Don't miss Sh*t My Dad Says
Sh*t My Dad Says (2010) New!
by Justin Halpern
What has got to be one of the most unconventional memoirs out there, Sh*t My Dad Says will make you scream with laughter, and humble you with its sassy insights and basic truths about life (and all the sh*t it brings). What began as Halpern's Twitter feed dedicated to the quotable quotes spewing from his 74 year old dad, morphed into this best-selling book, and is now slated to become a sitcom starring William Shatner as Halpern's father. Do yourself a favour, and don't miss this reading experience; you will treasure every cantankerous, politically incorrect, illuminating pearl of wisdom contained within its pages.
A Globe-trotting Gourmand
Eat My Globe: one year to go everywhere and eat everything, by Simon Majumdar
Simon Majumdar and his brother Robin are well known in the blog world as the contributors to Dos Hermanos - a restaurant review site primarily focused on Great Britain, with occasional forays into other parts of Europe.
Simon, the younger of the two brothers, decided to quit his lucrative job, liquidate his assets, and travel around the world to taste the cuisines of many different cultures. He traveled to thirty-one countries, eating foodstuffs that ranged from the exotic to the everyday.
His descriptions of the people and places he encounters are vivid, and his humour is under-stated and self-deprecating. These alone are worth the read, but anyone who is even remotely a "foodie" will want to read this book to shudder with horror at the descriptions of eating roasted rat, cod sperm sushi, and stewed dog, as well as to revel in his rhapsodic descriptions of the delicious foods he encountered in upscale restaurants, roadside food stands, and in the homes of the people he met along the way.
Simon's eighteen-month journey took him from England, Germany, Finland and Spain to the United States and Mexico, Australia, Africa, China, and many other locations.
He wraps up the book with the top ten best foods eaten on his trip, as well as the ten worst things he tried to choke down.
Eat My Globe ends with the author's request to contact him for other ideas with places and foods that he should sample for his next project.
Check out these two titles by Chris Ayres. He is reputed to have a comic voice much like David Sedaris.
Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale
Ayres writes about his time as a Hollywood correspondent, and the over the top world he becomes immersed in.
War Reporting for Cowards
Ayres' experiences as a war time journalist in Iraq, where his time overseas has been described as "undignified."
Living biblically ... literally
The Year of Living Biblically
One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible
by A. J. Jacobs
Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers. The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes....
Okay, I liked this book, but I didn't love it. It was amusing in parts and Jacobs has a delightfully quirky writing style that kept me engaged and reading. He's a bit of a geek -- who suffers from mild OCD -- but he's also an all-around "nice Jewish boy" doing his best to be a good husband and father. Hence, this dubious ambition to live biblically for a year -- the logic being that perhaps living a literal interpretation of the Bible will either make him a better person, bring him closer to a God he cannot admit exists, or at least add an element of spirituality to an otherwise secular life.
It's difficult to take Jacobs' approach with any seriousness -- after all, the changes he makes are temporary and ultimately superficial; all that effort is to serve the writing of yet another pseudo-memoir that hopefully becomes another NYT bestseller (Jacobs' read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for his first bestselling memoir, The Know-It-All). Let's face it -- this is a bit of an ego trip in a quest for fame that's hardly "holy" (and to his credit, I think Jacobs realizes this).
In spite of it all, Jacobs' heart is in the right place and after living his biblical year with gusto (with some amusing results along the way), he actually emerges from the experience changed for the better. Not fundamentalist changed, but a little more thoughtful, patient and thankful for the little things. That's a kind of spirituality I can relate and aspire to.
[This book was the latest choice from the Regina Public Library "Book Club in a Bag" collection, and is reviewed by members of the Dewey Dames, a book club consisting of former and present RPL staff.]
Six members of the Dewey Dames book club gathered to hash out their impressions of Jacobs' year long experiment to live biblically. The group was evenly split 50/50 between three members who finished and enjoyed the book immensely, and three others who did not finish the book and were disappointed overall in what they had read before stopping.
One criticism was aimed at Jacobs' writing style, that it was choppy and jumped around from one idea to the next with no rhyme or reason. Another member said she liked that about the book because to her "life is like that" and it seemed realistic. Several members also agreed that the idea behind the book is a bit "gimmicky" and a superficial treatment of religion and spirituality. Three members found the book to be extremely funny and everyone agreed that to live biblically as Jacobs' did would be a very hard thing to do indeed, especially the no lying and no gossiping!
Motherhood in the Twenty-First Century
Bad Mother: a chronicle of maternal crimes, minor calamities, and occasional moments of grace, by Ayelet Waldman
Waldman is the author of the "Mommy Track" mysteries and two previous works of non-fiction. She is married to writer Michael Chabon, and they live in California with their four children.
Waldman shot to fame (or notoriety) when she wrote an online piece called "Modern Love", confessing that she loved her husband more than her children. A firestorm of public opinion ensued, culminating in her appearance on "Oprah."
Here in Bad Mother, Waldman makes her case for giving both ourselves and other mothers a break. Such contentious topics as stay-at-home versus working moms, breastfeeding, organic foods, roles of dads, in-laws, and hyper-competitive parenting are all covered with clear sight and common sense.
Waldman's bottom line, and her most important message, is that the more secure and comfortable we are in our own parenting choices, the less need we feel to act as the "Bad Mother Police" for other mothers.
This compelling book is both enlightening and encouraging for those still trying to navigate the never-really-clear waters of parenthood.
A Book by the Most Widely-read Personal Blogger on the Internet
It Sucked, and Then I Cried: how I had a baby, a breakdown, and a much-needed Margarita, by Heather B. Armstrong
Heather B. Armstrong was one of the personal-blog pioneers, back in the day when the concept of an online journal accessible to all who cared to read seemed a tad - odd...
Her blog - Dooce.com - led to her being fired after some of her scathing remarks about her boss and fellow employees were discovered by her workplace, leading to the popular concept of being "dooced."
Armstrong has had the last laugh, however, as she now makes her living from ad revenues on her still wildly popular and successful blog.
Armstrong is always painfully candid about the events in her life, and the same can be said for this book. She discusses the excitement and anticipation of planning to have a child, and the shock of coping with the reality of introducing a high-needs child into your life. She is frank about the cons as well as the pros, and lays out how her ongoing low-level depression precipitated a case of post-partum depression severe enough to hospitalize her for a brief period of time.
Throughout the book, it is clear how dearly she loves her child, and her husband, Jon, as she tries to recover and to thrive, rather than merely survive, in their newly configured family.
Another book in our Regina Public Library collection with a similar theme - how blogging on the internet can affect one's personal life and fortunes - is Petite Anglaise: a true story by Catherine Sanderson.
Frank McCourt dies at age 78
Frank McCourt (19 August 1930 - 19 July 2009)
Beloved Irish-American memoirist Frank McCourt, passed away Sunday, July 19th, at the age of 78. McCourt, who had spent his working career as a high school English teacher in New York City, arrived at fame late in life; he was 66 years old when Angela's Ashes was published -- his bestselling and Pulitzer prize-winning account of an impoverished Irish Catholic childhood in Limerick. McCourt had been battling a type of skin cancer, and succumbed to his illness at a Manhattan hospice.
McCourt also published a follow-up to Angela's Ashes -- 'Tis -- as well as an account of his teaching years, called Teacher Man.
Click here to find Frank McCourt in the RPL catalogue.
A Little Evolutional Humour
The Darwin Awards Next Evolution by Wendy Northcutt
Summary: The human race’s most popular humor series returns with a new collection of macabre mishaps and misadventures. Honoring those who improve our gene pool by inadvertently removing themselves from it, The Darwin Awards Next Evolution shows how uncommon common sense still is.
May's Review: It's hard not to laugh at all of the incredibly dumb things humans will do when common sense has abandoned them. If you enjoy reading about these things in the newspaper, then you will more than likely want to check out this book!
Crosley, Sloane; I Was Told There'd Be Cake
This debut essay collection is full of sardonic wit and charm, and Crosley is already being compared to noted humourists David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.
Follow the adventures of Sloane Crosley as she struggles to attain a sense of uniqueness and accomplishment while living and working amongst the teaming masses of New York City.
"Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions-or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character that's aiming for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There'd Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life." Publishers Weekly
If you need to write a quick memoir...
Not Quite what I was Planning: Six-word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith
From Publishers Weekly:
Can you describe your life in six words? That's what the editors of storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers in 2006; the results, though decidedly uneven, make for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings. Highlights from professional writers and artists include journalist Chuck Klosterman wondering, "Nobody cared, then they did. Why?"; pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger lamenting, "We still don't hear a single"; and comic strip artist Keith Knight illustrating "I was a Michael Jackson impersonator." At their best, these nano-memoirs evoke the same kind of rich emotional responses as a good story: 9 year old Hannah Davies considers herself "Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends"; Zak Nelson says "I still make coffee for two"; Scott Birch claims "Most successful accomplishments based on spite." Some entries read like bumper stickers (Rip Riley: "No wife. No kids. No problems"), and others are just plain weird (Amy Sedaris: "Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched"), but this compelling little book will have readers and their friends hunting for favorites and inventing six-word self-definitions of their own. This review in six words? Read. Enjoy. Pass it on. Repeat.
This one can make you laugh or make you cry. It's interesting to see how people view themselves in just six words. It's made me think of several different words and phrases I would use to sum up my life. Currently the winner is: Crazy Cat Lady in the Making...but I'm far too young to write my memoir yet, it'll probably change next week!:)
--The Library Technician
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