Biographies

Roxane Gay – Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body

22813605I admit, sometimes I take books due to their intriguing titles, without even reading the annotation. It doesn’t happen often, really, but here it happened, with “Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body” by Roxane Gay (ASIN B013PKAFOC; 320p.; Goodreads). I thought I’m taking a book on eating disorders. Turns out I took a book on people’s cruelty towards theirs, and other bodies.

Roxane, this wonderful woman tells us her nightmare of a life story of violence, rape, abuse, and the need to hide that followed. She ate to make herself a fortress. She ate to become bigger, unattractive, invisible in her own way. She ate, to have a wall between herself, and violence human beings have for each other.

Roxane is Super Morbidly Obese. She tells us why it happened, and then goes on on telling how people treat her due to the space she takes up. How WE treat people who are obese, fat. For instance, she buys two seats in an aircraft, and still has to tell the person in the third seat that no, they cannot put their bag on the spare seat, that she paid for that seat, and she needs that space. You can imagine, some, if not all, do take offence. She has to go as far as google restaurants, to make sure there’s space to accommodate her, and that the chairs won’t be flimsy artworks, more suitable to look at, than sit.

The story is really, really interesting. At times, tho, it was so very hard to read. I really don’t understand where do people who are able to put others through so much violence, and torture ever come from, who raised them? Who gave birth to those animals? I only know one thing: I hope one day each one of them falls on their ass, and finds a broken bottle underneath, or something. To Roxane Gay, and her wonderful Memoir I give 5 out of 5.

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Eddie Izzard – Believe Me

24611840Ah, Eddie. It’s hard to not love this wonderful person, with his simple, honest humor. Once I laughed to tears when he cracked a joke about printers, I’ll add the video below if I can find it. So when I saw his memoir “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, And Jazz Chickens” (ISBN 1611764696; 368p.; Goodreads), I grabbed it right away. Because, come on, it’s the one, and only: Eddie Izzard.

This is the type of memoir I like – about everything, in details, from the beginning, with fill-in’s, and explanations. Eddie Izzard seems to be a mighty flexible person, able to adjust to almost anything. Starting with his career as street performer, then stand-up comedian, writer, TV star, and so on, and to this day. He followed his heart, and so today we know him both as cold hearted killer in, say, Hannibal series, and as that wonderful transgender comedian, a man in a dress on stage, killing it!

When Eddie was still a child – his mother died. He loved her, and still does, very much. Father, unable to care for children, and work at the same time, sent them to boarding school. Eddie, with his poor health, and away from home, and loving parents, felt quite abandoned. Add his gender identity to it, and you get a fairly poor cocktail. Yet his spirit was ever so wonderful, and his wonderful childish discoveries were everything, I tell you. For example, one time someone told their class there’s a spot in, I don’t remember now, either a better class, or even a higher class, and so they asked whether anyone would like to pass there. Before little Eddie could even roll this thought in his head, some kid just raised his hand, and bam, that was that. Eddie thus came to conclusions: if you just learn to raise your hand real fast, one day you might even become the president of some country!

The memoir is full of everything, as I already mentioned, including the backstage of comedian life, what it’s like, how are the people. The only problem people might get with it: Eddie has a mighty complex way to telling his story, full of long sentences, side clauses within, explanations, and even footnotes. It’s not an easy book, is what I’m saying. But oh how worthy it is, 5 out of 5, there’s no way I can give less.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books, Funny Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amy Schumer – The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

29405093I love Amy Schumer stand-ups, and I love the reactions of people who’d watch them with you. I could give you a long why’s-that story, but maybe next time. Right now, let’s talk about her biography “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” (ISBN 1501139886; 323p.; Goodreads). I can’t say I enjoyed it much, but it really had some super good points, that made it worth the while.

 

I love how this wonderful comedian owns her truths, and shameful moments. Instead of letting you call her out, she’ll go ahead, and stand up to tell you about it herself! And it’s great not only on a personal scale of her, me, you. It’s important in a larger scale of the world too. For instance, she mentioned the stigma in America of Old Money vs Young Money. Old Money equals being born into money. You’re a rich refined kid in a fancy car, with little understanding of what this poverty thing is. Young Money is the kind you made on your own, being born average, or in said poverty. Amy bravely admits acting like trash who just won the lottery, not wanting for anything, not saving now, when she could, and instead eating dumplings for months to come later, when she couldn’t. But then she mentions the other aspect of Young Money. The giving aspect. Someone with little to no understanding of what it’s like to need, let alone want something will not feel the same joy Amy had when she finally could afford to give her sister a 10k check. I mean, I guess they could be that good of people, and feel joy, but how many rich people with sense of generosity do you know? Old Money and generous? So here Amy Schumer stands: you can’t judge me, I already judged myself, we’re done, time to move on!

And that’s just one of the great examples. There’s plenty of less good-humored ones, less funny, and even truly sad episodes. Like her broken family, sick father, mother who can’t seem to find her spot in this life, the forced cynicism, ought to protect from attachments to people who will inevitably leave your life anyway.

And while I see great value in this book, and respect Amy Schumer, I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as I did some other biographies of wonderful women out there. But I guess that’s the thing, right? She passed a good message, and you don’t have to like the way it was given, to see the value in it. 4 out of 5 to the girl with the lower back tattoo.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books, Funny Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lilly Singh – How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Bawse_final-coverFor past two months I worked twice as hard as I normally do. Worst is not the tiredness I constantly feel, but rather the lack of point in the work, since more work is not necessarily rewarding, or at least it isn’t in short-term. Lilly Singh and her “How to be a Bawse: a Guide to Conquering Life” (ISBN 0425286460; 272p.; Goodreads) was a natural choice here, for a tired, drained mind. It’s biographical, but not a biography. It’s not “the Secret”, and by far not the sugar-coated guide to success via “be positive! love your self! be kind and work hard!”. Rather, it’s a book on previously depressed unicorn who survived, and is about to tell you how conquer.

If a behavior results in free cake, one must always perform that behavior.” – Lilly Singh

My life is often burdened by weekend-hustlers, people who had months to do a fairly big amount of work, but decided to roll their sleeves up on the final weekend, and I, as a translator, need to hurry up for both of us (lesson one: deadlines). Priority fees are then argued (lesson two: bargaining), because these weekend-hustlers feel entitled to their own time, and their own work (lesson three: sense of entitlement), and see me as an obstacle, rather than a tool. And I wish I could translate this damn book for them too (lesson four: goals!). Using her own life as example, and then adding a few more for good measure, Lilly teaches us how hustling, prioritizing, and tunnel-vision really works. It helped me unwind, taught me things, gave me insight on who this Lilly is (I’m a long-term fan, this is just phrasing), and best of all, I can now improve my own game using the lessons she gave. So to every hard-working friend I have out there – get this book, get this book on paper, and while you’re at it, get those neon-colored sticky bookmarks to mark the pages, and maybe a couple sharpies too. There’ll be a lot to mark down, highlight, and take notes from.

For good measure, a rephrased quote: ask for more than you need, because no one got more than they asked for.

And now, the bad part. I was perfectly okay with telling myself I can’t control the situation, so I must control how I react to it. I was okay with “some things you can’t change, and that’s okay” going with “I don’t believe in impossible“. I was happy at the start of the book, when Lilly thanked her past self for listening and keeping on. But then, when we reach another truly important lesson of how to stay grounded, and not let the success of conquering get to your head, Lilly said: believe in a higher power. Not god per se, but a higher power of your choosing. Thank this higher power for what you have, because without them… wait wait… wait. Without them you wouldn’t be where you are, and wouldn’t have what you have, and this all would not be possible? If we speak in terms of Nature – thanks for being here, and thus making me, a human with opposable thumbs, possible – okay, thanks Mother Nature! But my hard work? No. I’ll rather believe in Minecraft random spawn point: you can give in and make a new world for yourself, or you can make it work. So in the end I chose to pretend this chapter didn’t exist, and stick with the idea it taught: you’re not the biggest bawse – as the idea it preached before – there’s always someone to learn from. I gave this book 4 out of 5, even if Lilly’s bargain skills made it real hard to not give it the whole five. It’s a great book, truly worth having.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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