Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Softer Side of Griffin in "The Official Book Club Selection According to Kathy Griffin"

Let me say it upfront, I am very “meh” about Kathy Griffin. Most times I find her to be annoying and think that her schticks are obnoxious bordering on rude. Still, she can get a chuckle out of me even if I don’t want her to. I basically got this book because of my partner who is a bit more of a Kathy fan than I am. However, once we started listening to it together, I just couldn’t stop! As far as celebrity tell-all, humor memoirs, go...this is the best of the bunch!!

You know Kathy, she’s the annoying redhead who did too much plastic surgery, stormed out of the Emmy’s, and brought Bristol Palin’s baby daddy to a red carpet event. She can be annoying times ten but what this memoir shows is the softer side of Griffin; the woman who took two gay men who were kicked out of the military because of DADT to a red carpet event. However, this is not a sappy memoir where you find out that the wicked witch of the west has a heart. No. This is a truthful history of Kathy that is narrated by herself and she does what few people (especially celebrities) do...she writes about her flaws.

She brings the reader back to her younger years when she worked various jobs, none of which were on comedy, and took years to barely get noticed. She describes her rise to almost fame and the people who helped her get there. But she also talks about her closest friend who committed suicide, her severely troubled brother, and her ill fated marriage. She lays bare the truth about her plastic surgery, speaks of her regrets, and makes the reader chuckle while feeling her pain. This memoir is incredibly well down in the way that few memoirs are these days. Equal parts humor and heart-wrenching, Griffin does not disappoint. Even if you’re not a fan, try this may change the way you think.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Astonishment At "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

 There is little I can add to the cacophony of reviews that are already out there. Still, I have to gush about how wonderful this book is. I am typically a fiction reader but often  dip into nonfiction as long as it proves to be interesting and insightful. This seemed like it would be right up my alley, but I shied away from it because there seemed to be so much hype surrounding it. I dislike hype, on principal and try to stay away from most bestseller lists. Actually, I picked this book by default because the audiobook was in my partner’s car. Halfway through the first disc, I was completely enthralled. I even crossed state lines to go to a bookstore and buy a paperback copy so I could read it 24/7. After I finished it, I wanted to so back and read it all over again!

Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard about this book. Still, I’ll give you a brief overview just in case you’ve been trapped in a time capsule. Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who lived in Maryland when she felt a hard ball on her cervix. Having no health insurance and little money, she went to Johns Hopkins where they removed her tumor and took some of her cells for future testing. However, the doctors did this without anyone’s knowledge or approval. Though Henrietta eventually died from this cancer, her cells became the first immortal cells. Since her death, they’ve been used in thousands of experiments in numerous field. Though people have made millions on Henrietta’s cells, her family saw none of the money and still has no health insurance.
Killing of Cancer Cell

What makes this book so fantastic is that the author takes a holistic approach to her writing. She doesn’t simply focus on the science of the cells but spends an equal amount of time on Henrietta’s family and their history. This adds an emotional edge that left me crying at times, which a book strictly on cells would never do (unless I was crying with boredom). The most exceptional aspect of the book is how well researched it is. Clearly, Henrietta’s family has been misrepresented since the 1950s. Fortunately, the author took years to get to know the family, understand their plight, and write objectively. I could ramble on for pages and pages but I will end by saying this: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is by far one of the best books I have read in my entire life (and I read a lot).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Winner's Circle for Our First Giveaway!

We, at Literary Addicted, would like to send congratulations to our three winners of this month's Subscriber Giveaway!

Below are the names of our lucky subscribers and the books they have won:

Katie K. -- The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

Kristyn -- When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Ranjan -- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I want to thank all of our subscribers for entering into the Giveaway!

Please keep reading and subscribing because the next giveaway will be announced later this month!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Put Some Ghosts In Your Beach Bag With "The Ghosts of Nantucket"

October is my favorite month. I love apple picking, the chill in the air...oh, and scary stories!! I am always on the hunt for a good spooky tale but too often I get stuck with gory books or stories that fall flat. When I saw this book at my local library, I thought that I would take a shot (even if the book is older than I am!). I am SO glad that I picked up this book because it was the perfect combination of scary, eerie, and chilling. Better yet, there are no dead bodies or bloody corpses.

The author has compiled a beautiful collection of stories that was born out of an oral history project. Perhaps this is the reason why the different tales come together so well, because she is not writing for the sheer scream factor. Additionally, she allows the people to speak for themselves without ever making them sound crazy or delusional. Due to this, the book is spine-chilling and that chill is perfect for cooling you off during this hot summer!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sh*t My Dad Says: Even Funnier When Heard

When I was driving across the country this summer, I tried to find audiobooks that would make me laugh and keep me awake. I took a chance on this book because I had heard some of Halpern’s one liners and they made me giggle. After reading the back, it didn’t sound like there was much to this book but I hoped that at least it would keep a smile on my face. Fortunately, Halpern far surpassed my expectations!

As I am sure everyone knows by now, the book is based on Halpern’s tweets regarding his father. He reached over a million followers on Twitter and decided to take his cyper writing to the published page. In addition to his father’s quips, Justin also tells about how he found himself living in his parents’ house at the age of 28. Though Justin’s father is gruff, he clearly has great love for his son.

What is so refreshing about this memoir is that it’s not your typical memoir. Recently, memoirs have been very “in” but typically focus on drug addicted, alcoholic, quasi-celebrities who turn their lives around and make good. Halpern’s is a breath of fresh air!