Wonder Boys is about a middle-aged author who had successfully published a book in the past. Recently, he is spending many years writing a book that he can’t complete. Grady Tripp, the main character, is also a college professor. Some of the students he teaches have an easier time writing novels. That is expected, since Tripp has a maturity level lower than most of his students and seems to be addicted to marijuana.
Tripp is having an affair with Sara. She is the school chancellor and her husband happens to be Chairman of Tripp’s department (English) at the school. During a party at the chancellor’s/chairman’s house, Sara informs Tripp that he had gotten her pregnant. The only member of the household that seems to know about the affair besides the people involved is the dog. When the dog attacks Tripp, James Leer shoots the dog dead. Leer is one of Tripp’s suicidal students. Leer is so obsessed with suicides that one of his talents is recalling facts about suicides from different movies.
Tripp’s agent Terry Crabtree comes to town. Crabtree brings with him a transvestite, Miss Antonia. Crabtree is very similar to Tripp. They are both men that act like kids. Crabtree is in town with hopes of making money. He goes through Tripp’s 2,000+ page draft for his novel, but doesn’t like it. He finds more interest in what Leer is able to produce.
While all of this is going on, his wife had dumped him that morning. His in-laws invite him over to Passover dinner. His wife is an Asian women that was adopted by a Jewish family. Chabon’s writing style is random humor. The whole book is quite random.
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde – on Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync
This was the next book I found on Amazon Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync (which means free audio book when you have the Kindle Unlimited subscription). Take Me With You is a coming of age story about someone who gets stuck watching someone else’s sons for the summer.
WARNING: There are some spoilers in this article.
August, is a science teacher who likes to spends his summers taking journey in his RV. Some vehicle troubles bring him to an auto mechanic. He has a Jack Russel Terrier named Woody. The auto mechanic’s two sons Seth (12) and Henry (7) take a liking to Woody. Wes, the auto mechanic, takes this opportunity to coerce August into taking his boys for the summer. It sounds a little strange, but Wes is going to prison, and he doesn’t want to send his boys to an orphanage.
August takes the boys with him on his RV road trip and realizes that the kids have great manners, even though their father is in prison. Henry is really shy and quiet. After some investigating, August realizes that Wes is in prison for multiple DUI violations. This is ironic because August is a recovering alcoholic himself. We learn that August had a son who died in a car accident. The car was driven by August’s ex-wife who also was and still is an alcoholic.
The premises of their RV summer trip is that they are taking Phillip’s (August’s son who passed) ashes to Yellowstone Park. They go hiking and do some rock climbing. Seth accidentally spills Phillip’s ashes over a peak. Seth is devastated, but August tells him that’s what his son would have wanted. He describes his son as a dare devil that would love to go down Niagara Falls. August is making this all up as he doesn’t want Seth to feel bad for spilling the ashes. Through this journey August ends up falling in love with the boys. After the trip is over they agree to stay in touch. August’s Alcoholics Anonymous mentor tells August that staying in contact with the boys is probably a bad idea. The mentor advises August that they have a father and that August should just let them be.
Even though August’s relationship with the boys was distant they still kept in touch. Years later when Seth is in college he reaches out to August over Skype. August is now having physical difficulties due to an ailment. But August is more in a position to say Take Me With You. Seth and Henry surprise August by taking him on an RV trip instead. They blind fold August to surprise him, as Seth drives diagonally cross country to reach Niagara Falls.
Take Me With You is a great read for someone who is looking for a heartfelt book. I look forward to reading other Catherine Ryan Hyde books in the future. If I don’t get a chance to read her Pay it Forward book, I will definitely put it on the Netflix Queue.
Monica Mayhem had put together this biography to help the reader understand what had driven her to pursue a career in the adult film industry. In her 7 year span as an adult film star Mayhem had roles in approximately 300 films.
Born in Australia, Mayhem was the daughter of an abusive, alcoholic mother. When she was very young her father had moved out of the house. Her mother did not like to work and she did poor job keeping steady jobs. The family was subjected to live on welfare. Any money that was received from Mayhem’s dad for child support was spent by her alcoholic mother.
Mayhem ended skipping class time quite a bit and then got into drugs. She had dropped out of school altogether. She started taking jobs that used her looks to make money. This was appealing to her. Her father had tried to get her into administrative work to get her foot in the door into the corporate world. Eventually, she would get involved in Futures trading. This even led her to a stint at Salomon Smith Barney.
In her head, she always wanted to go back to work that utilized her looks to get attention from others. She got into nude modeling. Her photographer got her connected to a videographer. She realized that she could make much more money doing adult films, than photography and the rest is history.
The next two-thirds of this book goes into her actual career as an adult film star. She gives us a perspective of her peers. Mayhem said most of the female adult film stars are uneducated crackheads. They are extremely dirty and there homes are kept the same way. She writes about the out-of-pocket expenses involved in this industry, which mostly make up looking good and getting tested monthly for STDs.
Mayhem is happy with the path that she has chosen because she loves the attention and enjoys the fornicating part of the job as well. But she gives us insight as to the cutthroat nature of what she does and talks about how many days can be 12 hours of filming which takes its toll on you.
Overall, the book is well written by someone who is intelligent. It’s an interesting topic because I am sure many people wonder what would drive someone into this field and what happened in their lives to get them there.
Doc: A memoir was the next book I decided to listen to on Kindle Unlimited with WhisperSync. I was drawn to this book because I am a big NY Mets fan and I figured it would be an interesting biography due to Doc Gooden’s drug problems.
Becoming a Mets fan in the mid-80s I felt an instant connection to Doc Gooden‘s story. He was the youngest All-Star pitcher in MLB and a member of the last Mets World Series team (unfortunately almost 30 years ago). This biography changed my assumptions/perceptions on quite a few things.
Since Doc Gooden was a major league star with drug problems, I had originally assumed that he may not have had the best parents. After this book I realize that Gooden had exceptional parents. His father was a great guy who seemed to be a great listener, as well as a great teacher. Doc’s father was able to give his son great advice in his succinct messages. His mother was a tough woman and a very loving parent. The challenging parts of his Tampa’s upbringing included his sister getting shot and his drug dealer/pimp cousin.
The books begins with a great story. Something I didn’t specifically remember, as I was only 5 when the Mets won the World Series. When the Mets celebrated with their NYC parade, Doc Gooden was not there. After winning the world series he celebrated near a project development partying with Cocaine. The next day was the day of the parade and Doc was too paranoid from the Cocaine to make it to the parade.
In my youth, I knew that Doc Gooden had a cocaine problem. His biography made me realize the extent of his addiction problem. He always had his drug dealers phone number on his mind. Doc seemed to have serious addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and women.
I would say that everyone believed that Daryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden were like brothers. Based on this biography, Daryl seemed jealous of sharing Mets fame with Gooden, and back stabbed Doc every change he had.
I didn’t realize that Doc Gooden was in Season 5 of Celebrity Rehab. In the book this program seemed to get him back on the right track the most. He still keeps in touch with councilor Bob Forrest. This book is great for Mets fans and has the power to inspire people with addiction problems.
I was first attracted to this read because the high amazon ratings and because it is WhisperSync compatable. In the Kindle Unlimited member service there are now more than 2,000 books that have an audio component. So, I sit back and relax and let the book read itself to me.
Like many celebrity stores this book is an account on how crazy Johnny Carson’s life was. It is told by Henry Bushkin, who had been originally chosen to be Carson’s lawyer, but came to be Carson’s personal assistant. In the early stages of this biography Bushkin becomes involved in spying on Carson’s first wife which had already moved away from Johnny and begins to have an affair with then NY Giants great Frank Gifford. We later learn that Carson is not the most faithful husband and that’s why his relationships tend to sour.
This book also explores the poor legal and business decisions that Carson makes. He is a great entertainer, but doesn’t get involved in business. Bushkin delves into their time spent in Las Vegas. Going around Vegas with someone as powerful as Johnny Carson can be a blast. In Vegas Bushkin meets and has a fling with Joyce DeWitt. She is Janet from Three’s Company.
There are other great parts of this biography like Carson being the headliner for an inauguration party for president Reagan, as well as Bushkin losing his original family because he succumbed to the temptations of hanging out with Carson, and Carson’s poor relationship with his family and friends.
There is much more to this biography and highly recommend you read it. Not only was I engaged the whole time, but Bushkin (or the book’s editor) writes this biography very well. The flow of the biography is perfect and there are many witty remarks.