Monthly Archives: September 2012

In Review: Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey
Year of publication: 2011

your brain on books rating: 4

Often when people chronicle their own lives, they hand-select the trials and tribulations that will best illustrate the awe-inspiring journeys they have undertaken in order to win the hearts of the reading and based-on-a-true-story watching public.  Tina Fey is not one of those people, because the test audiences for the biopic based on her bestselling book would be laughing too hard, and Lifetime would surrender their rights* to her story for fear that the film would be too…off-brand.  From awkward adolescent child to awkward Hollywood celebrity, Fey uses the pages of her memoir to give readers a guided tour of her life thus far with the brand of honest, unapologetic humor for which she is so well known.

Tina Fey: a comedian, a writer, an actress on a television show about a television show in which she portrays a comedic writer, a wife, a mother, a bossypants.  It turns out women really can have it all.

For readers who are familiar with Fey’s work on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock, the sense of humor she brings to this recounting of her life won’t disappoint.  Fey lays it all on the table – for all of her successes, she doesn’t forget to include a failure or otherwise embarrassing moment.  No shame between friends, right, readers?  And even if there were, Fey’s audience is more likely to burst out in good-natured laughter at her witty prose than to pass judgment for the times in her life where her efforts fell short.  As such, Fey’s ability to keep a fairly even balance between the highs and the lows when telling readers about her life makes this book a hard one to put down.

However, as much as Fey keeps the good times rolling throughout most of her book, she forgets (or – perhaps in a more intriguing twist – chooses not) to keep it light at the end.  As readers can imagine, being a working mother is challenging, but being a 70-hour-a-week working mother upon whom many other people’s jobs depend can at times be a nightmare.  It’s a tough topic to joke about, and if Fey has even made an attempt, she has failed to do so successfully.  The placement of this particular discussion in the final chapters ends the memoir on a low note.  It might be more realistic, but it is not what most readers will expect they are getting themselves into; they went to Oz to see the wizard, but behind the curtain they will find a normal, human (wo)man.

All jokes aside, Bossypants is a must for Fey fans.

*Lifetime does not, to this writer’s knowledge, own the rights to Tina Fey’s life story.

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I Am Now a Card-Carrying Member of the Brooklyn Public Library

I fought it as long as I could, which might seem strange considering that in order to fulfill the purpose of this blog I need to ensure that I always have a book waiting to be read on my nightstand. However, the shameful truth is that for the last year since I picked up and moved to Brooklyn, I have had plenty of books of my own to read: birthday presents, Christmas presents, and more than a few spur-of-the-moment purchases.

But there came a time, dear readers, when my stockpile was beginning to run dry. Faced with the headache-inducing small print of two mass media paperbacks of Ayn Rand’s most well-known works, I decided it was time. A little too gleefully, I filled out an online request to have my brand new library card mailed to me.

Take that, I thought as I smugly gazed upon the books around my room, carefully avoiding eye contact with Rand’s prose. I have conquered you all, and now the rest of the literary world shall be at my fingertips.

It sounded less evil in my head.

I only had to wait a few days for my card to arrive (Insider’s Tip: it can take up to a month if you want to get a card mailed from the New York Public Library; score 1 for Brooklyn’s apparently less popular system), and five blocks later I was standing before the hallowed halls of Brooklyn’s central branch.

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Walking into a library for the first time with an unused card is one of life’s unexpected joys, in my opinion. I did find that Brooklyn Central had a few quirks, though, such as the librarians’ choice to place Tolstoy’s War and Peace on the New Fiction shelf with a big NEW sticker on its unassuming spine. Good news for all the classicists out there: Tolstoy’s hip again.

Another quirk? Patrons can take out up to 99 items on one card. Now maybe the suburbs of Philadelphia are a bit backwards, but when I was growing up, I was only allowed to borrow 10-15 books at a time. Fewer if a majority were hardcovers or new releases.

There is, however, a downside to this gloriously high limit of 99 items:

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At least people are reading, right?

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