A razor-sharp memoir in which a young woman travels to Cambodia, Stockholm, and Paris to overcome the legacy of her difficult and charismatic father
When Victoria Loustalot was eight years old her father swept her up in a fantasy: a trip around the world. It was a grandiose plan and she had fallen for it. But it had never been so much as a possibility. Victoria’s father was sick. He was HIV positive and soon to fall prey to AIDS. Three years later he would be gone.
When Victoria realized that the grand trip with her father wasn’t going to happen, she was devastated. Her mother assumed she’d get over it, that eventually it would become just a shrug. But it didn’t. In the years to come, Victoria wondered what it would have been like to have been alone with her dad all those months, to see him outside of his sickness, beyond anything related to their family or their life. To have been with him in a new context. That’s what she wanted. And that’s what she did.
Some fifteen years after that initial promise, Victoria went to Stockholm, to Angkor Wat, and to Paris. She went to the places they were meant to see together, and she went to make peace with her father, too. Because while he’d always be forty-four, she’d gone on accumulating birthdays. Every year, her understanding of him continued to evolve and their relationship was still alive. Victoria Loustalot felt trapped beneath all of the unanswered questions he left behind. She needed to be set free. She needed to say goodbye.
During the expansion of the Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Willard Carroll unearthed a leatherbound scrapbook from a site that was once a pet cemetery. To his amazement, its yellowing pages contained the rags-to-riches story of Terry, the cairn terrier who played Toto in the enduring film The Wizard of Oz. Reprinted here in its entirety, I, Toto traces the canine star’s tragic beginnings, her exhilarating film career, and her happy retirement in Southern California. Best of all, it offers the inside scoop on Toto’s signature role, her costars, and the making of The Wizard of Oz.
There are also some endearing passages about Terry’s (a.k.a. Toto) interaction with Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, and Spencer Tracy. A book written from a dog’s point of view is not unique, but from this famous dog’s point of view it is unique.
Children and adults alike will like this book. There are plenty of pictures to entertain the young ones while an adult reads the story. It’s a very quick read and packed with lots of entertainment about a very special little dog.
In this memoir, iconic singer Linda Ronstadt weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ’70s.
Born into a musical family, Linda’s childhood was filled with everything from Hank Williams to Gilbert and Sullivan, Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, twelve Grammy Awards later, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.
Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folk-rock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. After the dissolution of her first band, the Stone Poneys, Linda went out on her own and quickly found success. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early back-up bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda would become the most successful female artist of the decade. She has sold more than 100 million records, won numerous awards, and toured all over the world. Linda has collaborated with legends such as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Aaron Neville, J.D. Souther, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bette Midler, and Frank Sinatra, as well as Homer Simpson and Kermit the Frog. By the time she retired in 2009, Ronstadt had spent four decades as one of the most popular singers in the world, becoming the first female artist in popular music to release four consecutive platinum albums.
In Simple Dreams, Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success. And she describes it all in a voice as beautiful as the one that sang “Heart Like a Wheel”—longing, graceful, and authentic.
I was so excited to read this that I did something I rarely ever do: read an entire ebook on my phone. For real. I hate reading on my phone, especially for extended periods of time, but I don’t have a tablet or e-reader, so there you go. I received an e-copy of the book via NetGalley and promptly downloaded it to my phone. I had intended just to begin the book and then patiently wait for a print copy, but couldn’t ultimately could not stop reading. And laughing. So much laughing. Allie Brosh’s book is painfully honest and laugh-out-loud-hilarious. And her mastery of MS Paint for dramatic effect is unparalleled.
Anyone who has ever read and enjoyed “Hyperbole and a Half” ought to pick this up right away and read it cover to cover. Anyone who has never checked out “Hyperbole and a Half” has serious deficiencies in their life and they need to start reading the blog and/or this book immediately.
While the library doesn’t own a copy yet, we probably will sooner or later. Until then, check out the blog at: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com
You won’t be disappointed.
One of the funniest books I have ever read! There I said it and it is true. I found myself actually laughing out loud during the reading of this book and have now become a huge Jenny Lawson fan. I want to hang out with her and hear more stories about her crazy taxidermist dad, her long-suffering but equally crazy husband Victor and Jenny’s crazy life and thoughts. I hope you are picking up the theme here…crazy! But in a good way.
This book starts with Jenny describing her childhood in Wall, Texas with her supportive mom and animal loving dad. We then move quickly through her school years; because really who wants to relive that! And we end with adulthood, marriage and motherhood. Jenny claims most of this book is true, and she does try to keep the reader informed of the not true parts. There are entertaining and unbelievable moments at every step of her life. From the magical squirrel hand puppet to the machete/vulture attack to the inevitable fascination with taxidermied animals, every moment is rife with crazy, funny incidents that will make you feel like your life is staid and boring in comparison.
Jenny narrates the audiobook herself and I would recommend reading it this way. She is hilarious and give little asides that may or may not be in the printed book. There is even a bonus chapter! As a disclaimer: there is a lot of cussing in this book. So if you don’t like bad words this may not be for you. But, it is really funny, super witty and just plain crazy…so read it!
Monologues on various themes examining women’s relationships to their bodies and their sexual selves. These themes include women’s discomfort with their sexuality and bodies, rape, child birth, power dynamics in a relationship, genital mutilation. Though the topics are mature and graphic, they are not presented in a salacious way – beautifully written, moving and very thought provoking. Eve Ensler interviewed hundreds of women on their feelings, their thoughts, their experience of their bodies and their sexuality and wrote these monologues. These monologues create a space for women to feel comfortable talking openly about their sexuality.
A book about losing a place, finding a purpose, and immersing in a community. Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore. When the opportunity to run to a struggling Virginia coal mining town presented itself, they took it. And took the plunge into starting their dream as well.
I try to live by the maxim “It isn’t so much that we are disappointed by people but that we are disappointed by our expectations of people.” Thus if I set realistic expectations, I will be let down less often. Easier said than done of course, as with most pithy mottos, but none the less a truism. “Why,” you ask “am I spouting Zen babble in a book review?” Is is indeed, dear reader, relevant. The reads that most disappoint me are the “you gotta read this” or books that I have high expectations for. I wanted to love the book Driving the Saudis. The subject matter is so timely with the continuing tremors of Arab Spring and the clamoring for women’s rights across the world. An inside look from a Western woman into the closeted world of the immense wealth, leashed women, and sharia, details on the fight for women’s suffrage and education under one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. What I got was how much Prada and La Perla the royals bought and what plastic surgery procedures they had done. Given, I expected the book to be somewhat dishy, the cover photo is palm trees and sexy blue eyes peeking from a veil, but the author is Harvard educated and an independent film maker. I should have thought TMZ, not NPR. The people in her memoir could almost be cardboard cutouts, the royals are spoiled snobs and the servants are longsuffering victims. There were glimpses of real substance there, Larson recounts how a young princess mourned that she would never be able to attend college like her brother but instead she would return to Saudi Arabian to be the third wife of an powerful elderly man or that the American security hired by the Saudis kept the passports of all the help so they could not flee. The book that I read was passable but the book that I wanted to read would have been fascinating. Should have remembered the maxim.
This book is very typical Chelsea Handler. I really enjoy her humor and her personality. I can’t imagine the craziness that always encircles her. She is wild, crazy and hilarious and this book is a reflection of that. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang is a collection of interludes in the life of Chelsea Handler. There are stories about her childhood, her relationships, her friendships, and her family. She pulls no punches about herself or those around her. If you like Chelsea Lately you will probably enjoy this book; I did.
I’ve been a long-time reader of “The Bloggess”, so when I found out that its author had a book coming out, I was pretty excited. I put it on hold and then waited. And waited. And then finally I got my hands on a copy and was not disappointed. I was a bit surprised, though, to find that it was more of a straightforward memoir than I was expecting. I had assumed that it would be mostly entries from her blog, so I figured I would have read most of the book already. I was wrong. But in a good way. Lawson takes it all the way back to her rather unusual childhood in Western Texas and reveals the numerous speed-bumps along the way. From her experiences with her eccentric taxidermist father, to her struggles with OCD and anxiety, all the way to raising a child with her long-suffering husband, Victor; nothing is held back. The result is a hilarious, if painful, tale of acceptance and healing.
People read books for a lot of different reasons. Joe Queenan feels most people do it to escape from reality. In this book he reveals to the reader why books are so important to him and why he usually doesn’t read books that people give him. Also that he is usually in the middle of reading over 20 books that he may not finish in several years. I may start 2 or 3 and put them down for a day or two but if I don’t like it I won’t finish it. Joe didn’t get a drivers license til his 50’s mostly because he likes to read in a bus, train, or plane. I can relate to a lot of his musings because reading is like breathing to me. You just have to do it!
We’ve heard about Alison’s father in her other memoir, “Fun Home”. Now it’s her mother’s turn. Bechdel uses this book to explore her relationship with her mother who is an interesting character in and of herself. Both mother and daughter are writers and intellectuals and their relationship is as complicated as you might expect from such individuals. Bechdel uses a variety of psychological theorists to explore the nature of the mother/daughter bond.
This is not a graphic novel for lightweights. It’s something of a ponderous tome, with extensive reflection on child psychology, feminism and the writing process. This book could keep a Women’s Studies class busy for quite awhile. Plenty of food for thought, particularly for mothers and daughters.
A moving story of one woman’s day to day life after losing her husband in the 9/11 attacks. This graphic novel backs the events of September 11th a personal tragedy rather than just a national tragedy. Gripping and beautifully told but difficult to read at times. But how could any true story accurately depicting that day not move one to tears?
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. This is a concise introduction to not only Anne Frank and her family but history of Nazism, concentration camps, general history of WWII and how the conflict spread as well as the years immediately after the war. I had not realized prior to reading this the first concentration camp built and opened in Germany was to house German citizens who opposed the Nazi parties new policies.
This was an interesting book. A memoir of her life, Fun Home describes what it was like in Alison Bechdel’s life from around age 10 to when she was in college. From discovering she was a lesbian and coming out to her parents to understanding her relationship with her father and his death, Bechdel weaves a story of self-discovery and -acceptance. It is kind of graphic at times (she is not shy about describing, very specifically through words and illustrations, her personal life), but I really thought it was well written and illustrated, and had a nice, almost philosophical feel to it. She describes her relationship with her family in such a cold and distant way, but then shows how her and her father become close in their own, rather odd way. The memoir she writes and draws is quite a detailed account of her life and really makes you connect with her and want to understand the process she went through to learn how to trust herself so she could start trusting others. I could not relate to her coming out problem, but the ideas she had of self-acceptance and understanding was beautifully written.