Author Archives: Four Purple Walls: A Book Blog by Tiffany

Blog Post #38: The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward Review

Hi everyone! I hope your summer (or whatever season you’re in right now) is going well. Currently, I’m melting from the heat but excited to share some thoughts on this book!

My next post is on a good one by psychologist, Daniel H. Pink. He wrote about a subject that everyone can, and according to him, should relate to: Regret.

More often than not we hear about people having no regrets. Pink, however, completely rejects this philosophy and argues that regret is an essential part of the human experience. Throughout The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, he explains why, citing all different studies as well as direct examples. Many of these examples are from the World Regret Survey.  

A main takeaway he wants readers to have, is rather than viewing regret as something that holds you back, you can benefit from it through careful reflection. For instance, one woman named “Abby” who Pink included in the book regrets avoiding her grandparents’ attempts at bonding with her when she was young. She didn’t/doesn’t want this to be a pattern and began compiling stories from her father for her children.  A lesson was learned through reflecting on these missed opportunities, which resulted in Abby taking productive action.

The idea of missed opportunities deeply resonates with me as I was/am frequently too hesitant to take the leap. There have been many activities, events, etc. I wish I had participated in but never did. I just felt afraid of the outcome and what other people’s opinions were. I’m still trying to care less about them.  

Overall, I would say that this self-help novel in particular has had a very significant impact on me. Being someone who does reflect but also needs to overcome my fears in this regard, Pink’s The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward definitely served as a reminder and major eye-opener. To all readers: I (needless to say) highly recommend it.

Blog Post #37: Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me Review

Hi everyone! I hope you all have been doing well. I just realized that it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog! I’m really excited to start posting again.

This review is about another good one! I just finished reading Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me by none other than the Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio! With Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me, readers are transported back into the world of this iconic film franchise as he goes into detail about how it came to be and discusses the life-changing experience of taking on Daniel LaRusso’s character.

You’ll read about things like how “LaRusso” wasn’t actually the initial choice for Daniel’s last name, the ways Mr. Miyagi’s values/lessons have applied to Macchio’s actual life, and some ludicrous ideas people presented to him in an effort to continue the Karate Kid‘s storyline before the smash-hit spin-off series, Cobra Kai, ultimately materialized.

As a reader/fan, I also admired Macchio’s honesty pertaining to certain things. Throughout, he further reveals facing lulls in his career that followed the massive success he had during the ’80s and long-term frustration with being typecast. I’ve mentioned this before, but I always appreciate people’s openness about not-so-great circumstances/moments that they’ve experienced in their lives (whether these circumstances/moments were because of their own doing or not) and how they chose to respond to them.

I received this novel as a Christmas gift and, being a huge fan of both The Karate Kid franchise (I’ve watched The Karate Kid Part II more times than I can count) as well as Cobra Kai, I couldn’t wait to dive in. After finishing it, my first thought was: “I want more!” Overall, if you are as big a fan as I am, Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me won’t disappoint.

Blog Post #36: A Very Punchable Face Review

Hello, everyone! I’m sorry that I haven’t posted since January. But, I hope you all have been doing well. I’m very excited to share my thoughts about this one!

A Very Punchable Face is a memoir by comedian, Colin Jost and the most hilarious book I’ve ever read. So many insane things have happened in this man’s life and will without a doubt keep you intrigued from beginning to end.

From studying abroad in Russia for one semester during his Harvard years while living with a woman who ate sour cream by itself and experiencing teenagers randomly throw vegetables at him, to having a parent on the front lines during 9/11 and giving readers an inside look into Saturday Night Live’s skit-generating process, Jost provides a thoroughly entertaining read.

Another part of the book that I found interesting was him addressing the Emmys, which he hosted a few years ago with fellow SNL news anchor, Michael Che. Even though their hosting received overwhelmingly negative reviews, he didn’t take the criticism to heart. Overall, I truly admire people such as Jost who can laugh these types of things off.

Honestly, this novel is just incredibly funny and refreshingly honest. That’s what I look for in memoirs, autobiographies, etc. I was not expecting some of the content I read at all and there were countless times when I gasped out loud. I have never read anything that has made me laugh as much as A Very Punchable Face. I felt extremely disappointed once I finished the book. I didn’t want it to end!

Understandably, with the pandemic and everything that’s been going on, I think we all need more laughter. If you just want to laugh as well as have an author take you on a crazy ride, please, PLEASE give A Very Punchable Face a chance.

Blog Post #35: Family Tree Review

Hi all! I hope you guys liked my review on Will Smith’s autobiography!

I’ve taken a break from biographies and this time I read something fictional. It’s by none other than Barbara Delinsky! And yes- she hits it out of the park yet again with Family Tree.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

This book tells the story of Dana and Hugh Clarke, who’re expecting their first child. When the time finally arrives, what’s supposed to be an ecstatic moment turns the couple’s lives upside down. Their newborn daughter, though beautiful and perfectly healthy, has darker skin and is discernably of African descent, despite both parents being Caucasian.

As you can imagine, many questions are raised about the girl’s heritage, particularly by Hugh’s parents. Hugh comes from an affluent background with careful documentation accounting for every family member. While on the other hand, Dana’s mother passed away when she was young, and she never knew her father.

Accusations of betrayal ensue, putting a strain on their relationship and the Clarke family questions facts they thought for their whole lives were true.

Dana and Hugh’s daughter’s birth takes them as well as those close to them on an explorative journey encompassing hard looks at internalized bigotry and classism, while most of all, engaging in much self-reflection.

Honestly, I did not want this book to end. I felt sad as I read the last page. I thought: “No! There has to be more!” I kid you not, every book Barbara Delinsky writes is so gripping that you think about them long after you’ve finished reading it. If I haven’t mentioned this already, (and I’m sure I have) her writing simply amazes me time and time again.

On top of that, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting, so I really appreciate seeing authors go in-depth with their characters in this respect.

Overall, please take the time to seek out Family Tree. It’s a fantastic read that won’t disappoint. 

Blog Post #34: Will Review

In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days… Hey everyone! I hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this time. I’m really sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.

But… I’ll try to make it up to you with this week’s review! I’m still really into autobiographies and recently found a good one.

It’s Will by Will Smith!

Most of you probably know him from the hit TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, or the Bad Boys franchise. Here, we get a glimpse into how he became the person/entertainment superstar he is today.

Certain things I’ve always appreciated about Will Smith, especially lately, are his honesty and down-to-earth personality, which shines through in Will.

He begins with his upbringing, which included describing the emotional as well as physical abuse inflicted by his father. In the book, he delves into how these traumatic events deeply impacted his perception of himself and what it means to truly be happy.

Of course, there are hilarious moments, with explaining why he actually paid his own child support. (I know – crazy right?)

From detailing how he met DJ Jazzy Jeff and becoming a multimillionaire at 20 years-old, (then rapidly losing the money) to befriending Nelson Mandela and his daughter, Willow, shocking him one day by shaving her head, so many elements of Will Smith’s book will make you gasp out loud.

Also, another reason why I found the novel quite fascinating is his insightfulness. In the latter half, Will incorporates his profound journey of discovering self-worth and articulates it incredibly well. At one point, he went to great lengths so he could engage in self-care, which proved to be a productive, but further, an emotional time.

Overall, Will Smith is so transparent in this book. He draws readers in by highlighting the defining moments of his life and career, ultimately crafting an excellent autobiography.

Blog Post #33: Think Like A Monk Review

Hi, all!

I’m back! It’s been how long? (sorry!) But I’ve got a good one for you! This week’s review is going to be on Think Like A Monk, by Jay Shetty.

Think Like A Monk provides readers with so much insightful advice that I’ll never forget. I’m super happy I found this book and can share my thoughts on it here.

Shetty was a monk for three years, learning profound lessons during his time at an ashram in India. Taking what he learnt, Shetty has since adopted the corresponding values and applied them to his everyday life. He thus, shares them, including useful tips on how people are able to live meaningfully.

An overarching theme Shetty discusses throughout encompasses achieving one’s “dharma” – establishing what you are skilled at, then finding a way to harness it and serve others.

Another specific takeaway for me is more effectively using negative emotions, which obviously are inevitable. This incorporates being anxious regarding future, potentially unpleasant events, but in experiencing these emotions, going through a careful analysis and ensuring you take the proper measures to, depending on the situation, avoid possible unfavourable outcomes, or make the best of them.

Essentially, channel the negativity and turn it into productivity.

For example, he presents an illustration involving complaining. Say, you don’t like that your partner consistently comes home late from work. It won’t help long-term if you complain to friends about the issue even though, for some, expressing this to them may offer some temporary relief. Rather, directly bring the concern up with your partner. Conflict could arise, but you’re taking necessary steps to resolve it.

Overall, Think Like A Monk is so inspiring. The suggestions Shetty make are hard-hitting and, more importantly, realistically achievable. I have the utmost appreciation for his work. Please, please read this novel!

Blog Post #32: Love, Lucy Review

Hey everyone!

It’s been a minute and I’m happy to be back. This week’s review is on autobiography, Love, Lucy, by none other than the TV icon herself, Lucille Ball.

I’m a huge fan of I Love Lucy, so I was really eager to read about the woman behind its magic. However, I believe it is also the only show I’ve ever seen her in and I had no clue about other projects she’s done. Ball’s life was a whirlwind, to say the least. Many elements in this book truly surprised me.

From losing her father at age four and living with a close relative who was involved in a tragic accident that left him destitute, to juggling various odd jobs and eventually starring in many films, theatre productions, and television programs, there is just so much information Love, Lucy provides that will boggle your mind. Plus, there’s name-dropping galore! Humungous stars like Fred Astaire, Clark Gable and Katherine Hepburn are mentioned several times. What? I enjoy reading about legends interacting with one another.

Another major topic touched on is her real-life marriage to Desi Arnaz, who she has two children with and famously played her onscreen husband, Ricky Ricardo. Readers will receive a glimpse into the numerous challenges they faced as a couple which eventually led to divorce.

In closing, Ball’s work ethic was unbelievable. She worked ridiculously long hours and even her pregnancies didn’t slow her down. I was exhausted, not to mention amazed just reading descriptions of the crazy work schedules she undertook without a second thought. If anyone knows what it takes to reach superstardom, its Lucille Ball. Her legacy is so well-deserved.

Overall, I loved Love, Lucy. Lucille Ball’s refreshing honesty and humbleness is what makes for a great autobiography. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to find solid storytelling by an iconic figure in entertainment.

Blog Post #31: From This Moment On Review

Hi everybody!

Whooooooeeeeeeeeeee. This week’s post is on a REALLY good one folks. I just finished reading Shania Twain’s autobiography, From This Moment On,and am still reeling from it.

Many people know her as the singer who’s broken records, gone on sold-out tours as well as a force to be reckoned with in country music. But, with this book, readers get a glimpse into the very long journey she faced before achieving super stardom.

Twain firstly discusses her difficult childhood growing up in Timmins, Ontario. Not having enough money often was the source of anguish for her family, which ultimately led to a household where physical violence, unpaid bills and lacking basic necessities became the norm. Sometimes she and her siblings were sent to school without lunches, therefore staying hungry throughout the day.

The “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” hitmaker also talks about how music was a huge help for her. From tragically losing her parents at age twenty-two and taking on the responsibility of keeping the Twain family together, to being subjected to harassment in a male-dominated industry and burnout during the earlier stages of her career, From This Moment On is a stunning tell-all that will amaze readers.

One relevant point Twain makes as well is when she states how saying a person is not allowed to have personal issues if they have a certain socioeconomic status indicates blatant inconsiderateness. She herself, who can speak on this and has been on both sides, mentions that this should not be the case at all. Everyone endures things, no matter what. Though financial stability does definitely bring a sense of comfort, it alone is not enough to provide someone with true happiness.

I literally cannot put into words how incredible this novel is. It has made me cry, laugh, and gasp out loud while reading. I, kid you not, also couldn’t sleep one night because of something she says in the book that sent a chill down my spine.

I have never read an autobiography with so many details included and absolutely loved From This Moment On. I highly recommend it.

Blog Post #30: Brutally Honest Review

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Hiya everyone!

I’ve been in a bloggy mood lately.. so here’s another one! This review is going to be about Brutally Honest, an autobiography by Mel B aka Scary Spice from the Spice Girls! I first became a fan when I saw her on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent and was really curious when I first heard that she released a book.

She’s always been vivacious as well as outspoken, which are traits I’ve admired about her since day one. That’s why it is needless to say that Mel B definitely doesn’t hold back in this tell-all work.

She firstly provides a snapshot of her childhood growing up being only one of two biracial children in her Leeds, UK, neighbourhood and multiple encounters with racism. Another experience emphasized is how Mel’s father’s emotional withdrawal from the family as she grew older had a negative impact on her future relationships with men.

If I’m honest, (pun totally intended) I, I’m sure like many others who follow her, had absolutely no clue her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, was abusive and even after revealing this fact, I did not expect that the abuse was to the extent she described. I believed she married the love of her life, but little did I know… She later herself clarifies how she is great at pretending, which scared me.

From explanations as to why being a Spice Girl will forever be a part of who she is and numerous career highs to extreme emotional turmoil lasting ten years that chipped away at her self-esteem and then eventually rediscovering her self-worth, the details in Brutally Honest will take readers on a roller coaster ride.

I’m so happy that Mel B is doing (better than) well now. She is such a strong person and I applaud her for being so open and vulnerable.

For those who are looking for just a solid autobiography, I encourage you to consider Brutally Honest.

Blog Post #29: The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life Review

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Hi everyone!

Its been a while, my apologies for not updating sooner. I need to get better at being more consistent, don’t I? Anyway, this week’s review is going to be on The Answer is…Reflections on My Life, written by the one and only Alex Trebek!

With the chapter stylized as Q&A from the competition show, Jeopardy! which he hosted for over three decades, readers receive a glimpse into the many significant events of this TV legend’s life, as stated in the title.

Trebek is such a class act… One can definitely tell whilst reading. The novel encompasses everything and more you’d expect from him. He talks about his childhood including a scary accident causing him to feel regular bouts of severe pain that lasted twelve years, as well as fond memories of his parents’ kindness whilst growing up. Trebek also discusses crazy experiences as an adult, with chasing after a thief who broke into a hotel room he was staying in and finding out how he has a half-sibling whom, for the longest time, was kept from him.

You will see other more heartfelt moments like when he knew his wife, Jean, was “the one” right after meeting her or profound interactions with a child living in an impoverished country.

All throughout, it is almost as if Alex Trebek is an old friend of yours having an honest conversation about the things that made him who he is today. I cannot stress enough how incredible this human being was.

What continues to amaze me is the way he carried himself prior to his passing. He was extremely humble. If I’m not mistaken, I remember one time during an interview that he already thought of what he would say should he decide to leave Jeopardy!. No fuss involved, just taking thirty seconds to thank everyone for the opportunity.

Do you need a great autobiography you can cuddle up with on a rainy day? Want to laugh and cry? If so, I implore you to consider The Answer is…Reflections on My Life.