I want to start off this review by saying that I actually have full respect for R. Kelly. I think that he is one of the great R&B artists of our g...moreI want to start off this review by saying that I actually have full respect for R. Kelly. I think that he is one of the great R&B artists of our generation, maybe all time. That said, this book is a joke. I've never been so angry at an autobiography as I was at this one.
First things first, the tone of this book is extraordinarily weird. If R. Kelly talks like this book (which he doesn't because I've watched him give interviews and talk on the intro to Real Talk), he sounds stilted and very fake. It was disconcerting and actually soured reading multiple parts of the book.
Speaking of reading the book, I found the heavy handed use of photoshop to be very, very distracting. It's hard to focus on the poorly written story when you can barely make out what it says because it's overlaid on R. Kelly's cheesing mug.
Lastly, I've never personally read an autobiography that made me hate someone as much as this one did. Although I like Robert, I found him to be a completely egomaniacal, self-involved jerk. There were many sections where it seemed like he could have been rubbing his own nipples in pleasure while he told the story.
I was super excited for this book to drop. It did, and I read it. I've never been so disappointed in my entire life. No one should read this thing...ever. (less)
The Sweet Science is not really a book about boxing. Yes, it does talk about boxing and various legends in the sport (Rocky Marciano, Jersey Joe Walco...moreThe Sweet Science is not really a book about boxing. Yes, it does talk about boxing and various legends in the sport (Rocky Marciano, Jersey Joe Walcott, Sugar Ray Robinson, etc.), but they are not the real focus here.
The real focus is A.J. Liebling's travels through this world, attending fights and getting into the real mechanics of the sport. Liebling's voice is lively and his prose is both funny and sharp. Most importantly, it becomes clear within 10 pages that Liebling truly loves the sport. This is not a passing fancy for him. As a result, it's a book that celebrates boxing for what it really is: the sweetest science.
While I'm a boxing nerd (I've watched fights involving all of the people mentioned above and a lot of the people in the book), this is a book for anyone interested in sports and the people who engage in them. Liebling explains the minutiae of the sport like tactics, strategies, and movements in a way that non-boxing watchers can understand and see the artistry involved (even if it is hideous boxing like that of Marciano).
While he has some questionable viewpoints with regards to boxing on television, Liebling is a smart writer who has really, truly created one of the best sports books of the 20th Century. I would maybe even argue that it's the best sports book of the 20th Century. It's that good. (less)
There's not really any way to get to this in a touching, sentimental way. This is one of the most horrifying books that I've ever read, and yes, I kno...moreThere's not really any way to get to this in a touching, sentimental way. This is one of the most horrifying books that I've ever read, and yes, I know that it's a book about football.
For those in America who only see MLS or the current, sanitized version of the EPL, association football in England was a sport that was drenched in violence (and, on some levels, still is). Barnwell, an American, exposes this reality and tries to understand its pull.
In the process of figuring this out, he hangs out with white supremacists and hooligans, really unsavory characters. The real horror in this book comes out in the very graphic descriptions of violence that Barnwell writes here. An example: he talks about traveling to Turin with the Man Utd. supporters. After the fight lets out, those supporters have a fight with the Juventus ultras. He talks about innocent bystanders on the street being savagely beaten, getting thrown into cars, and bleeding profusely due to the actions of these few that want to fight.
This is a book that anyone with an interest in society should read. It's a fantastic book that is well written. I highly encourage people who AREN'T interested in soccer to read this book as it is also about a man discovering his own love for the game and all that it can mean.
While it shows it age from time to time (for example: most major stadia don't have terraces anymore), it's a classic of journalistic writing.(less)
I do, generally, like Clowes's work, and I thought this was a rather interesting trip on the boring superhero narrative.
Our narrator isn't good, nor i...moreI do, generally, like Clowes's work, and I thought this was a rather interesting trip on the boring superhero narrative.
Our narrator isn't good, nor is he bad. The narrative is set within a frame of our protagonists. Most importantly, nothing is clear cut at all. Much like with his other protagonists, there are likable characteristics about Andy as well as ones that are completely terrible.
Given the fact that it's beautifully illustrated as well as short (I read it while listening to an episode of Young & The Restless), it's definitely worth a spin. I think that it's a fitting addition to the archive of one of the great comic artists of all-time. (less)
I found this book in my town's public library and decided to pick it up on a lark. I've spent a lot of time reading this book--which is unavoidable be...moreI found this book in my town's public library and decided to pick it up on a lark. I've spent a lot of time reading this book--which is unavoidable because it's long--and I've come to the realization that this is a classy version of the pick-up artist.
The classiness of this version comes from the extensive use of classical literary and historical examples. Referencing Casanova, Salome, Evita, and many others, Greene does his best work in using these examples to explain how they were effective in their seductive efforts. While these are interesting the first time that he brings them up, Greene continues to reference them repeatedly throughout the book, which grows exceedingly boring as he moves through the book.
While I wasn't thrilled about his overuse of these examples, there were rather compelling interesting profiles in seduction. I did enjoy learning about how these historical figures worked their various magics in the realm of seduction.
The problem for me was one that many of the reviewers commented on: the book makes this very strange, Machiavellian turn, making seduction into a game of power, targets, and victims. Greene spends a lot of time talking about manipulations and ways to set yourself up for victory in a particular manner. It is at this moment that the book turns into the pick-up artist.
At the beginning, I thought I was dreaming about that aspect, but there is, literally, a section of this book that talks about "throwing negs" as Mystery would call it. Given that Greene is a classy lad, he calls it mixing pleasure with pain. It's the exact same thing: be mean to get this person to convince you that you are the one for them. If you insult them, they will run to your side with some reassurance. This grosses me out and would make me flee from anyone IMMEDIATELY. There are also things about reliance, which also upset me in a number of ways as someone who prides himself on being content and self-reliant.
By the time I finished reading the book, the rationalization of one of the most irrational processes in human life--choosing a mate---really troubled me. Making it into a series of steps doesn't work for me. I enjoyed some of my time with this book, certainly not all of it. It is certainly worth experiencing, but I don't guarantee a pleasant experience. (less)
This book is on my bathroom toilet. I think that says more than enough about how much I think about it. Tannen makes some good points, but she's ancho...moreThis book is on my bathroom toilet. I think that says more than enough about how much I think about it. Tannen makes some good points, but she's anchored in some world where there isn't masculine femininity or feminine masculinity (to crib terms from Halberstam). (less)
I started reading Love & Rockets on the suggestion of a punk rocker friend of mine. While that is certianly central to the book (Hopey plays in a...moreI started reading Love & Rockets on the suggestion of a punk rocker friend of mine. While that is certianly central to the book (Hopey plays in a punk band and hangs with punks), the stories of Hopey and Maggie are really awesome due to the relationship between them and the ways that Hernandez actually gives all of the characters great depth and feeling. If this book weren't a compilation of comics, there's a good chance a lot of people would applaud these stories as a fine piece of literature, myself included. If you have a bias against comics, this book will erase them. So will Black Hole, Endless Belly Button, Ayako, Fun House and Blankets among others.(less)
Keith Richards has one of the worst grasps of the English language that I have seen in my life. It's astonishingly bad. With that out of the way, he h...moreKeith Richards has one of the worst grasps of the English language that I have seen in my life. It's astonishingly bad. With that out of the way, he has lead a really bloody interesting life. While the story tails off towards the end with Keith meeting his wife, having more kids, and settling down in CT, the rest of the book makes up more than enough for this part. This book should be read by anyone who has, at least, a passing interest in the Stones.(less)
My friend gave this to me as a present one year. I gave her the only compliment that I thought was vaguely worthy of the book: it's in my bathroom lib...moreMy friend gave this to me as a present one year. I gave her the only compliment that I thought was vaguely worthy of the book: it's in my bathroom library. This is a hilarious book that has topics from Jayne Mansfield and paint by numbers to Liberace and sweatsuits. It also works well as a bathroom book because all of the entries are pretty short. Liberace took a little while; his whole lifestyle was elaborate. If you can find a copy of this book, buy it. It will be well worth your money. (less)
This is a book of a very specific cultural moment. I forget this sometimes then try to force chinese students to think it's funny like I do. This book...moreThis is a book of a very specific cultural moment. I forget this sometimes then try to force chinese students to think it's funny like I do. This book will be perpetually funny to anyone that went/goes to prep school or knows old money. Hopefully, you have the distinct pleasure that I have of both being true. You would like to think that some of this stuff would change after over thirty years, but they really haven't. (less)
Ayako is, easily, one of the best graphic novels that I've ever read and certainly the best I've read this year. It's twisted, sick, depraved, violent...moreAyako is, easily, one of the best graphic novels that I've ever read and certainly the best I've read this year. It's twisted, sick, depraved, violent, and absolutely engaging. It's a very different take on the familial unit, showing a family that while fatally flawed will remind you of your own in a lot of different ways.
The art of the book is beautiful. Its pace is quite brisk and the dialogue, even in translation, is complex and beautiful. The closest thing I can think of to this book is that it is a faster-paced version of a Ingmar Bergmann film. It has the darkness and subtlety of that director's films while still bringing the author's own voice in.
I think that this is a book that many can enjoy, but like in the other reviews, it has a number of problematic components. When understood in the context of the story, most of them can be forgiven as the author intends. The ones that cannot move the story forward. In the end, this narrative requires the intense darkness of the story, otherwise it would not be nearly as engaging. (less)
If N' Oof is from Brian Chippendale, drummer of Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer. His visual style is just like his musical style. It's assaultive, chall...moreIf N' Oof is from Brian Chippendale, drummer of Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer. His visual style is just like his musical style. It's assaultive, challenging, and, in the end, always impressive. The story is a bit crazy, but it was thoroughly engaging. His style has a slapdash quality to it like he photocopied his manuscript on a xerox machine or something. I liked it as well as the frenetic drawing style as both really both the story to life, making reading engaging.
If you are thinking about reading this book, do the following first: go listen to any lightning bolt album from Ride The Skies forward. If you like the assault that is happening to your ears, go read this and have it happen to your eyes because they are almost identical. If you turn off the Lightning Bolt album after like 30 seconds, read Endless Belly Button or something else because this book will not be your cup of tea.(less)
This is a marvellously written text which blends historical fiction, slave narratives, and some science fictional elements. The main characters are ri...moreThis is a marvellously written text which blends historical fiction, slave narratives, and some science fictional elements. The main characters are rich and its points are educational without being overly didactic. In short, it's a book that anyone could read and enjoy. It's something of a shame that not a larger number of people know about the work of Butler.(less)