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Adult Non-Fiction

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

A Life in Parts

4.5 Stars
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Scribner
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
eAudiobook, Audiobook by Simon Schuster Audio

About the Book: A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.

Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys.

Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most memorable performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.

Discussing his life as few men do, describing his art as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance. But ultimately A Life in Parts is a story about the joy, the necessity, and the transformative power of simple hard work.

Continue reading “A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston”

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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining WomenMy Review: 5 Glowing Stars

This non-fiction book tells the story of a group of women who were hired to paint the numbers on clock and watch faces using radium paint. In the early 1900s Radium was discovered by the Curries. Suddenly, it was all the rage. It was used in medical cures as well as lumimous dials for watches and equipment. No one understood what would happen to the human body or the earth when it came into contact with radium. These jobs were high paying and were coveted by many women. Not only did the numbers glow, but the women’s hair, clothing and bodies when they left work each evening. They painted their nails and dabbed it on their bodies before going out on a date. When they turned off the lights, they laughed as they glowed bright green. These girls sat for hours happily painting and pointing their paint brushes by swishing them in their mouths to cover the small numbers. What they didn’t realize is the painful effects Radium exposure would have on their health.

When many of these dial painting employees began having serious medical issues….chronic mouth infections, loose teeth, disintegrating jaw bones, tumors, and even death….their employers turned a blind eye. They said the Radium was harmless, the girls died of other illnesses when they were really hiding what they knew, that the girls had contracted radiation poisoning. They commissioned studies to prove that radium was the cause. They also said that the time to make claims was past, or that the girls had not worked for them for several years, so it was something else that caused their illness. It took years of fighting and public outcry for life-saving regulations to be put in place to protect workers from this scale of work related injury and blatant disregard for employee health and safety. The women, injured by exposure to Radium, had to fight to have their story heard, and it led to work place safety regulations to prevent similar exposure to future workers. They were courageous and fought for what they knew was right. Many of them fighting for the women that came after them as they knew that their illness was terminal.

I listened to this book and it was very well done. The narrator, Angela Brazil, did not change voices etc. but it was not necessary. She sounded believable as the voices of the various women. This book is horrifying and haunting, yet compelling. I’m glad the stories of these women and what they endured isn’t being lost to time. This book was the result of a young girl reading a story about this terrible injustice. It may have started over 100 years ago, but their stories and their fight for justice is just as poignant now as it was then. I am not a great reader of non-fiction, but I highly recommend this book to anyone. The audio version was 16 hours long, but it was well worth the time. Continue reading “The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore”

All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School)

All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn't Learn in Veterinary School)by Jessica Vogelsang

Hardcover, 323 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
4.5 Stars

 

My Review: This is a memoir of a dedicated, introverted, animal loving Veterinarian. This was an uplifting book showing the positives of pet ownership.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang begins her story as a young introverted girl who’s parents think that getting her a dog will help her to meet people. It doesn’t really. As she struggles to determine what she wants to do with her life, she decides on Vet School. She is worried about having to euthanize animals though. The book deals with her professional life as well as her personal life. We meet her friends (Kevin), her two children, she talks about her post-partum depression and her family. The professional side had laughs, some tears and a comaraderie developed in the vet practice. She talks about the on-the-job training that goes on, as well the cost and sometimes disrespect that goes along with the job. Of course you can’t read a book about animals without some deaths along the way. When she has to explain the death of the family dog to her young children, her youngest misunderstands Heaven to be Kevin. This misunderstanding plays an important role in how she eventually perceives death of a pet. This is a book that I really can’t explain, you just have to read it. I went through a gamut of emotions while reading and listening to this one. If you are an animal lover, you will enjoy this book. I recommend it.

Continue reading “All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School)”

Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Pack

Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Packby Jill Grunenwald

Hardcover, 252 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing
4 Stars

Continue reading “Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Pack”

Finding Shelter: Portraits of Love, Healing, and Survival

Finding Shelter by Jesse Freidinby Jesse Freidin

Expected publication: April 1st 2017 by Lyons Press

5 Stars

Continue reading “Finding Shelter: Portraits of Love, Healing, and Survival”

Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto

Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghettoby Tilar J. Mazzeo

Published September 27th 2016 by Gallery Books

5 Stars

Continue reading “Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto”

Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE

Accepted by Pat Pattersonby Pat Patterson, with Bertrand Hebert , Vince McMahon Jr. (Foreword)

Published September 22nd 2016 by ECW Press

3.5 Stars

Continue reading “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE”

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandboxby Carol Burnett

Published September 13th 2016 by Crown Archetype

4 Stars

Continue reading “In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox”

Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dreamby Scotty McCreery, Travis Thrasher

Published May 3rd 2016 by Zondervan

4 Stars

Continue reading “Go Big or Go Home”

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