Non-Fiction Friday: The Girls of Murder City & Giveaway

Non-Fiction Friday: Thin by Lauren Greenfield

Critically acclaimed for Girl Culture and Fast Forward, Lauren Greenfield continues her exploration of contemporary female culture with Thin, a groundbreaking book about eating disorders. Greenfield’s photographs are paired with extensive interviews and journal entries from twenty girls and women who are suffering from various afflictions. We meet 15-year-old Brittany, who is convinced that being thin is the only way to gain acceptance among her peers; Alisa, a divorced mother of two whose hatred of her body is manifested in her relentless compulsion to purge; Shelly, who has been battling anorexia for six years and has had a feeding tube surgically implanted in her stomach; as well as many others. Alongside these personal stories are essays on the sociology and science of eating disorders by renowned researchers Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Dr. David Herzog, and Dr. Michael Strober. These intimate photographs, frank voices, and thoughtful discussions combine to make Thin not only the first book of its kind but also a portrait of profound understanding.

With the percentage of teens suffering from eating disorders on the rise, and after having personal experience with an eating disorder, I thought that reading this book after watching the documentary was extremely important.

For those of you that don’t know, Thin was a documentary made by Lauren Greenfield that follows the recovery program at the residential recovery unit at the Renfrew Center in Florida.  If you have access to Amazon Prime or Amazon Instant Video, then you can watch Thin on there for free.

This companion book really gives a lot more depth into the story.  While the documentary is limited to the treatment of four specific patients, the book explores the stories of many other patients, including more teenagers as young as 14 and women as old as 74, bulimia patients, anorexic patients, and binge eating patients.  The stories are heartbreaking, eye-opening, shocking, and bravely honest.

I recommend this book to anyone who may be or previously suffered from an eating disorder.  It helps remind me of how bad it can get and how hard the fight really is.  It makes me feel less alone in my struggle.  I hope this book can do that for others.

There are also a number of Young Adult Fiction novels that focus on Eating Disorders and Recovery if you or someone you know is looking to read fictional accounts:

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman

Unwell by Leslie Lipton

The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Scheinmel


These are only a few of the titles, but they are ones I recommend.

If you know someone who may be suffering please encourage them to get help or to contact

5 Bards


Book Review: Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

Lea Michele is one of the hardest working performers in show business. Whether she’s starring as Rachel Berry on Glee, rocking a glamorous look on the red carpet, recording her solo album, or acting as the spokesperson for L’Oreal, Lea is the ultimate multi-tasker. She knows better than anyone that it is difficult to be your best self and keep things in perspective when your to-do list is overflowing and you are faced with challenges, so she’s developed a foolproof system for remaining healthy and centered. In Brunette Ambition, she reveals the lessons and advice that have worked for her–from beauty and fashion secrets to fitness tips, and career insights. Supplemented with never-before-seen photos and revealing anecdotes, it’s the book Lea wishes she’d had in her teens and early twenties: A practical and inspirational guide to harnessing tenacity and passion and living the fullest life, no matter what obstacles life puts in your way.

To anyone who knows me personally, I have a massive girl crush on Lea Michele.  I started following her career back when I first heard some of the music from Spring Awakening, which was the same year that it was nominated for all of the Tony awards in 2007.  (I can’t help it, I’m a Broadway musical nerd and I spend a lot of time in my car singing along to soundtracks)

Anyway, by the time Glee premiered in 2009 I had already been listening to the Spring Awakening soundtrack for two years and was already familiar with Lea’s amazing voice, but had never actually seen her perform other than in grainy bootleg versions of Spring Awakening on YouTube.  Needless to say, I was basically hooked at the beginning.

Lea’s book follows her rise to stardom through the ups and downs of her Broadway career as a child in Les Miserables, Ragtime, and Fiddler on the Roof.  She details her decision to have a normal high school experience before returning to workshop Spring Awakening and meeting her best friend J Groff.  (Who, by the way, I had a giant crush on as well.)

The novel is interspersed with advice concerning personal health and beauty care, (I do plan on trying her bath routine to get smoother skin), healthy recipes that range from Vegan to Pescatarian, and beauty advice straight from her beauty team.  Which, let’s face it, always make her look fabulous, so how can we ignore their advice?

I think the best part of Brunette Ambition is Lea’s ability to make the reader feel like she is talking directly to them, and the reader gets a chance to find out what all they might have in common with the singer/actress.  For instance, Heathers is one of my favorite movies of all time, and evidently it is in Lea’s top ten movies to watch with her girlfriends!

I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a specific chapter on Cory (only because the Edelweiss page showed that he was supposed to originally have his own chapter), but I understand why there isn’t and respect her desire to only share her gratitude for his love and influence on her life.

I recommend everyone go out and buy a copy of this great book, I know I’ll be re-reading and using some of the recipes soon!

5 Bards


Non-Fiction Friday!

Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever.

On safari in Africa, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she’s fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she’s always game for the next misadventure.

The situation gets down and dirty as she defiles a kayak in the Bahamas, and outright sweaty as she escapes from a German hospital on crutches. When things get truly scary, like finding herself stuck next to a passenger with bad breath, she knows she can rely on her family to make matters even worse. Thank goodness she has the devoted Chunk by her side-except for the time she loses him in Telluride.

It is no secret that I absolutely adore Chelsea Handler and all of her ridiculous shenanigans.  Not only have I included her and her books in nine different Top Ten Tuesday posts, I’m on my second copy of both My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, and I will, finally, get the chance to see her live on April 5 in Durham, North Carolina! (And I have officially forgiven her for the travesty that was Are You There, Chelsea)

I missed out on the opportunity to see her at Book Expo America last year, and I’ve regretted it ever since!  I’ve heard that sometimes she signs books and meets and greets after her shows, so fingers crossed!

This book is, naturally, filled with a ton of Chelsea’s crazy stories.  It starts in Africa on her Safari with her 5 good friends, and ends with a story about being stuck in California without a way to get to margaritas and brunch.  One reason that this book makes everything even more realistic is that Chelsea included some photographs from her trip and some were even proof of her crazy behavior.

While this book isn’t my favorite of her five published books, Uganda Be Kidding Me made me laugh out loud many times and it is most definitely one I will revisit for laughs.

4.5 Bards



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