting. And now I would like to see a bullfight; but since Hemingway bemoans the current state of "modern" bullfighting in 1932, who knows what it's like now.
The narrator was pretty good, by the way. At first I was disappointed he wasn't Brian Denehey (who narrated True At First Light) but this dude can actually do voices. And accents! The way he pronounced Spanish words was elegant without being pretentious. Also his "old lady" voice cracked me up.(less)
I try to maintain calm-assertive energy at all times after reading this book.
No but seriously, Cesar is awesome. I haven't watched more than an episod...moreI try to maintain calm-assertive energy at all times after reading this book.
No but seriously, Cesar is awesome. I haven't watched more than an episode of Dog Whisperer, but his reputation precedes him. The things he talks about in this books aren't necessarily things I've seen before (not that I've sought out different techniques on dog training before now) but once he says to do something, and why it should be done, it seems so obvious and so common sensical.
Though I haven't had an opportunity to test out his theories on an actual puppy (yet,) I do recommend this book to anyone thinking of getting a puppy -- even if it's not your first dog. It really is for working with a young dog as a clean slate, though -- if you're trying to correct behaviors in an adolescent or older dog, I'd search out one of his other books.(less)
I wish I had read this when I first started planning my wedding!
Really truly wonderful. The author is someone I wish I hung out with, but the book is...moreI wish I had read this when I first started planning my wedding!
Really truly wonderful. The author is someone I wish I hung out with, but the book isn't just "here is what I thought was bullshit, and what we did differently." I mean it IS that, but it also talks about how to figure out what works for YOU. Both inspirational and instructional, and I recommend it to everyone (dudes and girls) planning a wedding -- even if you don't think it's going to be "Off-Beat," you have opinions, and this book gives you tools to back those opinions up.(less)
I got about halfway through this book and got bored. There are no jokes in it. I mean NONE! How can you write something that has no sense of humor in...moreI got about halfway through this book and got bored. There are no jokes in it. I mean NONE! How can you write something that has no sense of humor in it at all? (Can you tell I'm unaccustomed to reading non-fiction?)
I read this book because: well, because before I do something, I like to read a lot of books about it. So I got this book about getting married (specifically, about women getting married.)
The premise seems to be this: getting married is an important and significant transition in a woman's life. In modern Western society, we don't recognize and acknowledge important life transitions -- although getting married is actually an exception, as we still have big important weddings. However, since we're not accustomed to acknowledging these transitions, we tend to focus on the "party" part and not what this transition really means. It's a death of sorts, an ending of one identity and the birth of a new one. If we don't take notice of and acknowledge this death, and allow ourselves to grieve properly, it can create issues in our own happiness, and in the relationships between ourselves and our husbands, families, and girlfriends, into the first few years of the marriage.
There. Now, that all sounds reasonable, right? I don't necessarily disagree with that. However, I disagree that it takes over 200 pages to talk about it. This is the thesis for a magazine article, not a book. She includes some first-person talk from brides, but could have included a lot more -- I'd be more interested in reading what real (modern) women have to say, than in another analogy based on the Eros/Psyche myth.
Additionally -- and this is a personal note, not really interesting to anyone who doesn't know me -- although I think (as I mentioned) that the author has some good points to make, I don't think that they're very germane to my actual situation. I did go through transitions as my relationship with Chris advanced. Just committing to a boyfriend at all was difficult for me at first. As was moving in together -- after years on my own, it was tough at first, and even nine months later I think we're still adjusting (well, I know I am.) But I recognized at the time that it was okay for me to have difficulties, as long as I acknowledged them, and figured out what, exactly, my difficulties involved, and worked to communicate with Chris (and with myself) and figure them out. And I did. But I managed to do this without reading a book.
And maybe I'm naive, but I don't think that suddenly being a "wife" is going to change my life, nor do I think it's going to change how Chris and I relate to each other. As I said, that change happened years ago, when I recognized that I would be spending the rest of my life with this kid. Maybe it's different for women who are going straight from their parents' house to a shared house; maybe it's different for women with closer relationships with their parents; maybe it's different for women who make a lot less money than their husbands. This book claims that ALL women will go through this painful transition, even those who have been living on their own for 14 years -- but personally, I don't find that to be the case.
But so anyway. What a long review for a book I didn't even finish! Ladies: know that getting married is a transition from one identity to another; it might happen on your wedding day, or it might have happened already. But acknowledge it, and know that parts of that transition are going to be painful, and that's okay. The end.
There, I just saved you time and money. (Although you can have my copy if you like, though this was hardly a ringing endorsement.)(less)
Man, I only got like 50 pages in and this is BO-RING. Again, no sense of humor? At all? Seriously?
The title is taken far too literally (except for the...moreMan, I only got like 50 pages in and this is BO-RING. Again, no sense of humor? At all? Seriously?
The title is taken far too literally (except for the "provacative" part.) It's like a super-sized essay on how the role of "wife" has changed over the years, and the contradictory things it can mean today. Gee, thanks, I've been an alive feminist with a computer for the past twenty-odd years, I know . . . stuff. Like what you just said.
I abandoned this because I am just no good at reading non-fiction. But it was really good and interesting, I swear! I just didn't retain very much of...moreI abandoned this because I am just no good at reading non-fiction. But it was really good and interesting, I swear! I just didn't retain very much of it.(less)
This was a really great book on dog training using behavioral conditioning (I think that's what it's called. I read this a while ago.)
Don't Shoot the...moreThis was a really great book on dog training using behavioral conditioning (I think that's what it's called. I read this a while ago.)
Don't Shoot the Dog is a better book (if we're going to compare the two) but this one is specifically geared towards dog training, and is quite valuable. You should read (and own) both.
The first third (if I recall correctly) describes the concepts involved. It was useful, but man, this lady is SO into positive training that it is a little crazy. Like, she beats herself up because she used a cap gun twice (2ce) on a dog to teach him not to chase horses. A cap gun. TWICE. After all other positive techniques were attempted. Give yourself a break, lady, the dog will be fine.
The middle third of the book is a training schedule that describes, step by step, how to teach each command. It is perfect. I've only really done "down" so far because I'm lazy but it was really easy to get Indiana to do what I wanted, and then to learn to do what I wanted. Basically, here is the theory: first, you use "shaping" to get the dog to do what you want. Repeat. Then you issue the command AS the dog is doing what you want. Repeat. Then you just issue the command, and hopefully, they'll do what you want.
I just skimmed the third third because it discusses how to address behavioral problems, and Indiana is perfect and doesn't do anything that needs correcting.(less)
Okay, first just the narration: the narrator does "accents." It didn't bother me when she was doing all these African-American people, but when she bu...moreOkay, first just the narration: the narrator does "accents." It didn't bother me when she was doing all these African-American people, but when she busted out the Asian-American "ah so" thing, I was sort of horrified. Does that make me a racist? I'm not sure. Anyway, she was fine with everything else.
I originally gave this three stars but busted it down to two (that means "It was OK.") It's not a bad book, per se, I'm just a little bewildered at how successful it apparently was. There are two parts, intertwined: there's the part about how the HeLa cells affected scientific research, and some things that came out of it. Then there is the story of the family of the woman from whom the HeLa cells were taken.
The science part is . . . interesting, but not fascinating. Like, it's okay, and I'm glad I read it. It was magazine-article interesting.
The Lacks family part . . . it's only sort of interesting as well. Poor black family from the south, and some of the members of the later generations clearly have mental issues. (Which may or may not be related to the fact that cousins married cousins. I thought it was determined that cousin-on-cousin love is actually not that big a deal? No? I was not as appalled as I apparently was supposed to be.) Hardworking mother who has a jillion kids! Dad who drinks and slaps the wife around! Molesting uncle! It's like a Toni Morrison novel without the poetry.
I don't mean to make light of their situation -- it's compelling to them, and to the author, who came to be so personally embroiled in their lives. But narratively speaking, I don't think their story is actually too interesting. And when you come down to it, their troubles had NOTHING to do with the HeLa cells. Nothing whatsoever. They thought they were -- because they're ignorant and educated (I don't intend either of those descriptors to be insulting, it's not actually their fault that they are uneducated and ignorant,) and because they have been screwed by the system in general, being poor and black. But whether or not their mother's cancer cells had turned out to be immortal, their lives would not have been different.
Lacks's sons are convinced that they are owed money because of these cells, but the original researcher charged nothing for their distribution; he was just super-hyped that he had found these things. Later, other labs produced HeLa cells on a massive scale, and you can purchase them for research -- but is the Lacks family entitled to any of that profit? The author doesn't seem to think so, as sympathetic as she is to the family, because she didn't try to convince me. So, sorry, guys. I do think that you are entitled to health care, but that has nothing to do with the fact that your mother changed scientific research as we know it; it has to do with the fact that you are human beings.
One last thought, and that's regarding the mental issues I mentioned above -- clearly, Deborah and Zakariyya [oh man, I wanted to KILL the narrator for pronouncing it "za-KAH-ree-yah" until it was explained, 3/4 of the way through, that that's the way he pronounces it] [she did keep pronouncing in situ incorrectly, though, as far as I know, and that made drove me crazy as well] are mentally ill to some degree, and whenever that was made clear, it made me feel . . . uncomfortable. As though they were being exploited for their entertainment value. The author tries to treat them with respect, and I'm not sure what she should have done differently, I just . . . I dunno. It made me feel dirty.
Anyway. There you have it. I didn't NOT like it, I just didn't see what all the fuss was about.(less)