Books: NonFiction

book review | Naturally Tan by Tan France

Tan France Naturally Tan Queer EyeAuthor: Tan France
Title: Naturally Tan
Series: –
Genre: Biography; LGBT+ Literature
Pages: 304
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I was pretty much a kid when the first, old Queer Eye came out, teaching me about choosing right clothing sizes, and hair care. When new Queer Eye came out on Netflix, I got through all I could as fast I could, for it was even better than the old one. So now I’m reading host bio’s, starting with Naturally Tan by Tan France.

About the Book: Tan tells us of his life and what it was like growing up a gay brown boy from a Muslim family in Britain. It’s not easy now, so it wasn’t easy then. But he persevered, and managed to find happiness, joy, and even a wild streak, as say the one that got him on a plane to New York with his friends, his parents none the wiser. He got through many jobs until he finally landed the one in Queer Eye. How that happened, and some very fun behind the scenes of the show are all in the book too.

My Opinion: Tan is a very dear and wonderful person. The book worth the time, for at the very least you’ll learn more about style and the show that you love.

A firm 4 out of 5 from me, with hopes that there’ll be another book someday.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: NonFiction, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Something in the Blood by David J. Skal | Dracula lit.

Something In The Blood David J Skal Dracula Bram StokerAuthor: David J. Skal
Title: Something in the Blood
Series: –
Genre: Biography; Nonfiction
Pages: 672
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

My final book on Dracula this year. I followed this resolution of one Dracula book a month fairly loosely, reading books where Dracula was a mere secondary character or, like in “Something in the Blood” by David J. Skal – a product. But all in all this was a strange and fun challenge that got me enjoy one of my most favorite topics. Sadly, this book wasn’t so great of an end to it.

About the Book: David J. Skal attempts to tell us about Bram Stoker’s life, his bed-ridden childhood and an illness of seven years that mysteriously went away. Of his a tad odd family, his work in literature and theater. How vampire Count Dracula came to be, and what he became, evolving through the years, outliving the author himself.

My Opinion: This was supposed to be a biography of Bram Stoker with great interest in Dracula, as title would imply. Instead it was a biography of any and all, sometimes in very great long-winded detail, gothic horror author of Stoker’s times. Sometimes the connection was clear, other times we got to read of a friend’s wife and her life after her husband has died. It’s interesting if you’re curious of how one was supposed to navigate the nuances of literature in Victorian England to not end up in jail. But if you’re just here for Bram, this is too heavy of a book to read.

The book is spread too wide to only have Bram Stoker’s face on the cover. I give it a 3 out of 5 for what was a very heavy and hefty read. If you just want Bram Stoker’s biography, read the authors word at the back of “Dracul” book by Dacre Stoker.

Categories: 3-5, Biographies, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop | self-help

unfuck yourself gary john bishop coverAuthor: Gary John Bishop
Title: Unfu*k Yourself
Series: –
Genre: Self Help; Psychology
Pages: 221
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Such a perfect timing. I swear, I needed “Unfu*k Yourself” by Gary John Bishop exactly now. And also, I now know what to give one unruly soul in my life for the Holidays. Or whenever I can afford it. I don’t like December much.

About the Book: Have you ever looked at anyone and wondered why they made it, and you’re such a failure? Is it because you were raised wrong? Or are you a professional procrastinator? Either way, what have you done and stuck to doing to improve it? Author explains us in beautiful, witty language, how we settle for what we can tolerate. Life’s bad? And yet we return from work, plop in front of Netflix, browse social media to 3am, get up angry for having to get up, and walk to work with dread: what if I fail? This is what you can tolerate, because you don’t change a thing. The “I need rest after work” and “it keeps me going” are excuses we tell ourselves. Truth is, we wouldn’t die without it. Because none of us have motivation laying about. Motivation comes with doing, much like appetite comes with eating to some. If you do nothing, you’ll spend your life awaiting for that perfect time, perfect feeling.

My Opinion: Author wittily expresses his displeasure at us for being so mean to ourselves. No, we’re not failures. We just need to kick ourselves off the hamster wheel we ourselves climbed into. And we absolutely can. No, they’re not worth the million they made, but neither are you. But they put in the work, and so can you. You can do it. You just have to do it, dammit, try doing it, give it your best, and if you fail, assess the situation, adjust your strategy, and give it your damned best again. Your life is in your hands, and no stubbed toe should ruin your day.

This is one of the best this type of books I’ve ever read. And if you think you don’t need it, most likely you do really need it. A firm 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Philosophy, Self | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

book review | Hollywood Godfather by Gianni Russo | memoir

hollywood godfather gianni russo gangster mobsterAuthor: Gianni Russo
Title: Hollywood Godfather
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; True Crime
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

While “Hollywood Godfather” by Gianni Russo has its own issues and problems, deriving mostly from the times it all took place in, and the inequality dominating the masses back then, the story itself was a fascinating read.

About the Book: If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name or seen the face – Carlo Rizzi from Godfather, and many more. A real life mobster in a movie about mobsters, and he wasn’t even the only one. Gianni Russo tells us in detail how the movie got produced, what events took place, and what people got to be in it. Being a business man at the core, he also mentions what markup he made on soda cans he was selling to the crews. From estrangement with his parents, to first business ventures re-selling pens, to meeting a mobster who’ll become a father figure, to making it in the world. Gianni Russo leaves us with words: “yes, you can“, so if you needed any more motivation…

My Opinion: It was funny to read about the need to fake danger for the bright stars rubbing shoulders with mobsters, wanting to imagine they’re part of this thrilling world. From trash bags filled with newspapers, to introductions. Even more fun was to read about all the people Gianni Russo knew, such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and so on, what where they like. There’s many historical events too, mob orchestrated happenings involving politicians, assassinations, and such. And while I wish he would’ve spoken out about some issues, instead of just glossing over them, I enjoyed the book, and the people I get to know in it. Some things will never look the same ever again.

I never know how to rate a memoir. It’s one thing to rate a creation, a whole other to rate someone’s life. So, taking in writing, and how captivating it was, I give it a 5 out of 5.

 

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

permanent record edward snowden book cover biographyAuthor: Edward Snowden
Title: Permanent Record
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Biography
Pages: 352
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Edward Snowden with his biography “Permanent Record” is here to remind us all how deep in “1984” by George Orwell plot we are. It’s am amazing book, and also very scary one too.

About the Book: The Internet as we knew it has long as changed. They bribed us with convenience, taking our anonymity online. And if we want it back, we have to jump loops, like start using Tor browser. But, let’s face it, we’re slaves to habits and comfort, and we’ll use what we’re used to using. This way further becoming a commodity with illusion of invisibility behind a keyboard. From the smartphone in your pocket, to Alexa or Siri awaiting instructions in the corner of your very home. And here’s how it happened…

My Opinion: You could say that such tracking is more likely a thing in US, or other countries that aren’t as nice as yours when it comes to human rights. But this is why you need this book, for such thinking merely means you no longer notice how many things reach us from exactly the places that monitor us. From the device you’re reading this on, to the software used for it, to the browser you’ll open, and likely, to the page you’re going to enter in it. This way we become commodities no matter where we are: from a company that wants to sell you socks, to the company who wants you to buy it with your card, to whoever wants you to enter all of those digits into those slots. Hopefully though this book will scare you as much as it scared me. And, at the very least, you will fight for your rights to not be monitored the next time people with lack of understanding of what a smartphone is will decide what we’re allowed to share on the internet. We’ve lost one battle already, and I do hope you know how to use VPN.

It’s a great book that I highly recommend to everyone. 5 out of 5 from me. Thank You, Edward Snowden.

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

book review | Talking with Psychopaths and Savages by Christopher Berry-Dee | true crime

talking with psychopaths and savages christopher berry-dee.jpgAuthor: Christopher Berry-Dee
Title: Talking with Psychopaths and Savages
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Nonfiction
Pages: 288
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Some authors just stick them sticks into their own damn wheels. “Talking with Psychopaths and Savages” by Christopher Berry-Dee is precisely one of those books. Fitting a quote by someone: after all been said and done, more been said than done.

About the Book: Author, hurriedly and in big, pompous sentences promises us to show the mind of a psychopath, their lives, nuances, patterns that might have made them the way they are. He promises to not waste time on murder and case details either, for there are many books on these topics. And then proceeds telling us the tales of serial killers, their lives, medical impairments that might have had impact, their family statuses, upbringing, differences and similarities. And details on murders, cases. With thick inlays of opinions.

My Opinion: Not much to add here. Author’s best trait in these times of serial killer admiration is the fact that he proceeds to often point out: he’s not a fan of theirs. In fact, he drags them time and again, which was the most amusing bit in this book.

Can’t say it’s bad. Can’t say it’s good. Maybe a lazy read. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | A Generation of Sociopaths by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A generation of sociopaths bruce cannon gibneyAuthor: Bruce Cannon Gibney
Title: A Generation of Sociopaths
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Sociology
Pages: 464
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

This book will make you angry. Hopefully. “A Generation of Sociopaths” by Bruce Cannon Gibney speaks of and likely fits better the American economical climate, but as an European, I found some things we could apply to ourselves too.

About the Book: Have your parents ever went “well, in my times” and “when I was your age”? In reference to how little you get and have now? Well, you can likely thank them for that little that you’re getting. This book defines some lines in economy. What makes it grow, what makes it fall. What’s sustainable, and what’s a mere temporary solution, likely made by those who will profit from it, leaving the next generation to find their own way out.

My Opinion: The book is very interesting, but will likely not teach you anything new. I believe my generation, those of us who have witnessed the Great Bubble explode, are likely educated enough by now about the topics and nuances of economy. But it’s still an interesting read. And while in Europe it’s not so easy and simple to define a whole generation of our parents as “baby boomers” due to whole different conditions they had, we can still find similarities.

It’s an interesting book, and I can give it a solid 5 out of 5. Yet, as a disclaimer, I want you to go to the link provided above to goodreads, and see to the lowest ratings. The author chose not to reveal how banks and bankers helped add to the ruin of economy due to himself being one of them. And that has to be taken into equation, even if, in my personal opinion, it doesn’t take away much from the value of the book.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

american kingin silk road nick biltonAuthor: Nick Bilton
Title: American Kingpin
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 328
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Everyone has likely heard of the Dark Web. Possibly even the Silk Road on it, one of the most notorious sites on the other side of the internet. American Kingpin by Nick Bilton is a book about its creator, biography of a man who made a dark market place so resilient, it still exists, even after his imprisonment for life.

About the Book: Dark Web is a strange and, well, dark place. And yet we’re separated from it by a mere browser and a few clicks. But most of us spend all our lives unaware of this Other Side, let alone venturing into it. In the end, that’s really the point: to remain invisible, unmonitored, anonymous. Ross Ulbricht was merely one of the many people with questionable morals, who found a way and justification to exploit the human need for the forbidden, the dangerous, and the illegal. According to him, a government has no right to tell us what we put in our bodies, we ought to remain autonomous over it. And yet substance fitting excuses evolved to accommodate such things as weapons, organs, and even suicide kits, manuals and all.

And while Ross was eventually found and imprisoned for life, Silk Road remains active and is now known as the most resilient dark market place on the whole Dark Web.

My Opinion: Let me just clarify right now: not only do I not suggest you go see for yourself, I very much suggest you don’t. Your safety depends on more than just a browser, believe you me. Rather, read this book first and see what little, minuscule things have finally brought this Kingpin down and brought FBI to his doorstep. As for the book itself, it’s good. Clever writing will not bore those who are familiar with the tale, and will ease in, and entertain those who had no clue such a place existed or could even be possible.

It’s a good book I could recommend for the mere fact of how well it portrays our fragility of safety online. 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Borgias: The Hidden History by G.J. Meyer

borgias g.j. meyer cesare rodrigo lucreciaAuthor: G.J. Meyer
Title: The Borgias: The Hidden History
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 478
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t pass a chance to read The Borgias by G.J. Meyer when I spotted it. Too great a nostalgia factor in this one, from far away teenage years, the first real and true friends. They brought a lot of beautiful interests into my life, among which was the love for history. Many evenings were spent reading of Borgias, Draculesti, Tudors, and others.

About the Book: During the Renaissance Borgias were a considerable force in Italy, if infamous: poisoners, adulterers, schemers, there’s even rumors of incest. But what’s true, and what’s fiction is often hard to tell. This book here tries to answer whether the Borgias truly were just a cesspool or depravity? Or were they indeed powerful generals, warriors, princes, popes, and naturally – political players.

My Opinion: This is an easy written book that’s entertaining to read. Author, at times, seems to lean towards clearing the poor Borgia name, especially when it comes to Lucrezia and Cesare, something a historical book probably shouldn’t do, but it didn’t come without basis. Besides, it began all the way at the fight against Ottoman Empire, meaning even such figures as Vlad Dracula got mentioned, which then completely bought me over. I feel like you can’t be bored with books like this. Or is it my inner historian talking?

The book is probably a bit too thick to suggest you read it in the evenings for leisure? But then, Autumn is here, more rainy evenings to get cozy during, it might work! I give it a 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | How to Think by Alan Jacobs

how to think alan jacobsAuthor: Alan Jacobs
Title: How to Think
Series: –
Genre: Philosophy, Self Help
Pages: 160
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Very often I feel utterly stupid when I can’t back a very solid argument I fundamentally believe in or even know to be true. And because of that I envy those friends of mine who are able to navigate any and all topics without stepping on any toes, or getting into actual arguments. How to Think by Alan Jacobs showed me why we’re all like that.

About the Book: In well condensed and solid thoughts, accompanied by great examples this book points us to all those Big Moral Truths, from which we are welcome to chip away our smaller ones, and shows us all the flaws, mistakes, truths, and strategies that they’re formed with. This way making them accessible even to those of us who don’t believe in this or that social norm, public opinion, or “right” opinion. In the hyperconnected world we live in, where opinion forming is as fast as a reteweeting of one, the tools this book provides to assess the argument and see it from another point of view, without the commitment to agree with it, are much needed.

My Opinion: Author, in this very friendly way, guides us through the horrible maze of thinking. He never tells the reader what to believe, but all the time stresses the need to know what you believe, know why you believe it, and be open to discussions about the opposite belief. Which is why I now believe people will either love or hate this book. For most of us are creatures of habit. Most of us will rather leave it on “seen” and move on, rather than waste what we believe, and possibly rightly so, to be our time that we could spend better. But by taking those tools this book provides, and seeing those holes in your own thinking, even if you choose to do nothing, you surely walk away richer for it anyway. So, in my humble opinion, it was worth to get the means to improve myself, even if I find it that I am indeed too stupid to do so.

It’s a good book I truly enjoyed. I liked the tone author wrote in, and I’m grateful for the final little list which was concluded with a simple: be brave. It thus gets a full 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Philosophy, Self | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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