A Tale of Two Cities
The Complete Short Stories
Fahrenheit 451
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Navigators of Dune
End of Watch
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
King Henry VI, Part 3
King Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 1
King Henry IV, Part Two
King Henry IV, Part 1
Richard II
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
The Rosie Effect
On the Nature of Things
So Anyway


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Still Foolin Em

Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?
by Billy Crystal

Henry Holt and Co.
September 10, 2013

From the Publisher 
Hilarious and heartfelt observations on aging from one of America's favorite comedians as he turns 65, and a look back at a remarkable career
Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like "Buying the Plot" and "Nodding Off," Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Readers get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever "test positive for Maalox"), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion ("the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac"), grandparenting, and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

Smell The Book Review
8 out of 10

"[My Aunt} Rose was a tiny wrinkled
Russian woman with one arm several
inches longer than the other.
My dad claimed it was because
she played trombone."  P243

I've been reading a few biographies lately. Most of them from authors I admire like Robertson Davies, Frank Herbert, and most recently, Charles Dickens. I enjoy reading about their lives as it adds a dimension to their books on a re-read that I enjoy. I feel like I am "in" on some of the jokes as well as learning more about the time they wrote in and the inspiration behind their work.

I decided to pick up Billy Crystals autobiography as I have been a fan of his for years since his "Soap" days and even more on SNL. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by his book! I know he is a comedian, but almost every page had a laugh-out-loud story, anecdote or comment that kept me turning the pages. Mixed in with some genuine and heart-felt stories about his career, growing old, and his journey from starving comedian making 20 bucks a show to an Oscar host aiming for Bob Hope's hosting record.

Well written, impactful at times and always sincere, the book had me smiling.

I've always wondered about his impressions as most impressions I hear from other comedians are typically a veiled attempt to insult the person. After reading this book I realize that some of Billy Crystals best impressions are not meant to insult or belittle, but are actually an "homage" to people he has worked with or admires greatly such as Muhammad Ali or Sammy Davis Jr.

It was also interesting to read his thoughts on working on "City Slickers" and "When Harry Met Sally", both movies that were part of my growing up.

I also found it hilarious to read about his minor disagreements with Charles Bronson and Orson Wells. You'll have to read the book to find out why, but his interaction with Bronson is one I would be proud of!

The only part of the book that didn't resonate with me was some of the baseball stories. I appreciate that it is a big part of his makeup but not being a baseball fan myself I was not smitten with the various stories around his brief career as a Yankee.

I read this book close to my own birthday so I also liked the part about his adoption of his mothers mantra to "always do something nice on your birthday".

But overall an excellent read. I may have to go online and rent "When Harry Met Sally" now. ;-)

8 out of 10


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