Most of the controversy around the movie/book seems to concern unnecessary throw-away proved-false anecdotes of bar fights & a supposed carjacking that shouldn't have made the book in the first place, but add 'color' and celebrity to his personal journey. Also, people make a big deal out of Kyle's prejudice & dehumanization ("savages") of those Iraq natives that killed his friends and tried to kill him. Whatever he had to feel to do his job, I cannot judge him for and I didn't read this book to do so.
I read this book to better understand the SEALs, the war, and snipers like Chris. And it delivers on that. He covers training, mentality, tactics, tools, leadership, commitment and ties it into his personal narrative and journey. It's plainspoken straightforward writing like he's talking to you about what it's like.
Anyone looking for deep philosophical internal wrestling and musing on mortality and murder won't find it here. But they will learn the pragmatic and practical approach our soldiers must take towards war or die trying on the job. It's powerful, basic stuff unsaid elsewhere about how he did what he did and why.
Most interesting are the occasional interjections from his wife's perspective as Kyle was away from the family and quick to return to war. They helped offer a rounded outside opinion on his 'selfishness' to put country before family, unabashedly.
And likewise, after the book ended there was a longer piece from his widowed wife on the making of the movie and the screenwriter on adapting the book - which I enjoyed as much as anything else in the book. ...more
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
It's impossible to read this book and not feel evangelical about it - clearly I loved my first Mandel.
As a Shakespeare and theater nerd as much as a fIt's impossible to read this book and not feel evangelical about it - clearly I loved my first Mandel.
As a Shakespeare and theater nerd as much as a fan of well written literature and imaginative original storytelling, there was a lot to like about Station Eleven.
Granted it's a post-apocalyptic story but it's better than California, much more enjoyable than The Road, and more inspired than both.
It's a story of a traveling Shakespeare symphony troop post-end of the civilized world, but the short chapters jump around in the chronology and give multiple characters a fully-realized background where it's awesome to see how they've intertwined as each arch comes together.
The writing is strong, powerful, and grabs you from the start. The characters are funny, self aware, and developed. Ultimately the story, when compiled and connected, feels original. Read it. ...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
I had read Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and loved hearing his straightforward story of transformation firsthand.
This was theI had read Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and loved hearing his straightforward story of transformation firsthand.
This was the first fiction of his I've read. Obviously he's very popular and lots of people I knew loved him and this book, but I had no idea what I'd be getting into with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle.
The Good: This is an epic magical realism fantasy novel where an ordinary man meets extraordinary characters and tumbles down the rabbit hole into a world of dreams and regularly strange occurrences. In may ways the story is riveting, unique, and delightfully weird and unexpected. The straightforward noir-ish style unfolds easily and the characters/stories demonstrate the unlimited range of the author's imagination - I had never read anything like this. I laughed, cringed, cried, and tensed up at many points throughout the journey.
The Bad: It's a very long seemingly disconnected book written in multiple styles (letters, monologues, dreams) and POVs that don't necessarily match up perfectly with each other. LOTS of questions get asked that are never answered. Characters and plots started that drop off never to be revisited again. This is frustrating (more so to the others in my book group).
The experience was a lot like watching LOST on TV. It was unique, compelling, full of rich characters and unanswered mysteries, but the end couldn't and didn't wrap everything up. Was it still worth it? Up to you. But I'll be reading more of his fiction in the future....more
Australia suburban setting, 6 families, and all that comes with it: politics, racism, violence, domestic abuse, drugs, sex, infidelity, secrets, jealoAustralia suburban setting, 6 families, and all that comes with it: politics, racism, violence, domestic abuse, drugs, sex, infidelity, secrets, jealously, affairs, fantasy, rape allegations, drinking, society, real estate, classism, morality, driving, breast feeding, babysitting, working, waiting, lawsuits, phone calls, BBQs, locker rooms, scheming, partying, virgins, sexuality, meddling, gossip, and more.
This surprisingly long novel is much more than "an adult slaps a child that isn't his" but instead the emotional and physical collisions of several families in the Australian suburbs where personal politicking is the whole game. Each chapter is an extended POV of one of the characters that stays with them for a long chronological segment of the overarching plot action, and then moves on to the next character.
I mostly enjoyed the messes of each horribly flawed (& despicable) character where no one could seem to hold the moral high ground for long before some buried secret would emerge and be their undoing. The Australian colloquialisms/racist slang was mostly new to me and ultimately tiresome to read. While the author is great at creating unlike able characters that provoke an emotional judgement from the reader (and each other, driving the plot forward), and does throw in some genuine loops and twists and surprises - the writing was never strong enough to bring you in closer; not that you necessarily wanted to get lost in this world.
If you want a somewhat-fast very dark bad-behavior type of read (in advance of the U.S. TV show airing next year), this would work in a pinch. But for me, while fun to discuss, it only made me feel better about my own behavior and family. Read for moral superiority and dirty gossip (and bad sex scenes), but don't think you're even getting something as crudely nuanced as say, a Chad Kultgen novel....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