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  • gilwilson 3:00 PM on March 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country” By Daniel O’Brien 

    21558602“How to Fight Presidents:
    Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country”
    By Daniel O’Brien
    Narrated by: Richard McGonagle
    Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
    Published 2014 Random House Audio

    If you were to ever find yourself going up against any of our former presidents in a bout of fisticuffs, this book will give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t.  But again, if you should find yourself in that situation make damn sure that of all the ex-presidents it’s not Teddy Roosevelt.  That guy was way more badass than you’d expect any president to be.

    In this book by Daniel O’Brien you’re going to find yourself having a blast and laughing out loud while learning history.  Keep in mind that this book tends to be a bit crude, but if your skin is thick enough to take in a few foul words and phrases you’re going to love this book.  I hope every history teacher in America reads this book and once in a while throws in some of the material while molding the young minds about history.

    Had I been armed with this information back when I was forced to learn history, I might have paid more attention.  There are even some great pop-culture references that make this book even more enjoyable.  Ronald Reagan is Wolverine and Washington is the love child of Professor X and Mr. Fantastic.   Sure there’s tough language, but bad words be damned, this book is awesome.

    The narrator, Richard McGonagle, does a superb job of keep the pace of this book tolerable.  You may have to pause a few times to stop for laughter, but it’s worth it.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    Make no mistake: Our founding fathers were more bandanas-and-muscles than powdered-wigs-and-tea.

    As a prisoner of war, Andrew Jackson walked several miles barefoot across state lines while suffering from smallpox and a serious head wound received when he refused to polish the boots of the soldiers who had taken him captive. He was thirteen years old. A few decades later, he became the first popularly elected president and served the nation, pausing briefly only to beat a would-be assassin with a cane to within an inch of his life. Theodore Roosevelt had asthma, was blind in one eye, survived multiple gunshot wounds, had only one regret (that there were no wars to fight under his presidency), and was the first U.S. president to win the Medal of Honor, which he did after he died. Faced with the choice, George Washington actually preferred the sound of bullets whizzing by his head in battle over the sound of silence.

    And now these men – these hallowed leaders of the free world – want to kick your ass.

    Plenty of historians can tell you which president had the most effective economic strategies, and which president helped shape our current political parties, but can any of them tell you what to do if you encounter Chester A. Arthur in a bare-knuckled boxing fight? This book will teach you how to be better, stronger, faster, and more deadly than the most powerful (and craziest) men in history. You’re welcome.

    ©2014 Daniel O’Brien (P)2014 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 5:12 PM on March 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee” By Marja Mills 

    61NyC5h-puL._SL500_“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee”
    By Marja Mills
    Narrated by: Amy Lynn Stewart
    Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
    Published 2014 by Penguin Audio

    Published under a bit of controversy and then reviewers not liking the writer’s style, made me hesitate on putting this on my reading list.  But I was curious, besides, who doesn’t like “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

    Some of the controversy is that Harper Lee claims she did not approve of this book.  Harper Lee has lived her quiet life pretty much avoiding reporters and the public spotlight for quite a while.  Living with her older sister, Alice, she spent her last days of her life between New York and her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama,  the setting for Mockingbird.

    In this book Marja Mills writes of her time spent with the Lee sisters over a few years as the only journalist the Lee’s have befriended.  Mills’ book is basically the memoirs of her time spent in Monroeville.  Many reviewers complaints were that there is no new information on Harper Lee or the famous novel.  After listening to this audiobook, I would argue that point because maybe you don’t get the new information, you do get the ambiance and feeling of what that area of the country is like and what the Lee family did that led to the writing of the book.  Now keep in mind that this is written from a newspaper writer’s point of view, so it’s not the nice clean story a novel would produce.  Instead you get bits and pieces of the life of the Lee sisters.

    Amy Lynn Stewart does a great job narrating the book and makes it more fun throwing in the accents where needed.

    If you are a huge fan of “To Kill a Mockingbird” you will find some interest in this.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of the best-loved novels of the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation – and a great friendship.

    In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next 18 months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

    Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story – and the South – right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

    The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

    Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

    ©2014 Marja Mills (P)2014 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 4:33 PM on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    “The Seagull” By Anton Chekhov 

    Seagull-The-Digital-Cover-325x325-R1V1“The Seagull”
    By Anton Chekhov
    Published April 2013 by L.A. Theatre Works
    1:49:47
    Classic Drama
    Directed by Rosalind Ayres
    Calista Flockhart as Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina
    T.R. Knight as Konstantin Treplev
    Stephen Collins as Yevgeny Dorn
    Gordon Clapp as Ilya Shamrayev
    Logan Fahey as Semyon Medvedenko
    Cindy Katz as Polina Andreyevna
    Dakin Matthews as Pyotr Sorin
    Bess Rous as Masha
    Josh Stamberg as Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin
    Kira Sternbach as Nina

    This play is a great representation of art for the sake of art itself.  When first performed the play received jeers and heckles from the audience.  I can actually understand that.  For the most part this play is just a bunch of actors that talk about how they love what they do.  Sure there is more to it, but the whole play is pretty much full of itself to the point that the average reader/listener/play goer would not quite get it or really care enough to try.

    I can easily say that this performance is outstanding performance wise, the cast did make me want to try to look for a deeper meaning.  But the material as a whole left me wishing I would have listened to another LATW performance.

    Don’t let this keep you from looking for other performances from L.A. Theatre Works.  They do an outstanding job of putting you directly in the audience in these audio productions.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Here translated by Christopher Hampton, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is considered one of his most haunting and atmospheric character studies. A would-be playwright is at war with his egoistic mother while the town has become intoxicated by a sensational author. And as the alluring newcomer steals away Kosta’s only love, their new romance could have devastating consequences.

    Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in September of 2012.

     
  • gilwilson 1:53 PM on March 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Major Barbara” By George Bernard Shaw 

    51yxvM-m6TL._SL500_Major Barbara
    By: George Bernard Shaw
    Narrated by: Kate Burton, Roger Rees, J. B. Blanc, Matt Gaydos, Brian George, Hamish Linklater, Henri Lubatti
    Length: 1 hr and 53 mins
    Produced 2008 L.A. Theatre Works

    It’s time once again, for me anyhow, to revisit some of the outstanding productions by L.A. Theatre Works.  If you’ve never heard any of these productions, do yourself a favor and check them out at:  LATW.org.  L.A. Theatre Works records the audio of their performances to release as audiobook forms of great plays.  Their library online seems endless, and every performance features major celebrities performing live on stage.

    This time around I was looking for some of the plays I was supposed to read in college, but found my way around not doing so.  Hey, I had limited time.

    George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara” was one that was assigned for my Theatre History class and also for the directing class.  So I had to work extra hard to avoid reading the whole play.  Thanks to Cliff’s Notes I got around reading the whole play and got by with just reading certain scenes.  Now, for the whole play.  To sum up and make brief, the final decision is that sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil to save the souls of the masses.

    This play is one of what is called Shaw’s “Discussion” plays.  In which the conversation of the characters is a running conversation of good vs. evil.   While some plays are just pure entertainment, many have some sort of lesson to be learned.  That in itself is the beauty of theatre, especially when visiting the “classics.”

    Morality, religion, and social engineering are the main ideas of this play.  In the case of Barbara, a Major in the Salvation army, she is in a conundrum of whether to accept charity donations for the salvation of the souls she’s tending to from her father, Andrew Undershaft, who profits on war.  She also learns the Salvation Army is accepting money from a whiskey distiller.  So should a charity trying to convert people to Christianity, thus saving their souls, accept money from immoral sources?

    All the performances in this production are the usual top-notch performances that can be expected from all of L.A. Theatre Works’ productions.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Barbara is a major in the Salvation Army – but she’s also the daughter of Andrew Undershaft, a man who’s made millions from the sale of weapons of war. The real battle, however, rages between between the devilish father and his idealistic daughter as they answer the question: does salvation come through faith or finance? This sparkling comedy traverses family relations, religion, ethics and politics – as only Shaw, the master dramatist, can!
    ©2008 L.A. Theatre Works

     
  • gilwilson 2:29 PM on March 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Trump Is F*cking Crazy (This Is Not a Joke)” By Keith Olbermann 

    38596068“Trump Is F*cking Crazy
    (This Is Not a Joke)”
    By Keith Olbermann
    Narrated by: Keith Olbermann
    Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
    Published October 17th 2017 by Penguin Audio

    Sad but true.

    I don’t really know what I was expecting when picking out this audiobook.  I knew it was anti-Trump.  But I thought it would just be like a talk radio rant, in the same vein as a Rush Limbaugh rant or Sean Hannity rant, or any other career political broadcaster.  But what made me sad was that Olbermann simply took Donald Trump’s tweets and repeated them.

    Starting from 45’s campaign in 2016 all the way through the summer of his first year as president, Olbermann would take the tweets and relate them to news stories at the time.  The most interesting were the tweets related to Russia and the buildup of the investigation.  The tweets were nothing but denials at first, but then built up to many saying the equivalent of 45 saying, “I never said that.”  I guess technically he didn’t, he tweeted it.

    This collection combined with the Olbermann “Op-Ed” sections creates a unique view of the first two years of 45’s assault on America.  This is something that could only be done in this information age.  Gone are the days when a President could deny saying something, and hoping the world forgot.  The problem today is that with the internet fact checking is easier when you can go back at your leisure and actually watch the video of the quote or situation in question.

    Yeah, Olberman does deliver his book in a bit of a rant state of mind, but I think that made the book much more fun and a lot less depressing.  Keep in mind this book has its humorous moments, but it is not a joke.

    Lots of yelling, lots of questions, lots of facts.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    Witty, acerbic, hard-hitting, and timely, Keith Olbermann’s Donald Trump commentaries come adapted from his hit GQ series The Resistance.

    Since Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, Keith Olbermann has emerged as one of the web’s most popular anti-Trump screedists – each installment of his GQ web series The Resistance receives nearly four million views, and his fiercely progressive monologues have garnered a new generation of fans and followers. In Trump Is F*cking Crazy, Olbermann takes our commander in chief and his politics apart with journalistic acuity and his classic in-your-face humor. With more than 50 individual essays adapted from his GQ commentaries, including new up-to-the-minute material, Trump Is F*cking Crazy is an essential listen for concerned citizens who – like Olbermann – refuse to normalize or accept our new political reality.

    ©2017 Keith Olbermann (P)2017 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 12:39 PM on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    “The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones” By Rich Cohen 

    26891546“The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones”
    By Rich Cohen
    Narrated by: Rich Cohen
    Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
    Published May 10th 2016 by Random House Audio

    For the longest period of my life, I was not a fan of the Rolling Stones.  I know, there are a few gasps out there, but hey, they had to grow on me, and I guess it took 50 years.  Still I can’t say I like all of their stuff.  What stands out as good Rolling Stones Music is from the “Beggar’s Banquet” album (1968) to “Tattoo You” (1981).  But that selection was only decided upon back around 2010.  Before that, at best, I would hear them but not really listen.  Once I  read Keith Richard’s autobiography, “Life,” I was very intrigued.  I became a fan, not so much as to spend half my paycheck to go see them in concert but enough to actually stop and listen to their music.  I even went out and bought a couple of their records.  (yes I listen to vinyl)

    This book brought to light a new view of the band for me.  This time I was listening to an audiobook written by an outsider.  Rich Cohen had been assigned by Rolling Stone Magazine to follow the Stones on tour in the Mid-90s and through that put together some insight into the Stones.

    While the bulk of Rich Cohen’s insight does come from the Mid-90s tour, Cohen is able to put together a very interesting history of the band.  Cohen covers all the important events, from the members meeting to form the band, to the death of Brian Jones, to Altamont, and beyond.

    Cohen narrating the audiobook is a big plus.  You get his point of view 100 percent and this makes the story much more interesting than just another rehashing of the career of a band we all know.  Even when I wasn’t a “fan” I knew much of their story.  This time around I was able to get a real feel for all the experiences.

    This book needs to be on the list of every Rock fan.

    Publisher’s Summary
    A gritty, one-of-a-kind backstage account of the world’s greatest touring band, from the opinionated music journalist who was along for the ride as a young reporter for Rolling Stone in the 1990s

    One of the Top Five Rock Biographies of the Year (San Francisco Chronicle)
    One of the Best Books of the Year (Kirkus Reviews)

    A book inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Rich Cohen’s fresh and galvanizing narrative history of the Rolling Stones begins with the fateful meeting of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on a train platform in 1961 – and goes on to span decades, with a focus on the golden run – from the albums Beggars Banquet (1968) to Exile on Main Street (1972) – when the Stones were at the height of their powers. Cohen is equally as good on the low points as the highs, and he puts his finger on the moments that not only defined the Stones as gifted musicians schooled in the blues, but as the avatars of so much in our modern culture. In the end, though, after the drugs and the girlfriends and the bitter disputes, there is the music – which will define, once and forever, why the Stones will always matter.

    “Fabulous…. The research is meticulous…. Cohen’s own interviews even yield some new Stones lore.” (The Wall Street Journal)

    “[Cohen] can catch the way a record can seem to remake the world [and] how songs make a world you can’t escape.” (Pitchfork)

    “No one can tell this story, wringing new life even from the leathery faces of mummies like the Rolling Stones, like Rich Cohen…. The book beautifully details the very meaning of rock ’n’ roll.” (New York Observer)

    “Masterful…. Hundreds of books have been written about this particular band and [Cohen’s] will rank among the very best of the bunch.” (Chicago Tribune)

    ©2016 Rich Cohen (P)2016 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 10:46 AM on February 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Sherlock Holmes – The Greatest Detective: A Swordsman In London” by Todd Black 

    34433165“Sherlock Holmes – The Greatest Detective: A Swordsman In London”February 26, 2017
    by Todd Black
    254 pages
    Published by BlackMagicWolf Productions; 1st edition (February 26, 2017)

    I first met Todd Black at a comic-con, and his enthusiasm is very contagious.  Whether he’s pushing his “Guardians” comic series or the several other comic book projects he has going, he will make you interested.  When he said he was going to start tackling some Sherlock Holmes stories, I was taken aback and wondering if he could tackle “The Greatest Detective.”

    Writing for a young adult audience, I’m happy to say that not only did he capture the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, but he has presented it in a way to get a new generation interested in the classics.  Todd takes the classic Holmes and Watson and sets them in modern times.  While the cover art by Matt Maldonado, shows somewhat of a classic view of the duo, the writing inside had me picturing, Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, as in the BBC series “Sherlock.”

    The swordsman comes to Holmes after a medical examiner recommends Holmes.  Lucas, the Swordsman, discovers a dead body with no apparent reason for death.  The medical examiner says there have been 4 such deaths in the area.  Once Lucas teams up with Holmes and Watson the game is afoot and a friendship develops.

    Picking up clues along the way the reader is hooked into trying to solve this case along with Sherlock Holmes and company.  Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, is even brought in to share some government secrets and prevent others from making it to the public spectrum.

    Anyone interested in The Holmes saga is encouraged to give this book a read.  All young adults should have to read this as a launching point into the classic stories.

     

    Publisher’s Summary

    A new telling of the classic duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson has arrived. Set in the modern age, with the two being young adults, they set out to solve mysteries that no one else can solve.

    A Swordsman In London starts off their adventures with a mystery involving a dead body found a mysterious swordsman. With no identity, Sherlock and Watson have to find out who this person is, why they were killed, and what purpose did it serve.

    Little do they know how important this man was, and what his killer will do to ensure his identity remains secret.

    The game is afoot, and Sherlock Holmes is on the case.

     
  • gilwilson 3:05 PM on February 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands #1) By Zoe Marriott 

    12769215Shadows on the Moon
    (The Moonlit Lands #1)
    By Zoe Marriott
    Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
    Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
    Published April 24th 2012 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

    Time for another YA novel.  I do like listening to YA audiobooks.  They are easy flowing and most of the time great stories.  Every once in a while, I’ll run into a book that just is too young too keep my attention.  This one was not one of those.

    “Shadows on the Moon” was promoted as an alternate take on the Cinderella story.  While I did get some of the feeling of the Cinderella story adapted to this tale from the Far East, I thought the story would have been better promoted without the comparison.  The idea that Suzume, the one who is telling the tale, is a shadow weaver (one who can create strong illusions) creates a universe from a female point of view which can be held up to the standards of the Harry Potter series and others.  I will warn you there may be spoilers ahead.

    Suzume is very young when her father is executed for treason, which turns out to be just a setup by her soon to be step-father.  Her step-father was seeking the hand of her mother in marriage.  When younger Suzume’s mother and step-father were sure to be wed, but Suzume’s father came into the picture.  Once Suzume’s father was out of the picture the step-father, Tereyama, steps in and demands all attentions on him.  when Suzume’s mother gives birth to twin boys, Suzume’s life is in danger.

    She runs away and works as a Drudge in the Tereyama kitchen using her shadow weaving to cover her real identity.  Soon disaster strikes and Suzume is forced to run away again.  She is soon befriended by a former Shadow princess, Kano Akira.

    A shadow princess is chosen by the Shadow Prince at the Shadow ball.  This is somewhat of a competition between the beautiful girls of the land that dance and charm their way to be chosen.

    Kano Akira begins training Suzume to compete and through a series of training montages (yeah I had old 80s movies running through my head as i read those sections), haikus, and meetings with a prince from a land far away, Suzume finds a way to get her revenge.

    Amy Rubinate is able to read the story in a way that not only keeps the listener listening intensely.

    Great high fantasy, fiction that will entertain anyone over the age of 16.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Sixteen-year-old Suzume is a shadow weaver, trained in the magical art of illusion. She can be anyone she wants to be – except herself.

    Is she the girl of noble birth, trapped by the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Land?

    Even Suzume is no longer sure of her true identity. But she is determined to steal the heart of the Moon Prince and exact revenge on her stepfather for the death of her family. And nothing will stop her. Not even her love for fellow shadow weaver Otieno, the one man who can see through her illusions.

    Set in a fairy-tale version of ancient Japan, Shadows on the Moon shakes up the Cinderella story with its brave, resourceful, and passionate heroine.

    ©2012 Zoe Marriott (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

     
  • gilwilson 3:34 PM on January 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , americana, hitchhiking, john waters,   

    “Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America” By John Waters 

    18594483Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America
    By John Waters
    Narrated by: John Waters
    Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
    Release date: 06-03-14
    Publisher: Macmillan Audio

    We’ll start this out by me confessing that I’m a fan of John Waters.  Now when I say that I mean the films he’s directed and/or written.  I was first introduced to his work through 3 of his movies.  A friend told me I would love these films, since they knew I was an indie-film fan.  Those 3 movies were: “Cry Baby,” “Serial Mom,” (my favorite) and “Hairspray” (the original 1988 version).  They were off the beaten path and were dark and fun.  I later tried to watch some of his 70s films with Devine (i.e. “Pink Flamingos,” “Female Troubles”) but they were a bit out there for me (and that’s saying alot).  So when I got wind of this book, I just had to give it a listen.

    Narrated by the author makes this book priceless, only John Waters can do John Waters, but what makes it extremely interesting is that it is basically 2 novellas and a memoir in one audiobook.  Waters goes across country and experiences America in a way only John Waters can.   What is funny is that I was not aware for some reason that it was 3 separate parts.  The first section is his journey written as if only the best things happen as he hitchhikes across the USA.  The second section is if only the worst things would happen and finally the last section is the actual events on his trek across the country.

    Not being aware of the 3 sections, I was listening to his story unfold in section one and thinking, “Wow, how cool is that?”  Basically, he gets picked up by a drug dealer on his first ride and the drug dealer gives him a million dollars to fund his latest film.  I thought this has got to be the luckiest guy in the world.  Yeah there were times I was doubting the reality of his tale, but he told it with such feeling that I bought it.  Then when section two starts and we are starting over and he says that was the best case here’s the worst, I felt ripped off.  That feeling soon passed because I realized  he’s a master story teller and that’s exactly what I want.

    When I recommend this to friends and family and they listen to it or read it, I’m quick to ask what their favorite part was.  It is all good, but the bad part get’s really bad and dark.  The real life experience is not boring by any means, but it was nice to have the best and worst as comparisons.

    Have fun with this book,  but before you start make sure you are familiar with John Waters so you don’t get too surprised.

    Publisher’s Summary

    A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America’s most beloved weirdo.

    John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads “I’m Not Psycho”, he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?

    Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: A friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle 81-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmaker’s unexpected hero: A young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.

    Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion – and a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.

    ©2014 John Waters (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
     
  • gilwilson 3:59 PM on January 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , maine, white privilege   

    “Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches” By John Hodgman 

    36407171Vacationland
    True Stories from Painful Beaches
    By John Hodgman
    Narrated by: John Hodgman
    Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
    Release date: 10-24-17
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    I, as with maybe many of you, was introduced to John Hodgman on those Mac vs. PC commercials where Justin Long was a Mac and John Hodgman was a PC.  They were humorous and didn’t make me want to buy a Mac, but they tried.  Maybe because I was more of a fan of the somewhat dry humor of the PC.  Later Hodgman was a regular on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.  That’s when I loved Hodgman’s “White Privilege Humor.”

    I knew Hodgman had written some books, but for some reason those books never ended up in my hands.  Well this time I had to make sure this one got consumed.  It was was worth the wait.

    I am pretty sure I’m safe in saying this, but John Hodgman’s wit and commentary can be appreciated and enjoyed by anybody.  In fact, the humor lies in the fact that this, or something like it, has happened to everyone.  Hodgman takes us on a tour of his life, making this book almost an autobiography, and ending up in Maine, Vacationland.

    We learn about;  his speaking at a Mark Twain Day event at some unnamed school, even though he hasn’t read Mark Twain, and is only being used to make a colleague jealous, how tourism in Maine is dark and dismal, how he accidentally bought a boat (as we all have done), his getting high with a musician friend and making cairns, and hanging out with the lead singer of the Pixies.

    The many adventures are presented in a way that you may laugh or just smile but at the same time you may accidentally feel sorry for him.  Either way all the stories are great adventures.  I am so glad this audiobook was read by the author, only he could have delivered the stories with the correct inflections and feelings.

    Publisher’s Summary

    John Hodgman – New York Times best-selling author, semifamous personality, deranged millionaire, increasingly elderly husband, father, and human of Earth – has written a memoir about his cursed travels through two wildernesses: from the woods of his home in Massachusetts, birthplace of rage, to his exile on the coast of Maine, so-called Vacationland, home to the most painful beaches on Earth.

    Vacationland is also about Hodgman’s wandering in the metaphoric wilderness of his 40s, those years when dudes especially must painfully stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weirder dads that they are.

    Other subjects covered include the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison, and advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

    After three best-selling books of fake facts, Hodgman is finally ready to tell the truth – in the same outlandish, audacious, and inimitable style that has won him fans in every medium he has worked: books, stage, social media, television, and movies.

    ©2017 John Hodgman (P)2017 Penguin Audio
     
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