The flamboyant talk show host delivers an entirely expected book: a glitzy, glamorous, goofy look at 365 days of a charmed...

THE ANDY COHEN DIARIES

A DEEP LOOK AT A SHALLOW YEAR

Cable TV’s dishiest guy at his dishy best.

Depending on whom you ask, the brainchild behind Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise and Watch What Happens Live—as well as the network’s former head of development—is either a parody of a talk show host or a true TV original. Those kinds of against-the-grain personalities generally elicit a loyal fan base, and Cohen (Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture, 2012) is no exception. In the crowded late-night landscape, his ratings remain solid, and he always lines up quality guests to do “shotskis” in his studio. His second book is a straight-up diary that his fans will relish and detractors will ignore. However, part of what makes Cohen so appealing on the page is his humility. He’s well-aware of his position as a TV anomaly and often displays a gee-whiz attitude about his brushes with fame. In discussing a particularly star-filled week on WWHL, he admits, “For Cher I was excited but with Oprah I was nervous, actually shaking for an hour before the show.” But everything isn’t campy and fabulous: The author’s story of his encounter with Conan O’Brien, in which the veteran host talked the newbie over some bumps, is almost touching, and his love for his dog is sweet and relatable. Cohen spends a lot of time discussing Housewives, so if you are not a fan of that particular franchise, parts of the narrative will drag. But not to worry: You’re never more than a page or two away from some dish about Lady Gaga, Emma Stone, David Letterman and a host of other celebrities.

The flamboyant talk show host delivers an entirely expected book: a glitzy, glamorous, goofy look at 365 days of a charmed showbiz life.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62779-228-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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