Hello! I know I’ve sort of been keeping the blog strictly to book and music reviews lately – I am just not quite ready to blog about things much deeper, yet. I am also very happy to have had some time to read said books and listen to some new (new to me, anyway) music that I can share with you if you’re looking for recommendations. I promise the day will come when there will be more of a variety of things here, like there once was!
But, let’s get into it! I actually didn’t “read” this latest book, but rather, I listened to it during a road trip about a week ago. It still counts, right? I think I’d been putting off reading this book, because it’s the last of the Andy Cohen books – I’ve now read them all!
So yes, the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture” by Andy Cohen. Here’s the description from Amazon:
The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show
From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo’s reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie’s Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that everyone didn’t know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.
The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today’s celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, the New York Times bestseller, Most Talkative, provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.
…And in case you’re wondering, the audio version is read by the author, which is fantastic! I cannot explain just how much I love Andy Cohen, and I’ve enjoyed reading all three of his books, and loved being able to see him live with Anderson Cooper.
I have always admired Andy because of his humble beginnings – he grew up like most of us did, and he climbed the ranks old school, and made it big in his 40s. In “Most Talkative”, he explains how TV shaped his life (preach it) and it’s easy to see how his obsession with daytime soaps paved the way for one of his most successful endeavors: The Real Housewives franchise.
The book is also filled with laugh-out-loud moments, from pranks he played on his family to his all-too-real run-ins with celebrities. He even shares his coming out story.
I’m recommending this book to Andy Cohen fans, of course, but also to reality TV fans, and aspiring journalists everywhere.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Ramona Blue” by Julie Murphy.
Whoop – it’s Friiidaaaaay! I’m excited for the weekend because my dance studio is hosting it’s semi-annual showcase on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to the performance, and seeing all of my other friends rock their dances, too.
Each weekend I’ve been spending some quality time reading, and I hope to get a few hours in this weekend, too, because I’m just loving all of the books flying off my reserve list at the library lately. So, let’s talk about Blanche’s Book Club’s latest read: “Superficial: More Adventures From the Andy Cohen Diaries” by Andy Cohen. Here’s the scoop from Amazon.com:
The megapopular host of Watch What Happens: Live and executive producer of The Real Housewives franchise is back, better than ever, and telling stories that will keep his publicist up at night.
Since the publication of his last book, Andy has toured the country with his sidekick Anderson Cooper, hit the radio waves with his own Sirius station, Radio Andy, appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher despite his mother’s conviction he was not intellectually prepared, hosted NBC’s Primetime New Year’s Eve special, guest edited Entertainment Weekly, starred in Bravo’s Then & Now with Andy Cohen, offended celebrities with his ongoing case of foot-in-mouth disease, and welcomed home Teresa “Namaste” Giudice, from a brief stint in jail. Hopping from the Hamptons to the Manhattan dating world, the dog park to the red carpet, Cardinals superfan and mama’s boy Andy Cohen, with Wacha in tow, is the kind of star that fans are dying to be friends with. This book gives them that chance.
If The Andy Cohen Diaries was deemed “the literary equivalent of a Fresca and tequila” by Jimmy Fallon, Superficial is a double: dishier, juicier, and friskier. In this account of his escapades―personal, professional, and behind-the-scenes―Andy tells us not only what goes down, but exactly what he thinks of it.
So, basically after writing “The Andy Cohen Diaries”, Andy said he just kept writing about his life, daily, and pitched it to his publisher, even though they said they didn’t want it. But of course, they published it and that’s how this book came to be.
On the one hand, if you’re an Andy Cohen fan, or really just a fan of pop culture in general, this book is punctuated by a lot of events you already know about – Joan Rivers’ funeral, Sarah Jessica Parker’s look for the Met Ball, and the outcome of the World Series.
But of course, Andy gives us a look into the parts of his life that we wouldn’t otherwise know: the extensive renovation of his New York City apartment, the start of his relationship with #BrazilianAndySamberg, how his XM radio channel was born, the idea for touring the country with Anderson Cooper, and his summer adventures following The Grateful Dead with John Mayer.
Per usual, there were a few scenes in the book that had me laughing out loud – a la, Andy making the hugest deal ever out of Sean Avery and his “overbuttered” pancakes.
This book was a little slow to start for me, but I soon was hooked. However, I will admit that I love Andy. I’m not sure this book would translate to the non-fans, but check it out – especially if you love Bravo!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is, “Truly Madly Guilty” by Liane Moriarty. I think this one was on my reserve list for at least three months – until now!
Aside from dancing all weekend, I’ll be doing lots of cooking/meal prep. Follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see what’s on my stove. Have a great weekend y’all!
I am slowly recovering from my meltdown last week, which I discussed yesterday on the blog. Hopefully that post made history as the most insane piece you’ll ever see here, but I’m not making any promises. And thank you to those who reached out to me yesterday via this blog, Facebook, and text, to make sure I was okay. I really, really appreciate your kindness.
Anyway, just after my meltdown, I was really looking forward to a relaxing weekend (I was lucky enough to get a little bit of freelance work to help with my bills), and I was thankful I had a ticket to see AC2 Live: An Intimiate Evening With Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen.
I’d purchased myself a ticket prior to my financial woes; and considering I’m on a self-induced spending freeze, I didn’t take myself to dinner before or treat myself to any beverages at the event as I’d originally planned. But, none of that mattered, because I still had a great time.
I’ve been a fan of Anderson Cooper for as long as I can remember. I have always looked up to him as a journalist – rightfully so – as he’s created some of the best news coverage, ever.
Although born into the Vanderbilt family on his mom’s side, Cooper has said – in news articles and in the recent documentary with his mother – when his father died (when he was 10), he immediately felt like he needed to take care of himself, and started working as a child model. He later attended Yale, and after failing to get an entry-level job at ABC, he got a few students to help him create a fake press pass, so he could start covering news stories.
He was able to sell these homemade stories to a local news channel, and he started his work as a correspondant for ABC five years later. Six years later, in 2001, Cooper joined CNN, and became host of Anderson Cooper 360 in 2003. Several pieces of his news coverage has won awards, including Princess Diana’s funeral, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, Chicago Police brutality, Haiti earthquake, Bosnian war, and of course, Hurricane Katrina:
His recent coverage of Orlando was also nothing short of fantastic. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he’s one of, if not the top, journalist of our time.
And then there’s Andy Cohen; the genius who brought us all of the shows we loved and still watch: “Queer Eye for The Straight Guy”, the entire “Real Housewives” franchise, “Below Deck”, “Shahs of Sunset”, “Vanderpump Rules”, and serves as the creator and host of “Watch What Happens Live”. He is also the host of each and every reunion for “The Real Housewives”.
Cohen has a degree in broadcast journalism, and worked as CBS for 10 years, serving as the producer for “48 Hours”, “The Early Show”, and “CBS This Morning”, before moving to the Bravo network. He is the only openly gay host of a nightly talk show, and he also has his own channel on Sirius XM, Radio Andy.
Uh, how can we not love the person who brought us, “Close ya legs to married men, trash box!”
So, on Saturday night, Cooper and Cohen joined forces for their live, touring show, right here in Austin. The show began by showing a bit of history about each one of the men before they came on stage. They then explained that they actually met by being set up on a date many years ago – but never actually went on the date, and confirmed that they’ve never slept together.
They joked a lot about how they are so opposite: Cooper is self-admittedly grumpy, introverted and shy, whereas Cohen is forever the life of the party and absolutely loves being famous. Both of them admit to being workaholics, and are humble about the role they play in pop culture and breaking news. They are also both best-selling authors (“Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disaster, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper, and “Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture” by Andy Cohen).
For me, the night was the perfect mix of yin and yang – I absolutely loved it! They shared hilarious stories about their careers over the years, talked about their families, and vacations they’ve gone on with mutual friends. They even showed a few videos – a clip from “60 Minutes” when Cooper swam with crocodiles despite not knowing how to scuba dive, Cohen’s friends making a tribute to him for his 40th birthday, and a compilation of the best moments of the “Housewives'” reunions.
They also took several questions from the audience (which was interesting, and a bit brutal at times), in which Cooper revealed that after talking to the family of one of the Aurora shooting victims, he made a policy that, on “Anderson Cooper 360”, any mass murderer would not be named, and it has become his mission to speak of and remember the lives of those we lost. We saw this policy in action during the Orlando coverage, and I think it’s a fantastic shift in media coverage.
Aside from it just being an entertaining couple of hours, it was also really inspirational for me on many levels. Not only am I a TV junkie, in both news (especially CNN) and reality (Bravo is the KING of reality networks), but I also love talking about pop culture and news events. Without even realizing it when I bought the ticket, I’d set myself up to see two people that have probably brought me more joy over the years than I even knew – and I got to wear my fringed high heels for the first time, in honor of the occassion!
Are you following me on social media? If not, you probably should – unless you’re a troll, then, just… no. I’m @OrangeJulius7 for Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram! See you there!
I was really excited when Blanche’s Book Club decided to read “The Andy Cohen Diaries” by Andy Cohen, because I’m going to SEE Mr. Cohen LIVE, along with Anderson Cooper tomorrow night, right here in Austin! And… I’m SO excited! You can definitely expect a recap of the event right here next week.
So, the book! “The Andy Cohen Diaries” is Cohen’s second book, and I sadly have yet to read the first one. In “Diaries”, Cohen explains the book was meant to model “The Andy Warhol Diaries“, which was released in the early 90’s, and was considered to be shocking and controversial, given Warhol’s commentary of the celeb-elite.
A description from Amazon.com, “A year in the whirlwind life of the beloved pop icon Andy Cohen, in his own cheeky, candid, and irreverent words. As a TV Producer and host of the smash late night show Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen has a front row seat to an exciting world not many get to see. In this dishy, detailed diary of one year in his life, Andy goes out on the town, drops names, hosts a ton of shows, becomes codependent with Real Housewives, makes trouble, calls his mom, drops some more names, and, while searching for love, finds it with a dog. We learn everything from which celebrity peed in her WWHL dressing room to which Housewives are causing trouble and how. Nothing is off limits – including dating. We see Andy at home and with close friends and family (including his beloved and unforgettable mom). Throughout, Andy tells us not only what goes down, but exactly what he thinks about it. Inspired by the diaries of another celebrity-obsessed Andy (Warhol), this honest, irreverent, and laugh-out-loud funny book is a one-of-a-kind account of the whos and whats of pop culture in the 21st century.”
Of course, Cohen is no Warhol, but one thing I definitely noticed about Cohen’s book – he is out and about every single day/night! He’s always heading off to a party, dinner with friends, or pool-hopping in the Hamptons. Frankly, his life sounds pretty damn fabulous! And you can’t forget his almost-daily massages he gets before bed, right in his apartment. I need a job at Bravo, or wherever will pay me that much cash.
I also realized that Cohen is really close with Sarah Jessica Parker, so there’s some dish on her (nothing bad, of course), Kelly Ripa, and… drumroll… John Mayer! I was really happy to hear that when John invited Andy out to Montana, he cooked him breakfast everyday. I would die. D-I-E.
The book is written diary-style, in that there is nearly an entry every single day for the course of one year. Of course, there’s a decent amount of Real Housewives dish – which I found entertaining, and it also felt like I was getting let in on a big secret.
A large part of the book is also about Cohen and his journey in adopting a dog – whom we eventually come to know as Wacha! Their relationship is really cute, and it’s funny how serious Cohen takes his moments with Wacha, and his Instagram posts.
When writing this post, I came across an interesting article from Time magazine, “Andy Cohen’s Memoir Is the Frankest Book About Gay Life In Years”, which talks about Cohen’s documented struggle with fitness and weight loss:
It’s in the latter category that the book becomes resonant and sadder than the author may even realize. Each day is either a victory or a defeat for Cohen, measured alternately in hours at the gym or hors d’oeuvres eaten and drinks consumed. At one point, he meets his goal weight, and then revises that goal weight yet again lower; a litany of fattening foods he is ashamed to have eaten at a party hilariously and tragically includes the addendum “and a Popsicle.”
Many readers might not treat ice pops as a shameful indulgence. And yet many readers aren’t trying to prove their value in a marketplace in which superheroic body proportions win the day. Cohen’s obsession with his appearance — endless documentations of squats and the inevitable “two-hour massage” that follows — are of a piece with a wealthy, urban, privileged gay life that more intellectual or explicitly political novels are loath to expose in such detail. Cohen’s world is not that of most or even of many gay people, but it’s one that really exists and that hasn’t recently gotten this much attention in print.
In the beginning of the book, Cohen talks about feeling pressure to lose weight, and struggles with his lifestyle – it’s tough to lose weight when you’re in a culture of going out to eat and having cocktails with celebs on the daily – in order to drop a few pounds. He does hit the gym pretty religiously, which does not seem to be an issue for him, even when he’s admittedly hungover.
I had no idea his stories were, in any way, representative of “privileged gay life” – and it kind of makes me love him that much more! If you’re at all a pop culture junkie, or a fan of Bravo, and/or, Andy Cohen, I would definitely recommend this book.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Girls In White Dresses” by Jennifer Close. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the comments, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.