Tag Archives: nonfiction

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny

Or, as I called the book in my head, Everyone is a Whore Except Me and Here’s Why. Better yet: The Truth About Kettle: An Autobiography by Pot.

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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, One Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living by Julie Powell

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living

In the immortal words of Michael Bluth: “I don’t know what I expected.”

I knew what I was getting into with this, I really did. It is a well-documented fact that Julie Powell is a delusional asshole (if you need a good laugh, look at the reviews for Cleaving, her second book – they all essentially boil down to “Wow, so turns out Julie Powell is horrible”), and even if I hadn’t been aware of this, there’s the fact that whenever I watch the movie adaptation of Julie and Julia, I skip the Julie parts because even Amy Adams, who is literal human sunshine, cannot make that woman appealing in any sense of the word.

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The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath

“So it all moves in a pageant towards the ending, it’s own ending. Everywhere, imperceptibly or otherwise, things are passing, ending, going. And there will be other summers, other band concerts, but never this one, never again, never as now. Next year I will not be the self of this year now. And that is why I laugh at the transient, the ephemeral; laugh, while clutching, holding, tenderly, like a fool his toy, cracked glass, water through fingers. For all the writing, for all the invention of engines to express & convey & capture life, it is the living of it that is the gimmick. It goes by, and whatevere dream you use to dope up the pains and hurts, it goes. Delude yourself about printed islands of permanence. You’ve only got so long to live. You’re getting your dream. Things are working, blind forces, no personal spiritual beneficent ones except your own intelligence and the good will of a few other fools and fellow humans. So hit it while it’s hot.”

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God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis

God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215

It took me a very long time to finish this book. I would stick with it for a few weeks, and then take a break from the book to read a novel or something. All together, I think I read five or six other books while trying to get through God’s Crucible. The problem wasn’t that the material was boring – I’ve been wanting to read a good, detailed history of pre-Crusades Islam for a long time, so I was really excited to find this – but it’s dense. Important historical figures appear and disappear from the narrative with very little notice, and Lewis expects you to keep up with the scores of characters and locations contained in this history. I don’t recommend trying to read this book on your morning train ride, is what I’m saying.

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Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me?

I read Mindy Kaling’s first memoir/essay collection Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) about four years ago, but I just realized that I never actually wrote a review for it – I also just realized that I never made a “memoir” shelf, so that’s been corrected. I’ll go back and write a review of Kaling’s first book at some point, I promise.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids

“Why can’t I write something that would awake the dead? That pursuit is what burns most deeply. I got over the loss of his desk and chair, but never the desire to produce a string of words more precious than the emeralds of Cortes. Yet I have a lock of his hair, a handful of his ashes, a box of his letters, a goatskin tambourine. And in that folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michelangelo.”

(watch this and then read)

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I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres

I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie

Pamela Des Barres grew up living a comfortable middle-class life in Reseda California. She had loving parents and a stable home life, and all signs pointed to her leading a perfectly ordinary life. But somewhere along the line, Pamela Miller became Pamela Des Barres, one of the most legendary groupies who had a front-row seat (or, more accurately, a backstage pass) to the greatest era in rock and roll history. I’m With the Band is her story. If you’ve ever watched Almost Famous and found yourself wishing that Penny Lane had written a memoir (or better yet, Sapphire – “Does anyone remember laughter?!”), here it is.

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