Choose your own autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris writes a book about his career that covers his life but lets you skip forward or backward, if you choose. For example, while writing about Doogie Howser he says *If you would like to put the Doogie period behind you, turn to page 67.

The book is such a fast read you don’t need to follow his jokes unless you want the full effect. Of choosing. He has had a pretty full life for being only early 40 something. Doogie started when he was in high school and brought fame and money. And how he got that first job was one of those flukes with somebody knowing somebody. Then came that awkward period when he couldn’t find work except for TV movies.

He finds another series, “How I Met Your Mother,” and is off on another good run. He struggles with his homosexuality and is surprised coming out ‘totally’ produces no major angst.  He falls in love with an actor/dancer, David Burtka,  and all goes well. They adopt twins and Harris’ career can’t get much better but it does when he hits Broadway with “Hedwig” and  hosting Tonys and Oscars. He’s a thankful guy who has worked hard and appreciates hard work. He has friends in high places (Elton John!) but his joy is being married and a father. That comes through loud and clear.

The Language of Houses

Product Details

I’ve read Alison Lurie’s fiction with pleasure so thought I would try a nonfiction. This is an in depth book of how buildings, public and private, influence our lives. She begins with materials and styles, which depend on location, finances, and vision, and takes us though all kinds of houses and buildings — houses of God, Art and Science, Schools, Prisons, Nursing Homes, Restaurants, Commerce and everything but Libraries! (I kept thinking she would mention libraries but I only found this reference: she is talking about colleges and says that “at least one iconic building, a stylized image of which appears on their website, letterhead, backpacks, and T-shirts…frequently is the library or administration building.”) Too true.

The book made me think of places I’ve been and the vibes they gave off, and reminded me to pay attention to how our surroundings affect us.

Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christi

The is a fictionalized version of how the printing press came to be. It follows the life of a scribe, Peter, who is put into the service of Gutenberg by his father, Gutenberg’s partner, in the new venture. The book is full of intrigue, both political and among the guilds of the time, not to mention the conflicts in the church community. Lots of history in this tale.

The author is a printer and runs a publishing establishment. She goes into minute detail about the physical printing process, which is sometimes hard to follow. But the brilliance of the idea and the steps that were taken to improve the press and type fonts may very well to have happened as she imagines.

Slow Dancing with a Stranger

This is a biography by Meryl Comer about her husband slipping into Alzheimer’s disease and the care she chose to give him. (She was an award winning journalist.) Her husband, Harvey Gralnick, was once chief of hematology and oncology at the NIH. The book details the fist signs of the disease and how long it took to diagnose, and once diagnosed, the care available. She takes charge of it herself and the book wears the reader out with all she goes through. I began to doubt her sanity at her devotion to caring for him. A very truthful book about a very horrible disease. Don’t read on a gloomy day.