Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

engulfedMaybe it’s because I’ve heard him so often on BBC radio…but whatever the reason, Mr Sedaris is seriously growing on me. I loved this one! It’s the 3rd book I’ve read/listened to by him. Having him read the books so adds to the experience! I admit, after the first book (MTPOD) I wasn’t sure I was a fan….but after this one, I most definitely am! So funny and brutally honest! I would have to say, having DS as a close friend would be both exhausting and exhilarating! Did I mention how much I love this guy now?

I must warn you though, don’t read a DS book unless you are willing to hear random things that just pop into his head. They are not always appropriate. He dares to say what others only think….He makes no apologizes for who he is….and he doesn’t believe in political correctness when it comes to being an arse. If you are an arse he will not hesitate to tell you exactly that. If you are a such a complete moron, he will not hesitate to tell you and to ask you, LOUDLY, just how it is you manage to tie your shoes each morning…

If you can’t laugh at yourself, don’t bother picking up this book. If you’re offended easily, again, perhaps you should pass this one by…but if you understand sarcasm…and if you sometimes wish you had the courage to say exactly what everyone is thinking but too afraid to voice it aloud…well go on…pick it up….not only will DS be happy to voice it for you…he’ll do so in a very loud voice and have you laughing for more….He would be hard pressed to like, except for the fact that he is usually laughing at himself the most…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it nowWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Review: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

*1Well, since Thanksgiving is tomorrow (although being in the United Kingdom now we don’t celebrate this one :-/ ) and since this is a novel about a food blogger…and well….I am a kinda sorta blogger myself….I reckoned it was a good idea to post this review now….

If you check out the reviews for this book they are all over the place….I reckon this means that you either love this book or you hate it…Well, not me…I really enjoyed it….I didn’t love it…but in no way did I hate it….I thought it was charming. Julie was bit of a drama queen, but I loved her. I understand her sarcasm perfectly! It started as a blog and of course if you read any blogs you can understand how witty, engaging and entertaining her blog must have been. This is a movie that I have actually seen for once and I thought the movie and the book went along quite well together. Amy Adams was a perfect fit for the role and I had no problem imagining her as I read this book. If you’ve ever wanted to start out to do something fun and it rolled into something that totally stressed you out and encompassed your entire life…yet you were too stubborn to back down and throw in the towel…or you cared too much…..If you became so obsessed with it that you sometimes forget the other “going ons” in the *real* world….well this is a book you can relate to….I laughed out loud at times and I totally cringed at other times….and I sincerely felt her frustration and the “I’M. AT. THE. END. OF. MY. ROPE. AND. I. JUST. WANT. TO. LAY. DOWN. AND. CRY. PLEASE. DON’T. TALK. TO. ME. FOR. AT. LEAST. 5. DAYS. I. CAN’T. BE. BOTHERED”…..

If the book lets you down at points, well one must only remember that this started as a blog and with momentum and life it rolled into a movie and a book….If it had started out as a book, then turned into a movie and then finished with a blog, well it would have been written in a totally different style I think….

This book gives me hope that it’s true…we all have a book in us just waiting to be written down….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Review: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

NPHHave never really been a fan of NPH…but that’s only because I’ve never really watched him and I am not one to follow celebrity gossip. I had no clue he was married and had children. I barely knew he was gay to be perfectly honest…..NO… home is not under a rock on the moon!

Now that I have made my disclaimer, I will say, I really enjoyed this book. It was a pretty quick read. I loved the “choose your own ending” type of books….and this was no exception…haha….really, he did a brilliant job with that. It could have been a complete disaster. But really, isn’t that how his whole life (up to this point) story goes? There are so many different events that NPH has been though that many others would have handled differently….I think many of his choices could have ended in complete disaster. However, he seems to meet them head on and always seems to come out the other side, if not gleaming, well….at least confident that he made the correct choice for HIM….that’s perhaps what makes him so attractive and successful. He doesn’t seem to bend to the rules (even whilst he is, indeed, bending to the rules). He is confident, even in his uncertainty…

He is refreshing in his honesty. He doesn’t make apologies. He doesn’t try to back-step and cover up any wrong mistakes. He stands a bit straighter, throws back his shoulders, brushes off any lint, and steps fully into the spotlight and proclaims, “here I am”. He doesn’t seek the spotlight and demand everything be about him….but damnit, he won’t back down and he’s not afraid to make his feelings heard in a very loud and unquestionable way. I have to admire that. Here we have a guy that should be worried about his personal image. It’s how he makes his living. But his take it or leave it, I am who I am is what is so utterly refreshing about him. He leaves no doubt that if push comes to shove, the fame and hollywood image is nothing he is not willing to sacrifice for love of his family.

Yes, it took him a long time to get there. I imagine it was never easy for him. But unlike many childhood actors, he seems to have kept on a somewhat straight (haha…see what I did there?) path to get to where he is. He didn’t crash and burn. He didn’t use his success as an excuse to make poor decisions. Now that he knows who he is, he makes no apologies and remains true to himself. That is sometimes very hard for anyone to do….let alone someone who is so securely in the public spotlight….Bravo, NPH….I might not have been a massive fan before, but I sure am now…..well done you….

Until next time…..

Urania xx

Buy it now Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Review copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

*1So weird…this of course was real life vs Murakami’s imagination. I absolutely love how this man can stump me on one single sentence for minutes at a time…I just read them over and over again….this book was not like that….it was pretty straight and to the point….with most of his books I give them 4 stars right off the bat and then go back a month later and bump it up to 5 because, honestly, it sometimes takes me that long to fully appreciate him….yes, a month later, I still often think of the latest Murakami book I have read. It’s true…for me, his words become part of me…they seep into my very bone marrow…but for whatever reason, this one got 5 stars right off the bat….why? I am not sure…I just know it deserves it….stupid reason, but there you have it…and really, who knew he could run 60 plus miles in a single day? Who knew he has more albums than I have books? But most of all, I felt a real connection to him after reading this book. I don’t write. When I write down my thoughts they start to consume me. I lose control. It is a very scary thing for me. It’s why I avoid it when I can…Murakami spends some time in this book explaining why he must run to offset the unhealthiness of his imagination…How you have to go deep inside you to be able to tap your creative vein…if you don’t stay healthy on the outside, the inside will take over….me? I just have never learned how to do that…I fear one day I would just bleed out….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Review: The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

*1Since this has been all over the news of late I thought it was time to revisit. I now live in the United Kingdom and often do my clothes shopping online (much easier than trying to suffer though the experience with my loving but very impatient husband) and I admit I was somewhat shocked at looking at the shipping restrictions. It appears that post is no longer allowed to be sent many countries now with “Ebola virus” listed as the cause….This is just mind-blowing to me….anyway…here is the review of this book that has always stayed in my mind. I worry about chemical warfare and someone leaking this type of virus much more than I’ve ever worried about a bomb going off overhead….

What can I say? This one really makes you stop and think. How close are we all to death? What blink of an eye can mean the end of the world as we know it? Forget how utterly disgusting this book was. I mean, seriously, this was the most insane, make you wish you hadn’t eaten that for lunch, I think I just threw up in my mouth, wipe that grimace off your face book I have ever read. i still can’t stop imaging what it would be like to have your tongue, esophagus and intestines slough off and run through your body. Nor can I stop trying to imagine the black vomit or bleeding out through ever orifice of your body. Screaming monkeys. This book really could give you some nightmares. Seriously. Who is that guy sitting next to you on the plane? Does he look sick? Does he have a virus lurking in his hazel eyes? Did that cough just set the virus free?

I tell you something, this type of book makes me reevaluate my life. I want to do things differently. I want to be in a different place….and today might be the last day to do so…time to get my ass moving…..

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

Confessions of a Book Hoarder

IMG_8494Okay, it’s time to get honest here. So many of you think you know the real me….many of you haven’t a clue about anything other than I go by Urania as you read a weekly review….So it’s time I come clean…..this is so hard to do…..

First…..have you ever watched that show, “Hoarders”? I’m not sure how many of these shows now exist in the USA, but in the UK there are a few different ones. But they are all about the same….I’m sure at some point you’ve thought they were dramatized to a certain degree so that it makes people feel better about themselves. You know….well, sure….I have too many shoes….maybe a few more purses than I *really* need, but that lady on the telly is insane! There’s no way I could get that out of control. At some point the person on the telly breaks down and everyone gives them a hug and tells them it will be okay….they will help them…..The person in need of help WANTS to change….they want their life back.

Now back to me….this is ABOUT ME after all!!!!!! Pssssfffttttttt……

I’ve reached that point. No, seriously…I need a hug…I usually spend a chunk of my time checking libraries every day….or book blogs (hey! if you’re looking for a really good book blog, you should sooo check out ….seriously, they are the best!!!)…..I add books to my wish list all the time….I manage my wish list weekly (yes, I really do! I try to locate the book from somewhere….netgalley, library, where ever I can to save a penny or pence now!)…I keep track of them on Goodreads (hallelujah, this site was made just for people like me!)….I follow friend’s reviews and keep track of what they are reading and adding to their lists (NO I AM NOT A STALKER….I do this out of love!)….I follow authors on there….I find a book I like and then I not only look at that book, I check out all the other books that the author has written….I go to amazon and look at the new releases that are due to come out soon….I go to factfiction and check out their release calendar as well….I also use Pinterest to track books…If I am in town I try to casually glance at any charity shops I might pass to see what books I might need….

Then at some point it happens…..

It’s time to pick my next read…

At this point I just loose it….I feel like bursting into tears….I mean, are you freaking kidding me? I look at my kindle (I am firm in my decision to only limit my kindle to around 300 titles)….I search my netgallery collection…I search my gifted books collection….I search my theSHORTlist collection….I turn off the kindle and look at the stacks of physical books I want to read in my home…Then I go to Goodreads and I look at these same items there….plus the other numerous bookshelves I have there….Then I turn on Calibre and check out my books there as well….just in case I’ve somehow skipped or overlooked one somehow….I mean, regardless of the thousands of books listed, what if that one perfect book is overlooked somehow? I MUST double check…

There is just too many….I am completely overwhelmed. I know this is my turning point….I know I need to face the fact that I have a problem…..

But seriously….I still want more…..I no longer think that the ‘hoarders’ on the telly are dramatized……THIS IS REAL….And I am one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But honestly, I don’t want to change…..I am happy in life….I am not putting my trust in inanimate objects….I’m not even overspending (not any longer, but that’s a whole different story! bwhahahahaha)…I probably spend less on that 3 quid a month on books….

But I confess, I am just so overwhelmed….I sometimes spend more time trying to pick out a book than I do reading that book….and I’m petrified that I made the wrong choice….that I should be reading something else instead….I am afraid that I will not live long enough to read all of the books I *really* want to read….yes, this thought REALLY does enters my head!

Okay….I’ve confessed….it’s okay….if you think I am a nutter, you can go on and just say it….if you have a suggestion, again, please don’t be afraid that I’ll be upset if you just come out with it… me….I am much more afraid of being suffocated under a massive pile of unread books…..sobs….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Review: Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

Hitch-22Okay, so I will be the first to admit, I’m not an expert on Christopher Hitchens. I’ve read “Morality” and that’s it. I didn’t watch him on television or read his reviews or articles or anything. So basically, I am unbiased. I am not a fan. I am not a hater. I am just me 🙂

First of all…there is no doubting that this man was touched with brilliance. However, there is no doubting that he is a bit condescending as well. *However* taking it a step further, he seems well aware of both these traits and does not apologise for them. To be honest, that’s quite refreshing. At least he was not playing to the masses, nor was he in denial.

I think a lot of people expect this book to be an autobiography it is, in fact, a memoir. After I finished it, I read some reviews and it was a common complaint. There isn’t a lot of his life story here. It’s mostly about events that happened to him and his viewpoints. It’s exactly what a memoir should be and it’s somewhat annoying to see people down-rating the book because there wasn’t enough talk about how he was brought up and his family life.

This was interesting in so many ways. One of the things I find most interesting about Hitchens is that he can see both sides of an issue very clearly. He could and does argue each side, at times making it hard to choose, yet he makes no holds about where he stands. I don’t think he straddled very many fences. Having said that, he also has no problems admitting he isn’t dead set in his viewpoints and had no issue admitting that perhaps he got it wrong. If he started to see that something he believed in the past wasn’t working any longer, but the opposing side was, well hey ho, he had no problem saying so and joining their ranks. So often people, especially famous people, once they declare an alliance with something, refuse to budge from their viewpoints. Especially when it comes to politics. Hitchens seemed to have no problem saying, okay, this worked in the past, but it’s not working now…what can? His loyalty seemed to be in what he found to work at that moment. Now I realise that some might see this as a bad thing. I don’t. I wish more people were able to open their minds to other viewpoints and think about what might work instead of just being loyal to the idea of the past. So often we only look at an opposing viewpoint to point out what is wrong about it. It is rarely that one is confident enough to look at one and see what is right.

I especially liked when Hitchens talked about his religious beliefs and his Jewish history (he was an adult when he found out he was Jewish) near the end of this book. He seemed very open to the fact that although he was an atheist he was waiting for someone to prove him wrong. His talk of his Jewish background (or lack of, I suppose) and the culture really fascinated me. So much so that I plan on reading more about it.

The thing about his book is…well, I didn’t really like it. I listened to the audio and there is no doubt that Hitchens was an arrogant sod. If I had ever met him, I am quite sure I would have disliked him. But there is much to enjoy reading this book. Hitchens might not have been my ideal person, but he had a great mind and was very precise on presenting multiple viewpoints on different, important subjects. I would have hated to meet this man in a debate. But my oh my…I would have loved to watch him in one….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Catch-22 by Christopher Hitchens