I saw this book trending and the title thoroughly amused me. When I saw it was written by Mark Manson, who's blog I had stumbled upon several years aI saw this book trending and the title thoroughly amused me. When I saw it was written by Mark Manson, who's blog I had stumbled upon several years ago, I knew it was something that was well worth giving a chance. I'm quite happy that I did, as the book delivered over and above my already positive expectations for it.
This is a short, no nonsense guide to essentially getting over yourself and living a positive, productive life. This book has many hard lessons that it teaches in no uncertain terms. There are always going to be problems, the book tells you, but you can choose what problems there are that you would like to focus upon. You need to be careful in picking your battles. Things will not always go your way, but isn't that the fun in life? The challenges we face, and the ways in which we solve them, are the most satisfying aspects of our existence. Isn't that worthwhile?
I loved this book from start to finish, and often found myself going over certain sections of it again and again. I think this will have immense reread value. After all, don't we all need to be reminded now and then not to get worked up about the little things in life that we truly can't change?...more
Jon Ronson is one of my favorite authors. I'll put that out there right now. He's consistently informative and amusing, while still treating his subj Jon Ronson is one of my favorite authors. I'll put that out there right now. He's consistently informative and amusing, while still treating his subjects with the curiosity and empathy that I wish more authors had. No matter how absurd the subject Ronson approaches is, he handles it with care. That was no different with this series, which dealt with a very strange subject indeed.
The Butterfly Effect focuses upon the invention of free internet porn. In the early 2000s a fellow named Fabian pioneered the service that allowed people to upload their own videos to the web. Ronson asked the natural question: How did the invention of free streaming internet porn affect that industry at large? More, what did its butterfly effect spread throughout our culture? How did it affect legislation, children, and porn stars?
This series was enlightening and maddening, fascinating and laden with empathy. Ronson interviewed the man who started it all, and directors, actors, people who purchase custom pornographic films, and the people who purchase sex dolls. He interviewed people charged as sexual offenders for the simple act of sending a text message or playing a game at a sleepover at the age of 7.
Two of the most heartwrenching moments for me throughout the series was a fellow he interviewed who talked about buying a sex doll. The doll resembled his sister, who had long since passed. He bought the doll to put it in a chair in his mother's house, as his mother suffered from Alzheimers and he couldn't bear putting her through the explanation of how his sister died every single day. The other was a fellow who requested a custom pornographic film that only included the woman telling him that people cared, people loved him, and that he didn't need to kill himself. Nothing sexual, just a reassuring message. The people involved didn't charge him, and simply hoped the video got to him before it was too late.
The world is a place both wonderful and strange. I'm forever grateful there are people like Ronson who highlight that fact....more
This is the second David Sedaris book I've read today as I slowly work my way through his bibliography. I've always enjoyed some of his writing a greThis is the second David Sedaris book I've read today as I slowly work my way through his bibliography. I've always enjoyed some of his writing a great deal, but never really sat down to read it all. It's about time I changed that. Rereading Holidays on Ice was something I greatly looked forward to. I had a lot of fond memories of this book, not only for "Santaland Diaries" but also for "Six to Eight Black Men." Delightfully, there were even more goofy stories between the covers that got me laughing, and enjoying the writing all the more.
Unlike Barrel Fever this was a much more solid collection. While a few of the stories were a bit "edgier" than others in terms of content, but this was altogether a less cynical volume than the first. The satire was more blatant and confident, and likewise, a heck of a lot funnier. I particularly enjoyed "Us and Them," "Jesus Shaves," and "Christmas Means Sharing." Indeed, "Dinah, The Christmas Whore" was surprisingly sweet, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol" had me laughing aloud.
All in all, this was an even better book than I remembered. ...more
First, it's exceptionally well-written considering what it is. The text is almost all culled directly from A GameSo, what can I say about this book?
First, it's exceptionally well-written considering what it is. The text is almost all culled directly from A Game of Thrones and it is edited in a very readable way that doesn't subtract from the books story in the least. It is a closer adaptation than the show was, but that is courtesy of the medium that it is presented in. The show is arguably quite better paced and... erm... better 'cast' in certain ways. So, the writing is very well done.
Secondly, the art was in many ways inexcusable. While the actual scenery was lovely, in particular the panel that we got of the Eyrie, the construction of Winterfell, the brief shots of the Wall itself, etc. the actual character art left much to be desired. Yes, the designs in many ways were truer to the book descriptions (i.e. Theon, Robb, and Joffrey in particular) the actual execution of drawing these figures left a lot to be desired. In particular, the female characters all were drawn from the exact same big busted, small waisted, thick lipped format that was troublesome after you realize many characters being eroticized by it were 13, 14, etc. Yeah. Not exactly comfortable reading or artwork.
The book left me fairly perplexed by the end and wanting to give it one star due to the fact that comics kind of require at least decent art to be readable. Ultimately, I ended up with a two star rating to account for the fact that the actual stories and writing was decent and followed the book... but the art. Man. It's going to haunt me a while.
Ghost, the albino dire wolf, has a black nose and highly resembles Snoopy. That just ain't right....more
David Sedaris has always been an interesting author for me. Some of his stories are so hilarious they make me laugh out loud - or in this case rush i David Sedaris has always been an interesting author for me. Some of his stories are so hilarious they make me laugh out loud - or in this case rush into the other room to share a few paragraphs here and there with my husband, while other stories simply leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. It isn't that I dislike certain stories of his, it's just that at times certain tales of his are just harsh enough to rub me the wrong way and leave me with an uneasy feeling. Effective? Yes, I suppose so. Though a bit too cynical for me to truly enjoy.
That having been said, Barrel Fever was an interesting first collection of his. While other collections such as Me Talk Pretty One Day are far more lauded, and I assume, a great deal better, this book was good enough that I would be liable to seek out more of his work were I not familiar with it. In particular, "Santaland Diaries" is good enough for me to want to read more of his essays in particular and the whole collection could stand on that alone. "Glen's Homophobia Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 2" was also hilarious to me and stood out among the rest.
I'd be hesitant to recommend this whole collection to anyone, but "Santaland Diaries" I'd pretty much never hesitate to recommend. I'm looking forward on diving deeper into Sedaris's work and seeing just what I may find, even if his work is distasteful to me now and again....more
The history of comics is one that I find endlessly fascinating. Comics are, more than most mediums, a mirror of sociological thought and change. One cThe history of comics is one that I find endlessly fascinating. Comics are, more than most mediums, a mirror of sociological thought and change. One can trace the ebb and flow of society's concerns through the meandering plot lines, and while in some cases the film adaptations have lost a bit of their bite in regards to this - in others the overarching concerns have remained plain. Wonder Woman is likely the best example of a comic book adaptations holding close to the comic books mores.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a fascinating, enlightening ride through the life of those who were closest to the characters creation. Marston was quite the character, and while some aspects of his life (i.e. the invention of the lie detector) are fairly well known bits of comic book lore traded among those fascinated with such things, other aspects were far less publicized, at least in my mind. His relationship with the feminism movement, while not necessarily a surprise, was fascinating to learn about when one considers just how deep within it he enmeshed himself. His vision for Wonder Woman, and its popularity right from the start - even among young boys - likewise delighted me. This book is a fascinating history, and one that I'm glad to see becoming as popular as it is today.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman, while not necessarily a must-read, is one that I hope more people continue to pick up. It is as much a history of feminism as it is about comics, the changes in focus, the way feminism has changed. While part of me wishes the book delved more into the present day sociological situation, I can understand why it stopped with the second wave. Who knew Steinman was such a staunch lover of Wonder Woman? Then again, is anyone that surprised? This is a well-written, well-researched glance into some truly novel history. It's a book I'll be happy to pass around to friends and family....more
I have a deep and unending love of westerns. There's something so unbelievable about the truth behind the legends of that time, the fact that so manyI have a deep and unending love of westerns. There's something so unbelievable about the truth behind the legends of that time, the fact that so many were drawn from what truly happened and nowhere near as embellished as one might think. There's a wildness to the stories, and yes, a romance even behind the crazed sociopaths that ran across the country and territories with guns blazing. So many thought they were in the right - so many courts acquitted them accordingly. How was this only a few generations ago?
Draw: The Greatest Gunfights of the American West is a surprisingly slim volume that goes into far more detail than one might expect. Between these pages are indeed summaries of the greatest gunfights, histories of those involved, and a bit of speculation on the part of the author about the circumstances. There are fascinating asides now and then, and even a few pictures. I learned a lot from this volume, as it seeks to dig into more than just the 'old favorites'. I was particularly pleased to see the absurd story of the execution of Black Jack Ketchum included, as his has a particularly gruesome ending that never ceases to amuse.
This book is darkly humorous, and I read it with the same surprise I tend to view these stories. It was so recent in the past, and so insane a time. How many died over trivial things? How many were shot just for snoring too loud, or by accident? I'm only amazed that there weren't more civilian casualties in all the mad shoot-outs. Then again, the civilians more often than not were involved in them... Isn't it incredible we lived through such a time?...more
What can I say about Twin Peaks that hasn't already been said?
This book bridges the gap between S2 and S3 (The Return) of the show. I wouldn't recommWhat can I say about Twin Peaks that hasn't already been said?
This book bridges the gap between S2 and S3 (The Return) of the show. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet seen the first two seasons, but would recommend it to anyone who had yet to see The Return. It answers some questions, and raises more mysteries. It fills in many blanks that existed within the first two seasons and colors them a new shade that I didn't entirely expect. The focus, as the title implies, is upon the town of Twin Peaks itself. It will march you through extraterrestrial (or is it extradimensional) life, through Majestic 12 and Thelema, and any number of other mysteries. Between these pages are conspiracy theories galore, and this book is indeed a far better bit of X-Files mythos than the mythos episodes of that show ever offered us.
And still, there's more.
The opening of the book defines firmly the difference between a mystery and a secret. A secret is something kept malevolently in many cases, it is omitted information willfully withheld that often does harm. A mystery, though, a mystery invites speculation and wonder - it enriches life through its contemplation and brings back to us a sense of childlike curiosity. This book engenders mystery, and I'll be contemplating it for some time to come.
I can't wait for the next one to come out soon. I'm counting the days!...more