Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 in Books (Martha & Shirley)

2014 was a mixed bag for books.

Like the community members voting in our annual poll, we really wanted to love the book about Ed Snowden but love turned to mere like with an author who seems to forget he is not the star of the book.  Outside of memoirs, there were very few non-fiction books that spoke us in '14.

What did stand out was truth telling.

Whether hard hitting political, funny or just odd (recounting competitions to see who could go the longest without bathing, for example), sharing truths tended to matter.

A lot.

And let's especially praise our own favorite book (which we voted number one, by the way, on our ballots) which told of how a 'feminist' actress didn't support another actress during her first directing job but instead worked to ensure that the film wouldn't air.

Maybe that 'feminist' (read on through our list, you'll know who we're talking about soon enough if you don't already) should go back to her '90s 'feminism' she espoused in a cover story for McCall's where she explained that, at a certain age, a woman had to choose between her face or her ass (the 'feminist' was explaining she was putting on pounds to puff out the lines on her face).

1) Censored 2015: Inspiring We The People by Project Censored. Mickey Huff, Andy Lee Orth and Khalil Bendib (tie) Joan River's Diary of a Mad Diva.  Truth tellers ruled in 2014.

The first title listed?  Elaine and Isaiah reviewed it for the gina & krista roundrobin, giving it a rave and community members clearly agreed making Project Censored annual examination of the year's least covered stories the top book of 2014.

The second is by the late comedian Joan Rivers. Well let her speak for herself.  From the book:

August 19
Dear Diary:

Performed at a women's show and it went surprisingly well.  Lena Dunham spoke about how difficult it is to be a woman in our business and claims she, and she alone, has broken through for women.  In the audience Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Barbara Walter, Diane Sawyer, Mary Tyler Moore and Sarah Jessica Parker all started to cry because according to fatso, they didn't count.  I do want to give her credit however -- Lena was the first fat girl naked on television and she changed the way America looks at their TV sets.  They now do it with their hands over their eyes.

Amen, Joan, amen.


[Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Duty."]

3) Robert Gates' Duty and Leon Panetta's Worthy Fights.

As the late Joan Rivers might put it, how much of a bitch is Barack?

Seriously.  Not one but two Secretaries of Defense dish on Obama?

Even Shannen Doherty had to wait two decades before  co-worker Jason Priestley called her out in print.

5) Jason Priestley's A Memoir.

Who knew so many people were missing the 90s?  Or that Jason and Brad Pitt thought 'fun' was seeing who could go the longest without bathing?  Read the book.

6) Anjelica Huston followed up A Story Told Lately with this year's Watch Me, Third noted the memoir in mid-November.  It's a fascinating read, written with true style.  And good for Huston for noting (and naming) the certain actress who just published a book pretending to care about issues like rape and who can't stop congratulating herself for her work with girls in Atlanta or insisting she's a feminist who -- honest to God this time! -- won't get used by men again! -- but who, when with Ted Turner, couldn't even support a fellow actress directing a film which told a story all too common for too many women, one of rape. Ted didn't want to air it on his cable chain and flabby upper arm candy Jane Fonda gave him the perfect out by trashing Huston's film as well thereby proving not all bastards are of Carolina.

7) Octavia E. Butler's Unexpected Stories.

In Polly's Brew, Marcia called this the most important work of science fiction for all of 2014.

Are you really going to argue with Marcia?

8) Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

She still hasn't gotten her own movie, but at least Wonder Woman was the subject of this fascinating book.

9) Diane Keaton's Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty.

No, it wasn't.

It was delightful.

And charming.

We think we may like this book even more than Diane's previous memoir Then Again.

10) Glenn Greenwald's No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State.

A little more focus on whistle-blower Ed Snowden and a little less of Glenn singing "How Great Thou Art" while staring in the mirror would have let this book rank much higher on our list.  Silly Woodward and Bernstein putting Nixon and Watergate at the forefront of All The President's Men when they could have instead followed Glenn's lead and made themselves the main characters.


Martha and  Shirley have also done the year in books for 201320122011, 20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.