This book was not as good as the two previous books, How to Be Happy Dammit! and Enough Dammit! I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.
The idea behind thi...moreThis book was not as good as the two previous books, How to Be Happy Dammit! and Enough Dammit! I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.
The idea behind this book is that the seven deadly sins can actually be a path to inner fulfillment and help you get what you want. There are 7 other sins that are much deadly, among them worry and apathy, which rob us of our joy for living.
The book was as colorful and graphic and easy to read as the previous 2 installments, but didn't speak to me as loudly as they did.(less)
I was shopping at Borders the other night, and I happened upon this book, which was on sale for all of 3 dollars. The cover is a striking little numbe...moreI was shopping at Borders the other night, and I happened upon this book, which was on sale for all of 3 dollars. The cover is a striking little number in bright red with a wreath of kitschy looking elf-heads adorning it. I thumbed through the pages, and when I saw a drunk Barbie swimming in a punch bowl, I knew I had to have it.
The author states that Christmas is the time all good taste goes straight out the window as people try to outdo each other with decorations, crappy food, and gay apparel. This book embraces the tradition of over-the-topness that is Christmas. The hell with Martha Stewart perfection! On with Kitschmas!
I am madly in love with the Valley of the Dolls Christmas tree, featuring Barbies spray painted silver. As you can imagine, Barbie takes it on the chin quite a bit in this book. There is also a tree made out of rubber gloves and one made from a tomato cage, covered in green grass skirts and leis. There are directions for wreaths made from an old tire, a straight from the cupboard Christmas feast, and clothing made from tree skirts. There's a scary-as-hell looking night light made from Santa's head, a drink called The Judy Garland, and stockings made from fetish boots.
The book is a festival of bad taste, but it's so bad it's good. Holiday hilarity just in time for the rush to hit. (less)
Two short stories turned into a book. The first details the travails of an upper middle class, childless British middle aged couple who return home fr...moreTwo short stories turned into a book. The first details the travails of an upper middle class, childless British middle aged couple who return home from the opera one night to discover that their entire apartment has been cleaned out, right down to the toilet paper roller. While the husband is dealing with the insurance companies and police, Missus finds she likes the simplicity of this new spartan existence. But when their material goods are unexpectedly found, how will they react?
The second short story is I guess a bit of a memoir about when Bennett had some crazy old lady park her van in his yard and refuse to move it. Social services tries to help the lady, neighbors attempt to help, but at the end of the day, she dies in her van, surrounded by piles of junk and it turns out she has money in the bank and could have done quite well for herself. The narrator (or author) tracks down the woman's brother who tells her tragic story.
I honestly expected more from both stories--I thought perhaps the storyline with the wife realizing that "stuff" doesn't make you happy could have gone somewhere, but that was over all too soon when tragedy strikes a second time. As for the crazy old lady in the van, the story just made me sad. Maybe I've been working with sickly old people too long. Not one of my favorites this year. (less)
I used to love reading the obituaries, but upon reading this book about obituaries and obituary writers, I think I was going at it all wrong. The book...moreI used to love reading the obituaries, but upon reading this book about obituaries and obituary writers, I think I was going at it all wrong. The book was a fascinating look at what goes into writing a good obituary, and honestly what goes into good writing at all. I was glad it was a relatively short book (272 pages), because after a while, for me, it started to wear a little bit thin, but it was so much fun reading the stories of the obituary writers and the subjects they covered. Overall a good read, but as I say, after a while, I got a little bored with it. I finished it out of sheer tenacity, plus someone wanted to borrow it and I wanted to finish it before lending it out. (less)
Really Cheesy Facts About Famous Authors is apparently one in a series of Really Cheesey Facts books and this particular entry discusses the foibles a...moreReally Cheesy Facts About Famous Authors is apparently one in a series of Really Cheesey Facts books and this particular entry discusses the foibles and follies of authors from Shakespeare to JK Rowling and back again. Which authors were in debt up to their eyeballs? Which were embarrassed by sexual escapades? Which had family embarrassments? Who was rejected and who was accepted by society, publishers, and others? It was a fun and interesting read, lots of little sidebars about the authors, informative and cute. I recommend it if you're a bibliophile. (less)
With the spectacular crash and burn of chapter 1 of my novel in the recent contest in which I entered it (I think I ended up with a less than 5 star r...moreWith the spectacular crash and burn of chapter 1 of my novel in the recent contest in which I entered it (I think I ended up with a less than 5 star rating), when I saw this book in Riverby's, I had to pick it up. It is a compendium of all the rejection letters publishers wish they had never written. It made me feel quite good about my own tentative forays into the world of publishing, as I learned through the book that many authors have self published to begin with and moved on to bigger and better things once their book has been read. More and more I'm sure that's what I'll have to do, although I will submit it to a few places that are accepting books right now, just to see. Among the authors whose letters are listed are E.L. Doctorow, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Rudyard Kipling.
My personal favorite was a rejection George Orwell received for Animal Farm, which stated: What was needed was not more communism, but more public-spirited pigs.
It was a really fun and quick little read and I agree with the reviewer who wrote, "the perfect book for any writer, amateur or professional." (less)
Pete Jordan started a quest to wash dishes in all 50 states. He had always seen himself as an average guy underachiever--his life's ambition as a kid...morePete Jordan started a quest to wash dishes in all 50 states. He had always seen himself as an average guy underachiever--his life's ambition as a kid was to be a housepainter. Dishwashing seemed easy enough--there were plenty of jobs and he could go from place to place and quit wherever and whenever he felt like it.
This book tells of his quest and the various and sundry places he dished. The book is fascinating, funny, well written, and a tribute to having high adventure without a lot of responsibility.
As I was reading it, I thought, "Man this sounds like fun, seeing the country!" and started to think about my own trip. I was soon bogged down in the details of it, and then I realized. "Hey! This guy did it as a dishwasher! He didn't need all the plans."
I have no desire to dish, my own dishes are bad enough, but the story was full of fascinating people and places and was enough to spur me to plan my own trip. Jordan writes with humor and just enough guilt that you occasionally feel bad for the people he leaves in the lurch--but not really.
Standard Notaro, and probably one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of her writing, although I'm a big fan of hers. I love subtle humor, sarcasm, dark...moreStandard Notaro, and probably one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of her writing, although I'm a big fan of hers. I love subtle humor, sarcasm, dark humor, but I'm not always so much a fan of a book that grabs you by the collar, shaking you and screaming, "Aren't I funny, goddamnit!?" I find that many of Notaro's books do just that.
This is a book of humorous tales from the holidays centered around Laurie's family and friends, including her long suffering husband, her mom, and her best friends in Arizona. The stories are amusing, but they're just not my kind of humor. My sister, however, thinks they're brilliant. So go figure! :-) (less)
This is the best book I've read this year, and one of my top 5 favorite books ever.
The story centers around Joey Margolis, a quick talking, too-smart-...moreThis is the best book I've read this year, and one of my top 5 favorite books ever.
The story centers around Joey Margolis, a quick talking, too-smart-for-his-own-good kid in Brooklyn who idolizes one Charles Banks, a third baseman for the NY Giants. Through letters, report cards, interviews, newspaper clippings, and more, Joey and Charlie's relationship grows and develops and the book is at turns laugh-out-loud hilarious and move-you-to-tears poignant. Relationships develop amongst many "minor" characters as well, including Joey's principal and teacher, Joey's mother and aunt, Charlie's teammate Stuke and girlfriend Hazel, and even the Press Secretary of the White House and FDR.
I emailed the author after reading it and he got right back to me, which is always a good sign. I have given the book to several people as gifts and they have enjoyed it (my dad stole my copy!).
Covering an exciting and scary time for many Americans, the era after the Depression and of World War II, the book encompasses a time of hope, a time of sorrow, and a time of joy. Read it and be transported.(less)