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Book Review 36: I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

17 Jun

If you love Nora Ephron, for her movies, or her advice, or her everything, you will love this book. Ephron was a wildly successful writer and director. And her personal life was fascinating as well – married to Bernstein, writing Heartburn about the dissolution of her marriage, and finding stability and an actual partner in her subsequent person.

The book is a series of short stories. They are odes to the things that Eprhon, 65 at the time she authored the book, loves, hates, and wonders about. Much of the book is very focused on New York, as Eprhon lived there most of her life, in an apartment she was deeply attached to, fostering her intense New Yorkness. New York seemed as much of a presence in her life as most of her friends, and lovers, and family, and I always find it fascinating when “place” overtakes “people” in terms of priority in someone’s live.

The title stems from her chapter about aging, and how unless surgery is involved, your neck always shows how old you are. She aged only somewhat gracefully. There was something refreshing in her frankness about how aging terrified her. Continue reading


Book Review 14: Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler & Friends

18 Feb

Chelsea Handler tends to be divisive. People either obsess over her or vigorously hate her for little to no reason. I guess she’s like most comedians that way – you either get them or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’re not interested. I like Chelsea Handler, and I like her assorted cast of friends/comedians on Chelsea Lately.

This book, written by her friends, with responses from Chelsea, didn’t appeal to me as much as My Horizontal Life, the only other book of her’s that I’ve read. First, it’s actually kind of a weird idea. I have a hard time thinking about asking my friends or colleagues to write a book of stories about me. It feels a little…self involved somehow. Just when you start to get into the story and start feeling like it’s an honest, funny, relatively unbiased account, there’s the obligatory praise of “Chelsea is fabulous!” at the end of each chapter which makes it feel less like a collection of funny stories and more like a sales pitch for Chelsea’s human side. Which could be the point of the book, as her public persona is fairly abrasive and you get a more well rounded picture of her from the book.

Also, the premise got stretched a little thing. I think if each person had free reign to just write what they wanted about Chelsea, and make it funny, it would have been consistently funny. But each chapter was shoehorned into telling a story (or two or three) about an actual lie she told, and it got repetitive. I get it, she plays a lot of lie-based pranks. I think there would have been a lot more humor if some of the writers were allowed to break that mold.

This was not my favorite Chelsea Handler experience, for reasons explained below. What is my favorite Chelsea Handler experience?  Continue reading

Book Review #59: Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

10 Sep

I like reading books by female comedians. I’d probably like reading books by male comedians, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve recently enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life. Unfortunately, Ellen’s Seriously…I’m Kidding was the worst of the bunch. Through no fault of her own, really.

Ellen’s book was what you expect from a female comedian: a series of essays that feels like a long comedy set. The short essays ranged from 1 to 5 or 6 pages, and they were structured like traditional stand up. She even warmed up the audience in the introduction. And the book was hilarious. Honestly, truly, laugh out loud funny. It was like hanging out with Ellen for an hour. And I love Ellen. Continue reading

2012 Summer Reading Recommendations

7 May

Summer is here! Although the weather in the Northeast is gray and dreary, and begs to differ, I’m calling it summer.  Summer is basically book season as publishers, like movie studios, save a lot of blockbuster reads for release in the summer.  Here’s a list of the top ten books I’m looking forward to that will be released this summer.

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As always, you can check out the books on my radar on Pinterest or Goodreads.

More details on the novels after the jump! Continue reading

5/5 Borrowed Books

5 May

Reading inspiration from around the web:

  • Sci Fi/Fantasy – The New York Times interviews Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series, and American Gods.
  • FictionNPR reviews Nell Freudenberger’s latest novel Newlyweds, about a cross-cultural arranged marriage.
  • Celebrity – A quick review of Ellen DeGeneres’s latest book, Seriously…I’m Kidding
  • Young Adult – LaineyGossip reviews her advanced copy of Insurgent, the follow up to Veronica Roth’s Divergent.

Recommended by You?

8 Apr

While this blog is still freshly pressed, I thought I’d ask for some recommendations! Summer is coming, and I’ll be tearing through 4-5 books a week on my commute, at the beach or on vacation.  So, I’m looking for fantastic, funny, heartbreaking or fascinating reads to add to my “to-read” list so I have books to get excited about this summer. Categories I’m generally interested in include, but are not limited to:

  • Young Adult
  • Sci Fi
  • Chick Lit
  • Family dramas
  • Historical Fiction
  • Memoirs
  • Popular Science
  • Mystery/Crime/Thriller
  • Historical Non-fiction
  • Romance

Feel free to comment with your suggestions in any of the above categories (or any category at all)!

#CBR4 Review 13: Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest

25 Mar

This book came to my attention via LaineyGossip, where she glowingly reviewed the book and has been closely following the casting of the film adaptation. Your Voice in my Head  is Emma Forrest’s memoir, a loving tribute to her long time therapist who passed away after helping her work through her bulimia, cutting and depression for almost eight years.  The death of her therapist coincides with the dissolution of her relationship with the man she calls Gypsy Husband – a man known to the rest of us as Colin Farrell.

You can feel the mania and depression in the rhythm and pattern of Forrest’s words. Here writing is so intimate you feel like you’re eavesdropping on her most private conversations with her most trusted friend. The book outlines Forrest’s descent into her mental illness, and the slow progress she makes with her therapist. Her story is a heartbreaking look at mental illness and recovery.

Continue reading

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