Alan Alda is a man whom, when he speaks, all should listen, and when he writes, all should read. The words of wisdom he imparts upon his readers are u...moreAlan Alda is a man whom, when he speaks, all should listen, and when he writes, all should read. The words of wisdom he imparts upon his readers are uplifting, funny, insightful and brilliant.(less)
Hmm. My biggest reason for reading this book was simply because I like reading biographies and autobiographies. The second would be morbid curiosity.....moreHmm. My biggest reason for reading this book was simply because I like reading biographies and autobiographies. The second would be morbid curiosity...and the third, well, is a bit more personal and I shan't go into grand details. That being said, on a whole, the book isn't all that bad, but de Quincey's tendency to ramble on and completely and utterly stray from what he was trying to say does make reading it a bit difficult and boring at points. If you can handle difficult/tedious reading and the subject matter piques your curiosity, I say go for it. It is a truly interesting read but I don't find it as good as the vast majority of readers tend to think it is. It has its high points (no pun intended) and I think it fills the void of curiosity for those unexperienced with the subject matter, but I don't really see it as the definitive drug addiction book many people seem to think it is. You'll likely get a better reading experience (and perhaps even learning experience) out of books labeled Fiction that we all know have some basis in real experience on the part of the author. These real types of confessions simply focus way too much on the author and not enough on the experiences themselves, which, whether readily admitted or not, is what most people are reading them for (whatever their reasons may be).(less)
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
There is a great story here in the pages of Too Much to Dream about growing up and fightin...moreI received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
There is a great story here in the pages of Too Much to Dream about growing up and fighting your demons and living for music and searching for answers, but at times it gets lost in the (often dryly delivered) history of psychedelic drugs. I felt like I was reading two different books at once, one a text book, and the other an autobiography, and sometimes it felt like I’d misplaced the autobiography altogether (and it made it a slow read for me). But don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important in a book like this to have that sort of factual, historical information interspersed with the meat of the story, I just think it could have been done better.
Technical gripes aside, I did enjoy reading about Peter’s life, and at times it became scary real and completely relatable for me (except my story started a decade after his, and I would have been on the other side of the street with the metal heads instead of the punks) and I thank him for having the courage and, quiet frankly, the balls, to put it all down on paper.(less)
This was a thoroughly entertaining read and surprisingly deep as well. Sam is the kind of guy I’d gladly welcome into my life, a no nonsense, no bulls...moreThis was a thoroughly entertaining read and surprisingly deep as well. Sam is the kind of guy I’d gladly welcome into my life, a no nonsense, no bullshit kind of guy who tells it like it is (in a hilarious fashion). He’d fit right in around here.
This book really is hilarious, but also, there is a deeper story here about a dad who loves his kids and wants to make sure they are prepared for the life that lies ahead of them. I think we all could have benefited from a life growing up with such a blunt, honest guy around. In a time of so many pantywaists running around trying to “protect the children” Sam Halpern is a delight to read about, and I’m so glad Justin decided to write about him and his own topsy-turvy life.
My only regret is that I put off reading this for so long, because the book is full of gems, like this one:
“I’m gonna put a handful of condoms in the glove compartment of the car…I don’t give a shit if you don’t want to talk about this with me, I don’t want to talk about this with you, either. You think I want you screwing in my car? No. But I’d much less rather have to pay for some kid you make because there ain’t condoms in there.”
I was very surprised by Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies and many times I've hit one where you can tell...moreI was very surprised by Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies and many times I've hit one where you can tell the author only did it for money or attention, or because they had some zany stories they want to brag about. This does not feel like one of those books (and my initial feeling before reading it was that it might be and I’m glad to be proven wrong).
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Rob Lowe before I started reading this (and that’s the driving force behind why I picked it up). I’d seen some of his movies, most of which I didn’t care for, and I’d seen some of West Wing, which I did like, but that was about it. I had no idea he had such a star studded childhood, hanging out with the Sheens and the Penns. And I had no idea about his struggles.
On the whole, the book is an amazing rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs, but I found the first chapter, about JFK Jr. to be the most poignant. I don’t think I’ve ever had a book give me such a lump in the throat feeling after only the first chapter! I was also very surprised by the writing, which is smooth, intelligent and witty, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes to get an inside peek at the life of an actor who really does do it all simply because he loves it.(less)
I've gathered from reading many reviews of this book that the general consensus is that while When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a good book, Sedaris...moreI've gathered from reading many reviews of this book that the general consensus is that while When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a good book, Sedaris has done better. To that, I can only think of one thing to say: if this is "mediocre" compared to his other works, then I can't wait to read them! Personally, I think this is an excellent collection of essays, they are funny, witty, smart and endearing and I'm glad I finally got around to reading something written by Sedaris.
"Keeping Up", "In the Waiting Room", "April in Paris", and as gross as it was, "Old Faithful" are among my favorites in this collection, but the one that really struck a chord with me was "The Smoking Section", being a sort of former cigarette smoker (I've switched to an electronic cigarette, but the switch has been difficult).
I can't wait to read more essays from Sedaris, he's a smooth writer who knows how to draw you into his world. The essays herein cover a wider range than I understand a lot of his other works cover, and I think that makes for an excellent collection. Variety is the spice of life after all, and this collection certainly added a bit of kick to mine while I was reading it.(less)
I think the idea behind this book was good, but I had my doubts about it. Its a shame that the articles contained within seem really far off the mark....moreI think the idea behind this book was good, but I had my doubts about it. Its a shame that the articles contained within seem really far off the mark. A lot of the points brought up in I'm a Stranger Here Myself really aren't much better then the topics that come up during the comedy routine of a mediocre stand up comedian. It's a lot of observational humor from the view point of someone who hasn't been in country for nearly two decades; observational humor that had already been done to death before he'd returned to the states. Kids are crazy, kids going off to college is sad, London is crowded, there is a lot of open space in the US, technology is weird, technology is a pain in the ass...blah blah blah. Yeah, I knew that, and I didn't have to leave the country for twenty years to figure that out. Seriously. One day no one had cellphones, and a PC was still uncommon in the home (and hardly anyone had laptops) and everyone ate gluten with no problems, and them bam! I turned around and everything changed. We all have cellphones, and smart phones and net books and half the population is gluten free. Things change when you aren't looking, or more likely, when you are focused on your life and surviving.
I'm pretty sure that this book could have been written by someone who never left the country and simply had a really busy life and couldn't catch all the little changes occurring around him until it was too late. The book could have easily been called America Has Changed and Now I'm Going to Whine About it and Hope People Think Its Funny. And don't get me wrong, I have no problem with poking fun at one's own culture, I do that on a regular basis. I guess I just find it amazing that it took twenty years in another country for the author to realize that there is plenty in America to poke fun at.
Anyway, this gets two stars, because I realize it is nearly fourteen years old, so its out of date in some ways, but otherwise I would have given it one star. This just didn't do it for me at all.(less)
My rating for this book is not so much reflective of David Sedaris' writing (he's pretty spot on through most of it), more the book itself. There is s...moreMy rating for this book is not so much reflective of David Sedaris' writing (he's pretty spot on through most of it), more the book itself. There is some "new" stuff here that I've never read, but most of it is stuff I've read in his other books. The SantaLand Diaries is one I hadn't come across before, and I really enjoyed it, and since I got this on sale for my Kindle, it made the book worth the purchase price on its own. If only there had been more unpublished works (when I say unpublished, I mean not published in his other books, I know he is published elsewhere before hand but I rarely get the chance to read any of his stories before they are collected in books).(less)
I read this in one maddening, horrifying, tear-filled sitting. I could not stop reading. What a heart wrenching story. That poor girl (and indeed, her...moreI read this in one maddening, horrifying, tear-filled sitting. I could not stop reading. What a heart wrenching story. That poor girl (and indeed, her family as well) has been through so much in such a short period of time. My heart goes out to the family.(less)
I have to be honest, I had only a vague idea of who Tina Fey was until she did the Sarah Palin impersonations. I only saw them because a friend showed...moreI have to be honest, I had only a vague idea of who Tina Fey was until she did the Sarah Palin impersonations. I only saw them because a friend showed them to me. I don't think I've ever seen full episode of SNL, only a few skits here and there (no, I don't live in a cave, SNL just isn't my cup of tea). I hadn't seen an episode of 30 Rock at the time either. As of now, I've only seen a few episodes. It's alright. So, you're probably wondering why I picked up this book.
The honest answer: it was easily accessible to me at the time of choosing and it fit the criteria for a book challenge I'm participating in. But more importantly, I really enjoy reading autobiographies (and biographies too), whether I'm "into" that person or not. And it really stems from my enjoyment of getting to know people (not necessarily personally, but just learning about them in general), which often conflicts with my less than outgoing nature. So hey, reading about someone is the next best thing.
So what did I think? Well, I gave it four stars, that should say something, right? Did I like it so much that I am now a Tina Fey devotee? No. I thought the book was very funny, but something about her humor style seems to work better for me in the form of written word. If she wrote another book, fiction or non-fiction, I'd certainly pick it up, though. Clearly, she is a good writer, or she wouldn't be where she is today, it just doesn't always work for me when acted out for TV.
Its a funny book, super easy to read, and very entertaining, and a bit on the informative side for some one who had no idea who she was until a few years ago. It's not an in-depth and super deep type of memoir, but it doesn't need to be, its just fine how it is. (less)
I'm a huge fan of Frasier, so it pains me to say this, as I think Kelsey Grammer is a great actor, but I was very disappointed by this book. He has a...moreI'm a huge fan of Frasier, so it pains me to say this, as I think Kelsey Grammer is a great actor, but I was very disappointed by this book. He has a great many things to say, but they are all barely glanced over, there is no depth to the stories he tells, instead it's more like he's just listing off the events of his life. This probably could have been better as a longer, more detailed book, but as it is, it's not very enjoyable.(less)