I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman Book by Nora Ephron

mylittlebookblog (1)

Hello readers, a little bit of sad news today which is never a nice way to start a post. One of my favourite book stores in Hanley, Webberley’s book store is closing down and has started selling books for pennies. Although I cannot complain, getting a brilliant read for twenty pence, it is a little saddening that I will no longer be able to wander in on my lunch break and have a browse. The day I found that the store was shutting *cries* I picked up this lovely little read which I think my lovely female readers will adore maybe as much as I did.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Heartburn,Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) turns her sharp wit on to her own life.

* Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from
*If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit
*When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you
*Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for by the age of forty-five
*The empty nest is underrated
*If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

I guess the first thing to point out is that before this I was yet to read anything from Nora Ephron which makes me feel like I am definitely missing out on some stunners. I did have a nosy in the Amazon reviews and one stated ‘Ephron could write about the telephone book and make it entertaining’ and I completely and utter agree. The book is  a selection of essays that are based on the idea of getting older (kind of explains the neck bit I guess,) and the way we can and should embrace these changes. It’s one of those books that makes you think and take a minute to appreciate what you have.

One of the best of the ‘essays,’ is named ‘On Maintenance.’ The writing describes how much time we spend making ourselves look perfect and how over time these few minutes of time add up to years and years of time. It puts into perspective the things we do each and every day and how much time we spent trivalaising over things that are so very insignificant in our lives. The essay entitled ‘I Feel Bad about my Neck’ is terribly funny and lead to me spending a good ten minutes inspecting my neck. It leads from the idea that you never know what you had until it’s gone. One day we will all mourn for the wonder of our twenty year old necks – I’m sure.

Untitled design (11)

The essays take on a number of different topics; falling in love with different concepts, people and places, and especially apartments and the reason we do so with very little reason. We become sentimentally attached to things and yet years, months, maybe as little as days later they get replaced by something else that we will find ever more satisfying. Whether that is relationships, places, books or food choices we are at one time or another going to move on with our lives and find something new to appreciate and that is okay. These concepts are really wonderfully described in the essay ‘Serial Monogamy: A Memoir’ about her affection and obsession with several different cookbook authors.

Some are ranting – most seen in the hysterical ‘I hate my purse’ but they have a positive feel throughout and all feel as though the author is sat just streaming out her ideas and emotions. This writing I adore; it is honest, candid, and frank. It’s not trying to do something, it’s not trying to sell a lifestyle it’s an honest look at things many of us women do and an understanding that it’s okay; maybe sometimes a little irrational but that really is the beauty of life.  “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less” shows this perfectly.

I found this book utterly delightful and yet a little mournful; it made me think and take a moment to step back. Many of you will know I’ve been spending a lot of time stepping back and looking at my life, the things that fuel my insecurities and how to deal with them and whenever I have an internal struggle this will be the book I pick up. An essay a night would be perfect way to fall asleep feeling a little calmer with the world.






I Lie for Money by Steve Spill

Good morning and welcome to another review from mylittlebookblog. It’s an interesting book today and one that I wouldn’t normally read but it’s brilliant to bring you something a little different. A bit of variety is always nice. In other news I will be in Copenhagen over the weekend and I am too excited for words. I haven’t really mentioned it but around a month back one our friends mentioned they had to take a couple of days holiday otherwise the allowance would be lost so did anyone fancy a trip away over the bank holiday? A couple of days messaging each other, googling flights and desperately pulling funds together we are going to Denmark. It’s just a little city break but *squeals* I honestly cannot wait. However, now, a magical review for you.

In this funny, irreverent, unique, eccentric memoir, magician Steve Spill reveals how he managed to survive decades inside a rarely profitable, sometimes maddening, but often deliciously rewarding offbeat showbiz profession—magic!Spill tells of how his tailor grandfather sewed secret pockets in a magician’s tuxedo back in 1910, which started his childhood dream to become a magician. This dream took Spill on a journey that started with him performing, as a young boy, at a “Beauty on a Budget” neighborhood house party to engagements in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean, to today in Santa Monica, California, where he’s been starring in his own shows since 1998 at Magicopolis, the theater he designed and built himself. I Lie for Money . . . is a literary magic show that captures the highs and lows of an extraordinary life that will delight and amaze you with wit and wickedness. This book should be an obligatory read for anyone considering a creative career, and it serves as an inspiration to those who desire to craft an independent life.

So, yes, today’s review is a memoir, not something I usually get sent but one I have enjoyed nonetheless. The first thing to say however is I almost didn’t read this book. Please, please, please do not print a book in Comic Sans unless your target audience is under the age of eleven. Once I got over the initial shock of such a terrible type decision I settled down to read and it is a fun and light-hearted piece of literature. The book is honestly like having a private backstage pass into the performing life of the author and it’s wonderfully entertaining. The stories are told in detail with gusto and flair. We get to experience the highs and lows, the new ideas, the working of tricks and the interesting personalities that were met during his lifetime as a magician. We get to learn more about the Magicopolis the authors one hundred and fifty seat theatre in Santa Monica and the performances that were staged there.

The book is stippled with stories that help paint the picture of performing for a living and the intriguing acts that were witnessed. Brilliant snippets include The Lemon Trick which is a particularly clever chapter and one later in the book named Trials and Error which is rather funny. Stories vary wildly, and include a range of animals including a tiger cub, chickens and memorably a macaw as well as a star-studded cast that are interweaved including Cary Grant, Joan Rivers and Stephen King would you believe. The book really does give you a glimpse into the workings of what it takes to build a persona in the creative and ‘magic’ business and I appreciated the chance to experience it. I do adore magic and I’m never really looking to know what’s happening I’m always too absorbed by what I think I am seeing right in front of my eyes and this book brought another point of view to my experience with magic.

In terms of the writing it is written with some skill and dexterity. I liked the variety in chapter length some were longer, some only a page or so, if it was a particular event helping to add contrast and bring some pace to the book. At times the writing was a little immature and could have been tightened up for me using ‘yeah’ or ‘pffft’ can come across a little juvenile especially when what is being spoken about is quite exciting to read. At times some of the stories were a little drawn out and given too much detail that didn’t add to the story but on the whole most were a good length. I think my main problem was the style of the book. The cover, the comic sans and some of the writing make it seem a little unprofessional and yet what’s actually written is a good read. A different cover, maybe something more graphic, a change in text style and a strengthening of some of the slang used this would come across better as a book as a whole because we do judge books based on their appearance and there are ways of doing this. Overall a book I found amusing and a light read and one that I think would make a brilliant birthday or Christmas present for a reader.