Carolla’s sharp-edged and occasionally curmudgeonly observations will be an acquired taste for many, but initiated fans will...

PRESIDENT ME

THE AMERICA THAT'S IN MY HEAD

Outspoken comedian, podcaster and TV host Carolla (Not Taco Bell Material, 2012) presents a mock presidential bid to “make this country better.”

Hypothesizing a run for the Oval Office as an anti–big-government candidate with a “common-man touch,” Carolla offers a satirical, potty-mouthed blueprint on how contemporary America—a country he feels is being destroyed by overcaffeinated “pervasive narcissism”—could run more efficiently. Categorized by departments of the federal government, his pragmatically imagined “Carolla administration” would naturally solve a cavalcade of vexing predicaments by axing the bumbling office of vice president, repairing the economy by defusing overregulation—he uses the limited distribution of his own “Mangria” wine product as an example—and courtesy-policing lawless air travel (“we’re getting fatter by the day…and ruder. This is a terrible combination, especially in a flying tin can”). With equal ire, the author gets fired up over vanity plates, NASA, and the mannerless, inappropriate morons hijacking the general population. A spoofed address to the United Nations General Assembly attacks a ministry of global leaders on their crappy performance records (“get your shit together”). But Carolla is an equal opportunity offender who throws the gauntlet down where he sees fit, regardless of affronting the audience. His rants and solutions may be cutthroat and often sophomoric, but they’re also relatable and sure to echo the sentiments of many Americans—hence, his popularity as a social commentator. A modern-day Andy Rooney, Carolla, informed by pre-fame years working at McDonald’s and odd construction jobs, skewers the American way of life while pitching bitchy asides at every turn.

Carolla’s sharp-edged and occasionally curmudgeonly observations will be an acquired taste for many, but initiated fans will endorse his amusing candidacy.

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-232040-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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