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You guys, are you aware that one of my all time favorite people wrote a book? Ok, well obviously she isn’t one of my all time favorite people but I think she’s pretty cool. She did write a book though. And while I obviously don’t know Tina Fey from what I can tell from her book Bossypants, she and I would totally be BFFs. Some things we share in common – Tina does not drive and has the amazing ability to turn simple things into crippling anxiety. We could totally be friends, right? JK.

I picked this book up on Friday night and finished it this morning and it was HILARIOUS. After reading the book I scanned some reviews on Barnes and Noble’s website and some of the responses confused me . Stuff like “this book is only for hardcore Tina Fey fans,” “this book wasn’t what I expected it to be,” and “I thought this book was going to be like 30 Rock, it isn’t, and I am disappointed.” 

Unlike the commenters, I went into this book with almost no expectations. I just waned to read a book by Tina Fey. I guess I assumed it would be memoir-y, insightful, and funny. It was all those things. From insights into her career, awkward coming of age stories, her views on women in comedy, and comments on being a working mom I couldn’t put this book down.

I wanted to offer some quotes here to show you how hilarious the book is but then I realized I would basically be transcribing the entire book in my blog and that isn’t cool.

So here are some general highlights – the chapter about when she first started working on SNL, the chapter about the development of 30 Rock, and her chapter on the whole Sarah Palin thing (which I still consider to be some of the funniest moments ever on television – I just love Tina Fey). I suppose essay is probably a more appropriate word for the individual sections in the book than chapter but whatever (some of the essays/chapters were actually published in The New Yorker prior to publication).

Oh, I also really liked the chapter where she introduced her dad who she constantly refers to as Don Fey instead of “Dad.” Read the book and you’ll understand why he’s a person who gets to be referred to by his whole name every time he’s mentioned. 

There are about 50 other anecdotes I loved, I really could go on and on – like when her mom gave her the kotex kit and trusted her to educate herself or her story about her first trip to the gynecologist. And her comments on photoshop and her list of her physical attributes she likes. 

I guess what I am trying to say is I LOVED THE ENTIRE BOOK. It definitely picked up when she got to her tenure on SNL and walked the reader through SNL – 30 Rock – Sarah Palin impression, but that’s not to say the parts before that were boring. 

I know I’ve gone on and on about the parts of the book I liked but I especially like that so much of it felt like a female empowerment pep talk. From body image issues to balancing different roles, I found myself nodding, laughing, and sighing at so many comments I found 100% spot on. Especially her chapters on body image. As someone with serious body image issues it is always comforting to see empowering and thoughtful comments and perspectives. 

Getting back to expectations – I guess based on things she has said in the media, my feeling that Liz Lemon is a not so inaccurate representation of herself, and that fact that she was the one who wrote Mean Girls – I have, while writing this post, revised my opinion on the whole expectations thing. When I finished this book I realized it was exactly what I expected. I felt the book was honest, she made fun of herself, and she made a lot of really honest observations about society and feminism in particular. The book just made her seem really accessible – like a totally normal woman you could totally have a beer, a good laugh, and a serious conversation with.

Basically, it was a huge Tina Fey love fest over here all weekend. Go read Bossypants.

And watch this clip it is hilarious…

This past week, I finished reading My Life in France and couldn’t have loved it more! The book is incredibly inspiring and really fascinating. It’s full of interesting things I didn’t know about Julia Child. The absolute best part of the book is the insight into her writing process. Talk about dedication! Tirelessly checking recipes, testing them, experimenting with different methods and ingredients, hiring and illustrator, laboring over instructions to make sure they are as clear as possible and not the least bit confusing! Her work ethic is awe inspiring! This book is guaranteed to make everyone want to go on a quest for that one thing they were made to do – that is if you haven’t discovered that thing yet.

I absolutely recommend this book – even if you don’t like cooking, or France, and even if you don’t care one bit about Julia Child! Her story is wonderful!

“Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food it truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile – and learn from her mistakes.”

“I simple won’t take a house that hasn’t got a wine cellar! I don’t care what they say!”

“When do you pause? When do  you paint or pant? When write family, loll on moss, hear Mozart and watch the glitter of the sea? … Clearly I am softened by the luxurious style of our Parisian life: comes Friday night in Paris and down comes that iron curtain between job and what I really life doing. Wham!, and I’m off with Julie on the flying carpet…” (letter by Paul Child to his brother Charlie)

My Life in France

I am currently reading My Life In France by Julia Child. The book chronicles the years she lived in France with her husband Paul. The book is mostly in Julia’s voice composed by her grandnephew through a combination of letters written by both Julia and Paul, and recorded interviews held specifically for purposes of the book.

Let me tell you – this book is captivating. It makes me want to pack my bags and run off to France. I’m about 50% of the way through and there has never been a dull moment. It is the story of Julia going to France and just flourishing. The book is not only fascinating but also inspiring because it tells the story of how someone discovers themselves only after being taken and dropped in a completely foreign place.

I came across this book because of this book club and am so happy I took the recommendation! Like the blogger, I too saw Julie & Julia and loved it. I also tried to read the book and found myself putting it down quickly. I just didn’t find Julie Powell likable or sincere. And she cursed a lot. But My Life in France. Wonderful. Obviously so different and it really does tell the more interesting side of the story – the Julia part.

I 100% recommend this book to anyone who wants to be swept up in wanderlust, who wants to feel inspired, or who just wants to read a really great story told by a truly captivating narrator.

So go read it !!!

Quick Quotes

The last week I’ve been reading non stop. Somehow – despite having found time to move, unpack slighty, attend a casual dinner party, buy a couch, make about 50 trips to the post office, and run countless errands – I managed to read 3 books in the last week. I’m not saying they were necessarily hard reads but still 3 books in a week is an accomplishment for me. I usually take quite a bit longer with books. The speed with which I finished these books is a testament to my boredom.

I started my fourth today, and let me say – I got pretty lucky on this round of reads. While I won’t be writing full posts on any of the books, I wanted to share short quotes from two of them because well they’re just too funny.

Both quotes make statements about NYC and I’m sharing them because they are 100% TRUTH. Honest to goodness, made me laugh out loud TRUTH.

“I’d never devoted much time to envy while living in Chicago, but there it had been possible to rent a good sized apartment and still have enough money left over for a movie or a decent cut of meat. To be broke in New York was to feel a constant, needling sense of failure, as you were regularly confronted by people who had not only more but much, much more.” From Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dave Sedaris

“[W]e loaded up the boxes in our living room and hauled them in our aging burgundy Bronco to our new apartment … in Long Island City, which is not on Long Island but in Queens. (Which is, yes, technically on the water surrounded landmass known as Long Island, but don’t ever tell someone from Queens or Brooklyn that they live on Long Island. Trust me on this; it’s a bad idea.)” From Julie & Julia, Julie Powell

Since I last wrote a post “reviewing” a book for my 50 (or so) book challenge I’ve completed two more books! I’ve completed The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest both by Stieg Larson.

When I added the 50 book challenge to my life list it was in an effort to recapture a part of myself I felt like I’d lost in law school. Sure there was more reading in law school than I knew what to do with but none of it was fun reading, no matter how interesting I found some of my coursework. I had no control over what I read and longed to recapture that. Is the freedom to read whatever you please (and some time in which to read it) too much to ask for?

Embarking on this 50 (or so) book challenge I’ve managed a pretty good streak. I haven’t read nearly as many books as I’d like to have read by this time but I have managed to choose books I’ve on the whole enjoyed. Even better is that I haven’t yet hit the point where I feel like I need to take a break from book after book. These 50 book challenges are always like a marathon for me. There is always a point where I hit a wall and don’t want to read another book for, well for however long it takes me to regain the urge to read.

And with that I forge ahead! Onward to book 6! Book 6 is an interesting one. I’ve almost finished book 6 and there will be a post about it because book 6 is one of those underline sentences, put post it notes in the pages, feel all kinds of weird things when reading it, kinda books.

I say book 6 like I don’t have my current read plastered on the side of this blog. I’m reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I didn’t write posts for the last two books I read because well I got tired of the book posts but then I picked up Book 6, which will likely result in a few posts, and decided I’ll only write a post about a finished book if I am really moved to. This will most likely only happen with non fiction. So book 6 – yea, definitely some posts in order for that one.

I try not to jump on the book series bandwagons. Usually when I’m looking for something new to read I look at Barnes & Noble lists of upcoming books, I read some book blogs, and look at the NY Times book reviews. But I try not to jump on series bandwagons. The reason? I hopped on the Harry Potter bandwagon before it was a bandwagon and when that ended I needed something to fill the void. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I tried to fill that void with the Twilight series. Let’s skip over the poor display of judgment on my part. I quickly realized Twilight wasn’t worthy of filling the void or of occupying my time and I expressed those feelings here and here.

So at first when this whole Steig Larson thing blew up I ignored it. I ignored it completely. I didn’t care and assumed it was the media trying to latch on to another series in hopes of striking gold like it did with HP. But then I read an article in the NY Times Magazine that made me rethink my position. I was then drawn to the books by the facts of the author’s life and not the hype surrounding them. In fact, I had no idea what the hell the books were about other than that they were some kind of mystery/thriller thing. So before the bar exam I went to Target and bought the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and let it sit on my shelf until about two weeks ago.

The truth? At least after reading the first book – I’m on board with the trilogy. I don’t want to talk about the plot or characters too much in case someone who wants to read the book reads this post, but the plot did a really good job of holding my attention. The characters obviously have a lot going on, far more than what the reader is told in the first book and I can only hope their histories will unfold in the two books I have yet to finish.

While sitting in a coffee shop on Thursday, I heard someone discussing this book with the shop’s owner. The woman in the shop commented that she thought the first book was really dry and talked way too much about Sweden and Swedish things and she had a really hard time sticking with it to get to the good parts. Here is my response to this – at times, ok frequently, the book refers to places in Sweden. Obviously I have no idea where these places are because I’ve never been to Sweden. So sometimes the book made me want to pull out a map but never did it make me want to put it down because I felt like it was talking about Sweden too much. There is a difference between being dry, boring writing and starting out slow to set the stage and picking up steam along the way. I think this book does the latter. The characters are complex and it takes time to set the stage. But steadily the book picks up steam and its worth sticking out. Also, really lady in the coffee shop? We’re going to dismiss the book because it talks about Sweden too much? God forbid we read something that might teach us a bit about another country,

There is one more thing I feel I should say about this book. I’m mentioning this only because it made me take pause while reading it and it appears to be a recurring theme now that I’ve started reading The Girl who Played with Fire. That is, the books deal very heavily with violence against women. In upsetting detail sometimes. So you’re warned. Go in knowing that so you won’t be totally shocked and disturbed like I was.

Anyway, I seem to be on a pretty good streak when it comes to choosing good books. This one was a good read and the second book is shaping up to be pretty entertaining as well.

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I’m 3/50 in to my 50 book challenge. Considering the year is almost over and I couldn’t really start the challenge until once school and the bar exam were over I’m considering setting a goal that encompasses what is left of this year and the entirety of next year because obviously I can’t read 50 books before years end. Problem is, I don’t know what would be a reasonable yet challenging number to use as my goal.

As usual, I welcome suggestions on what to read!

This book was released in June and I was desperately waiting for the bar exam to be over so I could read it. I bought it literally three days after the bar –  I was that serious about reading thisbook.

My ultimate opinion of this book is the following – the writing wasn’t amazing and it isn’t winning any major awards anytime soon but I liked it quite a bit. It had just what I needed to satisfy my love of Audrey Hepburn and the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The book offered a lot of interesting tidbits I didn’t know before picking it up.

Mainly it was pretty neat to see how so many pieces fell into place to create something as iconic as this film – from the actors, to the director, screenwriters, the music, the clothes. This book talks a bit about all of it. I’m always interested in learning how really influential aspects of culture come about and this book explained exactly that. It takes you on the path to the movie – from the publication of the book, to the writing of the screenplay, the filming, editing, etc. giving you interesting insights along the way.

How accurate all of the information is I don’t know. The information seems to come from interviews, books, and first hand accounts of those involved in the film. There seems to be a lot of dramatization but I suppose this is the author extrapolating from the information he was able to gather from his sources. The heart of the book seems to rest in this notion that Holly was a different kind of woman – one that usually wasn’t portrayed in films as someone decent, a woman that women in the ’50s and early ’60s couldn’t be – and that she made being her kind of woman entirely ok and in doing so changed the way people thought and woman behaved.

I’m not entirely sure I buy the strength of the impact the author claims the movie had on people’s thinking. Obviously Audrey Hepburn is undeniably an enduring influence on style and an example of class and grace but I’m just not sure the movie had as much of an impact as the author claims. It is probably more likely that it was just another step in an already changing view of womanhood rather than some big event that got the ball rolling. Then again, I wasn’t alive when the movie was released so what do I know?

Basically, this book was easy to read and it was incredibly fun if you love Breakfast at Tiffany’s or really if you love classic ’50/’60s movies in general. I’d definitely recommend this one.

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Remember, I’m looking for book recommendations for my 50 book challenge. Books 3 – 5 are already chosen but the rest of my list is wide open

Email me your recommendations!