My Books of 2012 – Part One: Biography/Autobiography

At the start of 2012 I bought a Kindle Touch, and this led me to read a lot of books (for me) this year. What follows is an overview (split up over several posts because it would get really long otherwise).
For each book I’ll give the summary as found on GoodReads, followed by the rating I gave it when I finished the book and my thoughts on it.

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

“From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years–as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues–Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.” – GoodReads

5 stars

This was a must-read for me, and I think it should be for most everybody. It gives a very good overview of the man Steve Jobs, and the work he has done.

Mud, Sweat and Tears – Bear Grylls

Mud, Sweat and Tears“Bear Grylls is a man who has always loved adventure. After leaving school, he spent months hiking in the Himalayas as he considered joining the Indian Army. Upon his return to England after a change of heart, he passed SAS selection and served with 21 SAS for three years. During this time, he broke his back in several places in a free-fall parachuting accident and it was questionable whether he would ever walk again. However, after months of rehabilitation, focusing always on his childhood dream of climbing Everest, he slowly became strong enough to attempt the ultimate ascent of the world’s highest peak. At 7.22 a.m. on 26 May 1998, Bear entered the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest Briton to have successfully climbed Everest and returned alive. He was only twenty-three years old and this was only the beginning of his extreme adventures…Known and admired by millions – whether from his prime-time TV adventures, as a bestselling author or as a world-class motivational speaker – Bear has been there and done it all. Now, for the first time and in his own words, this is the story of his action-packed life” – GoodReads

4 stars

I love watching Bear Grylls on television but at first was a bit apprehensive about his writing ability. I shouldn’t have been. This was a great easy read. It was fascinating to read about the life of a man who didn’t take the ordinary road.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson

12868761“For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.” – GoodReads

Winner of a 2012 GoodReads Choice Award

5 stars

I love reading The Bloggess but had been putting off reading the book, mainly because of the price ($18 for the Kindle version where the paperback was less than half that). I ended up buying it for myself as a birthday gift and am really happy I did. Jenny Lawson has lived a strange life, and shares those stories in her characteristic humorous way.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain – Portia de Rossi

9219901“Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.” – GoodReads

5 stars

I have had several close friends struggle with anorexia, and while I always try my hardest to support them and be there for them it is hard to understand what they are struggling with. Portia de Rossi does a great job of telling us the story of how she became anorexic and what was going on in her mind. This is a must-read.

My Heart Is an Idiot – Davy Rothbart

13166633“Davy Rothbart is looking for love in all the wrong places. Constantly. He falls helplessly in love with pretty much every girl he meets—and rarely is the feeling reciprocated. Time after time, he hops in a car and tears across half of America with his heart on his sleeve. He’s continually coming up with outrageous schemes, which he always manages to pull off. Well, almost always. But even when things don’t work out, Rothbart finds meaning and humor in every moment. Whether it’s humiliating a scammer who takes money from aspiring writers or playing harmless (but side-splitting) goofs on his deaf mother, nothing and no one is off-limits.
But as much as Rothbart is a tragically lovable, irresistibly brokenhearted hero, it’s his prose that’s the star of the book. In the tradition of David Sedaris and Sloane Crosley but going places very much his own, his essays show how things that are seemingly so wrong can be so, so right.” – GoodReads

5 stars

A short but sweet read that I could definitely relate to. Bittersweet memories, sudden adventures,…

Stories from a Teacher – Jonathan Flores

15728378“In 2008, Jonathan Flores surprised his students as the youngest, most energetic teacher they’d ever seen. After only four years, Mr. Flores turned in his resignation, and his students all showed up to find out why. But instead of describing a single moment that made him quit, he told them his stories – each one, an insane memory from his teaching career.

As the world demands ‘superhero’ teachers, Flores shares experiences (from hilarious to heartbreaking) to reveal that teachers aren’t invincible – and that they need help.” – GoodReads

5 stars

This was a great read that reminded me of the great teachers that make class fun and inspirational. The only thing that bothered me was that for a book written by an English teacher there were a lot of spelling errors and typos.

Things Go Wrong For Me – Rodney Lacroix

perf6.690x9.610.indd“Things Go Wrong For Me (when life hands you lemons, add vodka) is a memoir of sorts, a roadmap of Rodney Lacroix’s haywire life thus far. From his childhood, through the raising of his own kids, to his vasectomy and post-divorce world … this book is more than just a culmination of outrageous stories woven into a cohesive narrative, it’s a testament for the ‘little guy.’” – GoodReads

 

2 stars

I thought this book would be similar to My Heart is an Idiot, but I did not enjoy this book at all. I can definitely see the audience it has, but Rodney’s humor and mine don’t jive.