Book Club Feature: Dad Is Fat

Dad Is Fat From Left to Write Banner

Dad Is Fat From Left to Write Banner

Our next book club feature for April is the entertaining and laugh-out-loud Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I’m not sure how he, his wife and FIVE (yes, 5) kids manage not to kill each other in their two-bedroom Manhattan apartment. His family’s tight quarters mean more laughs for us:

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins (“celebrities for little kids”) to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

Just a warning if you read this book in public: people will shoot you crazy looks when your chuckles turn into full out laughs.

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

From Left to Write book club members will discuss Dad Is Fat (Three Rivers Press) on April 22 in celebration of the book’s paperback release. If you can’t wait until Tuesday, order the hardcover or ebook (for instant gratification), and come chime in our discussion.

Keep up with Jim Gaffigan via his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Book Review: The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes

The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes

The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes

The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting by Clara Parkes is a geek read. Parkes utilizes a variety of knitting metaphors to illustrate personal life lessons in these twenty-two short essays. Although eloquently written, if you aren’t familiar with terms such as steek, Kitchener, and frogging, reading The Yarn Whisperer can leave you feeling a little discombobulated. The themes are universal, but the lens is narrow. It’s a little like trying to describe the joy of basking in sunlight and fresh air to a fish who has known only the cool depths of the sea. You might as well be talking in a foreign language.

Life is a fabric that is made, mended, cut, and embellished. It can be unraveled; it can be reworked. It is a fabric we work on every day, bit by bit. As such, I can appreciate the knitting metaphors – the exciting potential of a new yarn, the slow addition of stitches, and patterns that gradually emerge. However, if I wasn’t obsessed with knitting, I’m not sure I would have made it to the end of The Yarn Whisperer. There were no revelations here – only the indulgence of spending time with someone who speaks my language.

Do you knit? Why do you love it so much?

Book Club Discussion: Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man

Buddy How A Rooste Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory

Buddy How A Rooste Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory

While chickens are becoming more common in backyards, they’re usually hens. In Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man (Broadway), Brian McGrory moved into a home with a backyard rooster. Who didn’t like him. While his new human family were excited to have him in their home, McGrory had to win over the rooster.

Today From Left to Write members discuss Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man. Head over to their blogs to see their essays inspired by McGrory’s memoir:

Read an excerpt of the book and a Q&A with Brian McGrory and pick up your own copy of Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man. You can also follow the author and journalist on Twitter.

Do you have family pet? Or pets?

November Book Club: Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man

Buddy How A Rooster Made Me a Man by Brian McGrory

Buddy How A Rooste Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory

The week before the United States Thanksgiving holiday might seem an odd time to discuss Brian McGrory’s memoir Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man (Broadway), but since fowl will be on our minds while we meal plan, why not? McGrory shares his journey from single city guy to suburban husband and step-father to two girls and Buddy.

Our final November book club selection is sure to keep you laughing:

 Brian McGrory’s life changed drastically after the death of his beloved dog, Harry: he fell in love with Pam, Harry’s veterinarian. Though Brian’s only responsibility used to be his adored Harry, Pam came with accessories that could not have been more exotic to the city-loving bachelor: a home in suburbia, two young daughters, two dogs, two cats, two rabbits, and a portly, snow white, red-crowned-and-wattled step-rooster named Buddy. While Buddy loves the women of the house, he takes Brian’s presence as an affront, doing everything he can to drive out his rival. Initially resistant to elements of his new life and to the loud, aggressive rooster (who stares menacingly, pecks threateningly, and is constantly poised to attack), Brian eventually sees that Buddy shares the kind of extraordinary relationship with Pam and her two girls that he wants for himself. The rooster is what Brian needs to be – strong and content, devoted to what he has rather than what might be missing. As he learns how to live by living with animals, Buddy, Brian’s nemesis, becomes Buddy, Brian’s inspiration, in this inherently human story of love, acceptance, and change.

Make sure to order your copy of Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man and join our book club members on November 21 as we discuss the memoir.

Read an excerpt of the book and a Q&A with Brian McGrory. You can also follow the author and journalist on Twitter.

Friday Reads: The Layover Edition

Lost in Suburbia by Tracy Beckerman cover

 Lost in Suburbia by Tracy Beckerman cover

I’m heading back to Atlanta today for a quick trip. Quick as in I’ll probably spend more time in airplanes and airports than Atlanta itself. I’m taking advantage of my flights and layovers by reading! Big surprise. I purchased my ticket too late to get a non-stop flight without killing my wallet, so I have layovers for both days of travel. Each leg is a short flight which means I’m better off packing print copies. Though I’ll pack my tablet, just in case.

I starting reading  Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir by Tracy Beckerman. She generously gave me a copy of her book after our Book Smarts panel at Blogalicious. I usually bring a book to the daily bus stop afternoon ritual because I don’t always feel like making small talk with the other parents. Ok, I mostly don’t like making small talk. The very first chapter made me laugh out loud. Thank goodness no one gave me a crazy look. Tracy’s momoir is hilarious, but I expected no less after meeting her.

Amy Tan Tweet

Last night my friends and I purchased tickets to see Amy Tan when she comes to DC next month. I totally have a girl crush on Amy Tam. Though I only met her briefly during BEA, she did tweet me once so that means we’re buddies, right? A book lover can dream.

Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

My galley of her new book The Valley of Amazement, due out in November 5th, has been sitting on a special place on my bookshelf. Since we will hear her talk in less than a month, I better start cracking on the novel!

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Club Day: Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron

Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron

Parenting is not an easy job, but what happens when your son loves to wear dresses and plays with toys marketed for girls? Lori Duron encounters this and much more with her youngest son, CJ. In Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, Duron shares her discovery about CJ’s gender non-conformity and how her family accepts him for who he is.

For today’s book club discussion, our members share their thoughts inspired by Raising My Rainbow. Check out their blog posts:

Order your copy of Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron.  For more about Lori and her son, read her blog Raising My Rainbow. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.