Wednesday 14 December 2011

Devouring Books: Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda

My resounding feeling about this book, if I had to sum it up in one word, is meh.

Wait, I actually have to write a review? Using more words than just meh? (Actually, I technically don't. No one pays me for this shit. But I'm going to anyway, haha!) I really wanted to like Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself, because I had it out of the library for about a zillion years (since September, I think... September a ZILLION YEARS ago) until I decided enough was enough, and issued myself an ultimatum- no more renewals, it's now or never, all that kind of stuff.

And then it was so... lacking! I read Never Have Your Dog Stuffed earlier this year, and I thought it was great- Alda was able to look back on his life candidly and with a great sense of humour (obviously!) and just generally has a really good attitude about everything. In this book, while that attitude still prevails, I was still kind of like 'mleuuuurgh I'm borrrrrred', the whole way through.

To be honest, it's not the book's fault, or even Alan Alda's fault- it's me, not them. What I didn't realise when I started reading it was that Things I Overheard While Taking To Myself is basically a book of speeches (which, now I think about it, is totally what the title implies) that Alda has made throughout his life- at graduation ceremonies, funerals, to distinguished psychiatrists- all that kind of thing. And I am so not a fan of reading speeches, because that really goes against the point of speeches, you know? To be fair to Alda (which I always want to do!) the bits where he explains why he was giving each speech (like when he gave a speech to graduating medical students, literally because he played a doctor on TV, to which we all, including Alda himself, go, 'huh?!') were really well written, and I'm pretty positive that the speeches were awesome when he delivered them, I just CAN'T READ SPEECHES. With my eyes and stuff, it's just TOO HARD! (I also can't really do speeches in front of audiences and things. But that's a whole other issue).

So basically, a combination of my dislike of speeches that aren't being spoken, rushing through it to get it back to the library, and a general lack of interest means that this book didn't really stand a chance with me. Alda, I still love you, but I just can't read your damn speeches. I'm sorry. I guess I should have got the audiobook...


  1. Ouch too bad you didn't know earlier what this book entailed. It sounds like you may have really liked the audio book.

  2. I definitely think I would have enjoyed the audiobook (if it does exist and is read by Alda) because some of the speeches read pretty well, and would probably have been awesome in Alda voice!

  3. That title super makes sense and I'm positive I would never have figured out it was speeches until I read it myself/you told me. Sorry you didn't enjoy

  4. I know right! When I figured out it was all speeches, after internally groaning, I went, 'ahhh, clever title!' But still, yeah, meh.