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Kiss Me Like a Stranger Book Review

He was the music maker…the dreamer of dreams.  He brought some of our favorite characters to life, including Dr. Frankenstein, Willy Wonka, Leo Bloom, Sigerson Holmes, and Skip Donahue.  From his humble beginnings as a Shakespearean actor to his amazing collection of movies he made with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder challenged the comic genre.  He pushed himself, pushed his directors.  He poured himself into each project, owning and enveloping each of his characters with all the energy he could muster.  He may have been a simple Midwestern boy at heart, but Gene Wilder was nothing if not a believer in the extraordinary.

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In his very intimate and personal autobiography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, Wilder opens up and exposes his deepest secrets, talking about how his sick mother influenced his career path and his very real and emotional experiences with psychoanalysis.  He opens about his love affairs and marriages, including his sometimes tumultuous relationship with fellow comedian, Gilda Radner, and his difficult relationship with his adopted daughter, Katie.

While he does talk briefly about his projects and films, Kiss Me Like a Stranger is not a tell-all about a chocolate factory or a secret laboratory.  At its core, this book is about an actor’s search for truth, love, and acceptance.  It’s about mistakes and choices.  With eloquence and grace, it turns this larger-than-life comedian into a real person, a humble person.  A man who falls in and out of love, who struggles with raising a daughter not his own, and who – just like the rest of us – is just looking for love and fulfillment both personally and professionally.

Written about 10 years before his death, Kiss Me Like a Stranger is a frank, yet charming memoir that shows Wilder for what he truly was…a shy, gentle man who loved to make people laugh.  He was a dear friend, a doting husband, and a beloved actor who, like so many of his profession, had a series of serendipitous moments that propelled him, maybe unwillingly, into stardom.

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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10 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs

All men must read.

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Whether you’re a die-hard GOT book lover or you’ve only committed to the TV show, this collection of gift books are a must for any wanna-be Lannister, Stark, or Tyrell.  From fun coloring books to scientific explorations of what happens when a brother and sister really do procreate, this collection of 10 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs is one to bookmark for any upcoming birthdays or holidays.

10 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs

The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book

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Make commercial breaks fly by with this nerdy Game of Thrones coloring book.  With dozens of stunning black and white illustrations from several artists, this coloring book will certainly help pass the time after these first 6 episodes are over.

Game of Scones: All Men Must Dine

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Game up for Sunday’s premier with an assortment of baked goods from Game of Scones.  Featuring Red (Velvet) Wedding Cake, Joffrey’s Jaffas, Jaime and Cersei’s Family Mess (eww), and Oberyn’s Smashing Head Surprise, this book is a must for fans!

Game of Thrones Versus History: Written in Blood

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Aside from the many fantastical elements of Game of Thrones, much of the plot is actually based on real historic events.  Get a better idea of what inspired Joffrey’s death, how the War of the Roses influenced battles in the series, and how slavery, celibate societies, and other myths and legends factored into George R. R. Martin’s world.

Game of Thrones Psychology: The Mind is Dark and Full of Terrors

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How to love, hate, good, evil, greed, and narcissism drive good and bad behaviors in the characters of Game of Thrones?  This book tries to explore that answer, offering a close examination of the psychology behind the characters in the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Living Language Dothraki

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Written by David J. Peterson, the man behind the Dothraki language, this book will arm you with enough vocabulary and grammar to have a complete conversation in Dothraki.  This course includes a language guide as well as a CD featuring more than 200 words and phrases, grammar explanations, cultural notes, and exercises.

Brain of Thrones: A Game of Thrones Quiz Book

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How much to you REALLY know about Game of Thrones?  Test your knowledge of seasons 1 through 6 with this collection of quizzes.  A fun book for friends to do together, this collection of quizzes is the perfect way to prep before the final season begins.

Game of Thrones: An Unofficial Travel Guide

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Part of the beauty of Game of Thrones is that it’s filmed all over the world.  Have you ever wanted to walk around King’s Landing or explore Winterfell for yourself?  Well, now you can explore the real-life locations that created these magical worlds.  They are all places you can visit…and this book will tell you how.

The Science of Game of Thrones: From the Genetics of Royal Incest to the Chemistry of Death by Molten Gold – Sifting Fact from Fantasy in the Seven Kingdoms

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Is it possible to crush a person’s head with your bare hands?  What REALLY happens when royal families sleep together?  Does Cersei have a borderline personality disorder?  What curious medical disorder does Horor suffer from?  All these questions and more are answered in this scientific look into the world of Game of Thrones.

The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister

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We all know that Tyrion is the best character in Game of Thrones, and this little gem of a book gathers up all his wisdom into one place.  Find his best quotes about dining, women, wine, and politics in this illustrated gift book that’s perfect for those who drink and know things.

A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook

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With a forward by George R. R. Martin himself, A Feast of Ice & Fire is the official cookbook for Game of Thrones fans.  With recipes for lemon cakes, pork pies, honeyfingers, and more, this is the perfect guide for creating an epic feast suitable for a Game of Thrones premier party.

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Becoming Unbecoming Book Review

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve had a privileged life, but I have been lucky in so many ways.  I grew up in towns that were safe and friendly.  I have a loving and supportive family that has my back no matter what.  I have friends that I love dearly and who have helped me through some very rough times…I have a roof over my head, food in my cabinets, and a wonderful, funny, and amazing husband.

I’ve had good jobs that have given me incredible life lessons…I had an amazing education and have teachers I STILL keep in touch with even 10+ years later.  Sure, there have been some difficulties, but overall, I can’t say that my life – so far, at least – hasn’t been too bad.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.  Some people are gravely ill, others don’t have the support network of family and friends.  Some never really find happiness and others are so afraid of giving themselves to someone that they forever remain alone.  Some are abused, neglected, ignored, raped or tortured…and, perhaps saddest of all, must carry that around with them for the rest of their lives.

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In Becoming Unbecoming, a young girl growing up in 1977 finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame.  The girl, Una, experiences gender violence, rape, and depression and lacks the ability to talk about it or find the help she needs.  Through image and text, Una asks what it means to grow up in a culture where male violence goes unquestioned and challenges a nation that doesn’t know how to punish the accuser or deal with the victim’s hurt.

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This is a beautifully sad book that is so important for everyone to read, girls and boys alike.  It’s a journey into the head a victim, a diary of sorts that’s so personal, you might even find yourself looking over your shoulder to make sure no one catches you reading it.

Told with amazing illustrations that perfectly encapsulate what it’s like to be alone and sad, Becoming Unbecoming is maybe one of the most important books I’ve ever read…and will certainly stay with me for a long time to come.

I am in no way qualified to give Becoming Unbecoming the review it deserves.  I am not a victim of rape or abuse and can’t even begin to think what it’s like to live with something like that.  But I do know what it’s like to hurt…I know what it’s like to be depressed.  I’ve hit rock bottom and I’ve worked my way out of it and it’s a bitch of a journey.  I know what it’s like to be at a loss for words…to want to say something so badly but unable to say anything.  To feel a sense of emptiness that seems to seep out of your skin, surrounding you in a blanket of sadness…

Yes, I know what that’s like…and chances are, some of you do, too.  And for those of us who have had to deal with hurt, depression, or even more traumatic life experiences that so few may understand, it’s so important to know that we’re not alone.  There’s help out there.  There’s love out there.  And if you can’t find it, open yourself up and let it come to you.

If there’s one thing I learned in Becoming Unbecoming, it’s that healing – in whatever form it may take – is a journey.  It’s in no way perfect, and is often a battle we don’t have the energy to fight.  And when society starts blaming the victim for elements out of their control, it becomes impossible to heal, to accept.  We must change the way we deal with transgressors and their victims.  We must have the courage to speak up and out against those who hurt us, and must find the strength within ourselves to help those who find it so hard to barely hold on.

We’re all in this together…and we all have the power to make a difference.  Whether you take time to volunteer at a shelter or start by just checking this book out of the library, chances are you’ll benefit from it.

Una’s story is raw and emotional.  Her illustrations are real and tragic.  This is a book that will sit with you, that will put things into perspective.  Ironically, it’s a book that may even encourage discussion.  In a word, Becoming Unbecoming is veracious.  It puts the truth right out there in big bold letters…and it’s up to us, as a reader…as a society…to hear the message.  Otherwise, as Una says, we are only united by silence.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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A.L.I.E.E.E.N. Book Review

A.L.I.E.E.E.N., or Archives of Lost Issues and Earthly Editions of Extraterrestrial Novelties, was another book I discovered via My Ideal Bookshelf, recommended by cartoonist Zachary Kanin.  A collection of vignettes about aliens, told in an alien language, A.L.I.E.E.E.N. may be from a galaxy far, far away…but the morals and lessons are recognizable by any human.

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In his letter to the reader, author Lewis Trondheim talks about how he happened to stumble upon this otherworldly collection of tales.  While vacationing in the Catskills, Trondheim and his family came upon a grassy area that had been burned and covered with debris.  They were about to turn around and go back, but then he spotted a tattered, beaten-up comic book on the ground.  The title, the artist, and the language were all new to him.  Was this comic from another planet?  Was the debris from something outside of planet Earth?  Did a space ship create this burned perfect circle in the grass?

After reading the book, Trondheim got in touch with a publisher and submitted what appears to be the very first comic strip for extra-terrestrial children ever discovered on our planet.

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A rare artifact written in an alien language, A.L.I.E.E.E.N. is a collection of interwoven tales that prove that some stories are indeed universal…no matter how weird or bizarre they may seem.  Regardless of how many eyes, legs, or tentacles they have, it’s comforting to know that aliens also cry, laugh, smile, poop, and develop friendships.  They fall prey to peer pressure, have a great sense of humor, try to do good, and learn from their mistakes.  You may not know exactly what these little guys are saying, but through images and expressions, us humans can try to understand the workings of this alien world…and perhaps find comfort in the fact that, in reality, these lovable creatures really aren’t so different from us, after all.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something – Part 3

The third Harry Potter book is probably up there as one of my favorites.  The 4th one is still my favorite, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is so ripe with great characters, amazing character development, and excellent storytelling (the background on Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, amiright?!).

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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, you know that I’ve been posting my musings as I re-read the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth billion time.  If you’ve missed my other postings, you can check them out here:

Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something –Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

And here lies my thoughts on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Do you share or disagree with my thoughts, particularly my theory on that stupid cat, Crookshanks?  Comment below and let me know!

 

I solemnly swear I’m up to no good…

 

Thoughts I’ve Had Reading Harry Potter Again as a 30-Something

Part 3:  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Do all the photos in The Daily Prophet move the same way?  Like, would a picture of Sirius Black on the front of one issue move the same way in all the papers or is each issue independent from the next?

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But how on earth was he going to persuade Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia to sign the form?
Um…MAGIC, PERHAPS??

Every time I read “Uncle Vernon”, this Tom Waits song plays in my head:

And I just imagine Vernon bouncing heavily around the house singing, “Uncle Vernon!  Uncle Vernon!”

There were no seats; instead, half a dozen brass bedsteads stood beside the curtained windows.
The Knight Bus sounds so magically perfect.  Muggle buses need to get on dis shit.

…and Hagrid was one of the bravest people Harry knew.
Yet, 0% of Harry’s children are named Hagrid…

Why didn’t the Accidental Magic Reversal Department modify the memories of all the Dursley’s and not just Aunt Marge?  That way none of them would remember “Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake”.

“Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” said Harry blankly. 
Well, if ya just did that, Harry, your story would have ended right here at this moment.  AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER BECAUSE HARRY MINDED HIS OWN FUDGING BUSINESS.

So does anyone get injured or landed on when they make the jump into Platform 9¾?  People are bound to get run over if they don’t get out of the way of the wall, right?

I find it hard to believe that Hermione didn’t know what a dementor was and that she didn’t recognize the Patronus charm when Lupin used it on the train…she knows the ancient history of Hogsmeade for God’s sake…

…each pulled, Harry could only assume, by invisible horses, because when they climbed inside and shut the door, the coach set off all by itself, bumping and swaying in procession.
Wouldn’t Harry be able to see the Thestrals even before Sirius dies since he technically saw his mom die?

Divination would probably be my favorite subject at Hogwarts.

If Dumbledore actually cared about any of his students other than Harry, couldn’t he use the tears of Faux to fix Malfoy’s arm and shut him the F up after Buckbeak’s attack?

Remus Lupin was probably the best teacher any of these kids ever had.

Neville’s grandma’s clothes are insane.   A HAT WITH A STUFFED VULTURE ON TOP?  Do you know how big a vulture is?  How heavy is that hat?!  Here’s a human with a vulture, for science:

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I wonder what my Boggart would be…

CROOKSHANKS KNOWS SCABBERS IS AN ANIMAGUS.  IS CROOKSHANKS ALSO AN UNREGISTERED ANIMAGUS?!?!?!?!!!!  OMG…

I still don’t understand why wizards need a permission slip to visit Hogsmeade, but they have free reign of The Forbidden Forest, Knockturn Alley, Diagon Alley, and basically the entire Hogwarts campus.

And I am telling you all to turn to page 394.
If you don’t read that in Alan Rickman’s voice, there’s something wrong with you.  #always ❤

D’you know what that— (he called Snape something that made Hermione say “Ron!”)…
CAULDRON BUM?  BLASTENDED SKANK?  WHAT WAS THE WIZARD SWEAR, RON??

He handed them to her, and as the team watched in amazement, Hermione tapped them with her wand and said, ‘Impervius!’”
“There!” she said, handing them back to Harry.  “They’ll repel water!”
“Wood looked as though he could have kissed her.
Lucky girl…

Lupin:  “I don’t pretend to be an expert at fighting dementors, Harry…quite the contrary…
SAYS THE DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS TEACHER.

How did Fred and George know how to work the Marauder’s Map?

I wonder if they ever reversed or removed Peter Pettigrew’s Order of Merlin, First Class award after they learned the truth about him…

And here lies an awkward wizard boner:  “She smiled at Harry as the teams faced each other behind their captains, and he felt a slight lurch in the region of his stomach that he didn’t think had anything to do with nerves.”

The hearing will take place on April 20th, and we ask you to present yourself and your hippogriff at the Committee’s offices in London on that date.
Exactly HOW will that happen??  Look how big this thing is!!

Reading how mean James and his friends were to Snape is heartbreaking, knowing Snape’s backstory now…

So in the book Hermione slaps Malfoy…but the punch in the movie is just SO much more effective…

Do any other teachers besides Snape and McGonagall give and take house points away?

Then came Astronomy at midnight…
IF I EVER HAVE AN ASTRONOMY FINAL EXAM AT MIDNIGHT AFTER A DAY OF OTHER EXAMS INCLUDING POTIONS…KILL ME.

Crookshanks is “friends” with Black’s animagus dog, tries to protect Black from Harry, and somehow knows something is up with Scabbers the rat…the proof is getting stronger and stronger that Crookshanks is an animagus, too…

FURTHERMORE…

This cat—Crookshanks, did you call him?—told me Peter had left blood on the sheets…
HE TOLD YOU?  Of course he did, because he’s an animagus!!

I’m not giving up on this theory…it’s a good one, right??

Aww, thanks Ron!  😉

OOOH the things Wormtail must have seen as a rat growing up in a house of five young boys…

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Ah, well, Snape…Harry Potter, you know…we’ve all got a bit of a blind spot where he’s concerned.
Ya don’t say??

I still have so many questions about this time changing thing…

You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.

The letter Sirius writes Harry at the end of this book still makes me cry…

 

Mischief Managed.

 

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10 Books to Read if You Love The Princess Bride

What do you love most about The Princess Bride? Is it the swashbuckling adventures? The wit and sarcasm? The tales of true love? No matter what it is that keeps you coming back to watching the movie or reading the book, there’s no denying that this story holds a special place in the hearts of children and adults of all ages.

And if you are craving more tales of evil pirates or stories of mythical creatures, there are a whole slew of other books you could read that have all the things you love about The Princess Bride (except ROUS’s, of course!).

Filled with romance, travel, and journeys to lands unknown, these 10 books are sure to satisfy whatever craving you have to jump back into a story that helps you escape reality and indulge in the comfort of your own imagination.

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10 Books to Read if You Love The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride, William Goldman
Granted, the book is slightly different from the film, but chances are if you love the movie, you’re gonna love the book…at least give it a try for Prince Humperdinck alone!

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes
Well, this is just a no-brainer. Written by Cary Elwes (Westley), As You Wish explores the making and production of The Princess Bride film, complete with behind-the-scene stories and memories from the entire cast.

Stardust, Neil Gaiman
Take a journey into a magical land as a young boy pursues his one true love. Sound familiar? This charming story features the adventure and humor that make The Princess Bride so wonderful, as well as a little romance!

The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
This fantastical quest of concealed identity is the perfect book to cozy up with if you love The Princess Bride. The Last Unicorn was also made into a wonderfully cheesy movie if you’d rather indulge in the story that way.

The Thousand Autumns, Jacob de Zoet
The strength of true love, the power of faith, the thrill of the adventure…it’s all here in The Thousand Autumns by Jacob de Zoet.

Candide, Voltaire
Pirates? Check. Exciting adventures? Check. Love and revenge? Check and check. Candide is a breathless tour of far off lands and the quest for true love.

Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe may not have the wit and sarcasm of The Princess Bride, but it sure packs in the romance.

Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country, Rosalind Miles
Guenevere is a romantic and heart-wrenching narrative, complete with all the pageantry, politics, war, lust, love, and conflict the Brits so gallantly require in their legends. A fairy tale likened to Buttercup’s adventures, Guenevere is sure to appease lovers of the King Arthur legends and romantic fairy tales.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
If you love Buttercup’s wit and sass, chances are you’re gonna fall in love with Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. A story about romance, love, and a fun-loving sarcastic leading lady, Pride and Prejudice is one swashbuckling pirate away from The Princess Bride.

The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
A fantastic book filled with epic adventures, lots of magical heroes and monsters, and travels in far off lands, The Book of Lost Things is maybe one of my favorite novels of all time. While it lacks the romance of The Princess Bride, it makes up for it in amazing characters and harrowing journeys.

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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25 of the Best Celeb-ographies I’ve Read So Far

For me, there’s no better beach read than a juicy celebrity biography…and lord knows I’ve read my fair share.  My brain seems to be packed with useless information about Russell Brand’s childhood, Carol Burnett’s seriously amazing friendship squad, and amazing life advice from Nick Offerman.  I don’t know what it is, but taking a look behind the curtain and seeing what these stars are like IRL just gives me a sense of comfort…especially since I will only read bios on the people I actually like!

Over the years I’ve read bios by and about everyone from Sammy Davis, Jr. to Bryan Cranston…and I’ve collected 25 of my favorites right here.  Need a new beach read this summer?  This is the perfect place to start!

25 of the Best Celeb-ographies I’ve Read So Far

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In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.
Wil Haygood

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An intimate look at a man who defined entertainment, this biography is one of the first I remember reading and thoroughly enjoying.  Sammy Davis, Jr. was a man who lived and breathed music and dance, and In Black and White is an amazing testament to the legacy he’s left behind.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
David Michaelis

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It should come as no surprise that Charles Schulz, the man behind Charlie Brown and friends, was a bit of a loner.  A raw and emotional story about the man who gave the world one of the best comic strips ever written, Schulz and Peanuts is also peppered with cartoons and illustrations to help his story come to life.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
Sarah Silverman

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Any fan of Sarah Silverman will love this book.  Told in her voice with her raw sense of humor, The Bedwetter is an inspirational story about following your dreams, standing up for yourself, and conquering your fears.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain
Portia De Rossi

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In Unbearable Lightness, Portia De Rossi opens up about her struggles with anorexia and body image issues, as well as her journey to acceptance and love.  This one is emotional, guys…but very uplifting.

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant
Jennifer Grant

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A short and sweet book packed with personal stories and family photos, Good Stuff gives readers a look at a man the world rarely got to see.  Though Cary Grant was one of the most famous actors of his generation, he was actually quite reserved…and this story of his life at home will have you loving him all the more.

My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up
Russell Brand

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I gotta say, I loved this more than I thought I would.  Packed with hilarious stories of growing up in the U.K., My Booky Wook is everything you expect it to be and nothing more.  A quick read that’s perfect for summer, My Booky Wook might help explain, just a little, the insanity that is Russell Brand.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Bourdain

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A mesmerizing look into the world of the culinary arts, Kitchen Confidential will open your eyes to the seedy, dirty, and terrifying world of restaurant chefs.  Where they eat, how they eat, and what really happens when you send your food back…it’s all here in black and white…and will forever change the way you order food next time you dine out.

Seriously…I’m Kidding
Ellen DeGeneres

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Love, love, love this book.  Ellen is everything you want her to be and this book is like having her right there in your living room with you.  An inspirational story about a woman who helped fuel the LGBT movement, Seriously…I’m Kidding will have you laughing, crying, and dancing for joy.

Choose Your Own Autobiography
Neil Patrick Harris

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Written in a fun choose your own adventure format, NPH’s autobiography is a fun and comic take on NPH’s rise to fame.  Filled with hilarious stories, cute drawings, and plenty of twists and turns, Choose Your Own Autobiography is everything you want in a beach read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling

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I think Mindy and I are destined to be BFF’s.  A book for girls who love eating, laughing, drinking, and then eating again, reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? also requires a glass of wine, a platter of cheese fries, and a Netflix subscription…because you’re gonna want to start watching The Office all over again.

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy
Rainn Wilson

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And if Mindy’s book doesn’t convince you to revisit Dunder Mifflin, The Bassoon King surely will.  With a forward by Dwight Schrute himself, The Bassoon King will make you fall in love with Rainn Wilson all the more.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes

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OK so this isn’t a BIOGRAPHY so to speak, but I couldn’t leave it off this list!  A MUST for anyone who loves the movie, As You Wish takes readers behind the scenes, giving them a glimpse into the making of the most romantic story of all time.  There are also personal stories from Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal and many more about filming, production, and casting.

It’s a Long Story: My Life
Willie Nelson

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I didn’t know much about Willie before reading this book, but I just found it so enjoyable and warm.  I actually listened to this book on tape, so there were moments when I heard Willie playing in the background, which I think made me like this book even more.  A very personal look into a life that was torn, rebuilt, and torn again, It’s a Long Story makes it easy to understand just how much Willie Nelson has influenced the music industry.

Is You Okay?
Glozell Green

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Glozell, a self-proclaimed internet-tainer, has taken YouTube by storm with her various “challenge” videos.  She rose to amazing success after posting her “Cinnamon Challenge” video and has created many more since then.  She comes across as a bit of a loon online, but in reality, she’s quite the go-getter…and this book was surprisingly inspirational and motivating, especially for young girls just starting on their career paths.

Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars
Scotty Bowers

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Hahahahahaha, I can’t think of this book without laughing.  So insanely ridiculous in nature, Full Service is a story about the sex lives of the Hollywood stars we know and love.  While some of these stories seem absolutely insane, others could be quite plausible…and as Bowers says himself, there’s really no way to know, as most of the celebrities in this book are now dead.  Even if it’s all fake, Full Service certainly is the ultimate beach read and is attune to reading a long, juicy, trashy magazine.

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages
Kristin Chenoweth

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You might know her from Wicked, Pushing Daisies, Glee, or just from her work on Broadway…but this little pint-sized star packs a serious punch…and the stories of her rise to fame are so inspiring that you may find yourself singing “Defying Gravity” as you read it.

Jimmy Stewart: A Biography
Marc Eliot

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The thing I love most about Jimmy Stewart is that he is everything you want him to be.  Kind, good-hearted, genuine, classy…he was all of those things and more.  A sweet book to give to dad or grandpa for Father’s Day, Stewart’s biography truly showcases a wonderful life.

Yes Please
Amy Poehler

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If you were to take The Magic Schoolbus into the mind of Amy Poehler, it would look like the pages of Yes Please.  A book you could easily read in a few hours, Yes Please is like a scrapbook of Poehler’s life, told with her wit and sarcasm, and the genuine care and attention to detail of her foil, Leslie Knope.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Nick Offerman

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If Nick Offerman had his choice, this book would probably be hand-written and bound with leather and glue.  A story about growing up in rural Illinois and making a future literally by hand, Paddle Your Own Canoe is a life-lesson in creativity, romance, and manliness.  It’s most likely Ron Swanson’s favorite book, TBH.

A Life in Parts
Bryan Cranston

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Any lover of Bryan Cranston’s work will enjoy this book.  Told in several small vignettes of characters Cranston has played in his lifetime (both personally and professionally), this book really is a life in parts.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
Jenna Jameson

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This was another book that was a total surprise.  Juicy gossip, sexy pictures, and lots (LOTS) of tips and tricks of the trade fill this beast of an autobiography.  Word to the wise…many libraries have stopped carrying this book for…reasons…so if you’re interested, invest in your own copy.

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection
Carol Burnett

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If you loved her then, you’ll love her now.  A sweet celebration of love and friendship, This Time Together is humorous, genuine, and – like Carol – a true treat.

My Father’s Daughter: A Memoir
Tina Sinatra

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Almost everyone in the world knows who Frank Sinatra was…but not many knew him the way his kids knew him.  A very emotional, raw, and empowering book about a father and a daughter, My Father’s Daughter holds no bars…opening the door to her father’s friendships, love affairs, and struggles…all told from the perspective of one of the girls who truly loved him the most.

Bossypants
Tina Fey

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Let’s be honest, you’ve read this, right?  Everyone has to have read this by now…so there’s really no use explaining how amazing this is.

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Julie Andrews

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This woman is practically perfect in every way.  An amazing singer, actor, and writer, Home is a look into the very early years of Andrews’ career…starting from childhood and ending with her boarding the plane to star in this little Disney movie called Mary Poppins.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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