The essay portion is awesome and more like David Sedaris' other books. The beginning of the book (the short story section) was funny and entertaining,The essay portion is awesome and more like David Sedaris' other books. The beginning of the book (the short story section) was funny and entertaining, but not as good as his essays. ...more
Temple Grandin is an inspiration to me for so many reasons, one of which is her ability to put many of life’s most seemingly ordinary concepts into neTemple Grandin is an inspiration to me for so many reasons, one of which is her ability to put many of life’s most seemingly ordinary concepts into new and thought-provoking perspectives. As humans, we tend to take for granted so much of our “knowledge” and make assumptions about the complex workings of our world that aren’t necessarily based on anything but our own bias, blindness, and ego.
Grandin, on the other hand, has this wonderfully natural proclivity for asking questions that are simultaneously provocative, but also beautifully and brilliantly simple. She reigns us in and reminds us to pay attention to the many details we overlook in our lives and in our relationships with the creatures and creations that surround us.
More than anything else, I admire Temple Grandin for the respect she demonstrates for the life (and death) of the animal companions that have accompanied us on our journey through evolution for so many thousands of years. She has a beautiful way of honoring and valuing their existence that not many people do, and in so many ways I hope to emulate her universal and practical compassion. ...more
My Review: In every dream I’ve ever conjured for myself; in every vision of my future life, I’ve been surrounded by animals, soul-deep in my relationsMy Review: In every dream I’ve ever conjured for myself; in every vision of my future life, I’ve been surrounded by animals, soul-deep in my relationship with Nature. Come to think of it, I’ve never lived a single day in my entire existence without the beautiful company of some kind of furry, scaled, or feathered creature- no wonder I can’t envision a world without animals.
I love reading Susan Chernak McElroy’s books simply because her experiences with animals and the natural world seem exquisitely similar to my own. There is a familiarity in her writing that speaks to the deepest levels of my inner self and, with that, a sense of encouragement and inspiration to pursue a life that is congruent with my soul’s calling. I have often felt childish and, at times, ridiculed for my love of Nature- especially as our society has distanced itself further than ever from the natural world. Through her stories, however, McElroy always leave me feeling as though I am part of a larger community; refueled and 100% justified in my love of Nature....more
The question of favorite writer is always difficult to answer. It’s like choosing a favorite parent or a favorite food– do we not have the capacity toThe question of favorite writer is always difficult to answer. It’s like choosing a favorite parent or a favorite food– do we not have the capacity to love more than one at once?! If I HAD to choose, though, I’d likely name Stephen King as my own favorite storyteller. Such brilliance, his way with words. The characters, the profound underlying messages, the stories themselves… I know I’ve said all of this ad nauseam (sorry), but he weaves such nuanced tales! Enthralling and beautifully dark, they highlight insightful truths about the nature of humanity and of existence. His work is so far beyond genre, it’s a shame he gets boxed in as “just” a writer of horror stories!
Of Stephen King’s books, I think The Green Mile might be my new favorite (in very close contest with It and The Stand, of course). Consistent with the most universal Stephen King motifs, The Green Mile is a story about good and evil, life and death, and, ultimately, the folly of humankind.
SPOILER ALERT: An innocent man sits on death row. He’s not only an innocent man, but a miraculously good man who, as a product of his gift, his heft, and his skin color, has been damned to a persecuted and lonely life. Through the development of this character, and those of his captors on the Green Mile, King helps us explore the human tendency to cling to destructively myopic understandings of life, and the damage we do to one another (and to ourselves!) as a result.
Thank you yet again for pulling me out of a reading drought, Mr. King! ...more
Having read Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day, this book was somewhat disappointing. Not terrible, not great— it doesn’t hold a candle tHaving read Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day, this book was somewhat disappointing. Not terrible, not great— it doesn’t hold a candle to the others.
Two hardened private investigators unintentionally become central figures in a bloody gang war arising in Dorchester, Massachusetts and guns inevitably start a-blazin’. Woven in throughout the book are social criticisms in relation to race and class, which is undoubtedly an important and relevant conversation to have. A timely read, given the events in Ferguson over the course of recent months. Although written in earlier days without these specific events in mind, these issues are, and have always been, a central (and dark) driving force in the creation and maintenance of our society and community functioning.
My criticism, therefore, is not about the social commentary itself, but by the apparent lack of finesse in incorporating it into the story. Most, if not all of Lehane’s books include significant pieces related to social deconstruction, but in his other books, he’s able to write in a way that is subtle, intricate, and true; it hits home in a way that feels genuine and inclusive of the complexity of the issues at hand.
Similar themes in A Drink Before The War feel clunky and obvious; the writing is too simple and too obviously intentional, which detracts from the authenticity of the story.
Again, it’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, but if you’re going to read Lehane, I’d say his other books are a much better use of valuable reading time. ...more
Let’s be clear. I have zero authority when it comes to reviewing music. Especially heavy metal. The extent of my music knowledge begins and ends withLet’s be clear. I have zero authority when it comes to reviewing music. Especially heavy metal. The extent of my music knowledge begins and ends with absentmindedly humming along to a 90′s pop radio station while I’m out running errands. About as far away from Mötley Crüe as one can get. And I REALLY don’t know how I went from an obsession with orca and environmentalism to an obsession with a random 80′s heavy metal band in the span of only a few weeks. But here we are…
All of that said, I truly had no idea how badass (and completely, 100% fucking bat-shit crazy) Mötley Crüe was until I picked up this book. I remember my dad talking about them when I was young, but I had no inkling of what they were about and could not for the life of me comprehend why anyone would voluntarily listen to that screeching and screaming of profanities, barely understandable through the distortion of mic and amp. Entertainment? Really?
Well, long story short, I get it now. And I LOVE IT.
For all the naive youngsters (and maybe not-so-youngsters) like me out there, Mötley Crüe is exactly that: a ragged group of disturbed, endlessly destructive, and oddly talented, men who somehow made it out alive, still decked out in heels and leather, after decades of inhuman levels of partying. Literally. These guys are the definition of go big or go home.
Overdose after overdose, fist fight after fist fight, arrest after arrest– Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx somehow held it together long enough to become one of the most famous and successful heavy metal bands of their generation. Each with a very different personality and their own unique brand of vice, they bonded into a twisted gang that rocked the world (and ruined millions of dollars worth of property, more than a couple of lives, and their own physical and mental health along the way).
Written by the band members themselves, with the help of Neil Strauss, this memoir-style book chronicles their impossible journey (as individuals and as Mötley Crüe) from their own perspectives. And it blew my mind.
So read The Dirt! And, if you liked it as much as I did, get tickets for Mötley Crüe’s final tour (apparently this is the ACTUAL final tour– I understand they’ve had a couple…) which is happening this year. Serendipitous timing, in fact. Their last show in Utah is scheduled for next week, and yes, I’ll be there. Completely out of place– a poser among rockers– but hopefully enjoying the madness nonetheless.
I may even have an extra beer or two in the name of chaos. ;)...more
The sex industry is such fascinating discussion material. Prostitution and other flavors of sex work are some of the oldest professions in the historyThe sex industry is such fascinating discussion material. Prostitution and other flavors of sex work are some of the oldest professions in the history of humans. Courtesans were very well respected and honored company not only for their appearance, but also for their intellectual prowess!
Of course things have changed a bit since the good old days of socially accepted prostitution and intellectual escort; our current situation leaves much to be desired in terms of regulation, safety, and worker protection. Unfortunately, it’s turned out that the stigma and ignorance that haunts those in the body-for-cash world is, I think, as damaging (if not more so) than anything about their actual work.
Open and creative minds are what we need. Open and creative minds lead to healthy morals, foster ingenuity in developing safety standards and professional rights, and prompt discovery of new solutions to prevent the unpleasant, abusive, destructive practices that are, unfortunately, a byproduct of a healthier sex work world.
This book adopted a much lighter, less philosophical tone than the contents of my review. It was utterly hysterical at times and quite nauseating at others. But I think it highlights something important: not everyone who takes off their clothes for a living does it for the same reason. Yes, some fit the stereotype (no elaboration needed), but so many others don’t. Every woman or man has a different reason for doing what they do.
Moral of the story: Not all sex workers hate their jobs/lives/family/body. In fact, some greatly ENJOY taking off their clothes and entertaining the masses. *Gasp!* Scandalous? No! It’s human! If you ask me, our bodies are mysterious and wonderful and it’s an absolute shame that we’re so ashamed of them.
P.S. I’m reading Brothel next, so stay tuned for more commentary on the wonderful, controversial world of sex work! ...more
So many times I’ve tried to start this series! I’ve picked up the first book in the Dark Tower series 7, 8, 9 times now and have been repeatedly defeaSo many times I’ve tried to start this series! I’ve picked up the first book in the Dark Tower series 7, 8, 9 times now and have been repeatedly defeated. There’s a right time for every book, though, and I suppose today belongs to The Gunslinger because I finally, miraculously, made it through.
Long story short, I think I like this story.
I won’t lie, the book is a train wreck in the beginning. The first 200 pages are tangential and nonsensical and tedious (hence my ongoing struggle to make it to the back cover). Once the pieces start coming together, though, the story does get more interesting. It’s just a little hard to grasp the whole “fantasy/sci-fi meets Old West meets historical fiction” thing without a little awkward processing time.
It also doesn’t help that King constantly throws you back and forth between different worlds, the present and history, life and death without providing any substantial explanatory information. Getting oriented in that kind of chaos is not an easy task!
By the last 50 pages or so, I felt like I had a better grasp on the situation and the whole endeavor felt a little less like being unexpectedly pitched off the edge of a cliff.
I can’t say that I’m infatuated with the story at this point, but I’m willing to give the next one a go. I mean it’s Stephen King for heaven’s sake! There’s got to be genius wrapped up in here somewhere....more
The author portrayed some incredibly powerful anecdotes and poignant insights. Her writing style is beautiful and poetic- almost hypnotic. However, IThe author portrayed some incredibly powerful anecdotes and poignant insights. Her writing style is beautiful and poetic- almost hypnotic. However, I felt that the author's indulgence in describing her sense of personal spirituality contaminated some of the most moving and beautiful realities of human-equine interaction....more
There are so many incredible quotes in this book, I can’t even begin to list them all. You’ll have to read it for yourself to get all the good ones! BThere are so many incredible quotes in this book, I can’t even begin to list them all. You’ll have to read it for yourself to get all the good ones! Both as a human being and as a therapist who specializes in women’s issues and sexuality, I believe that this book is a must-read for us all. Every one of us is a sexual being, after all!
The concept of sexual exploration is profoundly feminist and it requires a careful deconstruciton of the messages and limitations dictated to us by a patriarchal society (sex is shameful, monogamy is the only way to love, partners represent your other half, etc.). True, polyamory isn’t for everyone— but that’s precisely the point. As with everything in life, there is no one answer or lifestyle that fits all. In order to discover our own truth, we have to let go of the false “truths” forced upon us and unlearn behaviors that have been engrained in our society for centuries. This is, of course, difficult beyond belief.
In the end, these authors argue that regardless of your chosen lifestyle, there are ethical and healthy ways to be in relationship with others. Consent, personal awareness and exploration, communication, honesty; these are all crucial skills that take time to learn and implement in our lives whether your choice is monogamy or any other expression of love and sexuality.