Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll

Not necessarily in that order.

#13 - The Little Prince – Autoine de Saint Exupery
Recommended by: RD

I don’t get it. I tried, I really did, but the whole thing was just insane. I read the first few section to my son and not only did he ban it from our bedtime routine, but he referred to it as “that weird book.” Maybe my translation was bad? Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind? (Though, I’m pretty sure the only true mindset would require some illegal drugs and possibly a black light.) Whatever the case, this book was not for me.

#15 – I am Ozzy – Ozzy Osbourne
Recommended by: AR

This book is the reason I did the book project. Lots of the books on the list were already on my shelf, or would be read eventually through a book club, etc. But I assure you, as God as my witness, I never in a million years would have picked up the autobiography of an aging rock star whose music I had to Google. When I shop book sales, I don’t even go to the autobiography/biography table, that little do I care about other people’s real lives. My sister-in-law (Brunette) knows this. She knows what I like and what I don’t like as we frequently recommend books back and forth. Brunette is fully aware that I have never listed to heavy metal or that I think most rockers need to be disinfected, possibly with a chemical shower. Sure I watched an episode of The Osbournes when it aired, but all I remember is Ozzy trying and failing to line a trash can with a fresh bag and thinking, “this is just depressing.” I know who his kids and his wife are, but I don’t really pay attention to them other than to yell at my TV screen every time Kelly tries to “host” a red carpet. However, if a Black Sabbath or Ozzy song came on the radio, I wouldn’t know it and I’d probably change the station. So let’s be clear, if this book was the only one sitting on the coffee table of the dentist in Hell, I still probably wouldn’t have picked it up.

Boy, would I have missed out on something special. This book is absolutely delightful.
Within five pages, I texted Brunette to thank her for the recommendation and within ten, I had to excuse myself from the lunch room at work because I was laughing out loud. Reading this book was like running into Ozzy in a pub and having him tell stories over a couple of pints of bitters. He has a really down-to-earth way of speaking with a wicked sense of humor. He knows he is a magnificent fuck up. He is well aware that he should be long dead, that he has made some monumental mistakes, and that he has done things that can never be forgiven. He’s humble and crazy and his level of drug and alcohol addiction is epic. Yet for all that, he is just a guy who has lived a crazy life defying all the odds.
“Now, I’m generally not cool with horses – they don’t have brakes and they’ve got their own brains. But I was bored of going to the Hand & Cleaver [pub] on my lawnmower, so I went to see a dealer and said, ‘Look, can you get me a horse that’s a bit on the lazy side?’”

The set up to him explaining why he (accidentally) bit the head off a live bat onstage was as follows:
“The gig was going great. The God-like hand [that flung meat and offal at the audience] was working without any hitches. We’d already hung the midget.”

The page that discusses the male appendage of Tommy Lee is so dirty, I can’t even begin to share it here, but it is a must read. I laughed until I cried. Then I read it again and laughed some more. Dear God. Actually every section with Tommy Lee was hysterical. That man knows how to be a rock star. (Etsy, if you haven’t read this yet, do so immediately.)

I could quote this book until I’ve practically rewritten it for you. It is just insanely funny, yet Ozzy never lets go of the central through-line which is that he is an alcoholic and drug addict who has ruined almost every aspect of his life with his choices. He is very, very aware of that fact. He never tries to apologize, or explain away, or in any way try to deflect the things he done by blaming the drugs and drink. He owns up to everything he has ever done. You have to respect that, even if you don’t respect his lifestyle.

So, thank you Brunette, for choosing something I never would have read.

“Like a baby’s arm in a boxing glove.”


#16 – Object Lessons – Anna Quindlen
Recommended by: TD

This book was fine. I know that is damning it with faint praise, and yet, I can’t seem to work up any more emotion about it. It is a perfectly acceptable book, a quiet, genteel book that in no ways matches the fiery description on the back cover. I think this was just another case of the reader not matching the book. I have no doubt that the author and this book are a favorite of many, but I can’t say that I am one of them.

Then a funny thing happened and I couldn’t get the book out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters, and the choices, and how every decision in the story, every choice always started with sex. The opposite sex, when to have sex, the unfortunate results of sex, sex within marriage, sex outside of marriage, sex that leads to kids, and sex that doesn’t. It wasn’t obvious, and it wasn’t a constant orgy – in fact, there is very little actual sex in the book yet it is always there, looming. This book isn’t a tidal wave of a story, more of a gentle rain that you barely notice until you are soaked through. I certainly didn’t think anything about it until I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

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