Showing posts with label Memoir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memoir. Show all posts

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate - Al Franken


4.46  ·  Rating details ·  11,067 Ratings  ·  1,926 Reviews
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken download or read it online for free here
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
by Al Franken
From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.

Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.





Reviews


I would almost consider moving to Minnesota in order for Al Franken to be my senator.
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At last, here is a book which answers the burning question: why is Al Franken not funny anymore?

The short answer, of course: he’s a senator, and senators aren’t supposed to be funny. The long answer—the central idea of this thoughtful (and funny) autobiographical narrative—is that he’s still very funny, very funny indeed, but, for most of the last ten years, has tried his very best not to be. His fellow Minnesotans, like most regular Americans, want elected officials who keep their heads down and work hard, not needy jokesters who keeping calling attention to themselves. And Franken—who is just as serious about being a senator as he once was about being a creator of comedy—has labored for a decade to be a workhorse not a showhorse, doing whatever he can to make life better for the people of his home state.

Franken puts it better himself: “[this book is] the story of how, after spending a lifetime learning how to be funny, I learned how not to be funny.”

But the book is, of course, about other things too: his mentor Paul Wellstone, what a political campaign is like, the policy issues (health care, gun control, campaign financing) Franken cares deeply about, his incremental legislative victories, how the senate changes your sense of how Washington works, and how “you must work hard to make sure that it doesn’t change who you are.”

I finished this book in the days following the congressional baseball shooting, and I was heartened to read of Al’s friendships with Republican senators: writing country songs with Orrin Hatch, listening to “Bob and Ray” tapes with Pat Roberts, trading amiable quips with Jeff Sessions (Jeff’s wife Mary—friends with Al’s wife Franni—knitted Al’s grandson Joe his favorite baby-blanket.) In fact, Al seems to have good things to say about most of his Republican colleagues. (Except for Senator Ted Cruz. One must have standards, of course.)

The best thing about this book, at least for me, is that Franken, after all these years, has finally become comfortable enough with himself to be both funny and serious at the same time. He can follow an exposition of public policy with a devastating witticism (or a dumb joke) and both seem equally appropriate expressions of a complex, interesting man. Franken takes pleasure in publicly uniting the comedian and the senator, and his obvious pleasure in this process makes the book more serious—and much funnier too.
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Al Franken: Giant of the Senate is a 2017 Twelve publication.

It’s always a slippery slope when reviewing a non-fiction politically based book. However, in the states, the current political polarization makes it even more of a challenge.

But, never fear, this review will not be a political commentary. Franken's views fall within party lines, and if you are a democrat you will agree with him on most issues, and if not, you do know going in what his values are and what his political opinions will be, so I won't delve into those here.

‘They tell you in this country that you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And we all believe that. But, first you’ve got to have the boots”


Al Franken wasn’t really on my radar, politically, until after the 2016 election. I watched all the confirmation hearings, and of course anyone following politics will know Franken asked some pretty tough questions and caused quite a stir by asking what on the surface were pretty innocuous questions. He had done his homework, which is more than I could say about most participating in those proceedings. And...

I loved it!!

I knew Franken had been a writer for Saturday Night Live and had been elected to the senate, representing the state of Minnesota. But, since he does not represent my state, I never heard much about him or how he was doing in his job as senator.

But, once I saw him in action, I was very impressed and couldn’t wait to read more about his life.

Franken is naturally funny. He doesn’t have to work at it at all, coming up with hilarious quips right off the top of his head. However, in Washington, these folks are not exactly known for their sense of humor. Therefore, Al has had to tone down his humor in order to be taken seriously, to appease other members of his party, and of course to keep himself from saying something that might get him in hot water.

He does a great job of balancing his gregarious personality with the seriousness of his job, and frankly, it’s too bad, other members of Congress worry so much about making jokes or laughing at the absurdity of politics, or at their own party.

But, Franken is able to release a bit of his pent -up humor in this book, which detailed his very interesting journey into politics, the messiness of campaigning, raising money, mistakes he made, the challenges he faced, and his hopes for the future.

I was impressed by his sharpness, his work ethic, and how he plays the political game. It is obvious he and his wife have a strong relationship, and he enjoys his family, which was very refreshing.

Al will surprise you with how prepared he is, how serious he takes his responsibilities, his willingness to work with those on the other side of the aisle, his openness, and sense of fair play.

Al is a democrat through and through, but even if you are not, you have to love the dedication, the sincerity he exudes and believe me, with only one notable, (and spot on), exception, Al gets along, and is respectful to his Republican counterparts, working side by side with them to actually see results.

I thoroughly enjoyed Al’s humor, the glimpse into his personal life, looking back on some memorable SNL skits and personalities, and reading about Al’s tenuous political beginnings. His journey has been very interesting! Al has a larger than life persona and I believe his state is lucky to have them on their side.

This book also has some marvelous personal photographs, and his grandchildren are simply adorable!!
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I'm sure I'm not the only non American who has become obsessed with American politics over the last year or so. At first it was close to a prurient interest. As time goes by, it feels increasingly like what's happening in the US is relevant to my children's future environmental, economic and physical well being, so the interest feels more real and more personal. And I know I'm not alone...

So it's some comfort learn more about Al Franken -- to know that there are dedicated people willing to serve in public office with reason, compassion, common sense and the long view.

I listened to the audio, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I'm not sure there's any particular organizing principle to Franken's memoir. It is part personal history, part gossipy anecdote, part random thoughts about politics and life, and part pointed thoughts about politics and the future. It's not funny, but there's a lot of humour sprinkled throughout.

It left me thinking that Franken is someone worth watching. It left me thinking about the importance and meaning of public service. It left me thinking that it's important not to give in to an overwhelming sense of cynicism when thinking about contemporary politics. It reminded me to speak positively to my kids about the importance of political engagement.

I'm sure Franken has some flaws, but as you can see the audio of his book hit all the right notes for me and made me a true fan.
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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken is a book I was so ready to read and it did not disappoint. 
He started the book by going all the way back to his beginnings in comedy then on up to being a Senator. The reason for this was to show how hard it was to run for office after being a comedian and having every joke thrown in his face by both parties. This was an excellent book about how the inside of politics work and doesn't work. The inside of how corrupt some of these guys are. It told of Franken's tough times and his good times. You laugh with him and laugh at him. You laugh at the goofy politicians that think they are better than everyone else. The best chapter in the whole book is the one on Ted Cruz. Oh my gosh! Loved it. During the election, my family called Cruz the 'pedophile' because he looks like what we imagine a pedophile would look like. In Franken's book, he calls Cruz the 'pedophile' and I laughed so hard. Definitely worth the money and the time. Love his books anyway but this is just awesome.
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In the current political climate with congressional hearings, a special prosecutor, and a chief executive who demands fealty as if he were a "godfather" it was good to read a political manifesto in the form of biography that with drips with sarcasm and humor. 
When one thinks of Al Franken, Saturday Night Live (SNL) comes to mind, and the “serious” laughter his writings, i.e., RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT, and appearances produced. His new autobiography is in the same vein as he uses his life story as a clarion call for a progressive agenda and a fight against alternative news and/or reality and the lies that are perpetrated regularly by certain politicians and supposed news outlets.

AL FRANKEN: GIANT OF THE SENATE describes the evolution of a belief system that began at an early age, particularly as a young teen reacting to Lyndon Johnson’s work to get the 1964 Civil Rights Act signed into law. From that point on we witness Franken’s intellectual growth using his comedic sense through high school, college, a career on SNL, and a second career in the United States Senate. As Franken matures emotionally and politically his commitment to a progressive agenda for the American people (as well as Minnesota!) emerges. But make no mistake for Franken to be successful he had to suppress his public humor to avoid political pitfalls

The key event in his career was the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone; his mentor, teacher, and intellectual role model. For Wellstone “politics was about improving people’s lives.” Franken presents a wonderful chapter encompassing Wellstone’s life’s work and positive goals for the American people. Franken explains the type of person he was and how he was influenced by his progressive agenda. Once Wellstone and his family are killed in a plane crash he was replaced in the Senate by Republican Norm Coleman who stated “I am a 99% improvement over Paul Wellstone.” For Al Franken it was “game on.” Franken believed in Wellstone’s core, that “we all do better, when we all do better,” a mantra that Franken has worked for since his time in the Senate.

Franken explores in detail his campaign against Norm Coleman. Faced with Republican obfuscation, distortion, and outright lies Franken was welcomed to the wonderful world of what he calls the “Dehumorizer,” or how his opponent would do or say anything about his opponent’s past and present be it fact or fiction, in the 2008 campaign, mostly fiction. Franken would defeat Coleman by 312 votes, but it took over eight months to finally join his Senate colleagues as Coleman’s team dragged the results through the courts and in the end never really conceded. Fast forward, eight years later Franken was elected by a 10% margin. It is interesting how the Obama people did little to assist Franken, no matter what he did even Democrats could not wrap their heads around a former SNL comic becoming a serious politician.

The most interesting aspects of Franken’s story rests on the legislative process which is bound in hyprocracy by both major parties, though perhaps a bit more by Republicans. He cites a number of examples dealing with the 2009 Stimulus package which finally passed despite Republican opposition which led to a slower recovery than was necessary. This allowed Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell to blame the slow recovery on President Obama. This is the same Senator who stated once Obama was elected in 2009 that it was his primary purpose to make sure that the new president would not achieve any successes. It is also fascinating that certain congresspersons who voted against the stimulus took credit for it when it created benefits for their own districts.

Franken takes the reader behind the scenes as the Senate votes on legislation. In particular a “disclosure bill” designed to offset the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. The cavalier attitude of a number of Republicans is offered in their own words, of course funded by the Koch Brothers and their “Federalist agenda.” Franken goes on to eviscerate Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a chapter entitled “Sophistry.” Franken is proud of the fact that he hates a colleague who in two short months managed to turn almost his entire party against him. As is Franken’s methodology throughout the book his comments are sardonic, humorous, and sarcastic, but below the surface the Senator from Minnesota is seething.

A major theme of the book is a clarion call for Democrats to turn out and remove Republicans from power. If it is not done soon, Franken argues President Trump will continue to dismantle the achievements that Obama was able to attain. Franken tries to be upbeat throughout as he rests on his comedic talent. But, after watching the Senate Intelligence Hearings and Trump’s response congressional hearings televised on what seems to be a daily basis, a special prosecutor, and a chief executive who demands fealty as if he was “the godfather” it was good to read an uplifting political manifesto in the form of a biography that the past few days we all must be careful because what we are witnessing cannot be good for our country, which seems to be what motivates Franken each day-what is good for our country.
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"I can't tell you I'll always get it right. But I'll tell you this: I'm going to keep fighting as hard as I can in the coming months and years to protect our children, our values and our future from Donald Trump." - Al Franken, from Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken.

This is absolutely the book America needs to read right now. I want to just acquire a crate full of copies of this book and pass it out to people. Franken manages to be both hopeful, realistic and funny all at the same time when writing about the inner-workings of the US government. It's amazing.

It is difficult for me to write an unbiased review of anything Franken has written - he has been a major influence in my life. Growing up, I watched Saturday Night Live reruns with my parents. I saw a lot of classic SNL - Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Belushi, Steve Martin, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Will Farrell, Tina Fay...wow, I just started naming SNL people off the top of my head and just kept going, there. But yes, and, of course, Al Franken.

I can't even begin to describe how much of an influence Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them was on my political development. I borrowed the book from my dad because a) it looked funny and it was by a guy I knew to be funny and b) the title. Seriously, how could you not read a book called Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them? As I made my way through the book it was like a veil was being ripped away from my eyes. I suddenly became interested in the political. I suddenly started watching the news and actually paying attention to what they were saying. I started reading the newspaper and Newsweek - the actual content, not just looking at the pictures and reading movie reviews. I got really into this TV series called The Daily Show. I started noticing the every day hypocrisies in my rural hometown. I started questioning the official narratives we were fed every day. I started questioning the narrative I was fed in Lies, and started fact-checking the claims within the book myself. This, incidentally, is how librarians are created, children.

Lies woke me up and shoved me into politics. My terrible hometown, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dan Rather and my local library did the rest.

Al Franken: he's good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him! Especially me.

I was naught but a wee little teenage girl in one of the reddest counties of my traditionally blue state. In 2004, there was not much I could do politically, except go to a Kerry rally and then be sad when he lost. And be horrified at how happy my oblivious classmates were that Bush had been reelected. Really, guys?

Anyway! This brings me, finally, to Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.

When I heard Franken was running for Senate in Minnesota I thought "hell yeah!" And then proceeded to stop caring because a) college and b) I do not now, nor have I ever, lived in Minnesota. I was too busy paying attention to local news, getting kicked out of my room by my evil freshman roommates, and worrying about whether or not the economy was going to get so bad that my parents would lose their jobs and I'd have to withdraw from college and go straight to work. And, if that happened, would there even be any jobs left for me? Ah, 2008. What a crap year. Anyway, I squeaked through 2008 and didn't have to leave school, and next I heard, Al Franken won! Yes! Awesome! I immediately stopped paying attention. Then I heard there was a recount? Oh no, how dare they try and steal Al's victory from him! ...and then I stopped paying attention because school. I was glad when I finally heard that Al got his seat in the senate, but I didn't pay too much attention because a) not from Minnesota and b) college. What does this have to do with the book? Well, the book covers pretty much everything that I missed - why he decided to run for senate, what the campaign was like, and just how difficult it is for a comedian to adjust from being a professional funnyman to a superserious political-type. No eye rolling during terrible speeches. No snarky comments during a hearing.

This book is for everyone - it's for anyone who is frustrated at the gridlock in Washington, who is sick of partisan malarkey, or who have lost faith in our democratic process. It is for anyone who watched the disaster that was 2016 unfold with tears in their eyes. It's for anyone who has ceased to see their representatives as human beings and more like soulless ghouls who feed on campaign donations.

The best thing about this book is how Franken portrays his colleagues across the aisle not as demons, but as people making decisions he disagrees with (and think are evil). The sight of certain Republicans makes my blood boil, but Giant of the Senate reminded me that, as much as I dislike them, they're still people, and we need to work together if we're going to help everyone. At the same time, though, he fights for truth in politics:

"[I]f we don't start caring about whether people tell the truth or not, it's going to be literally impossible to restore anything approaching a reasonable political discourse. Politicians have always shaded the truth. But if you can say something that is provably false, and no one cares, then you can't have a real debate about anything."

Amen, Al.

Thank you, Al Franken. Don't ever stop fighting for the people, for our country and don't ever stop being funny, even if you have to wait five years and put it all in book form. And don't ever stop telling stories about how awful Ted Cruz is, I could read those all day. Like, in book form. Nudge nudge.
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I thought Al Franken was funny on Saturday Night Live (“When you point your finger at someone else, you point three fingers back at yourself. And your thumb at God, I guess”), but as far as I’m concerned his work as a pundit is where he’s really distinguished himself—both as host of his own radio show on Air America and as the author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and The Truth (With Jokes) (all of which are excellent and worth your time). Reading and/or listening to Franken for any length of time makes it pretty obvious that he’s a person who values honesty and accuracy, and he’s clearly carried this quality into his work as a senator.

Franken is a very good, very funny writer, and you could absolutely do worse than getting your facts from him. (Back when Republicans wanted to privatize Social Security to “keep it from going bankrupt,” for instance, it was Al Franken who did the math that convinced me that Social Security was in fact in no danger of going bankrupt, and I’m quite comfortable having him as my source.) Giant of the Senate is more of a straightforward memoir than any of his previous books, and all of it was interesting—the parts about his childhood, the chapters about SNL, etc.—but nothing was more fascinating than when he decided to enter politics. The chapters recounting his first campaign, the recount, and his time in the Senate were completely riveting to me, in addition to providing a lot of valuable info about how Washington actually works. In this age of Trump, a lot of us are spending at least a little time trying to influence our elected officials, and if you’re looking for an overview of the whole situation, again, you could do much worse than reading Al Franken.

A lot of politicians “write books” while they’re in office, or running for office, and these are mainly just boring PR tools ghostwritten by someone else, but that’s not the case with Giant of the Senate. For one thing, Al Franken wrote this himself, as he’s done with all of his books. For another, this book is totally honest, contains a fair amount of cursing, and pulls no punches when it comes to Trump or (most hilariously and informatively, in my opinion) Ted Cruz. The book also talks a lot about the art of and necessity for compromise. Franken is realistic about this as well—he knows that compromise is sometimes frustrating, but he also knows it’s the only way to make things happen. He quotes Barney Frank: “The only person I’ve ever voted for who I’ve agreed with one hundred percent is myself. The first time.” But ultimately Franken’s stories of reaching across the aisle are more encouraging than dispiriting. I’ve heard he doesn’t plan to run again in 2020, so here’s hoping he goes for broke in the time he has left in office. We need more elected officials like him.
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I wish all politicians had the same dedication and loyalty to their constituents as Senator Al Franken. I've always liked him, whether on SNL in the 70s or more recently grilling Trump's unorthodox cabinet nominees. He is not supposed to be funny or swear now that he is in the Senate, but I would say he just can't help it. So many examples given of what he was aching to say at certain times, things he was sure would have just killed. He restrained himself then, but shared the lost opportunities in the book. Laugh out loud funny.

He is what he is. Since he joined the Senate rather late in life, he isn't a career politician and actually cares more for the people who elected him than he does about the politics. He cares more about providing people with health care than about getting re-elected or any sidestepping agendas like keeping the Koch brothers happy. And most of all he cares about the truth -- you lie and he'll call you out, show the evidence of it being a lie, and will probably write a book about what a lying liar you are (I'm talking to you, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly). And to our Liar in Chief, to whom the last chapters were devoted. (Al's worried but also optimistic. I'm just worried.)
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31933250-al-franken-giant-of-the-senate

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


4.47  ·  Rating details ·  61,529 Ratings  ·  8,571 Reviews
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah download or read it online for free
Born a Crime
by Trevor Noah
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.


Reviews


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I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

I was really surprised when Trevor Noah was named Jon Stewart's successor on The Daily Show . I inherently knew that they wouldn't pick someone with a sense of humor and style identical to Stewart's, but I felt that Noah was so different that his selection meant the show would have a really different feel, which might not appeal to long-time fans of the show. But I always root for the underdog, so as he was getting savaged by critics and fans in his first few days on the job, I kept hoping he'd be able to tough it out and show the stuff—comedic and otherwise—of which he was made.

After reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood , I realize that I needn't have worried about Trevor Noah. For a child growing up in South Africa in the last days of, and the tumult following apartheid, he faced crises far greater than dissatisfied fans. And if he could be raised during such a crazily illogical time in a country where more violence, racism, and mistreatment went unreported than caught the media's eye, he'd have no problem skewering the insanity of our political system, especially leading into the election of 2016!!

"On February 20, 1984, my mother checked into Hillbrow Hospital for a scheduled C-section delivery. Estranged from her family, pregnant by a man she could not be seen with in public, she was alone. The doctors took her up to the delivery room, cut open her belly, and reached in and pulled out a half-white, half-black child who violated any number of laws, statutes, and regulations—I was born a crime."

Born to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, Noah literally spent his earliest days hiding indoors. His parents, who never married, couldn't be seen together, and because his mother looked so different than he did, she couldn't walk through the streets with him, because at any moment someone might accuse her of kidnapping another person's child. Yet while their lives dealt with crushing poverty, violence, and racism from all sides, his deeply religious mother never let anything bother her, or stop her from raising her son to know he was loved, and to know that he truly could accomplish anything he wanted, despite all of the obstacles in his way.

"She taught me to challenge authority and question the system. The only way it backfired on her was that I constantly challenged and questioned her."

Born a Crime provides a first-hand account of the last days of apartheid and its aftermath, and what it was like to grow up as a mixed-race child, where he wasn't white enough to be considered white, nor was he black enough to be considered black. While at times this had its advantages, for the most part, it left him on the outside looking in, having to handle everything on his own, fight his own battles, struggle to find people who genuinely liked him for who he was and not the novelty of his skin color, and rebel against a mother who only wanted him to behave.

If you go into this book expecting to laugh hysterically because of Noah's day job, think again. While the book does include some of the wry humor that has begun endearing him to fans, this is an emotional, brutal, and educational story of a life which flourished despite the odds stacked against it. This is a book about growing up in a culture of poverty and crime, and how easy it was to get caught up in that, especially when it was one of the only ways to make money and be able to feed, clothe, and enjoy yourself. It's also a book about fear, how it motivates you, how it paralyzes you, and how it threatens to take away the one thing you cherish more than any other.

More than anything, though, this is a book about the unwavering love of a mother for a child she chose to have. She knew it would be difficult raising her son in the age of apartheid, and in fact, she had no idea when he was born that it would end anytime soon. But Noah was a remarkable child, and while he exasperated, frightened, and upset his mother from time to time, she knew he would accomplish great things one day (as soon as he stopped putting cornrows in his hair and hanging out with those awful hoodlums he called friends).

I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about apartheid, which I really didn't know much about. Noah is a good writer, and delivered his narrative much as I've heard him deliver his lines on The Daily Show . This is a funny, thought-provoking, and emotional book, although I felt that some of his anecdotes went on a little too long, while others didn't go on long enough. I also would have liked to have learned how he went from his upbringing in South Africa to one day hosting an acclaimed television show—other than passing mentions of things he did, I have no idea how he made the leap.

I've heard some people say that the audio version of this book is brilliant because Noah reads it himself, but if you read the print/digital version, you can still hear his voice through his words. Noah's story is a lesson of the inequities of the past, and a warning for what is still possible to happen again in our world. But this isn't heavy-handed; it's fun, insightful, and very compelling.
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Funny guy- The very charming Trevor Noah
    "People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing."

Trevor Noah
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By the time Trevor Noah was born in 1984, Apartheid, the system that institutionalized segregation and racial discrimination in his native South Africa, was already in its last throes. But young Trevor still got to experience plenty of the negative effects of that horrific system.

The relationship between his black African mother and his white Swiss father, was legally prohibited by the 1927 "Immorality Act", a crime that could carry up to 5 years in prison. These laws were not a mere abstraction, they were actively enforced by the authorities.

Noah did a good job at giving us a condensed version of the history of Apartheid. He explains how it was used to create fissures among the black population, and give us an insider's perspective of the real life consequences it had in the lives of millions of people.

My sense is that this book was written with a Western audience in mind, so he takes the time to compare Apartheid to similar repressive movements in other parts of the world, such as the removal of Native Americans, European Colonialism and Slavery and the Jim Crow era in America.
On this topic he remarks:

    "In America you had the forced removal of the native onto reservations coupled with slavery followed by segregation. Imagine all three of those things happening to the same group of people at the same time. That was apartheid."


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These stories, beautifully written, are set in a world quite like our own but at the same time utterly different. Maybe "through a glass darkly". 
Who goes to church three times on Sunday to Black, White and Coloured ones? Who goes to jail for (not) stealing a car rather than face the wrath of his mother? Who gets a prom date with the most beautiful girl around, but one who doesn't speak the language and is extremely unsociable to boot? None of these things are extraordinary in this world,

Who could perform rap at a Jewish school to a wildly-enthusiastic audience and create deadening silence in one second asking respect for Hitler? Repeatedly. I'm not going to spoil this one. It's a brilliant story, very funny, and sadly critical too. Two worlds collide, black and white, and neither understand why the other is so offended.

In what world can a man standing in front of a policeman not be identified on the video they are both watching of his best friend shoplifting and he with him? But he isn't. Because of the exposure of the video the black figure appeared black but the coloured one, Trevor, appeared white. The police were unable to link in their heads the features of the man on the screen with the one in front of them who was a suspect, because he was white. These South African policemen were blinded by their prejudice. Which was rather lucky for Trevor, and he is our hero.

He's mine anyway.

This is a fascinating book that will take you deep into the world of the non-white life of South Africa mostly since apartheid ended. It's funny and tragic, heart-warming and wtf did you do that for. It's tribal and urban and mostly very third world. It's quite something to incorporate all those elements and boast only in ways that are more to do with accomplishment than with ego. But if you don't like politics this isn't for you. Every single incident no matter how funny, how light, and they aren't all, drives home that race decides everything in South Africa.

I listened to it in the car. The audio is brilliant. narrated by the author (which is why I got it on audio, that's one of the great advantages of the media listening to an author tell his own tale.) It's a 10-star biography.
*********************************************************************************
In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah takes us on a journey from his childhood being born a crime in apartheid South Africa. 
Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. This memoir is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

Side note: Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah - his mother - was a powerhouse, a strong woman in every sense. She's a warrior and I only wish I could be a half of the person she is. Also, I love the advice she gave her son—I even wrote a few pieces down to remember:

“Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.”

This passage had pretty much changed the way I think, the way I precept the world.

“She’d tell me not to worry. She always came back to the phrase she lived by: “If God is with me, who can be against me?” She was never scared. Even when she should have been.”

The piece stuck with me.

Truly though, this memoir was enlighten, brimming with emotion, and I love it when children pay tribute to their hard-working mothers.

“There was no stepfather in the picture yet, no baby brother crying in the night. It was me and her, alone. There was this sense of the two of us embarking on a grand adventure. She’d say things to me like, “It’s you and me against the world.” I understood even from an early age that we weren’t just mother and son. We were a team.”

My mind and heart were fully transported while reading everything Trevor went through to get to where he is today and everyone that took part of that journey.

And even though some of the stories kind of broke my heart, Trevor Noah always managed to bring in his gold humor to ease the tension. There are a couple of chapters that have taken a hold of my soul and won’t let go because either they were extremely hilarious (TREVOR, PRAY & LOOPHOLES) or entirely heart-shattering (MY MOTHER’S LIFE)... or both.

Slowly and surely, I came to admire Trevor Noah's character and honesty even more than I did before. And I'm pretty sure that I'll end up watching and rewatching his stand-up shows so that I can stop tearing up at the mention of his name.
*********************************************************************************
A book *treasure*!

Trevor is a likable! A charming- guy!!! Listening to him speak is almost magnetic.
Being thrown out of a car? By his own mother? OUCH! Trevor had my attention in the palm of his hands.

The ongoing - ongoing - and ONGOING ....dramatic stories Trevor shares about his childhood --were life lesson building blocks. Trevor did the building!! He used every life experience to his advantage-- and that's extraordinary!
Poverty, abuse, Religious upbringing, crazy chaotic living conditions, a powerhouse one-of-kind mother....Trevor is a thriving survivor!!!!

We also get an excellent intimate understanding: .....of the rigid former policy of segregating and economically and politically oppressing the non-white population....
from the direct experience of Noah being born in South Africa during the laws of apartheid.

A child who was often guided to play indoors, ( hiding), a 'positive' lifetime result 'today' is that Trevor says he can sit and enjoy his own company for days on out. He is never bored!
.... sadness of course - tragic times -horrific injustice.....
but Trevor Noah is warm - charming -filled with love and light!!!! Funny too!!!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29780253-born-a-crime

You Can't Touch My Hair- And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

You Can't Touch My Hair- And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson


3.89  ·  Rating details ·  7,372 Ratings  ·  1,063 Reviews
You Can't Touch My Hair- And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson DOWNLOAD OR READ IT ONLINE FOR FREE
You Can't Touch My Hair- And Other Things
I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed on the daily. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn t that . . . white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page and she s going to make you laugh as she s doing it.

Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, "2 Dope Queens," to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, "You Can't Touch My Hair" examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise."


Reviews


I was inspired to read You Can't Touch My Hair at GR friend Taryn's suggestion as a counterpoint to Jodie Picoult's portrayal of Ruth in Great Small Things. 
I didn't know anything about Phoebe Robinson -- who I now know is a young writer, feminist, actor and comic -- but I'm glad I read her book of personal essays. She writes about her views and experiences of being an African American woman -- she writes about experiences as a student, in casting calls, on the set, shopping, dealing with her hair and much more. She doesn't purport to speak on behalf of all African American women, but to the extent that she sheds some light on the experience of living in the shadow of mainstream expectations and stereotypes, her anecdotes and observations go well beyond the personal. She has a great narrative style -- she's funny but direct and unapologetic. Robinson's book is a timely and compelling counterpoint to the ugly morass into which current American politics have descended. I suspect that the audio version of her book would be even better because there's a lovely spoken quality to her writing.

I just read Amy Schumer's GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO, and if you follow me, you'll remember that I had some complaints. Mainly that comedians, for whatever reason, write unfunny memoirs that are either a) self-promotional, b) long, shopping lists of gratitude, or c) boring & dry. It's like they have to prove a point - that they're not just the funny man or woman, they can be serious, just you watch. But...that's not why people are going to buy your memoirs. It's not why I buy your memoirs.



Phoebe Robinson's memoir is not like that at all. It opens with the history and the politics of "natural" hair and why it's rude to ask to touch it. Robinson discusses how different hairstyles can make a statement if you're a woman of color, the hours and effort that go into maintaining natural hair, and the frustration she and other women feel when they are othered based on their appearance.



After this, as a bit of a wind down, she discusses some of the famous (black) celebrities who contributed to the pop cultural lexicon of black hairstyles. This section includes pictures and commentary, and I really enjoyed seeing the evolving looks.



The middle section is a bit about Phoebe herself, and some of the things she loves, as a sort of belated meet-cute before she gets into the heavy stuff. Try not falling for this woman, I dare you. She's so charming, and funny, and self-effacing. She drops pop culture references and slang like a pro, and her voice is so strong that you really get the feeling that you're having a dialogue with her - right now.It can be surprisingly difficult to capture a "voice" on paper, and she does it really, really well.



After the meet-cute, Phoebe gets into the Deep Stuff. Race. Stereotypes. Bigotry. Guilt. Othering. Coded language. Privilege. The stuff that will send a small population running for the hills (or their laptops), screaming about rabid SJWs. But Phoebe discusses these topics in a really great way, supporting her points with examples that help give you an idea of what she feels and why when people use insensitive words like "exotic", "urban", or "uppity", or why she got so angry when a woman burst into tears after Phoebe was forced to read aloud and then later criticized her offensive lesbian master/slave love story and claimed that she - a white college student - felt "picked on."



Riiiiiiiight.



Phoebe gets right to the point. Even now, decades after the civil rights movement and about a century after the end of slavery, we are still pretty damn discriminatory as a society. And discrimination doesn't have to be overt. You don't have to say the N-word to discriminate. Discrimination can be as implicit as designing camera film for white skin, treating your black friend like they're the ambassador for all people of color, or only carrying lighter shades of foundation at a drug store. Buzzfeed did a few role reversal videos (1, 2) that help illustrate what things look like from the outside the privilege zone, but the fact that it feels so ridiculous just goes to show how heavily integrated such stereotypes are within the structure of society, and why we still need change.

The book ends with Phoebe writing a series of letters to her young niece about what it means to be black, biracial, and a woman, and the importance of being an authentic, compassionate individual who is open to new experiences but also not afraid to stand up for her principles. She brings up some more great points, too, but after the previous section, it feels a bit anticlimactic. I can see why Phoebe chose to end her book this way, though. You don't want to leave your readers on a note of moral outrage (for better, or for worse), and it helps bring the memoir full circle, as Phoebe starts out talking about the politics of the parts of the individual, and ends with the politics of the whole article.

This is probably one of my top 5 favorite female memoirs, ranking right up there with Felicia Day's YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET and Tina Fey's BOSSYPANTS. It made me cry out, "I relate to that!" "I am interested in that!" "I am outraged by that!" and "I want to be your friend!" by turns. I love memoirs that are passionate, and political, and energized, and this book was all of those things. It was also thought-provoking, and honest in a way that a lot of memoirs these days aren't (I think you've probably heard me complain that too many celebrity memoirs are too "nice"; nice is nice, but it isn't controversial and it doesn't make a statement and it doesn't get you talking, either).

I loved that. And I love Phoebe. (And now I'm off to check out her comedy and stalk her on Twitter.)

We may not be in a post racial society but I tell you what: when funky, funny Phoebe can tell us what white people do that makes her crazy, and why she doesn’t want to be anybody’s token black friend, I think we’ve moved the needle since the last century. I remember the first time an African man told me that the only pictures he’d had taken in his years of graduate school were those taken by a Singaporean man who knew how to get the camera to register his skin color and expression. Robinson says something similar here: maybe it’s best if we first acknowledge a color difference before we declare it doesn’t matter.

Robinson does plenty of things in this “breakout book deal” but the thing that drew me in was the chance to learn, unfiltered, how black women had such dope-fantastic hair while white folk have to make do with boring thin stuff that flies away and looks pretty much the same everyday, no matter what we do to it. I first learned a little about the time and energy and money serious black hair coiffeurs require in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah, but now I think I get it. And no, I don’t think anyone should have to do this so that other folks will love them more. It is, however, an art form, another art form that black folk have created, perfected, and strutted.

Shonda Rhimes, in her book Year of Yes, tells us as a teen she tried to get her hair looking like Diana Ross every morning before classes. Oh girl…I did the same thing with some magazine model or other whose look was so far from mine that a million years of evolution wouldn’t have changed that difference between us. It is definitely not worth the effort. And the “creamy crack” or “crack cream” (break me up, girl!) sounds positively dangerous. Forget it immediately. Get a wig if you want to toss straight hair so much and definitely don’t subject yourself to chemical burns. Come on. If that is what’s required, f- them. I wouldn’t do it. Who the heck is calling the shots here?

When Robinson describes a bedroom scene where the woman is wearing an elastic do-rag to protect her afro and she insists that a real man would still get a boner regardless, I laughed all right. But then it occurred to me that is the definition of drop-dead sexy: strong and sexy, when black womanhood doesn’t even need to fling her hair around to get to home base. She commands the stage. I’m impressed. Personally, I’d kill for the simplicity of a close crop and call it quits. But I ain’t no Phoebe Robinson.

Jessica Williams, Phoebe’s “werk wife,” writes the introduction to this book. Williams was a writer/correspondent on The Daily Show and now the two perform standup at various locations in Brooklyn and work a podcast (WYNC) called 2 Dope Queens. Robinson had a vision of where she wanted to go and to that end began a blog called Blaria in 2014. When the Robinson and Williams standup routine started to take off, a new piece in the NYT tried to keep track. Robinson also has a talk-show style podcast she started last year called Sooo Many White Guys. She's angling for Oprah's job, and I think she's becoming a worthy successor. She certainly has drive.

If the material is sometimes juvenile, well, juvenile can be funny. There is one thing that may eventually limit the range of the women, though: all their references for jokes relate to TV or movies. When it works, it’s very good indeed, but not everyone is so deep into popular culture, or have looked at it with such seriousness and depth of understanding. It is fascinating to watch Robinson deconstruct an old movie like a college professor does a piece of literature, but then our mind starts thinking…what else can this woman do that would be—less fun, maybe—but more important?

Then I remember what she is doing, desensitizing race relations, telling white folk what bothers black folk, sharing some intimacies and some vulnerabilities, and I realize she is doing exactly what she needs to be doing right now, and she is doing it funny, she is doing it sexy, she is doing it in braids, in long soft curls, in dreads, and in a bust-'em afro. She’s strong, she’s sexy, she’s outspoken, and she’s unstoppable now. I’m a fan.

I have loaded a 2 Dope Queens holiday video podcast on my blog for you to see what you’re missing.

Phoebe Robinson's delivers more laughs per page than any other book of essays by a female comedian in recent memory. (Yes, I'm including Tina Fey. And Amy Poehler.) Not only that, she dispenses wisdom and tackles issues that go beyond the typical "being-a-woman-in-comedy-is-hard" thing a lot of these books do.

You know how sometimes you're reading the new Mindy Kaling book and she'll start talking about the realities of being a woman of color in entertainment and you think she's just about to start going for it and then she starts talking about zits or B. J. Novak or some other thing and never really goes there? Phoebe Robinson goes there. This book is about those realities, and yet it is so constantly hilarious that it's hard to figure out how she does it. She talks about microaggressions and then she's ranking the members of U2 based on bone-ability. This tightrope walk defines the whole book and it's pretty masterful.

Often with this kind of book that's kind of a mix between essay and memoir there will be the occasional weak section or the short, fluffy chapters thrown in so it doesn't look to short. But not this one. Every chapter felt solid and consistent and you could read for a long stretch or a little bit and feel really good about it.

If you're a fan of the 2 Dope Queens podcast, this book is probably already high up on your list. It will only confirm that Phoebe is even funnier than you thought she was.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton



 4.31  ·  Rating details ·  10281 Ratings  · 776  Reviews
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton download or read it online for free here
What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.





Reviews


  • Thank you Hillary Rodham Clinton, history will be kind to you and we the majority of knows the truth. Highly recommended, and I at 67 years young my grandchildren will know I voted for you, and believed in our values to keep our children world safe from dictatorships, and pollution of propaganda. Have my hard copy, and audio version. HRC your mother, father, daughter, brothers, husband, are so fortunate to be in her company. Your grandchildren, will do great things for others no doubt.

  • Candid, reflective, funny. I assume writing it wasn't easy, but oh boy, what an absolute joy to read! The chapter about Women in Politics should be read by every woman out there.

  • I have just finished reading. I purchased both Audiobook and hardcover. Audiobook is read entirely by Hillary and it was really great.

I attended many political events including Trump and Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, and I wrote many articles about it for several Japanese media including Newsweek Japan. What Hillary wrote in WHAT HAPPENED was exactly what I saw and reported. I thought many American media was very unfair to her (and also to Kasich, but in a different way) and wrote about it. However, I was attacked viciously by not only Trump supporters but also from left leaning activists. By reading Hillary's memoire, these bad memories came back in full force.

I know many people who says "I just don't like Hillary" for no particular reason. I hope they will read this memoir without any prejudice as I listened to many GOP candidates without prejudice. I found Kasich likable and capable even though I didn't agree with some of his positions. I would've been so depressed if Kasich was the President instead of Trump.

  • I've been really depressed since November and I have not watched TV since that fateful night. But, I can't just be that way. As Hillary says in the end of the book, There was only one answer: "Keep going."

I just started the Sisterhood Chapter. I am gripped and cannot put this book down. It's bold, it's raw, and it's riveting.

Guess what else? I'm not the only one who has a thing for Goldfish Crackers!

Don't be scared of the book. You won't be re-living the election. Rather, you will be finding out for the first time what HRC was really thinking at certain times during the campaign.

This book is EPIC and will go down in history as What Happened in 2016.



  • At first I felt all the negative reviews of this book was just right right-wing hate speech. I'm over half way through the book and it is almost laughable to the point that part of me thinks it's satire. 
Hillary Clinton is either a marketing genius who knows that people will buy this book just to get angry or (more likely) she is a completely oblivious person to reality and to how the average American perceives her. I don't like Bernie Sanders but after everything he had to endure with the DNC email scandal for Hillary to attack him and have the attuide that he should genuflect at the Clinton alter is just offensive. Her attacks on the press in this book are out of line as well. No rational person who followed this election can honestly say with a straight face that the mainstream media wasn't clearly pulling for her. Respect is earned not given, until Hillary Clinton learns that lesson she will never be a leader, at least not a effective one.


  • Try again.
I put a review on this site yesterday. It was a negative review, not nasty, but negative, and I bought the book from Amazon-----it was deleted.

This is a very poorly written book and nothing but a Trump bashing. She lost and needs to come to grips with that. Writing negative books and Amazon deleting negative reviews is not going to get her elected. The whole concept of democracy is evidently lost on Hillary and Amazon-I ran therefore I should win is not how it works. Simply because her last name is Clinton does not give her the right to be president. A lot of people have lost presidential races, you don't see anyone whining in books about it. In this book she has shown she is not mature enough to be president.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen download free ebook here for free
Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen

     Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
     He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
     Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
     Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.


 
Reviews
  
  • Back in the 70s in very blue collared Cleveland, Ohio I first heard Bruce Springsteen. 
Darkness on the Edge of Town was the first vinyl LP I owned. I owned plenty of 8-tracks but albums were things you kept recorded to cassettes. Springsteen, although a New Jersey native, was the patron saint of my hometown. With the regularity of Big Ben ringing the hour, every Friday at 5:00 pm WMMS would blast Born to Run with every single one of the fifty thousand watts. There was a better life outside of the Jungle Land and we all wanted to find it. We knew the steel mills wouldn't last forever and, although romanticized, no one really wanted to be a factory worker. Bruce Springsteen and a few others like Patti Smith and The Pretenders have followed me around for almost the last half century.

Love or hate audio books, but there is something about the author reading his own life to you. It is warm and personal. Springsteen is no different. You can hear the range of emotions in his voice from ecstatic to sorrow. Although in his mid-sixties he still has that youthful punkish tone to his voice and attitude.

A great autobiography for rock and roll fans. Springsteen is honest and doesn't hold back although he seems not to hold grudges. He seems to take things as learning experiences. Unlike flash in the pan musicians, Springsteen has paid his dues albums stretching back over forty years. He has more than enough stories to fill those years. There is rarely a dull moment in his life story. He includes background on his parents, friends, band members (especially Miami Steve and Clarence Clemmons), and his family. There are the ups and downs of running a band and the swings in popularity as well as trying to lead a personal life. Springsteen also opens up about depression and its treatment.

He is still celebrated as the hero of the blue collar worker (although concert ticket prices reflect otherwise... but the shows are long) although he freely admits he's never worked a day in his life. Perhaps, I am a bit biased and see some of my younger years and environment in his writing (and songs), but this is is an excellent, candid, and sincere book well worth the read.


  • My husband (also a musician) does not share my enthusiasm for Springsteen’s music (yes, this has caused a few tense moments in our marriage) but admits that he is a great songwriter.
 When celebrities who are not authors write a memoir they undoubtedly get help from ghost writers so I did some searching and learned that he worked on his book alone for seven years before seeking out a publisher. I was pleased to discover that his songwriting chops crossed over intact to authoring and was engaged from the start. Bruce is a showman and entertainer. This one is verbose with many songs on the set list and no fan lucky enough to attend one of his legendary 3-4 hour concerts (that would be me) would expect anything less.
After reading about early then later family life, the inspiration and heartache behind the music, coping with serious depression, reinventing his music, the “brotherhood” of the band (RIP Big Man C), and the great blessings of his marriage and children, I was gratified to learn that I really like the generous and talented man behind the music I love.

That moment at the L.A. Coliseum when he sang
“So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore . . .”
then held the mike out to us and we sang right on cue . . .
“Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me.”
Thanks for such a memorable night Bruce. It was right up there with seeing The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Yes . . . I “ain’t that young anymore” but I danced through the entire concert and only sat down at the intermission.

Fans, musicians (yes, even my husband) and music lovers everywhere will find this one is worthy of your time, especially if you grew up in the era of great rock and roll. I was doing the E. Street shuffle throughout the pages ‘cause tramps like me were born to run . . . and read. Music and reading from one source . . . A twofer!
“Bruuuuuuuuuuce!”