Friday, June 20, 2008

Lives in Sports

Told y'all I wouldn't be doing daily (or maybe even weekly) updates over here. And of course, I'm a day late and a dollar short for Father's Day, but if you have sports fans in your life, you should check these out:

By Whitey Ford and Phil Pepe


By John Feinstein and Red Auerbach

My home is full of books. Books that I've read, books that Mr. Hot has read or is going to read. But there aren't many books that we both read.

  • He reads fiction rarely.
  • He loves political shit. He's read nearly everything about Reagan, Bush, Nixon, the Iran Contra debacle. I can't stand those books. And since I'm usually subjected to a running commentary the entire time he's reading them, I don't really have to.
  • I tend to read "lightly". Don't misunderstand. I read some really good, thought-provoking books, but I read fast. And if the story is just "so so", then I skim. And except for books that really touch me, I don't dwell on them - nor do I remember specific quotes months later. He does.
We both, though, love biographies and autobiographies. When he suggested that I read these two books, I was hesitant, because, y'know, as much as I love sports - (I really do) - the Yankees? The Celtics?

They're the enemy. I'm a Detroit girl.

Whitey Ford played for the Yankees in the 50s and 60s. A Hall of Fame, left-handed pitcher, he hung around with Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle. The heyday of Yankee baseball are recounted in Ford's own words, 20 years after his retirement. Ford spends more time talking about baseball than Mickey Mantle's book (which I haven't read but understand is full of the antics of the "Unholy Trio" - partying hard)

Red Auerbach was the legendary Boston Celtics Coach and President. Every Tuesday he gathers an eclectic group of friends for lunch at a Chinese restaurant in D.C. - and tells stories. These stories and memories make the basis for this book.

Both books are great reads whether you're a Yankees/Celtics fan or not. A love of sports? Interest in the differences between today's mega-millionaire athletes and yesterday's heroes? I'd suggest you start here.

The Hotfessional

Friday, June 6, 2008

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

This book caught my eye for two reasons.
  1. When I was born, in 1963, my dad was serving in the Marine Corps. I lived with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and my mom in Dearborn, Michigan. On Middlesex Street.
  2. The story is set in Michigan, in Detroit.
Now, we lived in Dearborn, not Detroit, but there could have been some journalistic license going on - or maybe the family moved to Dearborn. At any rate, I didn't know that this book won a Pulitzer. I didn't know that this was the same author who wrote "The Virgin Suicides" (which I haven't read).

Well, the Middlesex referred to in this book is actually the name of the home that the Stephanides family moves to in Grosse Point. It also is in reference to the "middle sex" of the main character and narrator Calliope (Cal) Stephanides - a hermaphodite raised as a girl until the age of fourteen.

The story begins before Calliope is born - and follows Desdemona and Lefty Stephanides (Cal's grandparents) from their courtship and immigration to the United States in the 1920s through the mid 1970s.

I love family epics, so I was immediately swept away by the goings on. The characters here are wonderfully old-country Greeks from Turkey. They're the families that my own grandparents met. They had the children that my parents played with. Calliope was born in 1960 - only three years before me.

I remember hearing stories from my mother about moving to Detroit (from Pennsylvania) in the early 50s. Those stories are here. I remember the 1967 riots when my father, the cop, guarded the border between Detroit and Dearborn after the National Guard faltered and the 82nd Airborne was brought in. I know the Uniroyal tire and although I snorted a little at "the thready woods of Inkster" description, I was thrilled that Inkster, where we moved when I was four, where we lived until I was 13, was mentioned.

And yet, even without the setting, the tale that Jeffrey Eugenides tells is one of family secrets, self-awareness and the ties that bind us to our brothers and sisters, to our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles.

I'll be re-reading this at some point.

Ree - The Hotfessional

The Winner

The winner is - witchypoo! (Now I don't have to buy her a birthday present! hee.)

Also, if you've recently read "Driving Sideways" by Jess Riley, and you're interested in participating in a review discussion, let me know by next Monday, 6/9 eh? Thanks!

Ree The Hotfessional

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Will Not Be Broken - Jerry White

Click Image for Amazon link

I love to read books about people, their lives, their loves. When they're true stories; when they have a wisdom to impart, it's even better.

Jerry White is one of the leaders of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines. He helped found "Survivor Corps" - an organization that helps those impacted by global conflict.

Jerry's story, and the stories of the people he's met through his work are amazing. Even more uplifting is his advice to overcoming a life crisis. Whatever that crisis may be. Death? Divorce? Serious illness?

Five Steps. Five steps to getting through it. Five steps to coming out stronger.

I'm not generally the kind of person who says, "Get over it, get on with it." I feel things genuinely and deeply. "Crises" affect me for the long-term. I wasn't sure I'd be able to review this book positively if it was a "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" type of advice.

It's not.

It's inspiring. The people are wonderfully real. Their stories will break your heart. Their strength will lift you up. You'll learn to understand "before" and "after".
  1. Face Facts
  2. Choose Life
  3. Reach Out
  4. Get Moving
  5. Give Back
One of my favorite chapters, though, is "Helping Others Get Through Catastrophe: Or, How to Not Make Things Worse". I never know what exactly to say. I don't know what to do when a friend is going through a rough time.

This book was worth it to me for this chapter alone.

As a kickoff for this site - and to celebrate this first review, I'm going to award a copy of this book to a random commenter - so you can have your own little dose of inspiration.

Ree, the Hotfessional

Chapter 1 - The Introduction


Er, um, Welcome!

For those of you who know me at "My Life as a Hotfessional", thanks for coming over. IF you know The Hotfessional, you know that I tend to go a bit overboard. So, on the basis of a couple of requests to review books, I decided to start a new site specifically in case anyone else asks me to review a book. (Or a magazine...or whatever. Yes, it says, specifically, BOOKS in the title. I know. Bear with me, I haven't thought this all out yet.)

Anyway...'tis the season to sit on the porch, a tall glass of lemonade and vodka (or lemonade without vodka...) by your side with a really good book on your lap. Enjoy the weather, watch out for bite-y bugs, and don't forget your sunglasses.

Ree, the Hotfessional