The Time of My Life

Leave a comment

The Time of My LifeThe Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years but just never got around to it. I grew up with Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn, The Outsiders, and Roadhouse so I was definitely a Patrick Swayze fan. I was upset by his cancer diagnosis and eventual death, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when a friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that I realized just what that diagnosis had meant for him.

What I liked most about this book is that is focuses on his early life and his career up to his diagnosis. I didn’t realize that Swayze had danced ballet professionally, though I knew he was a dancer. I enjoyed reading about his experiences while working and why he chose to make the films he did. He definitely wasn’t as prolific as some actors and it’s because he make movies he really believed in, even if they weren’t mega blockbusters. He could have made many more movies if he had allowed himself to be typecast but he really didn’t want that. He liked to make different kinds of films to stretch his abilities and to learn new things.

I also enjoyed reading about his relationship with his wife. They had their problems but they worked things out together through it all. In a time when a lot of Hollywood marriages don’t last more than a few years, it’s refreshing to read about a couple who truly loved, respected, and supported each other.

I have always enjoyed memoirs and autobiographies. Call it my nosy nature but I like the behind the scenes info people share about their lives that I wouldn’t otherwise get to know. I would have liked a bit more background on his family and I certainly felt that the loss of their baby could have gotten more than a couple of paragraphs but I imagine that even all those years later, it must have been incredibly difficult to write about.

Overall, I’m glad I read the book but it makes me sad too, to think of the loss of such a talented man, gone much too soon.

View all my reviews

Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square – DNF

Leave a comment

Backstage with the Original Hollywood SquareBackstage with the Original Hollywood Square by Peter Marshall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I grew up watching Hollywood Squares and loved it. It was definitely one of my favorite games shows and as an 80’s kid I was a game show junkie. I was excited when I found this book on Kindle Unlimited but at 24% done, I’m adding it to my DNF shelf and giving it up. I am bored. to. death. reading this book. It’s not that I was expecting any shocking revelations or anything but this book is as dry as Aunt Suzy’s meatloaf. I’ll stick to finding old clips of Squares on Youtube.

View all my reviews

Our daughter’s daughters will adore us…

1 Comment

Well done, sister suffragettes!

I was watching Mary Poppins on abc family earlier and was reminded that I’ve always wanted to learn more about the women’s suffrage movement. And not just because Mrs. Banks sings such a catchy tune. (Though I will admit that it’s one of my favorite songs from the movie!)

A few weeks ago I came across some great vintage photographs of British and American Suffragettes on pinterest. I actually learned a bit about the movement by clicking through the pictures to the websites where they were originally featured.

I don’t typically do politics or religion on the internet but I will say that I’ve been baffled by the sudden resurgence of legislation against women. It has sparked my interest on the topic even more.

Today I did some research online to locate some books on the subject of suffrage and this one appears to be the most popular: Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists. It has good reviews, though a few do say it reads like a history textbook. But, that doesn’t really bother me because I actually enjoy reading history textbooks.

Have any of you done any reading or studying on the suffrage movement? Are there any books you recommend, or maybe biographies on a particular women from the movement that you have enjoyed? I am always open to suggestions!



It’s finally Friday! Here’s a list of seven Friday books for your viewing pleasure. What are you reading this weekend?

Friday by Robert Heinlein

“Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss’s whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face….”

I haven’t read this but it sounds interesting. I’ve been reading more science fiction lately so I’m going to add this to my to-read list and see if the library has it.

384 pages
Published June 17th 1997 by Del Rey (first published 1982)
ISBN13: 9780345414007
Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (1983)
Nebula Award Nominee (1983)

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

“Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia’s ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her whole world is shattered.

Luckily, Georgia’s friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club: it’s a sisterhood.”

352 pages
Published January 18th 2007 by Putnam Adult
ISBN13: 9780399154096

Black Friday by James Patterson

“The breathtaking suspense of Kiss the Girls and the authenticity of N.Y.P.D. Blue: Welcome to James Patterson’s classic super-thriller, BLACK FRIDAY. A courageous federal agent, a powerful and resourceful woman lawyer – only they can possibly stop the unspeakable from happening. New York City is under siege by a secret militia group – and that’s just the beginning of the relentless terror of BLACK FRIDAY.

Originally published in 1987 as Black Market, also by James Patterson.”

Mass Market Paperback
480 pages
Published April 30th 1989 by Warner Vision (first published 1986)
ISBN13: 9780446609326

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

“When I woke up this morning, I found I’d turned into my mother. There I, in my mother’ bed, with my feet reaching all the way to the bottom, and my father sleeping in the other bed. I had on my mother’s nightgown, and a ring on my left hand, I mean her left hand, and lumps and pins all over my head.”

I love this book! I’ve probably read it 20 or 30 times. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll see if the library has it and read it again soon… (I also love the Disney movie starring Jodie Foster which I may now have to watch this weekend…)

Mass Market Paperback
Published 1972 by Scholastic
ISBN13: 9780590118484
Nene Award (1977)

Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

“When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington’s marriage proposal (she laughs at him—laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.”

376 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Arrow (first published 1944)
ISBN13: 9780099468042

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (second in a series)

“The story of a young heiress’s initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they’re enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it’s up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn’t want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge…”

A vampire series I’ve never heard of. Intriguing.

357 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by NAL Trade (first published September 2nd 2009)
ISBN13: 9780451227935

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

“Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa — the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers’ dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms. ”

I read this book years ago and loved it. I’ve never seen the movie or the television show but the book was great.

Mass Market Paperback
357 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published 1988)
ISBN13: 9780306814259

Stuff: Compulsive Hoading and the Meaning of Things

Leave a comment

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee

“What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper that’s ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house?

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were the first to study hoarding when they began their work a decade ago; they expected to find a few sufferers but ended up treating hundreds of patients and fielding thousands of calls from the families of others. Now they explore the compulsion through a series of compelling case studies in the vein of Oliver Sacks. With vivid portraits that show us the traits by which you can identify a hoarder’s piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, houses that can be navigated only by following small paths called goat trails, vast piles of paper that the hoarders “churn” but never discard, even collections of animals and garbage; Frost and Steketee illuminate the pull that possessions exert on all of us. Whether we’re savers, collectors, or compulsive cleaners, very few of us are in fact free of the impulses that drive hoarders to the extremes in which they live.

For all of us with complicated relationships to our things, Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.”

Have you ever watched the show Hoarders on TV? Do you know a hoarder? My grandmother was a depression child and she kept everything! After she passed away it took me over a month to clean out her house. We parked a dumpster in the front yard and I filled it at least once a week. The subject fascinates me. The book reads a bit like a textbook, it will be a little dry if you aren’t really interested in the subject. But if the subject intrigues you like it does me, you’ll get into it. The case studies are great. It’s always more interesting to equate a subject with real people. It’s also not filled with too much technical speak. There are some scientific/medical terms used but the authors explain them well. A very interesting read.

304 pages
Published January 29th 2011 by Mariner Books (first published 2010)
ISBN13: 9780547422558
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2010)

4 stars

Retail Hell

Leave a comment

Retail Hell by Freeman Hall

“‘I think you left these behind,’ I said, handing them to her. This happens all the time when women try to return bags they’ve used. Tampons, lipstick, coins, Tic Tacs, and condoms are the top treasures found.

Greasy let out a sigh, as if I were the problem. ‘I was just trying my things in it. I really don’t see what the problem is here. It’s none of your business what I keep in my handbag.’

It is when my commission is at stake! I’m not your Designer Handbag Rental Service! My name is not!

Enter Freeman Hall, an aspiring screenwriter who sets out to realize his Hollywood dream, but instead plunges into the seventh circle of Retail Hell when the rent comes due, selling animal-hide Hobos and overpriced clutches to Lookie-Loos and Picky Bitches-but always with a sunshiny smile.

Freeman toils in the handbag (that’s handbag, NOT purse) department of the Big Fancy department store, where he sees, hears, smells (and unfortunately, feels) it all! Here, he provides a true-and truly shocking-account of life from the other side of the handbag display. From early-morning RA-RA RALLIES to the craziest crazy-lady customers, Freeman’s horrific and hilarious workday tales redefine Juicy Couture.

As Freeman begins to plots his escape, he realizes that despite the Big Fancy’s lax return policy, for him, there really may be no returns . . . no exchanges . . . no way out.”

Personally, I think anyone who has ever worked retail will love this book. Having been in retail for a lot of years now, I can completely sympathize with Hall. I even have many similar stories. Customers who use employees as their personal shopper for hours on end only to leave the store without making a purchase. Customers who want to return the pair of shoes they bought 3 years ago and wore until they fell apart. And of course, the customer who mistakes the fitting room for the bathroom. *sigh*

You may think that Hall’s stories are fabrications, figments of his own imagination. But I can assure you, these stories, while they may have been embellished here and there, are hilariously, and a little sadly, 100% true.

4 stars

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Leave a comment

“Rebecca Skloot first learned about HeLa cells more than a decade ago, while enrolled at community college. Named after Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American woman born in 1920, the famed cells were taken from a tumor removed during Lacks’ treatment for cervical cancer. While she died from the disease, her cancer cells proved uncommonly hearty, reproducing at an unheard-of rate, and years later, billions of these cells are used in laboratories around the world.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a story about science and so much more. Lacks died, unaware that doctors would be using her cells to further advances in the scientific community and cashing in on such developments, and she nor her family ever received a dime. In search of justice, Skloot seeks out Lacks’ descendants to learn if they’re aware of the famed cells and to see if they’ve derived any benefit from the important contribution to science their relative made. A fascinating discussion of the enduring legal and ethical questions that human-tissue research raises, Skloot’s debut is a gem.”

Once again, I picked this book up on whim in the bookstore because the cover caught my eye. I love fascinating non-fiction books about normal, every day people and this book definitely fit that description. It looks like I say this a lot, but this book was un-put-down-able! I think because I knew that this happened to a real person, a real family, I was more intrigued. Or maybe my interest was piqued by the fact that both of my parents have had illnesses in the past decade that scientists have used HeLa cells to treat if not cure. Skloot was very thorough in her research and it is obvious to the reader that she came to care for the Lacks family a great deal in the process of telling Henrietta’s story. Maybe it was her passion for the story, coming off of the page, that caused me to read late into the night and on every lunch break until I finished. Whatever it was, I’m thankful for it. It’s sad that it took so many years for the world to learn about Henrietta but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to learn her story. In the end, all Henrietta’s family wanted was confirmation that their mother played an important role in the history of medical science. While they may never receive that from the scientists and doctors that use HeLa cells every day, I think that by allowing her story to be told, they are celebrating, and allowing others to celebrate, what Henrietta’s cells have done for the world.

381 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Crown Publishing Group (first published 2010)
ISBN13: 9781400052189
Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction and Debut Author, Nominee for Favorite Book, Favorite Heroine (2010), Wellcome Trust Book Prize (2010), Puddly Award for Nonfiction (2011)

5 stars

Secret Lives of Great Artists

Leave a comment

Secret Lives of Great Artists by Elizabeth Lunday

“In the tradition of our best-selling Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents (120 000 copies in print) here are outrageous and uncensored profiles of the world’s greatest artists complete with hundreds of little-known politically incorrect and downright bizarre facts. Consider:

* Michelangelo had such repellant body odor that his assistants couldn’t stand working for him.
* Pablo Picasso did jail time for ripping off several statues from the Louvre.
* Gabriel Dante Rossetti’s favorite pet was a wombat that slept on his dining room table.
* Vincent van Gogh sometimes ate paint directly from the tube.
* Georgia O’Keeffe liked to paint in the nude.
* Salvador DalÌ concocted a perfume from dung to attract the attention of his future wife.

With outrageous anecdotes about everyone from Leonardo (accused sodomist) to Caravaggio (convicted murderer) to Edward Hopper (alleged wife beater) Secret Lives of Great Artists is an art history lesson you’ll never forget!”

I read Secret Lives of Great Authors a few years ago and loved it. Secret Lives of Great Artists did not disappoint. Reading it made me get online and look up all of the paintings and sculptures that the author was telling me about. I like the trivial details and the fact that it increased my interest in the subject matter. It was also a very fast read because I found it so interesting.

288 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Quirk Books
ISBN13: 9781594742576

4 stars

Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda

Leave a comment

Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda by Shea Zukowski

“Salt, lemons, vinegar, and baking soda are the all-you-need all-stars of the home. From personal hygiene and grooming to household cleaning and gardening, this powerful quartet has a long and storied history of usefulness that is also utterly modern and of-the-moment: green, cheap, and effective.

Beginning with a brief introduction to each of these amazing substances, this comprehensive book of household hints (useful indoors and out, for people and for pets) offers hundreds of smart solutions for better living. Combining one part science with one part practicality, and a dash of fun, this indispensable, earth-friendly reference is a must-have in any home.”

This is a great book to keep around the house. I’ve tried several of the tips with great results. A quick read to get through the whole book and then easy to use later when you want to look up a specific item. I keep it on my bookshelf so it’s always accessible if I want to look something up. A few of my particular favorite tips: gargle with salt water, use salt to clean your cutting board, use salt to absorb a spilled raw egg, using vinegar to clean mirrors and windows, and getting rid of ants with lemon juice.

But my absolutely favorite tip is how to get rid of soap suds in the sink after washing dishes. I hate hate hate it when the suds won’t go down the drain. I just keep rinsing and rinsing and of course the suds just keep growing because, well, that’s what soap suds do. So, you just sprinkle some salt on those suds and rinse and voila! they rinse right down the drain. Plus, if you rub it around with the sponge, it does double duty of cleaning the sink.

208 pages
Published September 18th, 2009 by Metro Books
ISBN13: 9781435116979

3 stars