Mostly linked by a common character, this book of short stories serves as a window into other lives. The featured protagonist, Yunior, came to the US from the Dominican Republic as a little boy. As suggested by the title, This Is How You Lose Her shares tales of failed relationships, cultural struggle and human interaction.
Though you will likely never be in most of the depicted situations, Díaz’s descriptions allow you to feel present and understand the characters’ dilemmas. He uses Spanish slang and a vocabulary that may make some readers uncomfortable, but this also adds to the authenticity of the work. The stories are not told chronologically, but piecing them together allows for extra time to reflect on how they are connected. It’s a good read when you’re looking for something a little different that allows you step into someone else’s shoes for the day.
This documentary by Mark Wexler deals with the sometimes scary topic of aging. It presents people in various stages of life and interviews gerontologists, scientific researchers and others involved in final life matters. More well-known interviewees include Jack LaLanne, Ray Bradbury and Suzanne Somers. One subject nears her 114th birthday and earns a Guinness World Record. From Japan to Iceland, some of the world’s hot spots with unusually older population statistics are revealed along with possible causes for increased longevity in those areas. How to Live Forever is entertaining for adults of any age and the plethora of ideas presented from laughter theory to diet guarantees you’ll find something of interest.
Weaving together three subplots from different times, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is the story of an author’s life and events he has experienced over an interval of several years. One strand involves his present day life on an unnamed Caribbean island and the tolls of living in a drunken blur. Another storyline details his memories of his father’s battle with cancer. The third plotline focuses on the woman he loves and their past relationship. This book was an enjoyable read, interesting from the beginning. Currie’s eclectic style works well as he bounces from one thought to the next. I recommend this book to readers looking for a bit of adventure and constant entertainment.
If you are a parent-to-be trying to think up unique baby names and fall into any of the titular categories, Hello, My Name is Pabst is worth checking out. It offers a treasure trove of names, mostly off-the-wall ideas, interlaced with a few gems. Authors Bruno and Sparks have divided the book into chapters highlighting categories of names. Themes range from Craft beers to IKEA furniture to Architects, Nihilists, Tattoos, Mad scientists, Dreadlocks and beyond. The book’s casual writing style makes it a quick read with names featured in cartoon bubbles so you can skip the rest if you’re really in a hurry. “Tipster” sections give additional ideas to create your own baby names. Read it and decide if the authors are pulling your leg, or if you really want to brand your baby with one of these names.
This is probably one of those movies that you will either love or hate. Based on a French play, Carnage features Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, and takes place almost entirely in the living room of a New York City apartment. It details two couples’ attempts to reconcile an incident that occurred between their sons. As the four parents spend more time together, they regress to childlike behavior and grow increasingly frustrated with each other. Great for people watchers, this film allows you to see interpersonal conflict up close. You’ll see the bigger picture and laugh at the ridiculousness into which some situations digress.
Mortality is sure to make you laugh and may make you cry. After being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, Hitchens begins to keep notes and write about his experiences. Not written for any particular audience, this book touches on religion, aspects of being an author, and living with and treating cancer. Fans will appreciate this straightforward discussion of issues involved when facing the end of life. Those who haven’t before read Hitchens’s writing may see why he’s amassed such a great following. At just over 100 pages, this is a very quick and thought provoking read.