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Archive for the tag “Bio/Autobiography”

The Diary of a Young Girl – by Anne Frank

imageOne of the things I was determined to do in Europe was visit places I had learned about as a child and teen. I’ve always found the first and second World Wars compelling – interesting in a cautionary and sociologically worrying way. In Amsterdam, I visited the Anne Frank Museum, where the Franks hid for more than two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in WWII. After touring the house, I bought another copy of Anne’s diary. I can’t think of a more pertinent time to read it.

I was about Anne Frank’s age when I first read her diary. At that age, I don’t think I could fully appreciate its importance. Or perhaps I simply understand a lot more of the context now, 10 years later. Either way, reading the Diary was a powerful experience. During my travels, I also visited Dachau, a former concentration camp outside Munich, Germany. The amount of history, the depth of sorrow, and the continuing warning provided by stories like Anne’s, and places like Dachau, make them crucial.

It’s easy to forget, when reading this diary, about all the external horrors Anne and the Franks faced. I Don’t Wanna Be:

Bossypants – by Tina Fey

bossyMan, I’m burning through some audiobooks. And a good thing, too, because I’ve had so little time to read actual books lately. Although, I went to a conference this week for work and got a STACK of new books I’m desperate to find the time for. Yes, I know. I hate me too.

But to the book at hand, Bossypants! Here’s what I thought of the audiobook version of Tina Fey’s memoir:

Oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of 30 Rock. Nevertheless, I really appreciate Tina Fey’s odd, sharp, incisive humour. (And also Mean Girls. Because it’s as silly as it is surprisingly cool.) I wasn’t sure If Bossypants would be as much fun for me as Mindy Kaling‘s autobiography. Happily, it really was! Tina Fey is so damn smart. And she isn’t willing to compromise that – which is the highest sort of compliment I know how to give.

The only problem I’m having in writing this review is that Fey and Kaling’s autobiographies were quite similar. Different generations, and different geneses, but akin as far as style and career trajectories. I thoroughly enjoyed Bossypants, much as I thoroughly enjoyed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me.

So this review is going to be short and sweet – this was a fun, entertaining and insightful listen, made all the more interesting by Tina Fey’s narration. If you enjoy memoirs, comedy, great writing and an approachable narrative, I can confidently say you’ll enjoy this book.

four fox

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – by Mindy Kaling

kalingI’ve embraced the intriguing world of audiobooks! In my new city, I walk to work and back – 40 solid minutes each way. And it’s such a waste of perfectly good reading time – but not any more! So far, I’m loving entertainment memoirs read by the authors (I’m listening to Tina Fey now and really can’t wait to get to Stephen Fry next). Mindy Kaling’s autobiography was my first foray into this format: here’s what I thought of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me:

You guys, I loved this book. Audio was the perfect medium, because Mindy Kaling is one funny lady. I love the Mindy Project. It’s a little slice of absurd joy in my week. I was thrilled to find Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me just as  engaging, smart, relatable and generally fabulous as the lady herself. I’ll Go By What You Do, ‘Cause Talk Is Cheap:

The End of Your Life Book Club – by Will Schwalbe

bookclubThis is a biographical/autobiographical account of Will Schwalbe’s last years with his mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, after she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. On the back of the ARC I found at work, it simply reads: A mother and a son. A life-long love of books. This was all I needed. Here’s what meeting Mary Anne and Will was like for me:

There’s no easy way to reconcile yourself to the fact that someone you love is going to die; and not in some vague, we’re-all-going-to-die-someday sense, but in the form of a terminal diagnosis. Will wasn’t ready to let his mother go – and neither was Mary Anne ready to leave. There was still so much to do. Over the course of her treatment and final years, Mary Anne and Will would meet for her chemo appointments and discuss whichever book they had both been reading, in an exclusive, two person book club. Their discussions were about the books, but also about their lives, their bond, and their grief. “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” – Napolean Bonaparte

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