On My Bookshelf

51cyBIEqvgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury by Allison Light (2008)

From Amazon.com: “When Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own in 1929, she established her reputation as a feminist, and an advocate for unheard voices. But like thousands of other upper-class British women, Woolf relied on live-in domestic servants for the most intimate of daily tasks. That room of Woolf’s own was kept clean by a series of cooks and maids throughout her life. In the much-praised Mrs. Woolf and the Servants, Alison Light probes the unspoken inequality of Bloomsbury homes with insight and grace, and provides an entirely new perspective on an essential modern artist.”

My thoughts: I decided to read this book strictly because the ebook was on sale and I was loading my Nook in preparation for my conference in DC. I enjoyed it. The contrast between the philosophical beliefs of Woolf and the everyday interactions with the servants working in her home was fascinating. In general, I’ve always been fascinated and perplexed by the contempt upperclassman often had for the people they were so dependent on. I read the book with what I think it a fairly standard image of Virginia Woolf from someone who is well-versed in classic literature, but hasn’t done her own research. I left with a more complex picture and something to think about.

My recommendation: A pretty good book. Very specialized and probably doesn’t have widespread appeal. Considering checking it out if you are interested in women’s history. Just because you are a Virginia Woolf fan doesn’t mean you will enjoy this one; in fact, you might not appreciate the words taken from her letters and diaries.

dispatchesDispatches by Michael Herr (1977)

From Amazon.com: “Michael Herr, who wrote about the Vietnam War for Esquire magazine, gathered his years of notes from his front-line reporting and turned them into what many people consider the best account of the war to date, when published in 1977. He captured the feel of the war and how it differed from any theater of combat ever fought, as well as the flavor of the time and the essence of the people who were there. Since Dispatches was published, other excellent books have appeared on the war. . .but Herr’s book was the first to hit the target head-on and remains a classic.”

My thoughts: I’m reading up on the Vietnam War for a work project and this one stood out to me since it was written by a news correspondent. I was not disappointed – just like the Amazon.com review says, this book really “captured the feel of the war.” I loved how he wrote about his impressions of the soldiers and their impressions of him. He related the war to the changing culture flawlessly.

My recommendation: Excellent. It wasn’t an easy read – as you might imagine – but it was worthwhile. Read it.

51D8sZSu+lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian by Bob Saget (2014)

From Amazon.com: “Millions of viewers know and love Bob Saget from his role as the sweetly neurotic father on the smash hit Full House, and as the charming wisecracking host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And then there are the legions of fans who can’t get enough of his scatological, out-of-his-mind stand-up routines, comedy specials, and outrageously profane performances. . . .In his bold and wildly entertaining publishing debut, he continues to embrace his dark side and gives readers the book they have long been waiting for—hilarious and often dirty. . . . Saget opens up about some of his personal experiences with life and death, his career, and his reputation for sick humor—all with his highly original blend of silliness, vulgarity, humor and heart, and all framed by a man who loves being funny above all else.”

My thoughts:
I didn’t like it and only read 30 pages or so before abandoning it. Saget’s humor seemed nonsensical and forced. In general, his humor isn’t my favorite, but I usually enjoy it. I think, for me anyway, this book failed because it just didn’t work in print. I think my opinion would be much different if I was listening to an audiobook read by Saget.

My recommendation: Read it if you love his standup, maybe try an audiobook if you are on the fence, skip it if you think he is Danny Tanner.


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