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Tag: Is It Just Me? (1-10 of 11)

Ryan Gosling is a journalist! Another Ryan Gosling Tumblr to add to your collection

He may have lost Sexiest Man Alive to Bradley Cooper a few weeks ago — although Cooper thinks Gosling was robbed! — but Ryan Gosling still has the Internet in his pocket. This time with a media twist.

As a spin-off of the ever-popular “Hey Girl” meme, where Ryan Gosling says supportive, wonderful things to you via some handy Photoshop, as originally started on F**KYeahRyanGosling, this Tumblr adds in the cutthroat world of publishing, alongside his beautiful face. Suddenly late nights, broken printers, and rejection letters don’t seem so bad. READ FULL STORY

A book commits suicide every time you watch 'Jersey Shore': Do you read high-brow, watch low?

What you need is a bookend! Random House, Inc. posted this funny picture and axiom on its Facebook page. If you look closely, you can see what appears to be To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and an unidentified book plunging to their deaths because they refuse to exist in a world in which Jersey Shore is being watched. The photo is obviously a joke, but I refuse to believe you can’t read smart books while enjoying trash reality TV. In fact, many of the smartest people I know do both — something about being capable of holding two opposing ideas in mind at the same time.

I read To The Lighthouse this year, and while I can’t say I found it wildly entertaining, I stuck with it and felt like a better person for having finished it. Then I binged on the first season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills READ FULL STORY

Book abuse -- scribbling, tearing, fly-swatting: What's your worst offense?

In his New York Times column, Geoff Dyer writes not about a book’s effect on the reader, but the reader’s effect on the book, the actual physical object. He recounts the experience of finishing a particularly challenging work, Why the Allies Won, and the toll his studious read had on the binding and pages of the book. In his assessment, a battered book is the sign of a worthwhile intellectual pursuit: “… those creases became the external embodiment of the furrow-browed effort that reading it required.” Dyer even admits that the experience of reading the book literally drew blood, but not from paper cuts: ” … I can’t seem to read without picking my nose — hence the blood stains.” Gross, Geoff! Seriously!

Dyer’s admissions led me to think of how I treat my books. READ FULL STORY

Borders: Goodbye to all that. What are some of your Borders memories?

Today is a big deadline for Borders — bids for its smaller stores are due, and Books-a-Million, of all places, has offered to snatch up a number of locations. Borders is a big corporation that in many ways got itself into its own mess, so it should be hard to muster much sympathy. To use an analogy from You’ve Got Mail, it has way more in common with Tom Hanks’ evil megachain Fox Books than Meg Ryan’s quaint, scrappy Shop around the Corner. Borders matched Starbucks in terms of cool, corporate calculation, with its ubiquitous burgundy signage, arctic indoor temperatures, less than ample (or comfortable) seating, and ambient Norah Jones tunes on endless loop.

So why do I feel like I’m losing a friend? READ FULL STORY

'Kardashian Konfidential': I read it so you don't have to

Confession: While I might have read Kardashian Konfidential so you can avoid the latest in celebrity book ventures, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to read it. As a matter of fact, I offered. Somebody call MTV because True Life: I love the Kardashians. So naturally, I had to read Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe’s sisterhood autobiography (out today).

And even if you don’t care for the Kardashian clan, there’s no denying that they aren’t everywhere you look. (As I write this, Kim is hosting a special on ABC. See? They’re everywhere.) Konfidential — part memoir, part self-help –has the sisters reflecting on their childhoods, talking about their relationships, and sharing their beauty and style tips. A seemingly ridiculous concept for a group of people who are basically famous for being famous. Yet it’s all relatively endearing coming from this bunch, and a must-read for any true Kardashian fan. “We’re not actresses or performers. We are business women, sisters, a mother, a wife, entrepreneurs, fashion designers … And we didn’t set ou to be celebrities. We’re just living our lives, and our claim to recognizability is that we do it in front of the cameras, and people like watching it.” Well said, ladies.

Here are some of the book’s highlights:

  • Their momager, Kris, was always highly involved in their lives. (Not surprising.) Kris was Kourtney’s Brownie troop leader, so the girls often compare those experiences to Troop Beverly Hills. Picturing Kris at Phyllis Nefler = Priceless.
  • Kim, who always wanted to be on reality TV, wanted to make an audition tape for The Real World. (She never got around to it.)
  • Kourtney was on another E! reality show series, Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. (How did I miss this?!)
  • The ladies mostly ignore talk of anything negative (no chapter on why Kim ran off and got married at such a young age), but they do talk about the O.J. case. Their dad, Robert Kardashian, was one of O.J.’s best friends in college, and later became one of the lawyers on Simpson’s infamous trial. Fun fact: The white Bronco car chase started at the Kardashian home.
  • The book is full of copies of handwritten notes, letters, and cards. I couldn’t begin to tell you about them all, but my favorite was the copy of the contract Kim’s late father gave made her sign when she got a new BMW on her 16th birthday. The seven-part contract included a stipulation that if she ever smoked cigarettes or marijuana or drank alcohol her car would be taken away immediately. (Maybe spoiled, but down-to-earth.)
  • Kathie Lee Gifford is the godmother of the Kardashian’s half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie.
  • Kim says “When no one in your family likes a person, there’s got to be something to it.” She’s referring to her early divorce (which she doesn’t really discuss in the book), but all I could think of was Kourtney’s baby daddy, Scott. (Scott talk is avoided, as well.)
  • When Khloe married Lamar Odom, she dropped her middle name (Alexandra) and legally became Khloe Kardashian Odom.

I wasn’t really that interested in the advice portion of the book, but they do give various makeup and style tips. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no groundbreaking advice to pass along. (But then again, I’m a pretty frumpy person. So if you’re interested in styling your closet to perfection, than maybe you should check it out.) I was, however, intrigued by one tip which I just might have to try: Khloe’s go-to product? Vaseline. Once a week, she recommends you slather it onto your feet, and then put socks on. Wear them for about an hour, and walk away with smooth feet.

What do you think, Shelf Lifers? Do you have any interest in reading Kardashian Konfidential? And are you, like me, on the Kardashian bandwagon? Or are you sick of this famous fam?

'Rock What You've Got': I read it so you don't have to

Katherine-SchwarzeneggerImage Credit: Rick Rowell/ABCLast week, Katherine Schwarzenegger’s first book arrived in the EW offices. I checked immediately to see if she was related to this Schwarzenegger. (By the way, I’ll be referring to everyone by first name now. That’s really hard to spell!) It seemed pretty likely. Sure enough, Katherine is the governator’s oldest daughter with wife, Maria Shriver.

So I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when I first saw Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back (whew! That’s a mouthful) I rolled my eyes. Really, Katherine? ShelfLifers, please take a look at the completely gorgeous girl at the left. Hence the aforementioned eye roll. I’m pretty sure we can all concede that she’s led a fairly privileged life. Then there’s the fact that Katherine is the ripe old age of 20. Can you truly have “been there and back” when you’re still so young? I’m not so sure.

Anyway, I definitely started chapter one with my mind already made up about how ridiculous this book was going to be. Here’s a quick look at some of the more interesting items:

  • Oprah is mentioned just as many times as the phrase “Rock What You’ve Got” (four references each).
  • At all costs, avoid chapter two. Katherine gives a detailed account of the arrival of Aunt Flow. Sure, it’s a natural process. But I don’t want to read about another girl’s “I got my first period” story.
  • Her dad, Ahhnold, “is in great shape, but he isn’t ‘pumped up’ all the time.” Good to know!
  • Do you know what an umbilicoplasty is? Apparently, it’s the “reconstruction and reshaping of one’s belly button to look more attractive.” What the what?!
  • Since Arnold was elected governor of California, Katherine has had almost constant security detail (a local police officer). OK, Katherine, that sucks. Maybe you’re not a privileged as I thought.
  • Best line: “Avoid late-night eating and drinking. Most likely you are not really hungry when someone says ‘Let’s order a pizza’ at midnight. You’re either bored or wasted.”

Somewhere after the period story, I finally started to come around to Katherine’s book. I realized that I was probably too quick to judge. (Learning moment!) Let me be clear: young girls everywhere deserve good role models. Not the Lindsays and Britneys of the world, but real girls who set good examples. And I knew from the beginning that Katherine was no LiLo or BSpears. Still, I couldn’t help think that the whole premise was kind of ridiculous. I mean, what girl hasn’t had a I’m fat and ugly day? But at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with promoting a good self image, and Katherine does just that with Rock What You’ve Got. The above bullet points are really the highlights, so you can spare yourself 200 pages of reminders to eat healthful, exercise, and be happy with what the good Lord gave you, etc. But for the pre-tween in your life, maybe Rock What You’ve Got is not such a bad read after all.

Never judge a person by his or her memoir cover (unless that judgment is well deserved, of course)

Bad-As-I-Want-To-BeIt’s a saying so old I probably don’t even have to write it. But I will anyway: Never judge a book by its cover. The powers that be have created this phrase in an effort to teach us to be open-minded about what we read. I’m not sure how well it has succeeded. I’ve chosen several books solely based on a well-executed cover design. (Yes, guilty as charged! Don’t act like you haven’t done the same.)

But memoirs are a whole different story. (No pun intended.) Memoir covers typically feature a picture of the subject. How hard can that be? There shouldn’t be a lot of quick judging, right? Wrong. As The Huffington Post reminded me with its photo gallery, a simple memoir cover can go oh-so-very wrong with one poorly chosen photo.

I have to say I’m a fan of the 11 book covers that made the cut. They’re all pretty awful. (And the Hoff made the list TWICE!) But my favorite has to be Dennis Rodman’s Bad As I Wanna Be cover. I have one word for you, Dennis. Ewww. (Judgement earned.)

Who you do think deserves an award for the WORST memoir cover ever? And what covers did the HuffPo leave off its list?

What are your favorite summer beach reads?

handler-larsson-millerWhat makes a book a good beach read? Should it be short or long? Fiction or nonfiction? Frivolous or intellectual? Common logic seems to suggest that the best kind of book to read during your summer vacation is one with as much complexity as a bucket of sand–you know, chick-lit, celebrity memoirs, James Patterson novels. Why think when you can tan? These sorts of books have never really worked for me, though. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the turn-off-your-brain appeal of such titles, but I think I’m just a different breed of vacationer. When I’m sitting on the beach, looking out at the ocean, I don’t feel dumb and lazy—I feel profound!

Thoughtful, meandering memoirs like Donald Miller’s religious Blue Like Jazz appeal more to me when I’m beach-bound. The breeze along the shore, the sand in my toes, and the sound of constantly crashing waves somehow heighten my senses and enhance the reading experience. I feel more. I absorb more. Maybe it’s because I’m finally not distracted by the tempting black hole that is YouTube, but books just seem better to me when I’m on vacation–so why waste my time with inane trivialities? This year, I’m hoping to tear through Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card’s philosophical follow-up to his sci-fi classic Ender’s Game.

Of course, I’m not completely against all popular books—you are reading this on, after all! This year’s trip to the beach could be the perfect time to finally join the masses and read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What do you think Shelf Lifers? What books do you like to read at the beach? Got any recommendations for me?

Kendra Wilkinson's new memoir: I read it so you don't have to

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for reading the memoirs of others. Maybe it’s because I have a secret desire to write my own one day. Alas, I’m not famous and my mother would probably be the only one interested in such a book. So for now, I’ll continue with my fascination with the real stars.

So when Kendra Wilkinson’s new book Sliding Into Home popped up in the EW office this week, I grabbed it immediately. (Not sure why the rush. I think I might be the only person in the office who actually wanted to read it. But I’ll pretend it was a lucky grab.) And I know what you’re thinking. Kendra Wilkinson of Playboy fame a star? Well, that’s debatable. But she put her memoirs on paper nonetheless.

And if you can get past the weak writing and the fact that it’s called Sliding Into Home with no real connection to softball/baseball, she actually has an interesting story to tell. (I get that she’s into sports, but after reading the book, soccer is clearly her forte, not softball. But I digress.) She’s had a tough life, and it’s really a shock she’s as successful as she is. Have you turned on E! network lately? Anyway, maybe you could give the book a chance. Especially if you’ve seen The Girls Next Door or Kendra. But if not, I bring you the 10 most interesting things I learned about Kendra by reading:

  1. She had some pretty awful teachers growing up. A former math teacher told 14-year-old Kendra if she wore a short skirt and talked his class up at a parent’s night he would give her an A. (She did, and she got that A.) Another teacher laughed at her when she announced in class she wanted to be a marine biologist. (How rude!)
  2. Wilkinson did a lot of drugs. A lot. Crystal meth, cocaine, acid, weed. You name it, she probably did it. (And this is why I’m amazed she still looks as young as she does.)
  3. And she drank a lot of alcohol. The first time she got drunk, at age 12, her mom took her to juvenile hall to spend the night. The officers took her in the back, tried to scare her, and then let her go because they were full. (Drinking at 12! I was a heavy drinker of juice at 12.)
  4. Wilkinson also admits to pretty severe cutting. (She said she hid this from her friends like she hid her other destructive behavior.)
  5. She was suicidal at one point, and spent time in a psychiatric ward after overdosing on pills. At the hospital, she tried to overdose by eating a tube of toothpaste. (She admits that this was like hitting rock bottom.)
  6. Her turning point was a bad reaction to too much cocaine one night. She went home to her mom, asked for forgiveness, and got her life back on track. (Thank goodness. Her retelling of that night is chilling.)
  7. Wilkinson was discovered by Hugh Hefner after she modeled in a car show with her then boyfriend, Zack. (Kendra met Hef at 18 when she worked his 78th birthday as a painted girl.)
  8. When she first moved into the mansion as one of Hef’s girlfriends, she didn’t get along with the other girlfriends (and later co-stars) Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. (The Girls Next Door portrays them as very close, but the girls weren’t until the later seasons, Wilkinson shares.)
  9. Wilkinson likes Nancy Grace, and said she might be the one person to change her mind about something. (I find this odd. Anyone else?)
  10. She has a huge fear of her belly button stemming from an episode of Ren and Stimpy. (This one doesn’t surprise me so much. That was a weird show.)

So whether or not you’re a Kendra fan, you have to admit that she’s had a rough life. And for someone who spent most of her youth completely out of control, I’m happy she found a way out. She’s happily married with a really cute baby. And she’s got a rag to riches story I just can’t deny.

Tolstoy will do the robot in the next Quirk Classic

Quirk Books, the folks who brought you Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, its prequel, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, have moved on from bloodying the frock of Jane Austen and set their sights on a new author: Leo Tolstoy. No, the company’s fourth augmented classic isn’t going to be War and Pieces of Brain, nor will it be The Undeath of Ivan Ilyich.

It’s Android Karenina, which will transpose the tale of Anna Karenina to a steampunk-inspired alternate 19th-century world of cyborgs, robot butlers, and space travel. S&S&S scribe Ben H. Winters will be helping to mechanize the original text, and the new quirkified version (the cover, at left, has yet to be designed) is set for release in bookstores this June.

I think these changes can only make a tragic tale more tragic; poor Anna never did well with steam-powered locomotion, and now she’s surrounded by it. No word on whether she’ll be bionically rebuilt following the ending, though. It’s good that this series is branching out to other authors, even if Tolstoy doesn’t exactly inspire the same Sunday-reading-group fervor as Ms. Austen. What say you, Shelf-Lifers? Do you like your Russian literature automatized?

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