Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Review: My Husband's Sweethearts

In My Husband's Sweethearts by Bridget Asher, Lucy gets one blow after another: she finds out her husband has cheated on her with three different women during their 4-year marriage, and also Artie, 18 years Lucy's senior, is dying. One drunken night, Lucy decides all her husband's sweethearts should share her pain and come visit Artie before he dies. She takes his little black book and drunk dials some of his old flames... never expecting they may actually show up!

As the book goes on, Lucy learns more things about her husband that she never knew, and she forms almost a makeshift family with some of the sweethearts. A somewhat weird romantic twist happens, but I felt better about it later on in the book.

This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Asher's characters are unique and lovable despite their flaws. My favorite might be Lucy's mom, who knows a thing or two about husbands (she's had a handful) and makes her dog wear a jock strap (no lie!).

Lucy says early on that her mother sews cliche phrases into pillows and how there are many less obvious lessons that should be displayed instead. Each chapter is named with phrases Lucy thinks should be emblazoned on a pillow, such as "Your Mother is a Woman You Don't Have to Become" and "Forgiveness Doesn't Wear a Rolex Knockoff." I thought this was cute and creative.

It's a quick read and I couldn't put this one down. It made me laugh and cry... and let's face it: I think that makes the perfect book.

For more about the book, check out this Web site.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Review: Falling off the Catwalk

One day, a colleague of mine (hi, Tammy!) sent me this press release, marveling at the release's title: "A 'Christian' Alcoholic Comes to Terms With His Gayness by Becoming an International Fashion Model in the Newly Released Memoir 'Falling Off the Catwalk.'" That was all I needed to see to know that I wanted to read this book.

Robert Reincke is in his late twenties, living in Southern California and working at Hewlett-Packard when he has a revelation: he wants to be a model. So he packs up and leaves for Europe, where he hops from Milan to Germany to Tokyo and back to Milan and then to Paris and Madrid and then back to Paris again all within a little over a year. Job after job, Robert learns how hard it is to stay in the modeling industry. While modeling, he also wrestles with drug use and his alcoholism and how it conflicts with his Christian believes, and also deals with his questions about his own sexuality.

Reincke's memoir gives the reader descriptions of tons of models, photographers and the many roommates he had during his time as a model. The reader also gets a taste of every city he's been in. Most importantly, the reader can get a sense of Reincke's personal journey that goes along with his journey through Europe.

For more information, check out Spunky Books.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Taxi Cab Confessions

I really enjoy traveling for my job. It's great to see new cities, I love being in hotels and I'm even getting a little less afraid of flying.

But I think one of my favorite parts of traveling is people watching and meeting some interesting characters. This weekend, I think I met the best one so far: my cab driver.

Some cab drivers don't really like to talk with their passengers, but mine didn't mind sharing personal things with me on our 30-minute drive from the airport to my hotel. For example, she, a grown woman, still sucks her thumb, which is the reason why she has a cleaning lady (?). She also told me about cab etiquette, and how some cabbies really enjoy splashing pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Most importantly, I learned a lot about love from my cab driver. Before picking me up, she just got back from tongue-ring shopping and lunch at Red Lobster with her boyfriend. They were still in the "courting stage" according to her, but he was making quite an effort. She told me that one night he came over to make her dinner, bring her roses and run her bathwater. I told her that was really sweet, and she shared with me that they dated before 15 years ago.

Me: "Oh, that's so cute! It must be fate! If you don't mind my asking, why didn't it work the first time?"

Cab driver: (laughing) "Oh, it was silly... I told him I was pregnant, but I wasn't!"

Me: ..... ??? .... ??? .... ?

Ah, the life of a traveler! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oprah and Sarah Palin

First, I'll say that I don't consider myself an expert in politics at all. I've been trying to keep up with this year's election and have found it very interesting, but I definitely don't claim to know everything. I'll be upfront and say as of now, I'm planning on voting for Obama on Nov. 4.

Second, I'm not a big fan of Oprah. I know she's done some great things for charity, but it bothers me that one woman has so much control over millions of women in the U.S.

Both of those things being said, I am upset that Oprah will not have Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin on her show. I don't necessarily agree with all of Gov. Palin's views, but she is the first woman on a major party ticket since Geraldine Ferraro. If McCain is elected, she will be the first woman VP ever. On a show that targets women, this is a huge deal!

Oprah has had Obama on her show in January 2005 and October 2006. She has been vocal in her support for Obama and even said his Democratic National Convention speech made her "cry her eyelashes off." She also said her show is not a platform for any of the candidates, which is why she won't have Palin (a supposed "MILF"... I don't get that, but that's another blog post) on.

Despite the fact that we share the same candidate, I still think, even though she claims her show isn't a platform for any candidates, Oprah, sans eyelashes, is being biased. Shouldn't a newly publicized female figure in politics be spotlighted on a show for women? Even though Obama was on Oprah before he became a presidential candidate, he was highlighted on the show all the same.

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong supports Oprah's decision, saying O would rake Palin over the coals about her supporting abstinence only sex education, when her 17-year-old daughter is preggers. Armstrong also thinks Oprah may probe about allegations that Palin tried to ban certain books from the Wasilla, AK public library when Palin was mayor of the town.

I say, let Oprah probe and prod all she wants! I don't support abstinence only sex ed or banning books, but I still think Oprah's audience should see what Palin's about, good or bad.... just like they've seen (and heard) what Obama's about, whether that was in earlier show appearances or from Oprah's own mouth, on or off her show.