April 27, 2011

three-bullet book review

A neighbor offered up boxes of used books. I dug through and found a copy of Elizabeth Taylor's Liz Takes Off (1988), the book she wrote about her weight loss. I love Elizabeth Taylor. So talented, so gorgeous, so very much exactly who she was. Unapologetically unconventional, forthright, intelligent. Fabulous. I wasn't looking for a weight-loss program, but the aforementioned fabulousness made me think this might be a fun read.

I would wear all of this. Right now. Especially the sunglasses.

  • respect: she approaches weight loss and exercise in terms of working toward your ideal weight and shape rather than an ideal weight and shape
  • says things you wouldn't think she'd say (examples: studios pumping Judy Garland full of pills, her disdain for her role in Butterfield 8 even though it won her an Oscar)
  • good attitude towards aging, considering what a celebrated beauty and sex bomb she was: "all the surgeries and all the diets in the world will not make you look eighteen again, so stop trying."

Yes, but more for Taylor's whip-smart, deeply personal and often very funny writing than for the diet and exercise information. I didn't read that part and thus cannot evaluate it. Maybe her autobiography would be an equally fun read, without the recipes? On the other other hand, don't you kind of want recipes from Elizabeth Taylor?

I shall now use this three-bullet book review as an excuse to post a shot from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. If you've never seen this, do so as soon as possible. She's absolutely astounding in this film. (As is Paul Newman. Ahem. Whew! Almost too much hotness in one movie, truth be told. Don't say you weren't warned.)

April 8, 2011

three-bullet book review

Three-Bullet Book Review: CanLit Double-Double

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995)
  • accolades, awards, "Have you read A Fine Balance? Oh, you really should."
  • meandering narrative eased by smooth writing that lets you go with the flow
  • very interesting historical setting


No. Despite the rave reviews, I have now abandoned this novel twice. The first time I tried to read it, I got about 60 pages in and then let in languish. This time I read almost 300 pages and still didn't really care about the characters. I used to feel a responsibility to finish books once I'd started them, but life's too short and there are too many other good books to read.

The Birth House by Ami McKay (2006)
  • thoughtful exploration of the history of childbirth, particularly the shift from female-centric traditional midwifery to male-dominated obstetrics
  • lovely phrase for booze-spiked tea: "tea with mitts!"
  • strong portrayal of the power of female friendship, female community


Definitely. The first time I read this, it made me want to go to the Bay of Fundy (one of my favorite spots on the planet), hang out with fantastic women and have a baby. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it a second time as well, even though the novel's ending feels a bit rushed.