Monday, December 12, 2016

Bits of Books: Nora Ephron, and Mamrie and Hannah Hart

I've been stuck in a bit of a reading slump through the latter portion of this year: whether it was stressing about my Orlando trip, completing my NaNoWriMo Challenge, or even just trying to make the most of my holiday spirit this December, my focus hasn't exactly been on reading... and as a result, I've fallen five books behind on my Goodreads Challenge, with only about 20 days left before the new year!

However, despite the fact that I haven't been reading as much, there are still plenty of books left that I have managed to read this year, that I still never ended up reviewing in the first place, several of which I thought were really good. So, even though my reading habits are shot, that doesn't mean my blogging habits should be!

This bits of books is a short-and-sweet roundup of some recent reads, from seriously funny ladies. 

Nora Ephron, I Remember Nothing and I Feel Bad About My Neck


I haven't had much experience with author Nora Ephron, besides all the movies I love that she's helped create, like You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, or Julie & Julia. Now, I'm kicking myself that it took me 'til after she'd died to pick up some of her written material, because her voice is one I'd want to hear for a very long time. 

These two books of hers, in particular, are very similar: brief collections of essays, lists, and more inner musings of a woman who was both wildly in love with life and food, as well as all-too-aware of the ways she was getting older. These slim packages were low on word count, but high on humor. 

Her voice is intimate and universal, as if the things she's telling you are secrets that only you can know, that the whole world can relate to. From writing about her career beginnings, to the small bald spot - dubbed an "aruba" - on the back of her head where her hair refuses to cooperate, everything she says is slyly funny, sharply clever, and possessing a spirit and spark I can only hope to cling to once I've entered my twilight years. 

I'll definitely be on the lookout for more books from her in future library trips, because be it home entertaining, journalism, or movie making, I'd listen to her talk about anything, because you can bet that it will be funny. 

Mamrie Hart, You Deserve a Drink


Straight out of the success of her wildly popular and pun-filled YouTube channel, comes Mamrie Hart, ready to mix up a custom cocktail of hilarity, irreverence, and, yes, plenty of booze, just like she's known for on the Internet. 

And let me tell you, Mamrie here knows her personal brand like the back of her cocktail shaker. On her channel, she's boisterous, exuberant, and twenty different kinds of fun and zany, and somehow, she's managed to repackage and re-purpose those same qualities of herself, and flip it into an incredibly successful collection of the same tales she's used to spinning on YouTube. 

Accounts of Dairy Queen-heavy car trips and too-nude beach vacation excursions abound in this series of stories, perfectly encapsulated in the book's title. If there's anyone who deserves a drink for making it through this crazy, kooky, sometimes-cringe-y collection, it's you, because, let's face it: Mamrie's had plenty. 

While the Looney Tunes capers might get a little repetitive after a while - let's be real, after a few nights out, our crazy friends' stories all start to sound the same - at the end of it all, you're left thinking two things: 1, I'm so glad Mamrie's not dead, and 2. Because I'd really like to drink with her. 

Hannah Hart, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded

Hannah Hart - zero relation to Mamrie, one of her best friends - is also a wildly popular YouTube phenom, with plenty of alcohol-infused street cred, as well. 

As host of the popular series My Drunk Kitchen, Hannah has already released a best-selling cookbook of her drunken kitchen creations, of the same name; however, the vodka-soaked blissfulness of her zen cooking style is proliferated with plenty of nuggets of surprise mindfulness and reflection, too, that merited their own vehicle for publication. 

One of my favorite things about Hannah is that core of chill optimism and wisdom that winds throughout her YouTube videos, bespeaking a greater sense of connectivity with the world than just what her social networking abilities would entail. This collection of stories from Hannah's childhood, career development, college years, and more, only verifies her abilities to reflect and reveal, without ever seemingly condescending or blunt. 

It isn't just that Hannah is outspoken about the challenges of America's mental health stigmas, it's because she grew up with a schizophrenic parent, and multiple step-parents who couldn't help them. It's not that she's a national ambassador for the LGBT community, it's that she struggled with escaping her pastor father's devotion to religion in order to define what love means for herself. A childhood growing up in substantial relative poverty helped grow a love and appreciation for food of all kinds. Through every story she shares, Hannah weaves a greater understanding of the puzzle pieces of her life that fit together in a way that's brought her to where - and who - she is now. 

(My younger sister - the person who I introduced to Hannah's videos in the first place, and who now shares my love for her funny, fabulous personality - waited for two hours in line in order to get a copy of Buffering signed with a special message by its author, and then gave the copy to me for my birthday. It's only another layer of loveliness to a very exceptional book, from an equally lovely person.) 

Have you read books by any of these funny ladies before? What did you think? Let me know, in the comments below!

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