Monday, August 6, 2012

Stories from the Spotlight!

Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley

Library Journal –

We all think we know Walter Cronkite, "the most trusted man in America." But, having dug into the just opened Cronkite Archive at the University of Texas at Austin and interviewed over 200 people, from Morley Safer to Katie Couric, Brinkley should tell us much more. 

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen

Kirkus Reviews –

The Bravo network executive who green-lighted the Real Housewives franchise shares backstage insights into reality TV. In this uneven memoir/gossip fest, Cohen attempts to strike a balance between the story of his upbringing in a close-knit Jewish family and dishing on the antics of "Bravolebrities." In the former, he often succeeds, portraying his parents as warmly and humorously as you would expect from someone who implored his mom to send him updates on All My Children while he was away at camp. Cohen's youthful obsession with soap maven Susan Lucci further highlights his eventual lionizing of the Real Housewives, and he sprinkles his awkward encounters with his diva idol throughout the text. He also effectively captures the fear of coming out in the 1980s, a time when homophobic jokes and AIDS misinformation were rampant. Cohen is candid, but he will try many readers' patience with his devotion of several pages to the most mundane details of the Housewives' fame-mongering: e.g., tweets from their dogs, transcripts of interviews gone awry and defenses of their shallowness that ring--surprise!--hollow. In one tortured instance, he reveals how the Bravo team recut all episodes of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after a participant's husband committed suicide, then claims that what they presented on TV was "real life." The disclosure that the film crew shoots 85 hours of footage for every hour aired gives the lie to the claim that reality TV is any such thing. By the time that Cohen's father tells him, "I just can't get over that people speak to each other this way, in public places," most readers will agree and likely stop reading. Anyone except the most devoted Housewives fans will wish that Cohen were less talkative.

I Hate Everyone...Starting with Me by Joan Rivers

Kirkus Reviews –

A humorous tirade on nearly everything and everyone. Rivers (Men Are Stupid…And They Like Big Boobs, 2008, etc.) is back with an entertaining rant on how she hates nearly everything and everyone, especially herself. Nothing is sacred to Rivers as she delivers one-liners on the whole shebang of human existence. From birthing a child, having sex, getting married, growing old and dying, to living in cities, eating in restaurants and travelling to foreign lands, the author gives readers her unusual perspective on each scenario. On manners: "I hate people who blow their nose at the dinner table and then look in their hankie. What do they think they're going to find?" On dating younger men: "I'll never be a cougar. I don't like younger men. I don't ever want to wake up in the morning and wonder, Is this my date or did I give birth last night?" On cities: "I hate San Francisco because I not only left my heart there but my hairdresser." Show business, nature, even the slogans each state uses to promote itself…none are immune to Rivers' often-caustic jesting. Relentless in her pursuit, the author is sure to offend everyone at some point in this book, regardless of the comedic intent. The only thing missing is the sound of a drum roll and cymbals to feel as though one is sitting in a nightclub watching a live comedy marathon. The book is best read in small, random batches, with a large martini in hand. A raucous, biting look at life.

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