Listened to the audiobook. I'm a Maron fan but this book was of a weaker structure than Attempting Normal. Approach as bonus content/backstory to thatListened to the audiobook. I'm a Maron fan but this book was of a weaker structure than Attempting Normal. Approach as bonus content/backstory to that. ...more
I listen to Marc Maron weekly on his podcast, enjoyed his IFC TV show Maron, and have seen him perform standup and live podcasts - I'm biased but loveI listen to Marc Maron weekly on his podcast, enjoyed his IFC TV show Maron, and have seen him perform standup and live podcasts - I'm biased but loved this. Get the audiobook, obviously. ...more
I've lived in NYC for 8 years and even I learned more than a few new things. This is the most practical and delightful guide to my city that I've seenI've lived in NYC for 8 years and even I learned more than a few new things. This is the most practical and delightful guide to my city that I've seen. Should be required reading. Loved. ...more
This gorgeous coffee table book shows off your love of both food & fiction. It's a well done clever project that puts together a photo of an mealThis gorgeous coffee table book shows off your love of both food & fiction. It's a well done clever project that puts together a photo of an meal taken straight from a famous novel right next to the original prose describing it. What used to only live in a reader's mind is visualized in beautiful photography of a table setting - every detail perfect. A fast read, great gift, and one you'll return to over and over as you relive what made you drool in the first place. Got this for my birthday!...more
There is a TON of book marketing advice out there and I owe it to my authors to stay on top of best practices as well as trying to help filter the snaThere is a TON of book marketing advice out there and I owe it to my authors to stay on top of best practices as well as trying to help filter the snake oil out of the industry.
As I'm very familiar with Tucker Max, Ryan Holiday (having read 8 books between the two) and aware of Max's "Book in a Box" startup company (having seen the press, blogs, and heard the podcasts), so I saw when this launched, downloaded all of the case studies/checklists, and bought the Kindle edition. Since then the Bookstrapper website has gone dark/offline, all links are broken, and you can't get the ebook anywhere. Pretty fishy and a let down to any new readers.
Anyone familiar with book marketing won't find anything NEW in here. And some of the advice only works for those with large platforms, big names, or lots of money to spend (most of the case studies are worthless in this regard; you couldn't replicate these results because you aren't those people studied). BUT it taps into the larger issue where lots of authors are self/publishing without focusing on the marketing aspect of it (or saving it until last).
There's a large curve to author education and marketing your book needs to start before you begin writing it, even if you're with a big publisher. So while this book may not provide a silver bullet, at least it doesn't pretend to and it nails the philosophy of doing the work, producing valuable content, and focusing on your own goals for the launch with how to achieve them.
I have done LOTS of thinking about book marketing (almost 9 years professionally) and have a little that I publicly share here: http://bit.ly/mktgbooks Best of luck to all authors out there....more
I heard about this book from the Sunday NYTimes paper and read it in preparation of my trip to Berlin. It's a collection of essays from a long-time wrI heard about this book from the Sunday NYTimes paper and read it in preparation of my trip to Berlin. It's a collection of essays from a long-time writer and resident of Berlin, purportedly (since it just published) about Berlin NOW.
The book starts very strong with essays on various architecture projects in the wake of the Berlin wall. It's fascinating to hear back and forth about the public and political debate behind each development. From tearing down old buildings to make way for new to resurrecting old buildings at the expense of new ones, this early section is by far the best of the book. The author is passionate and knowledgeable and I'm excited to see what he was talking about in person.
Unfortunately the rest of the book devolves into seemingly random musings, rants, and riffs on various social issues and experiences the author has many opinions about - but weren't of much interest to someone planning a trip, not a permanent relocation.
While it was interesting to get the context and backstory of the rise of the Berlin club/art scene and understand the progress made against racism, antisemitism, xenophobia in the country, most of the book suffered with long drawn out asides and anecdotes. There was an interesting bit on the growing immigrant/Muslim population and the reform of the public school system at the end, but not enough to save the middle from itself.
However, I'm GLAD to have read many of the enjoyable parts - like hearing from a true Berliner firsthand....more
Really enjoyed this book by Brian Kevin, as it's clear we're both fans of HST, travel, and travel writing. Kevin immerses himself into the letters, arReally enjoyed this book by Brian Kevin, as it's clear we're both fans of HST, travel, and travel writing. Kevin immerses himself into the letters, articles, and traveling timetable of a pre-gonzo Hunter S. Thompson as he covered all of South America in 1963 for various US publications, doing what no one else was doing at that time as a way to break through as a journalist and better understand America/life through seeing how they lived in South America.
This crucial part of a developing writer's life is sorely overlooked by most HST coverage, where most of the focus is 1965-on with the publication of Hell's Angels on to Fear and Loathing in 1971 (the exception being The Rum Diary years in San Juan when finally published in the 90s). But starting with the correspondence in The Proud Highway of published HST letters, Kevin recreates the HST Trail himself, 50 years after HST blazed it himself.
Thusly The Footloose American is a fascinating read as Kevin successfully interweaves his own personal journey/travel experiences, his research and analysis of the words/artifacts HST left behind, and the historical/cultural context of the cities and people Kevin meets along the way. Kevin rides in pickup truck beds, on shoddy boats, in beat up buses, old trains, bumpy SUVs and Jeeps, as well as putting many miles on his own feet as he inquires into the 1963 version of Thompson's worldview and meets with the right person to get him up to speed on current day politics/economics in each city.
The result is as enlightening as it is compelling. Kevin writes well (you can sense his appreciation and knack for travel writing) and never stays too long on any topic, rant, investigation, conversation, or analysis. Oftentimes you'd wish he'd go even deeper into each. But there's a lot to cover and you come away from each city with a great understanding of how it fits into South America and HST's life (as well as Kevin's personal journey).
Anyone curious about this year in HST's life and how it shaped him as a writer for the rest of his career would greatly benefit from Kevin's on the ground reporting. Anyone that thinks about travel as a way of life and wants to hear from those making it work, as well as Kevin's knowledge on those doing it as well as the history of backpacking in SA, would love taking this journey with him. And anyone with a sincere interest in South American cities today with a yearning emphasis on cultural, political, and imperialistic insight would gain a great deal of that from this book.
I enjoyed it to the point where I know I'd love talking with Brian Kevin about HST and travel over a beer, much less ready to sign up for his next trip.
[I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.]...more
Funny smart successful women writing books is not new (and the male genre has been around even longer), but Lena Dunham's effort here is superb. TinaFunny smart successful women writing books is not new (and the male genre has been around even longer), but Lena Dunham's effort here is superb. Tina Fey's attempt was too shallow, trying too hard to be funny, written like a list of jokes, and didn't get personal enough.
While NTKoG does include a list or two, the essays are personal histories and funny without being overly so. She writes well, honestly, and acknowledges her privilege and naivety without being preachy or how-to about her journey. I'd recommend it to anyone who has heard of Dunham but hasn't heard enough from her directly. It's a fast entertaining thoughtful contribution to the genre and I hopefully the first of much more from her....more
Roxanne Gay is an excellent smart intelligent writer of a first rate and a perfect example of someone who thinks a great deal about certain things andRoxanne Gay is an excellent smart intelligent writer of a first rate and a perfect example of someone who thinks a great deal about certain things and is able to present and defend strong opinions on them.
I was fond of reading her essays on The Rumpus so I was greatly looking forward to this collection and having much more of that in one place. I was not disappointed in the least. For a smart funny honest take on what most everyone is talking about all of the time and yet not enough, read Bad Feminist....more
Ryan Holiday is a better marketer than writer (and I think he'd agree), but the former drove me once again to the latter in the case of this book. ThiRyan Holiday is a better marketer than writer (and I think he'd agree), but the former drove me once again to the latter in the case of this book. This is a slim book that I read in bursts over a long time as it didn't compel me to do so any faster.
The self-help genre is overrun with platitudes and cliche and Holiday embraces the approach with a Gladwellian structure of present, support with stories, conclude and move on. Nothing groundbreaking, but I do appreciate trying to popularize and credit the Stoics and Stoicism with many of the philosophies we should still be trying to embrace today (and humans with struggle with forever).
When considered a collection of simple reminders to control what you can, let the rest go, and work harder/now, it's a fine read but nothing more. ...more
I was interested in this Pulitzer Prize winner as to what makes a good nonfiction book and I learned a lot about cancer, science, chemicals, unregulatI was interested in this Pulitzer Prize winner as to what makes a good nonfiction book and I learned a lot about cancer, science, chemicals, unregulated capitalism, and cluster research.
The book tells the story of Tom's River and how it came to be a chemical wasteland infecting it's people with cancer at the same time it brings in the full history of public health and cancer research. I learned how chemical plants came into vogue (making dye for fashionable clothes) and the consequences of its wastes.
Meanwhile, the history of cancer research makes strides over centuries of trying to understand it's causes and recognize true clustering over randomness. Equal parts big data, statistics, investigation, research, and reporting you discover how difficult it is to prove causation where you see correlation.
And there's this ongoing citizen awareness and activism around strong arming the government via free press pressure into taking action against the polluting companies only concerned about their margins over their employee and community health consequences. It's deceitful, negligent, and overall incredibly slow to respond and change.
The cancer and chemical history was dull and enlightening. The bureaucratic red tape and lawyering was frustrating and overwrought. The citizen and Greenpeace activism dramatic and effective. But it was mostly coincidence that drives the plot forward to it's ultimately unrewarding end.
For Erin Brockovich fans and readers looking for insight into these areas, there's plenty here but it comes at a slow sympathetic pace. ...more
Wonderful graphic memoir that I read in one day because it expertly wove the memoirist's coming of age / coming out story alongside her father's own hWonderful graphic memoir that I read in one day because it expertly wove the memoirist's coming of age / coming out story alongside her father's own homosexual dalliances and eventual early death.
It's heavy, personal, intimate, funny, pretentious (w/ plenty of liberal arts/English major references, which I enjoyed), and powerful but doesn't necessarily go deep enough or draw a strong enough conclusion. But her work is worthwhile and her story inspiring. I love a well drawn memoir. ...more
From 1967-73 there was never more than 6 weeks w/o a skyjacking in the USA. Sometimes two hijackings happened on the same day. This was shockingly comFrom 1967-73 there was never more than 6 weeks w/o a skyjacking in the USA. Sometimes two hijackings happened on the same day. This was shockingly common and a result of desperate people taking advantage of no metal detectors, screenings, or even boarding pass restricted areas.
Basically any book that makes you appreciate TSA is impressive to me. Having NO IDEA that people used to hijack planes with so much regularity that airlines were always ready to comply with demands, this book blew my mind.
It's full of historical background and context around this hijacking epidemic, this book is as well researched as it is written - in a fast paced nonfiction thriller style. It centers on one particularly compelling hijacking story between two star crossed lovers with their own complicated history/demands and interweaves the evolution of hijacking from free rides to Cuba to ransoming hostages to FBI shootouts, you get your fill of insane true stories alongside the suspense building story of this couple turned radicalists.
You realize the shortsightedness of the airlines accepting the hijacking trend and settling for paying out demands and lobbying congress to avoid actual change in preboarding screening - an insanity in a post 9/11 world today. I was thoroughly entertained and educated on an era I'm all too glad to have missed.
Relive it if you dare. This doesn't make for good airplane reading :)
*Crown Publishers gave me a free copy for review ...more
If this weren't a true story I'd say this book were unrealistic. An Olympic-fast runner from a small town goes into the Air Force, lives through dogfiIf this weren't a true story I'd say this book were unrealistic. An Olympic-fast runner from a small town goes into the Air Force, lives through dogfights and bombings, crashes into the shark infested pacific, survives at sea, is rescued by the enemy, and treated like the worse of POWs during WWII - all reads like the craziest war story grandpa could think up. But it's true, incredibly well researched, and written in equal parts historical context / background on the war and a personal tale of unbelievable perseverance in the face of adversity and unfair practically insurmountable odds.
It's an important document of humanity at the extremes and honest in its retelling, written so well that you have to know what happens next forcing me through 400 pages in 4 days, at a thriller's pace.
Read this now before the movie this Xmas comes out. I was blown away by how little I knew about the Pacific side of the war and the inner workings of the army and human nature. Very impressed....more
I respect Roger Ebert, his ability to write and tell a story, as well as his life's work (and we both love watching movies), but this rambling, streakI respect Roger Ebert, his ability to write and tell a story, as well as his life's work (and we both love watching movies), but this rambling, streak of consciousness, non-linear, theme clustered memoir/collection of blog posts left me underwhelmed as I struggled to continue into the next chapter.
He's at his best when he's relating personal anecdotes. But most of his career trajectory could be summed up as being lucky and hard work. The rest of the book is name dropping nostalgia and assuming we know and care about the details of those he knows as much as he does.
That said, he does explore life/death, relationships, and the evolution of culture in this country fairly well. I'm looking forward to the documentary. ...more