Friday, August 30, 2013

The Dangerous Animals Club

A few weeks ago I was browsing through some sale Kindle books at I stumbled on this book based solely on the fact that I like the actor Stephen Tobolowsky. I suspect you may not know his name but you will know him when you see him. Don't believe me? Google his name - go ahead - I will wait.

I told you that you would know who he is. Several years ago I watched a documentary about him and the movie was mostly about his ability to tell a good story. This book reaffirms that. This is a cross between an autobiography and a life lessons guide. The chapters focus on a period in his life and the lessons he learned on his way to becoming a working actor. His stories are funny and though provoking. He has lived an interesting life and seems to have taken most of it in stride and treated his experiences as a great journey. I really like his writing style. The way he turns a phrase appeals to me and this made the book a quick read. Normally when I read a biography or autobiography of someone famous I tend to be disappointed in the their private life. The tell all books seem unnecessary to me. This is a different book. He does seem to tell all (or most) but when I was done I found that I liked him more. I suspect that many actors in his position (not the big stars) are probably more like this. The character actors I see most often seem to be grounded a bit more. This was a fun and short read. I cannot loan it out because I picked it up for my Kindle. I will have a post in the future about my growing appreciation for ebooks.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Maureen McCormick titled Here's the Story

By Mr. Walrath  

 I recently finished an autobiography by Maureen McCormick titled Here's the Story.  Maureen played the character Marcia Brady on the hit 70s show The Brady Bunch.  For those young people who have never heard of The Brady Bunch, it was a TV show where a single dad with three boys falls in love with a single mom with three girls.  They get married and form a big family with their housekeeper, Alice.  Marcia was the oldest of the three girls in the "family".  I loved this show when I was a kid and thought that Marcia Brady was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  My buddies and I thought that she was the most beautiful girl on the planet.  If you haven't seen this show, you should check it out on You Tube or Nick at Night.
    In any event, Maureen is only about 12 when she gets the part on this new TV show.  It is pretty popular and goes on to last for five seasons, ending when she's about 17.  Much of the book is about the Brady "family" and the trials and tribulations of being a child star.  Maureen misses school during the filming of the show and tries to fit in back at her school during the off-season.  When the show ends, Maureen has trouble finding regular work because everyone knows her as Marcia Brady.
    Things really get interesting when Maureen enters her 20s and becomes part of the Hollywood 80s scene with wild parties that include excessive alcohol and cocaine.  She becomes a hopeless drug addict.  After quite a few wild years, Maureen finds religion and her future husband.  However, there are still many conflicts and bouts of drama as Maureen battles bulimia and finds that she's bipolar.  I would recommend this book, especially if you are a Brady Bunch fan.  I kept wondering if Maureen would ever find happiness in her life, and I won't divulge if she does or not.

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Regrets

From Mr. Walrath  

I recently finished Ace Frehley's autobiography called No Regrets that I had borrowed from Mr. Trombley many months ago.  As you may or may not know, Ace was the lead guitar player and one of the original founders of the hard rock bank Kiss.  Ace tells many interesting stories about his adolescent years of rebellion and school-skipping and of his love of music.  He played in many bands as a teenager and met has future band mates, Gene Simons, Paul Stanley, and Peter Criss, when he was very young.  Fame came pretty fast and easy for the band, and the four men were rich superstars in no time.  With the easy money came lots of drugs, women, and other decadence.  Ace has spent most of his life addicted to cocaine, alcohol, pain killers, and whatever else was available.  Many stories are included in the book including Ace smashing his Porsche into a tree after a fishing trip with his buddy, or Ace racing several police cars with his Delorean while in an inebriated state.  I got pretty angry reading this book because Ace could always get himself out of trouble by using his fame and status as a rock star.  The title of the book is also disturbing to me because he kept making a point of saying that he wasn't sorry for anything he did.  Maybe if he had killed someone during his drunken rampages, he would have felt differently.
    Ace quit the band in the late 80s and reunited with them for a while in the 2000s, but he doesn't have much good to say about his band mates, Gene and Paul.  They didn't include him in any of the big decisions and made him feel like an outsider.  In recent years Ace has found sobriety and is loving life as a semi-retired rock star.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catching Up

Sorry for the delay in posts. Life gets in the way. I have a bunch of posts scheduled from Mr. Walrath and from me. If you want to contribute please send me a write up in an email and I will add it. I know many of you read great books all summer and you continue to read great stuff all year long. 
Keep reading and consider contributing. 
I will also try to get the book sharing shelves back up and running. Many new people took advantage of the books over the summer. I think we need a more central location to share the books and will work on doing something about that when school begins again in September. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. 
Finally - I think I am succumbing to the dark side. I have read more and more books on my Kindle and iPad. I think I like it more. I still buy books, but I read more ebooks than normal books this summer. Sorry about that. I do like a hard copy but I also like not having to find room for all the books I read. 
If you have not caught up on the previous posts I suggest you take a few moments. There are some great reviews. 
Have a great rest of the summer./ 

Quivers A Life by Robin Quivers

By Mr. Walrath

An autobiography I just finished is titled Quivers A Life by Robin Quivers, co-host of the Howard Stern Show.  As a big Howard Stern fan, I have wanted to read this book for many years, but it is out of print and difficult to find.  Amazon has used copies, but the last time I checked they were something like $60 for the hard copy and $35 for the paperback edition.  So, I constantly looked whenever I went into a used book store and finally hit the jackpot at the little used bookstore that is only open on weekends on Rt. 11 in Lawrenceville.
    In any event, this book tells of Robin's unhappy upbringing in Baltimore, MD.  Her family was very poor, and she experienced a very unhappy childhood.  Robin's mom gave her very little encouragement telling her that she'd never be more than a maid to some rich white family.  Robin's dad molested her repeatedly until she put an end to it by biting his arm so hard that she almost drew blood.  Robin could not wait to get out of her prison and studied hard in school so that she could get away from her family and her neighborhood.
    Robin's first career was in nursing, but because she saw it as a dead-end career, she decided to go into radio.  She went to broadcasting school, got a job at a small station in Carlisle, PA, and began to move up the ladder.  Within two years she was introduced to Howard Stern, and the two began their on-air relationship in Washington, DC.  Robin was still not happy, however.  She was constantly depressed and often suicidal mostly because of the memories of her father's betrayal.  Many of the topics she writes about parallel topics Howard discusses in his book, Private Parts, so it was interesting to compare the two.  Robin talks about how much she came to hate Howard, argue with him, scream at him, and blame him for things not going well in Washington and later in New York.  I've concluded that Howard is really a good guy because he never once said anything negative about Robin in his book, even though she must have been terrible to work with.
    Robin did turn her life around with the help of a devoted therapist who got her to trust others, especially Howard.  Robin eventually confronted her parents about her abuse and was able to somewhat mend fences with them after her mother and father both apologized for what they had done to her when she was young.  I really enjoyed this book.  Robin didn't hold anything back as she was very candid with all the negative thoughts running through her mind.  Thank goodness that Howard recognized her talent and didn't kick her to the curb after some of her ridiculous antics.