Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sh*t My Dad Says

by Justin Halpern

This book is excellent! You could have just had the worst day of your life, but open this book and I guarantee you will be smiling.

I'm currently in the middle of reading two other books, but when this one came through the interlibrary loan system with my name on it, I had to read it right away. It only took a few hours to read, and those other books can wait, this was totally worth it.

"Sh*t My Dad Says" is insanely hilarious and heart-warming. After reading only a few pages you will literally be laughing out loud. (I don't recommend reading this in the library or any other quiet public place because you will get concerned looks regarding your mental state.)

I've never encountered a book like this before. It's right up there with Lewis Black's "Me of Little Faith" in terms of hilarity. Halpern shares glowing anecdotes about his childhood and growing up with his eccentric father who is unconcerned with how other perceive him and says exactly what he means, exactly how he wants to say it; it's refreshing. I absolutely love this book and it's convoluted, foul-mouthed pearls of wisdom. There is a lot of love in this book as well as a lot of humor.

Everyone (who is not offended by gruff language) should read this book.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have jumped on the bandwagon, late as usual, but after hearing about the upcoming movie based on this book, I decided I wanted to read it.

I really enjoyed book. I think Elizabeth Gilbert is a very honest and unashamed writer, which makes her words all the more accessible. I willingly lived vicariously through her. There is also a great sense of calm about this book, once you get into it; it's a comfort to read.

The book really gave me the urge to travel. I want to go to Greece, but I've heard they're not too friendly with tourists. For now I'll have to settle with visiting Seattle for a month in July (I'm attending the Tallis Scholars Summer School, which I could not be more excited about! Although, who knows how much of the city I'll actually have time to explore...).

But I didn't come to any dramatic self-realizations while reading this book. I didn't feel the need to drop everything and suddenly go on a spiritual journey. Instead, it reaffirmed how I currently feel. I know who I am and what makes me happy. I guess I haven't had enough time in the "real world" to lose my sense of self yet, and I never plan to. For me, at this time in my life, I didn't find the book to be hugely relatable; maybe I'm a little young yet to truly appreciate it.

I am decidedly somewhat un-American because I fully embrace the Italian concept of bel far niente (the beauty of doing nothing). I have for most of my young life. My mother calls this being lazy. But I think there's a lot to be said for taking the time to enjoy a little nothing.

Occasionally while reading I found myself thinking, Well good for you. You get to experience all these wonderful things that I don't have the opportunity to.  Or is that take the opportunity to?

Anyway, there were parts I liked and parts I did not like about the book. I really liked Italy, India was very interesting, but got a little too spiritual for me to grasp (transcendence during meditation: I can't yet relate to or quite understand that), and I thoroughly enjoyed Indonesia. Originally I thought I liked Italy the best, but there were some truly fantastic stories from her time in Indonesia which I found pretty compelling. Other readers will probably get more out of this book than I did, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Between the Bridge and the River

by Craig Ferguson

I don't particularly care for the cover of this book; I don't know why.

The praise from Mitch Albom written on the back cover should have been enough to deter me from reading this book (I read "Tuesdays with Morrie," liked it at the time but I won't read another book of his because it's a bunch of carpe diem crap that I don't want preached at me.).

This is an odd book, bordering on Christian fiction with a lot of smut and swearing mixed in. It's about redemption and God and psychology and not at all what I was expecting from Craig Ferguson.

Ferguson needed a better editor. There's a lot going on, a lot of characters, not all of whom stick around for the whole story, and a lot of unnecessary detail. It's as if Ferguson was really amused by his own thoughts and included them in the book just for himself. In the end, the characters end up being too tightly wound together, meeting each other in dreams or while walking the desert of their soul. It's too coincidental.

I wonder if this was a sort of healing book for Ferguson, the kind that the author writes at a difficult point in his life because it's the only way he can think of to make himself feel better, kind of like how T.S. Garp had to write "The World According to Bensenhaver" to get over his tragic loss.

All in all the book is amusing, a little "out there," but you can feel free to skip this one.