Love this story. My first exposure to it was on the Selected Shorts compilation Timeless Classics, which is a 5-star collection if there ever was one....moreLove this story. My first exposure to it was on the Selected Shorts compilation Timeless Classics, which is a 5-star collection if there ever was one. Seriously. Go buy it. The Most Dangerous Game is a story that is really elevated by an amazing performance, such as the one on this disc.
I actually had it on in the car one day while giving a friend a ride home and as we pulled up to his house he asked me pleadingly if we couldn't just sit for a minute and finish it up. So for 10 minutes we sat in his driveway, listening to it. Leaving him hanging would have been cruel.
It's hard to talk about the plot without giving too much away (and I recommend you don't read a lot of the reviews if you haven't read the story), but this is a story that is referenced by a lot of popular culture over the years, whether people realize where it came from or not. In fact, the one and only episode of Gilligan's Island that I have ever seen had a Most Dangerous Game theme.
This story may now be in the public domain, at least in some countries, and is available for the kindle, which is how I read it this time around.(less)
I've been enjoying Jon Ronson's radio pieces for years and just read The Psychopath Test, which was great, so I thought I'd give this book a try. It's...moreI've been enjoying Jon Ronson's radio pieces for years and just read The Psychopath Test, which was great, so I thought I'd give this book a try. It's about 10 years old and the information in it is not quite up to date, but it's still quite good.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. In fact, I'm probably about as far from one as you can get, and this book made me rethink a few things (just a tiny bit), though I'm not prepared to claim the world is run by lizard-hybrids.
From the KKK members struggling to remember the proper way to prepare their too-large cross for the "lighting" (is it douse then raise, or the other way around, and why did we make it so big in the first place?), to the clownish Omar Bakri Mohammed, Jon portrays many of the subjects in this book as bumbling fools, rather than the symbols of evil and terror that we typically imagine. It's very funny and effective, but there's also something about it that bugs me a bit. I can't put my finger on it, though, and I'm probably overthinking this. (less)
The beginning of this book gave me the serious creeps. I had to go fix the crack in my blinds, because, I don't know--p...more[Re-read 2013, Audible edition]
The beginning of this book gave me the serious creeps. I had to go fix the crack in my blinds, because, I don't know--psychopaths might be peeking in or something.
It's not a scary book, but there is something a bit unsettling about some of his stories.
I was very excited to read this book because I've heard Jon Ronson several times on This American Life and I'm very fond of him and his strange nasally voice. If you are a regular listener, you probably remember Tony the psychopath in Broadmoor, the story of the conspiracy theorists denying the 7/7 subways bombings in London, and more recently, Jon's interview with Al Dunlap, the former CEO of Sunbeam. But this book is not just a collection of previously shared stories. They are all expanded and connected in a way that I didn't expect, and we even get a bit of closure on Tony, which was great, because I have been wondering what happened to him ever since I heard his story. There is also a lot of new, very engaging material included.
This is a quick, easy read that is also very funny, mostly due to Jon's personal neuroses (likely I've misdiagnosed him--lots of interesting stuff about that here as well). (less)
I have been meaning to read this book since I heard an interview with David Dow on Fresh Air early last year. I think this is a really important and d...moreI have been meaning to read this book since I heard an interview with David Dow on Fresh Air early last year. I think this is a really important and depressing subject. The more I learn about the death penalty the more I'm convinced that while it may work on paper, it just doesn't work in real-life. Then I think about the people who commit really truly heinous and evil crimes, the people who are unlikely to ever be rehabilitated and wonder what happens in that case. Then I think about whether the purpose of the justice system is to punish or rehabilitate. And I think about the people who have to carry out the death sentences and the people like David Dow who work tirelessly to defend those on death row and I think about the huge emotional toll that it must have on a person. And I don't know what the solution is. David Dow's solution is the elimination of the death penalty.
For further reading on this subject, I found Scott Turow's book Ultimate Punishment to be very interesting and insightful.
**spoiler alert** Someone set this aside for me at work a few days ago--probably as a joke, but I was actually pretty excited to read it after hearing...more**spoiler alert** Someone set this aside for me at work a few days ago--probably as a joke, but I was actually pretty excited to read it after hearing her fantastic and funny story "Babies Buying Babies" on "This American Life" last year. The idea of a Mormon memoir that wasn't put out by Deseret (the LDS publishing house) was appealing, especially one written by someone who didn't fit the sterotype of Republican/BYU-educated/forced polygamist bride/fill-in-the-blank. A "famous" Mormon that wasn't Mitt Romney, Orrin "I Write the Songs" Hatch, or Marie Osmond sounded good to me. Finally a representative without soap opera hair. Unfortunately, this book was not what I was hoping it would be.
What I liked about this book:
Many scenes were cringingly familiar, especially when she wrote about all the cultural nonsense that crops up whenever you get groups of Mormons together. I laughed out loud when she mentioned the song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" being played at the church dance and when she described the apartment she visited for FHE. I have been in many, many apartments and homes with those same decorations, especially during my time at BYU, and I expect to visit many more in the future. These parts of the book will probably be far funnier to members than to other readers.
Elna's accidental vagina costume was hilarious.
Elna is really honest about her struggles with her weight and being a "big girl" (I don't remember if she actually used that ridiculous term, but I know it was on the dust jacket somewhere). She's torn between feeling that she should love her body because it's a gift from God and hating it because it doesn't look the way she wants it to. I think that this part of the book might have actually been the most honest. When she cut short her date with the jerk who didn't know she had been fat I wanted to cheer for her. I honestly hadn't expected her to do that, given that most of the book was about her desperate attempts to be liked.
What I didn't like:
For someone who has been raised in the LDS church, Elna seems to not actually know much about it. For her, being a Mormon means that 1. She says she's a Mormon a lot. 2. She doesn't have pre-marital sex. Everything else this religion entails she's either unaware of, or doesn't take seriously. Or she just gets it wrong.
While it's difficult and probably somewhat unfair to assume too much knowledge about a person based on less than 300 pages spanning several years, Elna seems painfully immature and that doesn't change over the course of the book. Maybe part of the problem is that she wrote a memoir in her mid-twenties and just hasn't had time to figure out who she is yet. I guess by saying this I'm kind of arguing with one of the main themes of the book--Elna's questioning of her beliefs, but I felt like that part kind of went nowhere. She's Mormon! But then she decides she's not so that she can sleep with Matt the Atheist. When he questions her motives (Matt seems like a pretty decent sharp guy) she thinks that maybe she'll still be Mormon so that she can be in the temple when her siblings get married (that is not exactly how things work).
She's naive about some things to the point that I actually felt she might be lying to make a better story (does she really truly think that an LDS woman would never, ever wear lingerie?) And I know I'm the millionth person to harp on this point, but how on earth did she not know that you could find porn on the internet?
I can certainly empathize with Elna, but I finished this book mostly just feeling irritated and a little sad for her. There's a line in "Babies Buying Babies" where she's talking about bugging people at FAO Schwarz as a toy demonstrator and how it's like telling them, "I'm an actress, and I need attention." I thought this was a pretty good description of the tone of the book, which was something along the lines of "Look at me! Like me! I'm funny and I'll be whoever you want me to be!" (less)
I think I read this in 2008. I seem to remember listening to the audio at the laundromat while knitting on a Christmas stocking.
As much as I love Gar...moreI think I read this in 2008. I seem to remember listening to the audio at the laundromat while knitting on a Christmas stocking.
As much as I love Garrison Keillor and the news from Lake Wobegon, I just never enjoy the novels as much as I hope to. I think the stories work so much better as short pieces. I remember sometime before this was released, hearing the story of Clint's parade and affair (I don't remember exact details) on PHC and thoroughly enjoying it, but it seemed to lose something in the expanded form. I guess I just like it better when some things are left to the imagination. (less)
This book makes me wish I had a small child to indoctrinate. Milt Gross practically demands to read out loud at a near-shout in your best imitation of...moreThis book makes me wish I had a small child to indoctrinate. Milt Gross practically demands to read out loud at a near-shout in your best imitation of a Yiddish accent, which would make for some rousing bedtime stories. The inside jokes would be wonderful, too, right up to the point where it became too embarrassing for him when I shouted "Is dis a system?" in front of his friends and then again when he grew out of it and realized how awesome I was for reading him Milt Gross when I could have been reading him some horrible picture book written by Madonna or Jane Seymour.
Reading Milt Gross takes a little practice as this excerpt demonstrates:
"De Pite Piper from Hemilton
Oohoo, Nize Baby, itt opp all de rize witt milk so momma'll gonna tell you a Ferry Tail from de Pite Piper fom Hemilton. Wance oppon a time was a willage from de name from Hemilton. So it was ronning along avveryting smoot wit Ho K - accept wot it was one acception: Was dere a hobnoxious past from rets. Hm! sotch a pasts wot dey was de rets. Wait, you'll hear -"
It's a little too taxing to read for long stretches, so it took me about a month to finish the book.
I discovered Milt Gross on Selected Shorts (an episode called "Word Pictures") a couple of years ago. Isaiah Sheffer read "De Smot Billy Gut" and described the language as a hyper-imagined artistic projection of Yiddish. I was completely entranced and intended to order all his books immediately, but unfortunately they were nearly all out of print and out of my price range for ordering online sight unseen (a collection was published last month which I ordered but haven't read yet). Luckily for me, the library was not holding a grudge against me due to all my late returns and I recently discovered the magic of Interlibrary Loan so I was finally able to get my hands on a copy of "Nize Baby."
I tot wot I'll gonna have compulsions from leffing! (less)
This book is awesome. Besides the recipes, there are lots of interesting stories and useful kitchen information. Lots of people have mentioned being b...moreThis book is awesome. Besides the recipes, there are lots of interesting stories and useful kitchen information. Lots of people have mentioned being bothered by the graphic design, but I really liked it. It was very similar to a magazine format.
Today I made the cabbage slaw with orange pumpkin seed dressing. Instead of topping with smoky tempeh I used perfect petitas from Vegan Lunchbox (pepitas with Braggs, liquid smoke, and chili powder) in place of the plain pumpkin seeds and it was so delicious.(less)
I'd heard a couple of these stories on "This American Life" and I just loved them, so I was excited to find this book. I really, really liked it, righ...moreI'd heard a couple of these stories on "This American Life" and I just loved them, so I was excited to find this book. I really, really liked it, right up until David's story starts and then it got a little tedious. I'm still giving it four stars, though, because the stories up until that point were so good.
I don't consider this a religious book, but people who are already familiar with the bible stories will probably find it funnier than those who are not. (less)
Soon after it was announced that Gourmet magazine was shutting down I heard an interview Terry Gross had with Ruth Reichl. I wasn't really familiar wi...moreSoon after it was announced that Gourmet magazine was shutting down I heard an interview Terry Gross had with Ruth Reichl. I wasn't really familiar with any more than her name and the titles of one or two of her books, but the interview was so interesting and Ruth Reichl was so well-spoken that I decided I needed to check her out. I found this at the library and finished it in a day.
It wasn't an amazing book, but I really enjoyed it. I liked reading about the work of a restaurant reviewer and the lengths she went to to avoid recognition. There were parts I found a little bit silly--specifically the way she "became" her characters, especially when her characters were really unlikeable people.
This was a fast, easy read and it sucked me in. I stayed up much later than I should have and finished it up the next day while stirring soup. (less)
Somehow I feel like I have failed Ira Glass, but I just couldn't get into very many of these essays. Some, like the play-by-play account of the poker...moreSomehow I feel like I have failed Ira Glass, but I just couldn't get into very many of these essays. Some, like the play-by-play account of the poker tournament were just dull. I did a lot of skimming in this book. I'm giving it 3 stars, though, because there were several essays that I enjoyed: I liked Malcolm Gladwell's essay, but I think I read it in "The Tipping Point." I also liked Jack Hitt's story about the acid pit, the story of the SEC and the 15-year-old, and the odd Val Kilmer interview. (less)
I hunted down this book after hearing the title story on "Selected Shorts." I LOVE the title story. The rest of the book I just wasn't feeling so much...moreI hunted down this book after hearing the title story on "Selected Shorts." I LOVE the title story. The rest of the book I just wasn't feeling so much. In fact, there were a few stories I never got around to reading because I had to return this book to the library and didn't like it enough to recheck it. I wanted to move on to other things. I'd give the title story 5 stars and the rest of the book 2, which is why I gave the book 3 stars. (less)
I had pretty high expectations for this book because I love his readings on "This American Life." As far as I remember, the only two stories he's read...moreI had pretty high expectations for this book because I love his readings on "This American Life." As far as I remember, the only two stories he's read from this book on TAL are "Waiting for Joe" and "God is a Big Happy Chicken."
For the most part, I liked the stories in this book, but I'm glad I got this from the library. My favorite story was the last one, "It Ain't Easy Being Supremey." (less)