So, I haven't posted any book reviews lately, only because I've been reading My Life, Bill Clinton's autobiography, all effing summer. The man is verbose. It's really good, but it clocks in at a whopping 957 pages, with every sentence laden with names, fact, or important details- not easy skimming material. I won't write a full review, because I still haven't finished it- but here are some observations: It's a slow read, but an easy, enjoyable one. Clinton devotes much of the book to his youth, and growing up during the racial turmoil of the South during the 1950s and 60s definitely made a strong impression on him. He also spends a lot of time explaining his feelings on the Vietnam War, using the book as a venue to rebut claims that he was a "draft dodger." He doesn't speak ill of political opponents, except for one. Bill Clinton absolutely despises Richard Nixon, and despite his restraint, the abhorrence seeps through in his words. One thing that impressed me, especially in comparison to our current President, is that Clinton got to where he is now purely through his own intelligence, ambition, and work ethic. He grew up the son of a young widow (his father died in a car accident before he was born) in middle-class Arkansas, and spent much of his youth in the shadow of an alcoholic stepfather. Yes, he had caring relatives, and an innate ability to make very loyal friends, but he is one of us: no trust fund, no privileged upbringing, an average American, a true "man of the people." I was also impressed by his role in the economic boom of the 1990s. One tends to think of the economy as cyclic, that has ups and downs unrelated to the nation's executive branch, but the growth that occurred during the Clinton Administration was carefully orchestrated. Remember, Clinton was a Rhodes scholar whose area of expertise was economics. He doesn't take credit for it, but he does explain how several economic policies came into place, and who helped form them. And...that's the last time you'll ever see me writing about the economy on DCOE, or anywhere else for that matter. The only complaint I have (aside from the length...I haven't even gotten to the Monica Lewinsky scandal yet), is that the writing can be a bit coy- story after story like "I met this boy in a wheelchair/mentally ill neighbor/Mexican laborer and it was really touching and that's why I always tried to help people in wheelchairs/the mentally ill/Mexican laborers." We get it, okay.
Anyways, I had to put the book aside for a while to get back to my true love, fiction. I'm almost done with the new Michael Chabon book, and I have Harry Potter on deck.
As for movies, I've been on a classics kick, courtesy of Netflix. Last week, I watched A Streetcar Named Desire and Citizen Kane. I didn't really love either, but at least ASND featured the most smoking hot man ever to grace silver screen with his gorgeousness: The young Marlon Brando. Seriously, you guys, I don't care how fat, old, and somewhat crazy he became, no one comes close to Brando in his prime.
Citizen Kane, often listed as the Best Movie Ever Made, didn't do much for me. A smart, ambitious man amasses a large fortune, becomes more and more eccentric, and dies sad and alone. Yeah, I didn't like that movie the last time I saw it, when it was called The Aviator. In historical context, it's probably very cinematically impressive, but I much prefer The Wizard of Oz, which predates Citizen Kane. One interesting tidbit I learned (from the internet, of course) is that the one actress I liked, Dorothy Comingore, had her career ruined by McCarthy's infamous communist hunt.