The Dude and the Zen Master
Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman (2013)
The Dude and the Zen Master is the transcription of a conversation between actor Jeff Bridges and Jewish Zen Master Bernie Glassman on their life experiences, and how we should all strive to be more relaxed like “The Dude,” the main character in the Coen Brothers’ film, The Big Lebowski. The two men offer very different perspectives based on their professions, which lends the perfect balance. The book is filled with easy to absorb, practical examples that can be practiced on the spot during tough situations throughout life and work.
Stephen King (1986)
I listened to It on audiobook for 44 hours. Yes, 44 hours. If you’ve never read Stephen King, his writing is extremely descriptive; It goes on and on, chock-full of vivid, minute details. King’s style is also written from a very male, masculine point of view. The descriptions are told through the voice of someone who obviously idolized his boyhood youth and all of the experiences therein–a lack of sexual insight, friendships in youth, silly and base teenage boy insults, et al.
All in all, if you are a reader to who craves an intricate portrait of a community, mixed with a killer clown alien, then this book is for you. However, if you are someone who often finds yourself skipping pages when said author puts the phrase ad nauseum to shame, then pass this one up.
Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman (2013)
A cosmically strong lineage of three women (grandmother, mother and daughter), along with a little English boy, fight an evil witch-woman in a small English town. This book is beautifully written, a quick read, and the way in which Gaiman describes the home life of the female characters makes you want to live with them and eat their homemade jam.
Rita Mae Brown (1973)
While reading Rubyfruit Jungle, I couldn’t help but think of 19th century novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin; honest female lead characters who challenge social norms in times where women received the short end of the stick (even more than now, one could argue). RJ details the life of Molly Bolt as a child in the south through young adulthood as she moves to New York, and we follow her journey as a blossoming lesbian. She is a rough and tumble character, and the book is filled with hilarious and brutally honest thoughts on womanhood, the life of a wife, and lesbian stereotypes. I haven’t read a book this entertaining and thought-provoking in a long time.
Ellen DeGeneres (2011)
You can read this book in about 3-4 hours, and one could compare it to the likes of a more airy Bossypants by Tina Fey. DeGeneres shares almost stream of consciousness tips and life experience on lofty subjects such as gardens and dinner parties. Luckily, there are a few leftist niblets to keep the average liberal reader interested, such as a shout out to female inventors and addressing her sexual orientation, thereby fighting the good fight to normalize same-sex relationships in American culture.