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 h...moreWonderful 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. (less)
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 com...moreFrom 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 (less)
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 dogfi...moreIf 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.(less)
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, streak...moreI 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. (less)
Just read this (free library ebook!) and it lived up to all of the deserved hype: the perfect deep dive nonfiction profile investigation that is as we...moreJust read this (free library ebook!) and it lived up to all of the deserved hype: the perfect deep dive nonfiction profile investigation that is as well written and true as it is entertaining and educational. Nothing, not even Under the Banner of Heaven, comes as close to a complete and comprehensive read on the topic of a religion as complex as Scientology. If interested, read this compelling excerpt on The New Yorker (their most widely read piece of the year): http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2011...(less)
One of the better story of a man and his business that I've read and while many parts of Amazon's rise to power at the expense of its stock price, mar...moreOne of the better story of a man and his business that I've read and while many parts of Amazon's rise to power at the expense of its stock price, margins/profits, employees, and competitors were known to me already (a result of my many years in publishing, the main industry Amazon has disrupted), it was fascinating to get some first hand background on Jeff Bezos and the many highs and lows of Amazon's young history.
The book has many firsthand interviews and accounts of those inside Amazon and everyone else that has dealt with them on the outside, and while Bezos is gracious is allowing certain executives to speak on the record, this account isn't afraid to be critical of Amazon's ruthless business practices and includes details on acquisitions, hiring, competitor analysis, funding, stock trading, the Internet boom, the recession, the inter company politicking, and their willingness to outlast any threat longer than a competitor can stay above the bottom line in order to win in the end.
So not only does it show how Bezos becomes who he is today, but lays out the timeline for Amazon setbacks and success in building out their business and categories. And does so in a fast paced accessible and compelling narrative. That makes it a good business book in my view. (less)
A writer writing about becoming a writer, drug addict, a New Yorker, and pop culture obsessive, moved by music to finally break through as a playwrigh...moreA writer writing about becoming a writer, drug addict, a New Yorker, and pop culture obsessive, moved by music to finally break through as a playwright, blogger, columnist, feature writer, screenwriter, and author - while coming of age in Long Island, Manhattan/Brooklyn, and LA.
Basically, this was written with me in mind, as someone always interested in frontline subjective reporting on the music, drug, and culture scene - especially if it's in New York and from someone trying to become a writer. Marc drops celebrity names and dishes on his interactions with everyone that he can use on his way to the top.
Essentially a HST self made rock and roll writer deep in the drugs of the 80/90/0's he lives through the dark broke dangerous days of pre-Guliani & Internet NYC. His stories are egocentric, image obsessed, drug addled, culture documenting funny anecdote after another - a memoir worth reading if any of that interests you. Enjoyed a lot.
This was the first I've read of Jon Ronson although I've enjoy him on This American Life and a live performance in Brooklyn. He's a wonderful writer o...moreThis was the first I've read of Jon Ronson although I've enjoy him on This American Life and a live performance in Brooklyn. He's a wonderful writer obsessed with his topic and not afraid to write himself into his story.
This book was as easy to read as it was worthwhile. I enjoyed his investigation into the psychopaths around us, those locked up in catch-22s and those leading companies into profitability. You'll want to understand these people who study empathy only to fake it in appropriate situations as they cannot feel things for others the way most people do, but that doesn't always reveal itself in violence.
Highly recommended and entertaining deep dive into this hidden world around us, as is Ronson's specialty. (less)
Given the amazing press and reviews and buzz, I had high expectations for this book and I headed off to India and wanted a break from the Indian ficti...moreGiven the amazing press and reviews and buzz, I had high expectations for this book and I headed off to India and wanted a break from the Indian fiction I'd had been reading. That said, it's clear that the author knows her stuff, her subjects, and Indian culture, having married and moved to Mumbai with an Indian man and committed to spending time in these slums. She tells their story over a few years - a Muslim family supported on trash collecting & reselling to recyclers - but it's mostly about the failings of corruptible red tape politics & socioeconomic structure endemic to India's ceilings over any sort of upward mobility, whether it be class or religion or socially.
That's a compelling story and one I was interested in, but the book never held that interest. It was written well, but dryly and at a distance. It couldn't make me care or sympathize, despite my desire to do so and thus I wouldn't suggest it strongly. I learned more about slum life from Shantaram than I did from this title.(less)
Saw the (excellent) movie and felt compelled to read the book (with low expectations) only to be pleasantly surprised that the movie stayed so true to...moreSaw the (excellent) movie and felt compelled to read the book (with low expectations) only to be pleasantly surprised that the movie stayed so true to the book (how true the memoir itself is, is a different story). Reading the book I was seeing the same movies scenes played out almost exactly, which makes the story more tolerable because the writing is so poor. He tends to overwrite, likely how he would dictate the stories in constant hyperbole, with tons of adjectives beyond what would ever be necessary. For instance, he uses "loamy loins" several times to describe attractive female characters (the same phrase, over and over again - meaningless when it's used to describe every character, and even the same one a few times).
But the book accomplishments a great deal: a period piece of the late eighties into nineties boom; an explanation of how to make money and leverage that money through complicated financials, stocks, ratholes, IPOs, overseas banks, etc, in a way understandable to an English major; a complete drug addiction memoir of excess and rock bottom and rehab; a great party story in a way to live vicariously the life of a rich asshole. If Boiler Room met Tucker Max met Hunter Thompson met Patrick Bateman you'd get a sense of what you're in for.
The book is very long, with many slow overwrought monologues, and it ends before you get to the trial, outcome, prison, etc. I resented being sold on reading the next book (about that part) just as I finished the first one.
For the most part, the movie holds true to the book but it changes (spoilers) when Jordan leaves his company, goes into retirement, and then the book surrounds his drug spike and collapse before ending with the legal strike. Yes, even the aunt and yacht stuff. There's a lot in this book to enjoy, but it won't be the writing.(less)