Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Yes PleaseTitle : Yes Please

Author : Amy Poehler

ISBN-10 :  0062268341

ISBN-13 : 978-0062268341

Paperback : 329 pages

The Plot :

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

Review :

Having been an Amy Poehler fan, longer than I can remember, I jumped at the chance to read this book and it did not disappoint. It is hilarious at times, and wise at times. Peppered with incidents from her life and advise that is not the kind you roll your eyes at, this makes for a fun, quick read. The insight into some of the SNL sketches and the relationships that the cast members build up is shown beautifully in this book.

The thing I loved most about the book has to be its personal tone. I felt like I was having a chat with Amy in my living room. An extremely fun read for any Amy Poehler fan.

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Geisha, a Life – Mineko Iwasaki

Geisha A LifeTitle : Geisha, a Life

Author : Mineko Iwasaki

ISBN-10 :  0743444299

ISBN-13 : 978-0743444293

Paperback : 320 pages

The Plot :

Celebrated as the most successful Geisha of her generation, Mineko Iwasaki, was only five years old when she left her parents’ home for the world of the Geisha. For the next twenty-five years, she would live a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and rich rewards. She would learn the formal customs and language of the Geisha, and study the ancient arts of Japanese dance and music. She would enchant kings and princes, captains of industry, and titans of the entertainment world, some of whom would become her dearest friends. Through great pride and determination, she would be hailed as one of the most prized Geishas in Japan’s history, and one of the last great practitioners of this now fading art form.

In Geisha, a Life, Mineko Iwasaki tells her story., from her warm early childhood, to her intense yet privileged upbringing in the Iwasaki Okiya (household), to her years as a renowned Geisha, and finally, to her decision at the age of twenty-nine to retire and marry, a move that would mirror the demise of the Geisha culture. Mineko brings to life the beauty and wonder of Gion Kobu, a place that “existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honoured traditions of the past.” She illustrates how it co-existed within post-World War II Japan at a time when the country was undergoing its radical transformation from a post-feudal society to a modern one.

“There is much mystery and misunderstanding about what it means to be a Geisha. I hope this story will help explain what it is really like and also serve as a record of this unique component of Japan’s cultural history,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. Geisha, a Life is the first of its kind, as it delicately unfolds the fabric of a Geisha’s development. Told with great wisdom and sensitivity, it is a true story of beauty and heroism, and of a time and culture rarely revealed to the Western world.

Review :

Ever since I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and found out that the Geisha who it is loosely based on wrote her version of the story, I have been looking for this book. Finally I found it at a local library and started reading as soon as I got a hold of it. Quite literally. And the book did not disappoint. It is a memoir so it is from Mineko’s perspective.

This book is such a fascinating account of the life of a Geisha. She talks about so many aspects of their professional life and this for me was a really refreshing read. It gave me such a detailed look into their customs and practices, beliefs and rules, lifestyle and fashion. The writing is beautiful and the story is mesmerizing. Overall I highly recommend this book for a deeper understanding of this ancient art form.

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If You Ask Me – Betty White

if you ask meTitle : If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)

Author : Betty White

ISBN-10: 0425245284

ISBN-13 : 978-0425245286

Paperback : 272 pages

The Plot :

Betty White’s fifth book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), is sort of memoir, in the form a collection of a couple of essays about incidents from her life. It is a collection of her thoughts and observations over the years. The majority of what she discusses in the book is mostly based on the past 15 years of her career. While she often draws on past experiences on The Mary Tyler Moore Show or The Golden Girls, the majority of what she talks about is her current work.

Betty mentions the reason she penned this book was because she couldn’t refuse the offer especially since writing is her most favourite thing to do. Even the book is not at all sentimental; you feel a personal connection to her.

The book is divided into sections and short chapters on different topics including:

  • Body and Mind
  • Hollywood Stories
  • Letters
  • Stagecraft
  • Love and Friendship
  • Animal Kingdom
  • State of Affairs
  • Since you Asked..

It also has a vast set of photos from her personal collection including pictures of her parents, family, friends, pets, on sets of various movies and shows she has done. Another major topic she discusses is her love for animals and her pets.

Overall the book is entertaining and endearing. I have been a Betty White fan for a a long time now and I loved the book. It was like I was given the chance to read her diary since it seemed so earnest and personal. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) is a perfectly sweet distraction with which to pass a few hours. Definitely worth a read if you are a Betty White fan too.


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Night – Elie Wiesel

NightTitle : Night

Author : Elie Wiesel

ISBN-10: 0374500010

ISBN-13 : 978-0374500016

Paperback : 120 pages

The Plot :

Night begins in 1941, when, the narrator of the story, Elie, is twelve years old. It starts in a little town called Sighet in Transylvania. Elie is a studious, deeply religious boy with a loving family consisting of his parents and three sisters. One day, Moshe the Beadle, a Jew from Sighet, deported in 1942, with whom Elie had once studied the Kabbalah, comes back and warns the town of the impending dangers of the German army. No one listens and almost 2 years pass by. But by 1944, Germans are already in the town of Sighet and they set up two ghettos for the Jews. After a while, the Germans begin the deportation of the Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz.

The Jews of Sighet are forced into crowded cattle wagons, each car consisting of eighty people. The conditions of the train ride are horrific; they are treated no better than animals. A woman named Madame Schachter starts to go mad. Periodically, throughout the train ride, she yells about fire, flames, and the furnace. At first, the others try to quiet her. When that does not work, they merely ignore her. When the train arrives at its destination, they are at Birkenau, the reception centre for Auschwitz. The air smells of burning flesh.

At Birkenau, Elie is separated from his mother and sisters. Realizing the importance of being together, Elie and his father lie about their age. As they prepare to enter the camp, they see a ditch where babies are thrown into a burning flame. Elie cannot imagine that this is actually happening. It feels like a nightmare that he can never forget. The male Jews are shaved, showered, and given work clothes. After a long march, they enter Auschwitz, where Elie becomes number A-7713. After a brief stay at Auschwitz, they are moved to a new camp, Buna.

At Buna, Elie goes through the dehumanizing process of the concentration camps. Both he and his father experience severe beatings at the hand of the kapos (overseers). In one instance, Elie receives twenty-five strokes of the whip from Idek the Kapo for walking in on him while he is with a girl. All the prisoners are overworked and undernourished. Many lose faith in God, including Elie. He witnesses several hangings, one of a boy with an angelic face, and sees him struggle for over thirty minutes fighting for his life.

Elie and his father manage to survive through the selection process, where the unfit are condemned to the crematory. Elie suffers from a foot injury that places him in a hospital. After the surgery, the Germans decide to relocate the prisoners because of the advancement of the Russian army. The prisoners begin a long trek in the dead of winter. Many do not make it. Elie and his father support each other through the gruelling march.

The march leads to a train ride where Elie witnesses a boy kill his father for a morsel of bread. Elie is horrified at the very thought, but he realizes that he too has become callous-that he is beginning to care only about his own survival. By the end of the winter trek to Buchenwald, out of a hundred prisoners, only a dozen survive, including Elie and his father.

Although Elie’s father survives the trip, he later falls ill. Elie witnesses the slow deterioration of his father’s health and his eventual death. At Buchenweld, the Germans try in desperation to exterminate all the remaining Jews. But by this time, the Germans are close to defeat. Before the Germans can carry out Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews, there is a successful uprising in the camp by the resistance. In Buchenwald, however, Eliezer’s father dies of dysentery and physical abuse. Eliezer survives, an empty shell of a man until April 11, 1945, the day that the American army liberates the camp.

Shocking and gut wrenching, this account of the Holocaust is a stark and naked description of the concentration camp in Auschwitz. It is a very sad story and definitely very touching. I read the book to get a little better idea of what the concentration camps were and what went on there.


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Bossypants – Tina Fey

BossypantsTitle : Bossypants

Author  : Tina Fey

ISBN-10 : 0316056898

ISBN-13 : 978-0316056892 

Paperback : 272 pages

The Plot :

Tina Fey’s Bossypants is an autobiography. For those who aren’t aware, Tina Fey is an American comedienne who stared in popular shows like Saturday Night Live, created and stared in 30 Rock. She has also stared in other comedy movies such as ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Date Night’ and ‘Baby Mama’. She was also one of the first female lead writers of the SNL team and also made her debut as a film writer by adapting the book ‘Queen bees and wannabes’ into the popular movie ‘Mean Girls’.

The book follows her throughout her early life till she created the mega hit show 30 Rock. It talks about her family and friends and people she met along the way including people like Aleck Baldwin, Amy Poehler etc. It talks about her journey to 30 Rock with a 9 year stop at an island called ‘Saturday Night Live’. The book is full of funny anecdotes from Fey’s life.

This has to be, by far one of the funniest books I have read. Tina Fey has a way with jokes and words and puts them together is such a wonderfully entertaining way. With not a dull moment the book is an amazing ‘light read’. I was reading this on a flight and was often caught giggling while reading through the night. For someone who is a huge fan of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and all the other works of Tina Fey, this was in incredible opportunity to get a funny, insider look into these works and her life.


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