Review of Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp

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Without You is a very emotional book. It covers some of the happiest times in Anthony Rapp’s life (being in the musical Rent) and the saddest moments (watching his mother fight cancer). I felt bad for him because I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch anyone, let alone your mother, waste away.

I liked learning more about Anthony’s start in show business and I loved the parts about Rent. It’s one of my favorite musicals. You can tell how much he loves singing and performing. His joy radiates off the pages. It was great to learn more about the other people in the cast and the director too.

The parts about his mother and what it was like seeing her so sick were really sad. There are also some unresolved issues between them. He’s really hard on himself for expressing any kind of emotion and that often leads him to fits of rage or to snap at people. I’m happy that he found someone to talk to about that. It’s just not healthy for anyone.

Ultimately, the book is a celebration of his time in the play and of his Mom’s life. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Anthony Rapp, Rent or biographies.

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Return to Midway by Robert D. Ballard and Rick Archbold

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The cover of this book drew me in and, after reading about Ballard’s discovery of the Titanic and other ship’s wrecks, I knew it would be interesting.

I didn’t know much about the Battle of Midway before reading this. I’d heard about it, but that was it. The book presents a detailed account of the battle and the ships involved. Ballard brings two American and two Japanese veterans with him to search for the ships involved, two American and four Japanese. I thought it was great that the veteran’s were able to accompany Ballard on this expedition and that they got along.

Most of the book focuses on telling what happened during the battle and looking for the ship is written in updates that are like journal entries. Given the amount of time that they had and the amount of technical issues with their surveillance robot, they didn’t have time to find all of the ships. They did find the USS Yorktown though and that’s the one that’s featured on the cover.

For being at the bottom of the ocean, I was surprised at how well the ship had held up. It was in one piece, you could still read the name and numbers painted on it and the guns looked like they were ready to fire. It was eerie and amazing at the same time.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes reading about history, war and shipwrecks.

Organizing Plain & Simple by Donna Smallin

 

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I found this book at the thrift shop and it seemed like it would help me to get organized. A lot of the tips were things that I’m already doing, but I did get some useful ideas from it.

The author covers the entire house on room at a time and includes sections for insurance. She gives helpful guidance on what to keep or toss, how to organize things and a list of what you should really need for each area. I don’t have kids, a garage or cellar, so those areas didn’t help me much, but it was still a nice read. Smallin’s tone is light and fun. She really knows what she’s talking about and conveys it in a nice way.

I learned more about my refrigerator (I’ve never really thought about how to use my crisper drawers.) and which fruits and vegetables I should and shouldn’t put in there.  I also learned that I can store Christmas lights by wrapping them around an empty wrapping paper tube. I never would’ve though of that. No more fighting with tangled strands of lights for me! There’s a list of helpful websites and I’ll be checking out a few of them.

I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to get organized and declutter their home.