Memoirs & Biographies

Welcome to Day 01 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Dreams & Ambitions”.

Before I begin, thank you to everyone who participated already and commented on the welcome post. So many amazing books, they all made me smile and added a sparkle to my day! Special shout-outs to:

  • Isabella for the stunning book cover for Sarah Maas book, and
  • Camilla for choosing the cheerful Matilda by Quentin Blake

For today’s challenge, I am going with a memoir that really should be made into a movie! 🙂 This book is a perfect muse for the “Dreams & Ambitions” theme, as I would love to be as bold and vivacious as Iris and look back at life (at 60+) with the same joy and wonder, and minimal regrets! 

  • Title – Iris Apfel accidental icon
  • SubTitle – Musings of a Geriatric Starlet
  • Author – Iris Apfel

This book is an autobiography and memoir of the vivacious and brilliant Iris Apfel. The author is an American businesswoman, interior designer, and 98-year old fashion icon! The book is filled with many interesting thoughts and stunning photographs of a life well-lived.

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

Thoughts on this Book:

Iris Apfel - day 01 #BookReviewBlogChallenge for prompt Dreams & Ambitions

For those who have never heard of this amazing personality, let me start by saying that the author’s list of accomplishments is more numerous than her birthday candles next year! Some highlights from her life, which most impressed me, are as follows:

  • Pioneer reporter
  • Interior designer and decorator for the White House, for 9 different US Presidents! Whoa!
  • She has her own line of cosmetics with the global brand M.A.C, and she modeled it too! Probably the oldest model to ever do so!
  • Fashion icon – with 1.4M followers on Instagram!
  • Her designs are displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA), one of the most prestigious temples for anyone in the art and creative industry.
  • She even has a Barbie doll designed after her!

The book itself has infectious joie de vivre and pearls of wisdom you would hear from a loving and extremely “cool” grandmother. Naysayers will point out that she was fortunate to be born into a rich, business family. I will remind them that in the 1940s, US had limited rights for women, so it is still inspiring to see the trailblazing paths the author has tread!

The best takeaways I divined from the book is that Iris Apfel was never scared of failing or looking stupid (something we all suffer from!). Instead of choosing the safe mundane path, she chose to create her own amazing life and leverage all the opportunities life offered to her!

I loved the entire book, but my favorite chapters are:

  • Love and Marriage
  • Your Smartphone is not Your Brain
  • How to Live to be 200

If you like fashion or want an espresso shot of creativity, then read the book! If you like vivid colors or just want to start your day, read this book! If you want to try something new, then read this book!

Just try it once, you will love it for sure!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. “Why Not Me” by Mindy Kaling.
  • TV Series – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The heroine in this series is as vibrant as the author.
  • Genres – Memoir, Motivation, fashion design.
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Hilarious look at everyday life, for a celebrity writer and actor!

  • Title – Why Not Me?
  • Author – Mindy Kaling

Part memoir, part motivational, its easy to see why this book hit the NY Times bestseller list. As a successful woman of color in an industry that glorifies White, male stereotypes, Mindy is certainly a role model to women and minorities everywhere. Unlike other biographies written by celebrities, she does not use a holier-than-thou, preachy tone. Instead, this book is written in a hilarious, honest and tongue-in-cheek manner that is wonderful to read. And it includes pictures to give you a true behind-the-scene look of the writer studio, sets and her makeup routine.       

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

I loved Mindy in “Late Nights” and know her as the writer/actor from “The Office”. However, I’ve never read any of her other books or seen any episodes of her hit series “The Mindy Project”. I took this book on a recommendation from someone I admire, who has heard Mindy’s interviews, and felt she is an amazing role model whose authenticity and sense of comic timing is brilliant.

I found the book at my local library and admit that the book did not disappoint. The book is not really an autobiography, because it does not chronicle the life of Mindy in detail. It’s more a memoir along the lines of Bill Bryson’s books like “Notes from a Big Country”, or any standup comedy monologues (think Bill Griffin or Amit Tandon) where the speaker is presenting a series of random thoughts and incidents in an extremely hilarious way. Yet, there is an underlying pithy truth and the dialogue forces you to look at seemingly mundane items in a completely new perspective.

The book does not self-aggrandize or preach, and even those who hate self-help books will be chuckling in delight. Mindy is hilarious, yet she manages to imbibe pearls of wisdom in each chapter. I loved the chapter countering the myth of the work-life balance and her stance on “hard work – the thing no one wants to talk about”. A handful of celebrities rise to fame with social media, and suddenly there is an unconscious and damaging pressure to become successful without putting any apparent effort! We almost seem to look down on folks who work themselves to the bone and reach the top of their field.

The only reason I did not give this a 5* rating was that the last chapter about advice to young women should have come much earlier! It’s so beautiful, yet the content was almost relegated to the very end. I was almost planning to skip that chapter, but I am so glad I did not. Felt the chapter deserved to be the second or third, or at least closer to the middle than so far back.

Who will benefit from reading this book?

  • Everyone! If you are a woman of color, you can read it for motivation.
  • If you like standup comedy, you will LOVE this book.
  • If you only want to read books for entertainment, the stories are sure to put a goofy smile on your face! 😊

Go ahead, read this book! 100% thumbs up!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. “You are a Badass” by “Jen Sincero”.
  • Movies – Late Night, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones Diary, The Spy Who Dumped Me.
  • TV Series – The Mindy Project, Ugly Betty.
  • Genres – Memoirs, Motivation, Humor, Personal Essays.

Happy Reading!

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Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8th is International Women’s Day, so this month is dedicated to all the amazing women authors out there, as well as books that advocate for women. Below is my reading list for the month, so also hoping to accomplish a good chunk of my reading goals and “clear the clutter” Goodreads challenge. So many birds with one stone! 😉

March 2020 Reading list

  1. Presence, by Amy Cuddy.
  2. Women Still Don’t Get the Corner Office. Author Lois Frankel.
  3. Squeezed by Alyssa Quart
  4. America for Beginners. Author = Leah Franqui. (Fiction)
  5. Head over Heels, Lila Monroe. (Fiction)
  6. Husband Material. Author = Emily Belden. (Fiction)
  7. You are a BadAss, by Jen Sincero.
  8. 365 Days of Facebook. Author = Nirupama. (Fiction)
  9. Achtung Baby, by Sara Zaske.
  10. You Woke up Worthy, Britny West.
  11. To Winter at Wildsyde, by Emma Leech. (Fiction)
  12. Mirror Work, Louisa Hay.
  13. The Profitable Content System, by Meera Kothand.
  14. Evening is the Whole Day. Preeta Samarasan. (Fiction)
  15. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Women and Leadership. Harvard Business Review.
  16. Secrets of Six-Figure Women. Barbara Stanny. Non-fiction business.
  17. The Big Book of Juices. Natalie Savona. Health & Living.
  18. Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling. Non-fiction business.
  19. The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae. Stephanie Laurens.
  20. The Marriage Clock: A Novel. Zara Raheem.
Go Girl Power!

Happy Reading!

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