Friday, December 13, 2013

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

“I remember saying things, but I have no idea what was said. It was generally a friendly conversation.” —Associated Press reporter Jack Sullivan, attempting to recount a 3 A.M. exchange we had at a dinner party and inadvertently describing the past ten years of my life.” 

When I read this book nearly ten years ago, I became an instant fan of writer Chuck Klosterman. While he knows a lot more about music....and movies....and in general, pop culture, than I do, he basically knows about the music and movies and pop culture that I wish I did. 

Also, if you grew up in the 1980s or 90s, nearly every single reference he makes is something that will make you say "Oh my God, I remember that!" 

He deconstructs "Saved by the Bell" while also making mention of "When Harry Met Sally" - so obviously it spoke to me. And he touches on everything from Billy Joel and Star Wars to basketball and Pamela Anderson. 

Basically, this collection of essays is a great book you can pick up and put down as needed. Admittedly, I skipped a few here and there that didn't speak to me, but overall, I've recommended this book to a number of friends, all of whom are still speaking to me. So....that says something, right?

I loaned this to Amanda, who enjoyed it, but likely, since it's somewhat generational, mom and dad will likely skip it. 

Either way, though, recommended from anyone 30-45 years old who paid any attention at all to their pop culture surroundings while growing up. 


Friday, December 06, 2013

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

When I read "Long Walk to Freedom" back in 1999, it was because I'd taken a class in college that touched on his time in prison and the struggles he'd overcome in his life. Up until that time, I knew very little about the continent of Africa or the many intricacies that make up the countries and landscapes of that part of the world - and I also knew nothing about apartheid. 

This book floored me. It opened my eyes to the struggles that millions of people faced over decades of oppression and war, and specifically to the spirit within Nelson Mandela to still see the good in people, find the love among the hate, and bring a nation together in a once-in-a-generation kind of way. 

In light of the passing of Mr. Mandela, I started reflecting on this book and want to pick it up and read it again - and I wanted to blog about it! 

Plus, I can honestly say that everyone in the family, I think, would enjoy this - though obviously "Stori Telling" is a close second. 

There are a number of books on the life of Nelson Mandela, but I think his autobiography is a good place to start. 

Recommended = everyone.