Monday, April 10, 2017

The Happiness Handbook (Sonne)

The Happiness Handbook, Lisa T.E. Sonne, 2015

Not my usualy read. This is basically a collection of 1-2 page long affirmations, to be read daily or all at once. Listed with no apparent order or theme. No chapters to speak of, nor any appendix or list of references at the end.

This book was a gift I received at an after-the-holidays birthday gathering. I didn't want to put it off because, if asked, I'd like to say, yes, I read it. I figured that I could probably get through it in a couple of mornings on the train. Instead, I found myself playing games on my iPad a little more often rather than reading.

There wasn't anything too deep within the pages beyond the expected "you can be happy"/"you should be happy" vibes. Despite some interesting quotes from people, I would be hard-pressed to tell you any specific idea presented within the pages.

Fluff. Worse: it turns out I never finished it. I found my bookmark just before I started writing this. (I read the book in February.) I quickly tried to skim the last 20 or so pages and ... stopped.

Moved on to the next book.

Statistics: hardcover, approx 220 pages, non-fiction, inspirational, self-help

Monday, April 3, 2017

500 Sundays (Crystal)

500 Sundays, Billy Crystal, 2005

Catching up on this year's readings, so far. Not that there's much of it.

500 Sundays was the name of Billy Crystal's one-man Broadway show, telling stories about growing up with his father, and life after that. The title comes from the fact that his father's one day off was Sunday, which he spent with his kids. Unfortunately, he died when Billy was only 14, which meant that they only had about 500 Sundays together. He doesn't go into every one of these. In fact, there's plenty that happens on weekdays at the Commodore Music Store in Manhattan.

I saw Crystal's show, so reading this was almost like reading a transcript of the show. I remembered quite a few of the stories, in particular, the fact that the first time he was in a movie theater, he was sitting on Billie Holiday's lap. Dad was in the music biz, particularly around Jazz. Billy Crystal grew up in that show-biz environment.

A lot of heart-warming stories are contained within, and it's an interesting contrast to two biogrpaphies I read recently: one by Don Rickles and the other by Martin Short. I guess I like reading about funny guys, even when their lives aren't all that funny.

The book continues past the 500 Sundays of the title and continues with his growing up, getting into show business, and, of course, life with his mother. The end of the book comes with two tragic events. I'm not giving much away to say that dealing with the grief of his mother's passing is the first one. The other is 9-11. Actually, there was anecdote from the show abut 9/11 that he left out of the book. Maybe it wasn't a good note to end the book on. (I think it came earlier in the show, because it involved meeting then-President Bush.)

One of the reasons I remember his story involving Bush and, believe it or not, Regis Philbin, was because I heard him tell it on a morning radio show in the months after 9/11. When he told it in the show, he changed the payoff line, which admittedly wasn't incredibly funny in its original form, to one that took a shot at Bush. That might've been funny in 2005, but it would not have been something he could've said to the President during a World Series game in 2001. It's just as well he omitted it.

Anyway, it's a sweet, fun read that drops quite a bit of names and gives you a bit of background about Crystal.

For my own notes: this was a hardcover book, not an ebook. I picked it up at a library sale.