Posts Tagged With: memoir

book review | Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness

over the top jonathan van ness book reviewAuthor: Jonathan Van Ness
Title: Over the Top
Series: –
Genre: Biography; LGBT literature
Pages: 273
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Since I remember old Queer Eye with nostalgia, announcement of the new crew got me very happy. The fact they turned out to be so passionate about what they do made it all even better. So I’m slowly going through their biographies as I find it. Today I’ve discovered “Over the Top” by Jonathan Van Ness and it was a magical read.

About the Book: Jonathan starts early and tells a tale of life full of love, joy, tragedy, addiction, and illness all the way up to Queer Eye. Power of will, love for life, and an infectious positivity in every, even the very darkest page.

My Opinion: A beautiful and magical soul, inspiring with the tales of beaten struggles, problems solved, and a choice to work for better, authentic life, despite all the odds. I love me a survivor story, but this was more. This was a story of life itself.

A very worthy read, 5 out of 5.

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

book review | You will get through this night by Daniel Howell

you will get through this night daniel howell book review dan is so cool likeAuthor: Daniel Howell
Title: You Will Get Through This Night
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Self-Help
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I used to watch Daniel Howell on YouTube way back when, but then, for some reason, stopped. Still, I kept up with the majors, like his coming out video that I will post below. And now I’ve also read his wonderful book, called “You Will Get Through This Night“.

About the Book: This book is pretty much all you need for your mental health first aid kid. From cheating and playing your own system, to being better to yourself. From self care at its core, so self grounding when that overthinking thought-thought train derails.

My Opinion: This is like the best parts of all the self-help books I’ve ever read. On top of that, author assures he did his consultation and research, but encourages to seek help if it seems like it’s not enough. There’s little exercises you can totally skip if it gets overwhelming, and very relatable examples from Dan’s life.

I recommend this very much. A 5 out of 5.

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

book review | Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul by Leila Taylor

darkly black history and americas gothic soul leila taylor book cover reviewAuthor: Leila Taylor
Title: Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul
Series: –
Genre: History; Memoir
Pages: 207
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Finally, a truly good book! “Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul” by Leila Taylor is a beautiful memoir that encompasses black history and it’s great part, contribution and fit with the gothic subculture.

About the Book: When people already look upon you as “other” due to sheer ignorance or lack of representation, such vile ideas as “goth is so white” only serve to deepen the rift between “them” and “us“. In short, but with plenty of details, this book weaves together America’s history, specifically the black history that is too often hushed and overlooked, and that of gothic subculture.

My Opinion: First of all, let me just gloat in the fact someone put it so well what a goth is and what it might entail, without any ridiculous elitism that many “elder goths” shun like they don’t do it with “it’s the music scene, you must at least enjoy the music” as if those dusty records matter any more than fanciful relics of a culture no one bothers to research deeper. This way some jackass eventually comes up with that saying above, and other morons repeat it, thinking it “trendy” or “cool” (you know whom I pointing at). And second of all, this is a damn good book. Author speaks in short, but there’s enough details to follow and remain interested from cover to cover, with witty, heartwarming, and scary, heartbreaking stories to emphasize the point. Truly, I cannot recommend it enough.

A very good book. 5 out of 5.

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

book review | The Ice Man by Philip Carlo

the ice man philip carlo mafia contract killer book reviewAuthor: Philip Carlo
Title: The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 410
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer” by Philip Carlo is not an easy book to get into, but it’s definitely worth it. Dark, horrible, and absolutely fascinating tale of Richard Kuklinski, the ice cold killer.

About the Book: Fathered by a brutal man and not wholly there mother Richard witnessed his father beat his brother to death. Yet he doesn’t blame his upbringing for the things he did. In his words, paraphrasing, what he did, he chose to do. And the only thing he truly regrets is not killing his father when there was a chance. Other than that, it was all fair game. From rivals, snitches, bad guys in general, to passerby’s who just happened to be there when he was out to test his new toy, rowdy teens or just stupid drivers. The only taboo in Kuklinski’s book were women and children.

My Opinion: Rats eating people alive, body parts torn off, sharks, cyanide, an arsenal of weapons that allowed him to walk the streets for so long – no one suspected it could be one man doing so much work, from testing, training, to contract killing or outright justice slaying. Brutal to a point where it’s hard to wrap your mind around he went out of his way to save trafficked children, murdering rapists with pleasure. Never cheated on his wife, loved his children dearly, and at the end – did his best to lessen their involvement when it all came out.

It’s a tough book. This man here had golden traits to him that some good people are falling short on. But then, he was an absolute monster. Can only hope there’s no more of such walking the streets. A 5 out of 5, chilling tale indeed. Made worse by the truth of it.

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Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, murder, serial killers, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Club King by Peter Gatien

The Club King Peter Gatien Rise Reign Fall new york nightlifeAuthor: Peter Gatien
Title: The Club King
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Pages: 246
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love biographies of club owners who made it before 2000s. It’s always interesting to peek behind the curtain of scripted danger and/or curated freedom. “The Club King: My Rise, Reign and Fall in New York Nightlife” by Peter Gatien is one of the better examples of such memoirs.

About the Book: Poor childhood, an accident that left the boy without an eye, and a personality he built out of this all. A well defined path, with clear cut offs around what’s “not for him“. This lead to the mysterious club owner with an eye patch, a series of well known club names, firm hand on the nightlife, and dizzying heights that came with it. Peter Gatien helped shape the nightlife as we know it.

My Opinion: Author has a very interesting personality. Had he not reigned himself in when he had to, the tale would’ve been short and sad. Had he not cared for the people who worked for him as much as he did – possibly same would’ve happened too. Instead, he built visions, took calculated risks, and boldly marched ahead of the trends, setting them in stone for all I know, seeing how the last glimpses of clubs he described sounds so familiar still. It’s a great book of what smart determination can bring you, and just how much work it takes outside of “dreaming big”, if nothing else.

A great book. Firm 5 out of 5.

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

book review | Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

charlie leduff detroit an american autopsy we are aliveAuthor: Charlie LeDuff
Title: Detroit: An American Autopsy
Series: –
Genre: History; Memoir
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Digging into my nonfiction folder I’ve discovered “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff. And it’s a very fine memoir.

About the Book: This is a memoir of a journalist and his city. Passionate, angry, full of determined home. Hope that something can be done, and determination to do all he can, as a journalist, knocking on all the doors, ringing all the damned bells, to reach someone, anyone, to help the living people in Detroit. A city where fires never cease for arson is cheaper than a movie. Where people rarely call the cops, and cops, in return, rarely come.

My Opinion: I know nothing of the Detroit as it is today, but if even half the good people described in this book got to something, I’m sure it’s a beautiful place to be. Author describes the crimes, the life, life and death in Detroit, the constant fires, and unreported bodies. And the good people within that do everything they can, people who don’t take life for granted, and try their best to get the most from it not just for themselves, but their family, their neighbor. You can feel the beating heart in these dark stories.

It’s a very fine piece. Probably not for everyone, but I can give a solid 5 out of 5.

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

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 | Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

julie and julia powel book coverAuthor: Julie Powell
Title: Julie and Julia
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Pages: 310
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love Julie and Julia movie, it’s my favorite thing to have playing in the background, even if it is an exception to the rule of what mostly fills the air around me. So when my slightly melted brain realized the movie is based on Julie Powell memoir, I hurried to rectify my mistake.

About the Book: Julie Powell was going through a mental crisis in her life when a glimpse in the horizon made her stop a moment. It was Julia Child’s cookbook, full of recipes and memories of cooking with her mother at home. So she set herself a goal: all 524 recipes, tried, tested, completed, and blogged about. All in a year. She made herself a goal, creating herself a purpose, and exiting the stormy sea that sometimes is life. It got me thinking, actually, what if that’s the true meaning of life, eh? To set yourself a goal. For, and I’m sure many would agree, the darkness tends to lift when there’s something to move forwards to. And, in Julie’s case, it was a fantastic tale of a year full of food, mistakes, nightmares, joys, celebration…

My Opinion: You really don’t need to know the author or her blog beforehand. Personally I don’t even like cooking, nor anything about cooking, unless it’s Asian kitchen, that one fascinates me. So why did I like it so much, you’d ask? Well, because it’s a tale, a true tale, no less, of a person who decided to move forwards, even if the dot in the horizon was really nothing, a trick of light. If you’re not sold, I suggest you watch the movie, I think it’s on Netflix too, this way you’ll know for sure whether you’ll like it or not.

A good book with no need of prior knowledge to enjoy. A firm 5 out of 5!

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences¬† woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

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

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