Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mr. Wrong

Mr. Wrong: Real-Life Stories About the Men We Used to Love Mr. Wrong: Real-Life Stories About the Men We Used to Love by Harriet Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
What I liked: That it made me feel a little less pathetic about my own dating history.

What I didn't like: Most of the stories were dull.

Final Thoughts: There were only two stories/essays that I actually enjoyed. I really can't recommend this collection.

Pub. Date: January 2007

Synopsis: Mr. Wrong is the tug behind your navel, the guy who lights you up like a Roman candle, the danger you can’t resist. And just about every woman, at some point in her life, has encountered one–or many.
Women everywhere will see themselves in these witty, wise, and entertaining personal essays by some of the literary world’s most accomplished and bestselling authors, including Jane Smiley, Audrey Niffennegger, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ntozake Shange, Roxana Robinson, Marge Piercy, and Ann Hood. Readers will delight in the array of Mr. Wrongs encountered in these pages–from harmless and charming to revolting and offensive–and ultimately relish the notion that even if we succumb to the temptation of an utterly reckless romance, we can emerge with our hearts intact.
By turns wry and heartfelt, lighthearted and redemptive, these insightful, uplifting real-life stories run the emotional gamut, from Whitney Otto’s satisfying tale of a Mr. Wrong who receives his comeuppance in an unexpected way, to Robin Westen’s steamy account of lust with a zen master, to Monika Ekk’s rueful “I Married a Wanker!” Some are hilarious, like Marion Winik’s “The Ten Most Wanted,” while others, like Catherine Texier’s “Russian Lessons,” take us to the dark side of love and longing.
For every prince charming there are a million frogs. If you’ve ever trusted a man you couldn’t trust, Mr. Wrong will make you laugh, cry, and shake your head in recognition atyourself and your friends.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Born Standing Up

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I liked: This book was incredibly well written. The author took us inside his head, explained the how and why of his comedic creation. Some parts of the book were intimate and personal and some parts were vague - which I felt added to the biography. It wasn't endless droning on and on about his personal life or his career in show business, it was a pleasurable mix of both that never crossed the "TMI" line.

What I didn't like: I can't, honestly, think of anything I didn't enjoy about the book. It even had pictures! I love biographies with pictures sprinkled throughout the book (and not just clumped into the middle of the book).

Final Thoughts: I'm not a Steve Martin fan, but this book was enjoyable to read. It was funny and insightful and moving. It took me completely by surprise.

Pub. Date: November 2007

Synopsis: At age 10, Steve Martin got a job selling guidebooks at the newly opened Disneyland. In the decade that followed, he worked in Disney's magic shop, print shop, and theater, and developed his own magic/comedy act. By age 20, studying poetry and philosophy on the side, he was performing a dozen times a week, most often at the Disney rival, Knott's Berry Farm.

Obsession is a substitute for talent, he has said, and Steve Martin's focus and daring his sheer tenacity are truly stunning. He writes about making the very tough decision to sacrifice everything not original in his act, and about lucking into a job writing for The Smothers Brothers Show. He writes about mentors, girlfriends, his complex relationship with his parents and sister, and about some of his great peers in comedy Dan Aykroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Reiner, Johnny Carson. He writes about fear, anxiety and loneliness. And he writes about how he figured out what worked on stage.

This book is a memoir, but it is also an illuminating guidebook to stand up from one of our two or three greatest comedians. Though Martin is reticent about his personal life, he is also stunningly deft, and manages to give readers a feeling of intimacy and candor. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white photographs collected by Martin, this book is instantly compelling visually and a spectacularly good read.

Recommended Reading:
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Home by Julie Andrews

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Best Friend's Girl

My Best Friend's Girl My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked: This book was amazing from page 1. I cried, I laughed, I "awww"'d through every page. The characters were well formed and the storyline was well done. I enjoyed that the story line often moved from the present to the past and the transition was well-done.

What I didn't like: Some times the dialogue was "unreal". I had to knock my rating from 5 stars to 4 because the ending of the book didn't fit with the characters, it was too neatly done. It almost seemed like the author tacked it on as an after thought because someone said "it needs a happy ending". Really, if the book had ended at the second to the last chapter, it would have been a 5-Star book for me.

Final thoughts: I am so happy that Toni recommended this book to me. It is definitely a book worth sharing. I'll be adding this author to my TBR list.

Pub. Date: March 2008

Synopsis: How far would you go for the best friend who broke your heart? This internationally bestselling novel tells an enchanting tale of life’s most unpredictable loves and heartaches, and the unforgettable bond between a single woman and an extraordinary five-year-old girl. From the moment they met in college, best friends Adele Brannon and Kamryn Matika thought nothing could come between them—until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn’s fiancĂ©, Nate. Now, after years of silence, the two women are reuniting, and Adele has a stunning request for her old friend: she wants Kamryn to adopt her five-year-old daughter, Tegan.
Besides the difference in skin color—many will assume that headstrong, impulsive Kamryn is Tegan’s nanny—there’s the inconvenient truth that Kamryn is wholly unprepared to take care of anyone, especially someone who reminds her so much of Nate. With crises brewing at work and her love life in shambles, can Kamryn somehow become the mother a little girl needs her to be?

Recommended Reading:
Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson
The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring
Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald