Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

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That a comic should only write a funny book could not be more cliched. In the past year, most of the books I read by famous people of comedy had one thing in common, they were all trying (some very hard) to be funny. While a few succeeded, most failed miserably.

Reading Trevor Noah’s debut ‘Born a crime’ was a pleasant and a wonderful change. It is a brutally honest if at times troubling collection of essays on growing up in South Africa during troubling times, the challenges of being a mixed race child, dealing with domestic abuse and coming out a survivor.

What makes a person who is, what are his roots and convictions? In this book, Noah bares it all. His storytelling is fantastic. I loved how he seamlessly tied topics and organized them chronologically. When you have seen a lot and you have a lot to talk about it can’t be easy to do so in 286 pages and that too structured so beautifully. That’s one of the things that made reading this book a pure joy.

The humor in the book comes very naturally, it does not seem forced. It is what it is. I especially enjoyed reading about the cat and mouse relationship between him and his mother.

Trevor was born a crime because his mother was black (Xhosa), his father a Swiss German and interracial marriage was a crime punishable by five years in prison. A big chunk of the book is about his mother and rightly so. My inner feminist loved reading about a woman boldly defying racially restrictive laws to make a good life for her children. A woman who was strong and independent at a time when it was a crime to be all those things in South Africa. A woman who taught her son that in order to be a man he must respect women. Reading about her was such an inspiration.

Trevor Noah grew up during the time when apartheid was just coming to an end but its remnants were still strong enough to affect poor black and colored families in South Africa. In one of the chapters, Noah mentions that most people think that the Holocaust is the worst thing to have happened to mankind, and that is because the Nazis very meticulously maintained lists and other records of people they killed. There is solid proof of their crime for the world to see. But there is no history of the crimes and atrocities committed against Africans by invaders. Therefore all traces of those heinous acts are lost like the lives of all those black men killed by plundering foreigners.

I loved reading this book and I didn’t want it to end. The only thing that I wish he did was talk about his transition from a poor boy turning tricks to the host of The Daily show. But I guess that is material for his next book. Or at least I hope it is.

For me, this book is a five star all the way!

Happy New Year!

Would you believe it if I told you I haven’t had the time to get started on my New Year’s resolution yet? 🙄

One thing led to another, punctuated by laziness, and I let half a month slip by without doing any of the things I intended to do. (I should probably read a book on time management, recommendations anyone?)

Anyway, just wanted to break the lull with this post and wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year. Cheers! 

I copied these sketches (originally done by Silvia Plath)sometime last year.



Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Bernadette is many things but she’s not mentally unstable. 

My dentist strongly recommended this book and insisted that I read it right away. Luckily, nypl as awesome as it is had it available. 

Letters, notes, reciepts, what an unusual way to tell a story. It almost felt like I know Bernadette, I know her at some deep personal level. She is wonderfully eccentric and hugely talented. The insatiable urge to create, to feel useful, to express oneself, I get that. Not being happy with the mundane housewife role. I know her. The only person who seems to understand her is her teenage daughter Bee.

“When “Here Comes the Sun” started, what happened? No, the sun didn’t come out, but Mom opened up like the sun breaking through the clouds. You know how in the first few notes of that song, there’s something about George’s guitar that’s just so hopeful? It was like when Mom sang, she was full of hope, too. She even got the irregular clapping right during the guitar solo. When the song was over, she paused.

“Oh Bee,” she said. “This song reminds me of you.” She had tears in her eyes.”

When Bernadette with her perfect husband and perfect daughter disappears right before a family trip to Antarctica, Bee is the only one who has faith that her mother is well and tries to go searching for her. 

Semple has created a humorous story full of satire with energetically intertwined characters. I especially loved the endearing relationship between mother and daughter. I hope I have a daughter of my own someday, someone who gets me. My little mini me. 😄

On being a free spirit

“You call yourself a free spirit, a ‘wild thing,’ and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”
― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Freaks and Geeks

I cannot believe it took me so long to watch this. I was reading Judd Apatow’s book – Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy when I came across an interview with the cast members of Freaks and Geeks. What initially caught my attention was the star cast – Jason Segel, James Franco,Martin Starr, Seth Rogen all in their debut appearance. A dramedy about teenagers in Detroit in the 80’s (nostalgia galore), I got curiouser and curiouser.

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It’s a good thing Netflix is still steaming the series. I just finished watching it and what a delight it was. Another Apatow gem.

The best thing about the show is that it’s so simple. None of the knotty, labyrinthine plot twists or characters here. Real kids with real problems and real reactions.  (I later found out it is loosely based on writer Paul Feig) A lot of the time they reminded me of me in my teens. Like this one time, I agreed to date a guy because he played the guitar and I thought he was super cool, only to later figure out how incredibly dull he was. So the Sam – Cindy thing ( without giving out any spoilers) was totally real to me. And at 15 when you’re trying to be a rebel but you love your parents too much to hurt them too bad. Even though my school was nothing like McKinley High and we didn’t have the same cultures, I’m sure everyone will generally identify with the characters.

This show brought back so many memories. Sigh!

And oh the cast. I love love love Sam Weir’s laugh. It’s the sweetest, cutest thing ever. I cannot post videos at the moment but do take a minute and google “Sam Weir’s Laugh”.

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James Franco is this yummy freak you wanna keep in your pocket.

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Everyone is so so good. Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir and Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly were as perfect as can be.
Samm Levine and Martin Starr were a laugh riot. It was so weird watching Jason Segel and Seth Rogan as teenagers. I mean it was like watching a prequel to a movie you’ve already seen.

And I just have to talk about the amazing soundtrack. The title track is – “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. How badass and awesome is that? You’ve got everyone from David Bowie, Bob Seger,The Who, Van Halen, Kansas, The Who and it just keeps going.

I think I’m just gonna watch the entire season again. I love it that much!

Who decides what is art?

What makes art, art? Who decides a piece of art is worth millions or is pure rubbish? 

I’m not an art expert in any way but I do love art. It makes me happy. Not all art though. 

Today I was at MoMA and looking at some very famous pieces of art. Some that exhilarated me, some made me happy while a few others simply perplexed me. 

I don’t know what the definition of art is but to me a price of art is good if it looks good to me. If it makes me feel nice. Sometimes I don’t even understand a painting but it makes me happy, like this one below and I call it good art.


And then Ofcourse, there are the masterpieces that are difficult to not like.



And then there’s this. I just cannot understand what makes these pieces so special as to hang them in one of the most important art museums in the city.


 
And the best of all, this one 


Even with the description this makes no sense to me. It just looks like a child’s scribbles on paper. 

How is this art? Who made it so? I’d love to know.

Diary of a not so skinny girl

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