The Bad Beginning
Book Review / January 23, 2017

Title: The Bad Beginning Series: The Series of Unfortunate Events, #1 Author: Lemony Snicket (aka David Handler) Genre: Fiction Publisher: Listening Library Release Date: September 9th, 2003 Format: Audiobook Source: Library Illustrator: Brett Helquist First Published: September 30th, 1999 Dear Reader, I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing. With all due respect, Lemony Snicket  (via Back Cover) GoodreadsAmazon   A Series…

Why Not Me?
Book Review / December 17, 2016

Title: Why Not Me? Author: Mindy Kaling Genre: Memoir Publisher: Crown Archetype Release Date: September 15th, 2015 Format: Paperback Pages: 226 Source: Blogging for Books In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you. In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so…

Furiously Happy
Book Review / November 15, 2016

Title: Furiously Happy Author: Jenny Lawson Genre: Memoir Publisher: Flatiron Books Release Date: September 22nd 2015 Format: Audiobook Pages: 329 Source: Library In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.” “Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all…

Modern Romance
Book Review / August 26, 2016

Title: Modern Romance Author: Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg Genre: Humor Publisher: Penguin Press Release Date: June 16th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 277 Source: Library At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated? Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”  But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find…

Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths
Book Review / July 30, 2016

Title: Luke Skywalker Can't Read (and other Geeky Truths) Author: Ryan Britt Genre: Essays Publisher: Plume Release Date: November 24th, 2015 Format: PAperback Pages: 208 Source: Library Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a Doctor Who Netflix-binge. Alternating between personal anecdote, hilarious insight, and smart analysis, Luke Skywalker Can’t Read contends thatBarbarella is good for you, that monster movies are just romantic comedies with commitment issues, that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are total hipsters, and, most shockingly, shows how virtually everyone in the Star Wars universe is functionally illiterate.  Romp through time and space, from the circus sideshows of 100 years ago to the Comic Cons of today, from darkest corners of the Galaxy to the comfort of your couch. For anyone who pretended their flashlight was a lightsaber, stood in line for a movie at midnight, or dreamed they were abducted by aliens,Luke Skywalker Can’t Read is full of answers to questions you haven’t thought to ask, and perfect for readers of Chuck Klosterman, Rob Sheffield, and Ernest Cline. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   The best way to describe this book is a collection of geeky love letters. Luke…

How to Be a Woman
Book Review / June 25, 2016

Title: How to Be a Woman Author: Caitlin Moran Genre: Non Fiction- Feminism Publisher: Harper Release Date: July 17th, 2012 Format: eBook Pages: 322 Source: Owned Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.  (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Caitlin Moran is a woman I want to go out for tapas with. Not just drinks- we’ll end up partying and staying out too late, and I, by the end, will not have enjoyed myself (I tend to over-party and fall asleep in public places with enabler-types). But tapas and wine will mean an evening of lively conversation with an early bedtime. And I’m all about it. Because this woman is going to be one heck of a conversation partner– funny, self-deprecating, smart, and unafraid to tell…

What If?
Book Review / June 15, 2016

Title: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Author: Randall Munroe Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release Date: September 2nd, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 303 Source: Library Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. ‘My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ‘ He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.  If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?  How fast can you hit a speed bump…

Still Foolin’ Em
Book Review / May 17, 2016

Title: Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Author: Billy Crystal Genre: Memoir Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Release Date: September 10th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 288 Source: Library Hilarious and heartfelt observations on aging from one of America’s favorite comedians as he turns 65, and a look back at a remarkable career Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he’s not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like “Buying the Plot” and “Nodding Off,” Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards….

Yes, Please
Book Review / March 18, 2016

Title: Yes, Please Author: Amy Poehler Genre: Memoir Publisher: Dey St. Release Date: October 28th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 329 Source: Library In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon I feel like I need to start this review by sharing: I am not familiar with Amy Poehler’s body of work. I respect her work, and I know what she has done through Amy Poehler’s Strong Girls, but I have never seen Parks and Recreation, I never saw Upright Citizens Brigade, and I barely have seen any episodes of Saturday Night Live. I might have seen one sketch with Amy in it… But I know she’s funny. And that’s all that matters. Why is this important? It means that going into this memoir, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. This is not a standard memoir. Had I known more about…

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