Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ninety Days by Bill Clegg

Ninety Days by Bill Clegg
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 191
Rating: 3/5

     Ninety Days is a powerful account of an addict's journey to recovery, by a writer "as intoxicated by language as he was by crack".  The goal is ninety-just ninety-clean and sober days to loosen the hold of the addiction that caused Bill Clegg to lose everything.  With six weeks of his most recent rehab behind him, he returns to New York and attends two or three meetings each day, avoiding the people and places of his drinking and using life.  It is in these refuges that he befriends essential allies, including Polly, who struggles daily with her own cycle of recovery and relapse, and the seemingly unshakable sober Asa.
     At first, the support is not enough; Clegg relapses with only three days left.  Written with compromised immediacy, Ninety Days begins where Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man ends - and tells the wrenching story of Clegg's battle to reclaim his life.  As any recovering addict knows hitting rock bottom is just the beginning.

The complete opposite of the last book I read about addiction (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Clegg paints a very relate-able view of addiction and recovery.  Moving back to the city after a 6 week stay in rehab, Clegg has to discover how to avoid relapse with no outside force  requiring his sobriety.  Living in his brother's office with no money, Clegg focuses all his efforts on attending multiple addicts meetings each day where he finds the community and support system he needs to reach ninety days.

Lately I've been craving non-fiction.  Weirdly, I've grown sick of plots with beginnings, middles, and ends.  Life isn't organized like this.  Therefore, I've been drawn to memoirs where there is a sense that this is only a snapshot of someone's life, not the entire thing.  In Ninety Days, Bill Clegg does a great job of relaying this sense of reality which I've been craving.  He takes the reader though his battle with coke and alcohol.  From what I gather, his experience with addicts meetings and relapses is very similar to the experience of others.  Thankfully, I have never had an experience with addiction myself or with people I know, but Ninety Days has made me more understanding to people in those positions and provided insight into the recovery experience.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Wolf Of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf Of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
Publisher:  Bantam
Pages: 520
Rating: 5/5

     By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called . . 
                   THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
     From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down . . .

In The Wolf Of Wall Street, Belfort reflects on his life as the owner of Stratton Oakmont, marketing penny-stocks and manipulating the stock market.  However, his time at the investment firm was only a small part of his life as a multimillionaire.  During this time he was also addicted to Quaaludes, cocaine, and sex.  On the cover, Belfort writes "I partied like a Rock Star, lived like a King" and this book most definitely proves that claim true.  The book starts with Belfort almost crashing his helicopter from which he walks away completely indifferent.  This is only the beginning of the crazy tale that was his life.

I loved this book so much I needed to share it.  I haven't posted a book review since The Brothers Karamazov back in June!  The Wolf of Wall Street pulled me out of this lull because I need to tell you to read this book.  I decided to pick up this book after seeing the movie trailer.  I wasn't incredibly interested in the story to begin with but as soon as I began to read it, I was completely enthralled.  This memoir is incredibly engaging.  I was reminded of an over-the-top dramatization of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying but these events actually happened.  However, Belfort's writing style was even more appealing than his slightly disturbing life.  He writes with is balls out, unashamed to admit what he's done and relay his, sometimes flawed, thinking.  It was reminiscent of a best friend telling you their drunken misadventures.  I would really recommend this book to anyone who wants insight into a fascinating world of billionaire investors.  Just beware; you're entering a world of sex, drugs, and bad decisions.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Odd Covers

I've recently discovered the magic that happens over at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.  Somehow in this amazing world, they convince bands to cover songs from entirely different genera of music and it results in some pretty awesome combinations!  

The 1975 - What Makes You Beautiful
Bastille - We Won't Stop
Marina and the Diamonds - Startstrukk

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lazy Sunday

After almost 4 weeks of nonstop social weekends, it's really nice to sit at home with a cup of iced chai and try to knock out some homework. With college essays, my TOK essay, and my EE all breathing down my neck, I need all the time I can get.  Unfortunately, having all this time makes me spend time procrastinating in the strangest ways.  Most people scroll through tumblr or watch a show on netflix.  Not me.  I clean my room, wash my bedding and read a novel about wall street corruption.  I call it healthy procrastination.  I have also convinced myself that sitting down to do homework is unhealthy so I've taken to passing my room while reading my English books and standing and typing papers. My legs hurt a little after two day so it must be working.  It's really nice to get away from people and spend some quality time with my family.  However, I'm sure that by the end of this weekend, my parents will be annoying me and I'll crave my friends again.