Sunday, April 28, 2013

Detroit: An American Autopsy

Detroit: An American AutopsyDetroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlie LeDuff wasn't a blip on my radar until recently. I saw some of his reporting and was mesmerized by his storytelling (if you haven't watched his work, check out this clip: I figured anyone who could tell a story with such great detail for TV could work magic in a book.

I was right.

Detroit would not be my favorite American city to read about. It's in the news. It's almost never good news. But there was something about the idea of reading about the fall and potential of this once powerful city that appealed to me. If you read nothing else about this book, consider this quote.

"I guess when you get down to it, it's simple," Nevin says. "The man took his factory away, but he didn't take the people with him."

Detroit is losing people at a rapid rate - either to death or to relocation. Why? Is it the lack of jobs? Is it the rampant corruption? These are all things LeDuff explores in this book.

It's personal to him. It should be personal to us all. There's nothing great about one city failing when it could easily succeed. Detroit is worth saving. America needs to remember that. What happened and is still happening in Motor City could happen anywhere.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Truth About Dogs

Dogs will never remember how long it's been since they've seen you. They will react like it's been days since you walked into their space.

A dog's nose is not like ours. We like a dog to smell clean. He wants to roll in something stinky (roadkill, poop) to smell better.

Dogs will never throw up on a surface that's easy to clean. They will stand on that surface and puke on carpet.

Dogs think we don't understand that they want to answer the door. They will bark, cry and suddenly become super strong so they can get past your leg as you open the door a half inch to tell a salesperson you're not interested.

Dogs will not want to go outside when you're walking around the house. They will wait until you sit down before deciding to get your attention in their own special way (mine either stares at me or puts his nose on the door - pictured below). Dogs will wait for you to sit down and get comfortable before they must come back inside. They don't understand how much you hate that game.

Dogs are cute. They're not cats.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar

Everything is Perfect When You're a LiarEverything is Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"GIRLS SUCK! THEY THINK THEY'RE SO GREAT!" Karen flung a single finger at her son, like a switchblade aimed at Damon's fat peanut-buttery face. "You keep saying things like that and one day you will wake up and YOU WILL BE A GIRL, Damon! YOU WILL WAKE UP WITH A VAGINA!" That was page 2. I was hooked.

When a book is loaded with pop culture references that would make 20-somethings ask, "WTF is 'The Wonder Years?'" I refuse to stop reading. (BTW, kids, it's a GREAT TV show about a boy, his family, his preteen/teen struggles in a time when the family TV was furniture and had no remote control - THE HORROR!)

This is definitely not a memoir for kids - unless you parents want someone else to blame for their potty mouths, knowledge of drugs, the truth about some after school activities ("That's what gymnastics prepares you for: stripping, not the Olympics.") and creepers at Disneyland. If you want an out, here it is.

Kelly is not perfect. If she was, this book would read like one of those super annoying holiday letters people send to make you lose what holiday spirit you have left by giving the finger to a piece of paper/website. What she is, though, is funny. The kind of funny that deserves the more than 140 characters allowed on Twitter. I didn't see Kelly as my friend. I saw her as the lady freaking out about the little things in public. And I'm totally OK with that.

Once I reached the home stretch of this book, I realized someone else understands one of my (many) fears. "I don't think I'm going to die soon, but I finally feel like I'm growing old. Like, I know there's a Lil Wayne and a T-Pain, but somehow I thought they were the same person. You can be sure you're getting older when your finger isn't in the pulse of pop culture but you're sure it is. Getting old is when your complaints are so genuine that a friend can't console you."

Ugh. I know that will happen. I just hope others who understand will keep writing about things like this so that I don't feel like that any time soon. Because it's fun and funny. Can't go wrong with that.

I registered a book at!

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Now In Your Kid's Classroom

At least I think this license plate belongs to a teacher. She may not be a good speller.

OR she's a fan of Cher.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wise Men

Wise MenWise Men by Stuart Nadler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not getting spoilery here. I will say the Wise Men didn't have much in common. But they had love - for others and, in their own way, each other. I could have read a few hundred more pages of this book, but it had to end. I'm happy!

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