Admittedly, I don't usually read books like this, but found Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea to be an overall entertaining collection. The first...moreAdmittedly, I don't usually read books like this, but found Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea to be an overall entertaining collection. The first four essays were, far and away, the 'best' in the collection. Until reading this book, I had no familiarity with Handler.
Totally underwhelming and inconsistently hilarious. Admittedly, the parts that were funny really were fantastic. However, Chelsea Handler glosses over and re-arranges life events in order to align them just so - and thusly make whatever anecdote she's recounting work like one of her performance jokes.
Everything works just a little too well for these to be legitimate essays. Rather, the book reads like an ongoing stand-up routine with more detail added.
Overall, it's a good effort: Handler isn't the best writer (and is occasionally downright dismal), but her stories are generally amusing. (less)
It is necessary to acknowledge that Nietzsche's complexities, both as an individual and as a philosopher, are difficult to contain within one volume....moreIt is necessary to acknowledge that Nietzsche's complexities, both as an individual and as a philosopher, are difficult to contain within one volume. Indeed, scores of works have been written about each individual aphorism of his; to discuss in any depth or serious consideration in such a small volume is, fundamentally, laughable. But, one must start somewhere, and while 'How to Read Nietzsche' is not an ideal starting point for an individual, it is an excellent companion to Nietzsche's own works, or as a follow up to a more basic introductory text ('Introducing Nietzsche' is excellent for one's first Nietzsche reader).
That said, the effort and scope of this book is laudable, and even occasionally remarkable. Pearson divides 'How to Read Nietzsche' into an introduction (laying the most basic framework for Nietzsche's works, life, ideas) and ten chapters. The ten chapters deal (loosely in chronological order) with main philosophies and ideas propagated throughout Nietzsche's canon.
What makes this book excellent is the ability for each of Pearson's chapters to serve as stand-alone commentary on concepts from Nietzsche's works. The chapter on, say, eternal recurrence is an excellent introductory examination of Nietzsche's ideas. One could then read Nietzsche's writings on the subject, and then return to Pearson's commentary.
This is an excellent intermediate text for any individual looking to explore Nietzsche's major philosophical works, and the points contained therein. As a companion to Nietzsche's works, Pearson's commentary offers some straightforward insights and interpretations. Certainly after reading this, one could feel comfortable reading and discussing some of Nietzsche's works (ideally in the Kauffman translation, to be noted).
As with any philosophical (religious, political, etc,) commentary, it is necessary to approach the information contained therein with a mix of caution, interest, and apprehension. What Nietzsche's written and espoused has been necessarily interpreted through Pearson's own experience and knowledge. While the author doesn't come off as necessarily biased or particularly groundbreaking (his interpretations of Nietzsche's major ideas seem fairly straightforward and traditional, which is definitely preferred in an introductory or intermediate text), he does provide the sound basis for developing a deeper understanding of, and intellectual comfort with, Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy.(less)