Monday, July 9, 2012

What We're Reading: Jan

When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead
by Jerry Weintraub

Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub recently released his documentary “41” about the life of his dear friend, President George H.W. Bush.  Just how did a Brooklyn-born and Bronx-raised “street kid” become friends with presidents, become a concert promoter for Elvis with no experience and produce movie hits like “Ocean’s Eleven” with George Clooney?  The answer is precisely the storyline of Weintraub’s autobiography.  In a candid, conversational tone he describes his father’s influence to work hard and dream big. He believes in never taking “no” for an answer.  From starting his own talent agency in the 1950’s to getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Weintraub has taken chances, taken advice and taken advantage of breaks that have come his way.  Now 74, there is still magic for him when he can produce a show or event and say “Jerry Weintraub Presents”. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

What We're Reading: Abby
Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor was young, married to the love of her life and four months pregnant when her husband was killed in a freak skateboarding accident. Her life went from extremely happy and full to uncomprehensibly sad and very, very tragic. This memoir is based on journal entries she made during that first year or so after her husband's untimely death. The journal can be harsh at times but when you realize what Natalie is dealing with you appreciate her honesty and humor. She details how aggravating her in-laws can be without having the buffer of her husband. She has times when she can't hold it together but tries very hard to manage knowing that everyone around her is expecting her to collapse. When her son Kai is born she has to navigate through all of the difficult first months with a newborn alone while still grieving for the husband who was lost so young. Though she has a very tight group of close friends and family ultimately it is up to her to navigate through this difficult time and find the strength to endure. Natalie is from Michigan. She grew up and went to school in Birmingham and now teaches literature at Berkley High School.