on November 15th 2016
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by Touchstone
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”
At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.
With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”
I’m not a big fan of celebrity memoirs. I’m also not a big fan of memoirs written by people in their 20s. So why would I listen to this audiobook?
I took a chance on it because I figured that Anna Kendrick’s public persona is funny so maybe the book would be too. I was right.
This isn’t a straight biography. Her life isn’t told in strict chronological order. This is more a series of stories that illustrates different points in her life. I hadn’t realized that she was in a Broadway musical as a kid. She talks about her life in California before she could get a job. You find out what changes when you get famous and what doesn’t. You find out how Twilight films pay for your life while you are doing press for the film that got you an Oscar nomination but didn’t pay much.
I recommend this one on audio to hear her read it. This book also has the best book group discussion questions ever.
If you want a fun, short book about the ups and downs of show business with a large dose of anxiety thrown in, this is the book for you.
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
on November 29th 2016
Published by Ballantine Books
In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.
In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway.
Despite my protestations that I don’t like celebrity memoirs, I listened to another one.
I never realized that they talked fast on Gilmore Girls until I read a review of the series. I figured that’s just how people talked. (Likewise, I found out that they speak in Chinese on Firefly long after I watched the whole series. I’m slow on the uptake.)
But when I started this audiobook on my standard 1.5 times the speed setting on my iPod, it was quick. I learned to listen fast enough for it though after a minute or so. If you thought the show was quick, you may want to slow this audiobook down.
Like Anna Kendrick, I didn’t know anything about Lauren Graham outside her roles. This is also not a straight chronological memoir but a series of thoughts on different points in her life. She talks about being on shows with younger cast members led her to feeling old and giving advice that isn’t always appreciated. For example, are you sure that’s a body part you want to pierce and/or post a picture of on the internet?
She talks about moving into writing from acting. This part can sound a little too much like an advertisement to buy her novel.
I wish for the audiobook they had described the photos that she is referring to in the book instead of just saying, “See photo 16 for how I looked that day.” Not helpful.
Overall, this was a fast (4 hour) listen and fun if you are a fan. If you haven’t watched Gilmore Girls, skip it because you’ll get confused. There is a lot of talking about a scene here or there and if you haven’t got a basic familiarity with the show, it would be boring.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: