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You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,033 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A magical concoction of the mischievous, tender, whimsical, and debauched real-life adventures of Alan Cumming, told in his own words and pictures. Described by the New York Times as “a bawdy countercultural sprite” and named one of the most fun people in show business by Time magazine, Alan Cumming is a genuine quadruple threat—an internationally acclaimed, award-winning ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Rizzoli International Publications
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,033 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Jennifer Masterson
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio
I absolutely loved the stories in this wonderful audiobook. The audio comes with a PDF of the photos that go along with this book.

My favorite story was when he took his friend to meet Oprah. I laughed and laughed! I loved all his stories.

Alan Cumming is awesome! I will have to listen to his first book and hopefully he will come back to Broadway so I can go all fangirl outside and get him to sign my Playbill! Lol!

Highly recommended!!!
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed Alan Cumming's previous book, "Not My Father's Son", and when I got tickets to hear him speak, I felt I should read his new book, too. This book is much more anecdotal and filled with small snippets of his life as an actor/singer/activist, not as deep of moving as his other book. Still, Cumming has a great voice and seems like a cheerful, kind, thoughtful person, an impression which was only supported when I saw him yesterday. He is at times serious, at times cheeky and light-he ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Again, I worship at the feet of Alan Cumming, godfather of all luxuriant bisexuals. When you open up a book with a story about Elizabeth Taylor's enormous diamond ring, how can you possibly go wrong?
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jana by: Emily
Want to spend a very enjoyable 3 hours & 19 minutes? Here's one way:

• Obtain a copy of Alan Cumming's latest book
• Obtain an audiobook of same
• Follow along looking at all the pictures whilst Alan narrates with his lovely, lovely voice.
• Justify that you purchased both of these items by sharing with your husband, son, and various friends.

*optional dog snuggling during the above

Thank you to my Book Cougar bud, Emily, for making me aware of this new publication by one of my favorite entertain
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Alan Cumming lives his life openly and unapologetic which, frankly, sort of seems like he'd be intolerable IRL, but his experiences make for really entertaining and thoughtful books.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Got this on audio and knew nothing about it before I read it.
Though I am familiar with Alan's writing, having read his previous work Not My Father's Son
I was surprised to find it is a book of mainly photos, Alans lifes through his photography and memories. But it was great to find a PDF cam with the audio, so I could look at all the photos.
As before, alan's writing is witty, memorable and full of emotion.
With an open heart to things and people he cannot stand and points of view he does not agree
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this! Alan Cumming has a bright starry way and not only because he's a rock star of the arts.
He shows that being vulnerable and authentic is part of the life adventure. He's funny (of course) candid and oh so cheeky :)) A real treat to read and if you haven't started following him on instagram, ya really REALLY should!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like books with personal photographs in them. There's a real intimacy when someone shares those kind of photos. Alan Cumming's You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: And Other Stories is made up of essays and a lot personal photographs. Just a lovely book. He feels like someone I knew in a previous life or from an alternative reality. Next time, Alan.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Any book that feeds my fantasy of being Alan Cumming's bestie/wife/spirit animal is a beautiful creation indeed.
Lindsay Nixon
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I love him. I could listen to him talk all day. This book is a little like sitting with him at a cocktail party as he regales stories from his time in Hollywood plus a few personal ones. If you don’t want to be friends with Alan, this isn’t a great choice for you.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
He's a delightful narrator.
Brian Kovesci
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I haven't really read a book in months. This was the perfect book to pick up; easy read about celebrities with plenty of picture. I love Alan Cumming.
I love listening to Alan Cumming with his Scottish swag and his humor, and I was hoping this was as good as his last book, only funny. It is funny, but it doesn't touch the quality of "Not My Father's Son."

Alan's chatty voice is still enchanting, and you can't help but love him as he tells so many intimate stories, HOWEVER he suffers from a major problem of oversharing. I am pretty open-minded, and though I don't seek it out, I am willing to deal with raunchy details in an overall good story, b
Going into this book without any expectations nor knowledge about the author (though I knew he was an actor), I was pleasantly surprised and pretty well entertained throughout. I enjoyed the little tales and gossip, as well as the photographs, and found him really quite funny. I will look into any others he has penned.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always interesting to read about people in the eye of the tabloids/movies/etc/etc.
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I absolutely loved this biography <3 He is such a quirky and lovely man ^^ ...more
Andrea P
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE Alan Cumming - I love reading is perspective on life.
I really liked it but it was not as good as his first book. Fun anecdotes but I enjoyed learning about his early years more. This one was kind of all over the place. I enjoyed the photos, a lot of them were weird but props to him for sharing them all! Love listening to him talk anyway!

Read during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon - July.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Selfies with his dog. Pictures of his Crocs. Nekkid bewbs. This book is awesome.
Corielle Hayley
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I loved Alan Cumming's autobiography, Not My Father's Son. It was raw and honest and heartbreaking. He tries to show some of that same emotion in You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams, but this one just did not do it for me.

Cumming apparently really enjoys photography, and even has a traveling show. He's a very talented man, no doubt -- his acting, his singing, his general wonderfulness. But his photography seems very amateurish. I say this with absolutely no ability to take artistic photographs on my own
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-grade, memoir
Lightning review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

This is a memoir by actor, singer, dancer, all around awesome hedonist Alan Cumming (I fell for him in SpyKids, though you may remember him from Broadway’s Cabaret, or The Good Wife, or “This is Masterpiece Mystery”). It is mostly just vignettes of his life, from a cross-country trip with his dog to how he entertained Elizabeth Taylor at Carrie Fisher’s birthday party, augmented with pictures he’s taken.

It’s a beautiful book, and well-produced. I sa
Jun 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
"...a curvy ass and ample tits equal Woman." No, this is not a quote from Donald Trump. It's from European born and bred, self-proclaimed lefty Alan Cumming. I've stopped at the midway point in the book to say I'm crestfallen. In the late 1970s my friend Deborah was dating David Bowie and one day I was over at her house and Bowie was due at any moment. I left before he arrived for the precise reason that I liked him too much; the "him" that I felt from his music and films and I didn't want the v ...more
Maggie Tumenbatur
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love the actor! And audible version of this book is pure delight..... Just made my day
Paul Spence
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, humour, biography
You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures is a collection of personal essays and photos by Alan Cumming. This review covers the Audible audiobook, which may not be the best version of the book to experience as the photos are only viewable as a separate PDF.

The book starts describing Alan Cumming's first brush with photography. And while that instance go particularly far, it helped frame how much he came to love photography later in life. And thus the book goes through these di
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I am fascinated by Crocs. Not just the shoes themselves, but more the way, somehow, society has deemed it okay for everyone to think, and then voice openly, that they are ugly.
I suppose I worry about the sheeplike following of any belief. Religion and politics, to name but two, are topics to which people have fierce allegiances that they will unflinchingly defend, yet often these don't stand up to much scrutiny, if indeed much scrutiny is ever entertained. Crocs are much the same.
You need only
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adore Alan Cumming - as an actor, a professional, and an all-around fun guy. He truly lives up to his reputation as a spritely character - and though I am not half the let-it-go character he can be at times, I feel a slight kinship with him. His touching, poignant memoir, "Not My Father's Son" somewhat rocked my reading world a few years ago, and I had no idea in 2016 that he had released this fun book of essays, accompanied by his own personal snapshots, until I stumbled upon it in ...more
Tina Siegel
I'm not really sure what to say about this book.

Let's start with the good. I'm a big fan of Alan Cumming. If you've ever seen him interviewed, you'll know he's charming and decadent and impish, and he loves a good time. He's also a natural story-teller. And my god, the stories he can tell.

Cumming has tales of everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Sylvester Stallone to Nicola Sturgeon. Most involve him being cheeky, and getting away with it.

As far as that goes, the book succeeds. Cumming's exploits
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I don't remember who suggested this book to me, but I'm glad they did. It's an interesting glimpse into the life of Alan Cumming who is remarkably self-aware about how absurd is life is sometimes as a celebrity. Telling the stories behind some of his personal photos (or sometimes just sharing the photo to share it) is much more entertaining than I expected, particularly because the photos are generally not of the "everyone-put-your-arms-around-each-other-and-smile" variety; rather they are photo ...more
I wasn't sure how well an audio version of a book about photographs would go over, but I needn't have worried. Mostly it's Cumming telling the stories behind the photos, and you don't even have to see the photos themselves at all to get what he's talking about (although I did reference the PDF of them that came with the audio several times just to make sure I wasn't missing out).

For some reason I didn't love Not My Father's Son as much as I wanted or expected to, but I was glad to have the cont
Bridie Westbrook
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I launched straight into this after reading (and loving) his memoir, Not my fathers son. I suppose I wanted to stay in his world a little longer, with his charm, vulnerability, and astute lens.

This book fell short for me.

There were certainly stories and moments that really showcased his wonderful ability to be both grounded and big and bright at the same time, but so much of it just fell flat. Stories would start and I would think they were headed somewhere but then they'd just end, or he'd star
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Alan Cumming, OBE, is a Scottish-American stage, television and film actor. His roles have included Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, and Fegan Floop in the Spy Kids trilogy. He has also appeared in independent films like The Anniversary Party, which he wrote, directed and starred; and Ali Selim's Sweet Land for which he won an Independent Spirit award as producer.

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