Monthly Archives: July 2016

Review: Meet the Regulars

hqdefaultRecap: More so than any other city in the United States, New York City is the one that best represents the “melting pot” that is America. Each of the city’s five boroughs has its own personality, while still being diverse. But likely the borough that has changed the most in recent years is Brooklyn. Brooklyn has gentrified. What used to be a predominantly older-skewed borough now appeals to younger people. Where rent used to remain low, it now skyrockets. Things are changing in Brooklyn. But many of the people who have always live there don’t plan on leaving, and the people who move in don’t want to either.

Meet the Regulars explores all of these people — young, old, male, female, black, white, Hispanic, tattooed, clean-cut, artists and corporate workers. The book profiles random people — including some celebrities, actors, comedians and radio hosts you may know —  who live in, work in or just simply frequent Brooklyn and the many restaurants, shops, salons, yoga studios, clubs, bars, and even bowling alleys where they are regulars.

Each of these interviews is taken from an interview series on the New York magazine partner blog Bedford + Bowery. But the book is made cohesive with intermittent essays from the author about the changing face of Brooklyn, the gentrification within the borough and the technology-driven force of millennials.

AnalysisMeet the Regulars is the perfect portrayal of everything Brooklyn and New York City represent: diversity — diversity in its people, diversity in its culture, diversity in its businesses. The book reads more like a coffee table book, since it includes many photos of its interview subjects and the places where they’re “regulars.” By including brief interviews with the people, it’s easy to fly through.

And while you might think this book is all about the cool places in  Brooklyn — and okay, it kind of is — it also uses these places to tell the stories of Brooklyn. Inevitably, when people start talking about the borough and the changes they’ve seen there, they then start talking about the history of the borough. I know more about Brooklyn and its people now than I ever did before, and I’ve spent a good amount of time in Brooklyn.

Meet the Regulars serves as a coffee table book, a social studies book, a compilation of profiles and in some sense, a compilation of reviews. Thanks to the awesome map and index in the back, there are a lot of new places in Brooklyn I want to visit. And a lot more people I want to meet.

Get Meet the Regulars now in hardcover for $13.85. 

Or get it on your Kindle for $11.99.

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‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ ‘Committed’ Author Separates from Husband

liz_03Normally, I wouldn’t blog about gossip-related items, but in this case, it’s the subject of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love and Committed is separating from her husband. Her husband is the man she met on her trip to Bali and the same man she wrote about and called “Felipe” in her memoir.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the author posted about the separation on Facebook, explaining “Because I have shared details of my private life with you all so intimately over the years, I feel the need to share with you this recent change in my personal life…He has been my dear companion for over 12 years, and they have been wonderful years. Our split is very amicable. Our reasons are very personal.”

Much of Committed was about her fascination with marriage and discussion about why we, as modern-day Americans, make such a big deal out of getting married. Her reasons for marrying weren’t want and desire. She married because of obligation. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she and her husband are separating. After all, is that what she really wanted to begin with?

It’s hard to know the answer to that. And it’s hard to write about this and her, knowing that she’s not, in fact, a character, but a real person. All I have to say is I commend her for her openness and honesty. I respect that she announced it and agree that because she wrote about her love and marriage to “Felipe,” it’s only fair she acknowledge her separation from him as well. Their story may be over, but hopefully her stories are not.

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Review: Sunsets of Tulum

sunsets-of-tulumRecap: A near-death experience at work encourages Reed Haflinger to live his life to the fullest, and that includes repairing his relationship with his wife. They head to Mexico for a spontaneous vacation, but after a few days of fighting, Reed’s wife flies back to their home in Boston, leaving Reed to enjoy the rest of his romantic getaway. The romance winds up sparking between Reed and someone else.

Clione is half Reed’s age, but observant and wise beyond her years. The two connect on a level deeper than Reed ever reached with his life. Not to mention their sexual chemistry is off the charts. Reed extends his trip, and the two of them spend their time away from the resort in Cancun where Reed had been staying with his wife and instead explore Tulum, Mexico together. Reed realizes this is the great love he’s always been searching for and decides to end his marriage. But when he receives devastating news from home, he must truly decide if he’s ready to make the change he’s been considering.

AnalysisSunsets of Tulum is a romantic travel novel that explores living your life to the fullest and finding yourself, even if it happens a little later than planned. At the age of 38, Reed seems to experience what most men experience during a mid-life crisis, but he has bravery to actually take the plunge and make changes that many other men aren’t necessarily willing to make. I found it to be a bit unrealistic. It’s hard for me to imagine that someone would actually opt to end a ten-year marriage for a 21-year-old girl who he met a week ago. But I respect the character’s ballsiness in doing it anyway, despite how it looks to other people.

The book uses heavy-handed metaphors to tell the story. For example, Reed is afraid of water, and it’s his new girlfriend who gets him in the water and forces him to face his fears. With water symbolizing change and his obsessive fear of water established early on, there’s a good amount of foreshadowing happening in the water scenes, making it a bit overstated and predictable.

That said, Tulum is extremely sexy in detail I hadn’t expected but certainly can’t complain about, and I think the sex scenes helped to show the feeling of desire, excitement and ecstasy that so many people crave on vacations.

MVP: Reed. He was the most complicated character in the story, who had a very clear arc in growth and development. Though I initially found him unlikable for cheating on his wife, I understood why he did what he did. He later redeems himself, and comes away from it seeking and starting a new life most of us could only dream of.

Get Sunset of Tulum in paperback for $14.99. 

Or get it on your Kindle for $4.99.

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