My Mother Was Nuts, by Penny Marshall
I listened to this book read by the author on the drive to and from work. At times the narration was laugh-out-loud funny and I wondered what people who glanced in my car were thinking about me. Penny talks about her childhood and taking dance at her mother's dance school. The title refers to her mother and Penny states that her daughter Tracy could probably say the same thing about her.
She tells us about her first marriage and her early acting career. Her television series Laverne and Shirley is discussed at length, including the last season and the departure of Cindy Williams. Famous names are sprinkled throughout the book. Penny and Carrie Fisher had a combined birthday celebration for more than twenty years. She and Art Garfunkel motor biked through France.
What I found most intriguing was the movies that she directed. She had only directed a few Laverne and Shirley episodes prior to her first movie Jumping Jack Flash with Whoopie Goldberg. She also directed Big, Awakenings, A League Of Their Own, Renaissance Man, The Preacher's Wife and Riding in Cars with Boys. Penny has also directed several television shows and made-for-TV movies.
She discusses her obsession with sport, particularly basketball. Penny is a New Yorker at heart and speaks about the resilience of New Yorkers after 9/11. Penny has lived by her own simple rules: "try hard, help your friends, don't get too crazy, and have fun."
This book was a great listen due to the fact that the author narrated it. If you get the print version there are photographs.
September 2012 Archives
My Mother Was Nuts, by Penny Marshall
Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010, by Greil Marcus
I've always admired Bob Dylan (whose real name is Robert Zimmerman). I consider him more of a poet-lyricist than a singer. His work has been covered by such great artists as The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Cash. No one can deny that he has had a great influence on a wide range of musical genres. So when I saw the e-Book Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010 by Greil Marcus, I just knew I had to download it. The author is a columnist, and began writing for the Village Voice in 1968. He covered the music scene in Greenwich Village, where Dylan and other great musicians started. Over the years, he wrote about Dylan in his columns for the Gazette, Rolling Stone and Artforum. I feel a kind of kinship with Marcus because he feels that Dylan does not have a particularly great voice, but the message in his lyrics is what gets people. The author writes that he tries to get close to the music to understand Dylan. Marcus calls it Dylan's "conversation" with people. This work is a collection of writings on Dylan's recordings, performances, books and movies. It's a good way to get the whole picture of one of America's greatest cultural icons.
On the wait list for Gone Girl in book or ebook format? Try The Boy in the Suitcase, a Nina Borg mystery by Lene Kaaberbol. This mystery is the first in a best-selling Danish series to be translated into English. Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two can't say no when asked for help. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina finds a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. A flawed heroine, the Danish underworld, a trek across the countryside are ingredients for a good read. Kaaberbol's second title Invisible Murder arrives in October.
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East, by Anthony Shadid
Family has always been a powerful and multidimensional concept that authors have continually used to build their stories. Such is the case with Anthony Shadid's new book, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and A Lost Middle East. Shadid, a reporter for the New York Times when he died at the young age of 43 covering the Syrian crisis in February, 2012, was of Lebanese descent. His book recounts his experiences when he went to Marjayoun, Lebanon to rebuild his great-grandfather's home that had been ruined from years of neglect and shelling during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. While Shadid admits some thought he was crazy to attempt such a project, he did move there and did the restoration as well as he could.
His story has two tracts. One is his interaction with local craftsmen and construction laborers as he struggles to restore his family's house to its former condition. The stories of the residents of Marjayoun he befriends and deals with are often touching as so many have lost so much during years of fighting and strife in Lebanon. In the other tract, Shadid traces his family's migration from Lebanon beginning in the early Twentieth Century to Oklahoma. They encountered numerous setbacks as they struggled to make a new life for themselves.
House of Stone is particularly recommended for those readers who are interested in learning about how the issues of the decades-long wars and fighting in Lebanon have effected numerous families, both in their daily lives and their long-term living in a war-torn country. Shadid did win two Pulitzers for his reporting of the Middle East conflicts and his writing is so clear. He makes the Lebanese countryside and assorted characters he met while redoing the house come alive. Equally, the story of his family's migration to America makes for very engaging reading. Once again, a reader can marvel at the huge challenges immigrants faced and overcame after arrival in America. After reading House of Stone, this reviewer wants to explore other books by Anthony Shadid.
Football for Dummies, by Howie Long with John Czarnecki
I thought I knew everything there is to know about football; but when I started reading Football for Dummies I realized there's a lot that I don't know! The basics of the game are presented. Offensive and defensive formations are discussed in detail. It breaks down the running and passing games. It covers many of the rules and penalties. The Super Bowl and BCS playoff systems are explained. There's a very useful appendix covering football terminology. The Parts of Ten Lists - which are a standard feature of all "Dummies" books - cover the greatest offensive players, greatest coaches, best teams, and greatest College rivalries. This book by ex-NFL player and Fox commentator Howie Long and sports analyst John Czarnecki is well-written, very entertaining and informative. Whether you know the game inside out or not, you can learn a lot that will help you enjoy the sport even more!
Powerless, by Matthew Cody
Soon after moving to Noble's Green, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Daniel makes new friends. Some have super strength, some can turn invisible, and a few can even fly. But Daniel learns that his friends are mysteriously losing their powers when they turn thirteen, and it's up to Daniel to save them.