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My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto

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It's a JENaissance! The New York Times bestselling author of Pretty in Plaid gets her culture on. Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does s It's a JENaissance! The New York Times bestselling author of Pretty in Plaid gets her culture on. Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces. In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option. Watch a Video


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It's a JENaissance! The New York Times bestselling author of Pretty in Plaid gets her culture on. Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does s It's a JENaissance! The New York Times bestselling author of Pretty in Plaid gets her culture on. Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces. In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option. Watch a Video

30 review for My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This was possibly the worst book I have ever read. Partially because it is written on a fourth grade level. Partially because the author thinks she is hilarious, but is not. But mostly because the main character in the book is possibly the worst person I have ever read about. She is massively ignorant, and proud of it. Even while the book ostensibly is about her becoming "cultured" she resists at every level. This is a character, after all, who proudly proclaims that Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged This was possibly the worst book I have ever read. Partially because it is written on a fourth grade level. Partially because the author thinks she is hilarious, but is not. But mostly because the main character in the book is possibly the worst person I have ever read about. She is massively ignorant, and proud of it. Even while the book ostensibly is about her becoming "cultured" she resists at every level. This is a character, after all, who proudly proclaims that Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" is the founding philosophy of her life. Now, this character is not the first person I've encountered to claim that, but she is the first person who is not a pretentious high school junior. Most people recover and find philosophies with a bit more nuance and substance. The character is materialistic, willfully ignorant, stupid, selfish, and enormously irritating. And smug about all of it. This book is grist for every liberal who secretly believes conservatives are just really stupid, and is thus a profound disservice to intelligent Republicans. Seriously. She makes Sarah Palin look like the world's savviest political thinker.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gus

    Okay, I feel horrible giving a Jen Lancaster book only 2 stars, but I honestly thought it was "okay" and not much more. I normally love JL, I think she's hilarious and perhaps it was my excitement over this book that led to my disappointment. It's nothing like the other ones, where the storyline is coherent and there's (somewhat) of a goal to reach at the end. While I loved the last chapter of My Fair Lazy, the rest felt forced and very little of it was about Jen becoming more cultured. A lot of Okay, I feel horrible giving a Jen Lancaster book only 2 stars, but I honestly thought it was "okay" and not much more. I normally love JL, I think she's hilarious and perhaps it was my excitement over this book that led to my disappointment. It's nothing like the other ones, where the storyline is coherent and there's (somewhat) of a goal to reach at the end. While I loved the last chapter of My Fair Lazy, the rest felt forced and very little of it was about Jen becoming more cultured. A lot of the things I found interesting (like when she decides to "eat the world") weren't covered very much. It felt like a lot of filler...and not even the hilariously insane (and silly) filler that I'm used to from JL. I highly recommended her other three books to humor fans, but not this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    I'm a huge fan of Jen Lancaster's books, they are hilarious, fun and sarcastic. I've read all the previous novels, kept up on her blog and subscribed to her twitter feed, she's just that much fun to follow. I mean come on, she posts LOLcat pictures. That pretty much secures you a place in awesomeland. This book follows Jen's journey to get a little bit more culture beyond her current realm of reality shows like The Hills and The Real Housewives and takes place over a little over a year, ending wi I'm a huge fan of Jen Lancaster's books, they are hilarious, fun and sarcastic. I've read all the previous novels, kept up on her blog and subscribed to her twitter feed, she's just that much fun to follow. I mean come on, she posts LOLcat pictures. That pretty much secures you a place in awesomeland. This book follows Jen's journey to get a little bit more culture beyond her current realm of reality shows like The Hills and The Real Housewives and takes place over a little over a year, ending with the big event at The Hamptons. She pushes herself to read beyond her comfort zone of Lauren Conrad, eat beyond her comfort zone of cheeseburgers and try cheese that isn't made by Kraft. As a cheeseburger-loving, chick-lit reading gal, I cheered her on every step of the way and giggled at the interludes with rats along the way. I am glad to be back in the present with Jen (as "Such a Pretty Plaid" was more remembering the past than the present) because her life (at least how she writes it) is pretty darn funny. I still am a bit scared of Ambien but also wanna try it to see if I wind up with a Barbie head or a cake on the counter. It's not easy to write a memoir, it's also not easy to write a memoir if you are someone that claims everyone pretty much hates upon meeting however Jen does write her memoirs well and makes you want to be BFFs with her and meet her for cupcakes. It takes a darn good writer to do that! I realize that Jen's wit and writing style isn't for everyone. She can be crass and overly sarcastic. However, if that's the kind of person you are, you will love this (and her other) books. If you are thinking that you don't need to buy the latest novel because you follow her blog and/or twitter (and if you don't you NEED TO), think again because reading both only enhances the novel. I was online the night she took ambien and tweeted about it, laughing along the way, and part of that made it into the book and made me laugh even more remembering it. PS: Jen if you read these (?) to read your Kindle in the bath, put it in a ziploc bag (the kind with the slider thing). Voila, bath readable kindle. I've used this method for a year and it's worked like a charm!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    3.5 stars. Quickie Review: I'm rapidly making my way through reading all of Jen Lancaster's books. My Fair Lazy is one of the few books that I haven't read. In this book, Jen goes on a journey where she is trying to better herself by trying to care about more than just reality TV and other frivolous things. She does a couple things in the book such as trying to learn about other cuisines as well as trying to read more difficult books (always my quest) in order to better herself. As with so many 3.5 stars. Quickie Review: I'm rapidly making my way through reading all of Jen Lancaster's books. My Fair Lazy is one of the few books that I haven't read. In this book, Jen goes on a journey where she is trying to better herself by trying to care about more than just reality TV and other frivolous things. She does a couple things in the book such as trying to learn about other cuisines as well as trying to read more difficult books (always my quest) in order to better herself. As with so many of her books the best part of the book is her humor that she shows throughout the book. She has a very funny way of writing and as with her other books a lot of parts of this book had me laughing out loud. While this is not my favorite book of hers, her trademark snark is still present in this book. It is still a lot of fun!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    In My Fair Lazy, Jen Lancaster returns with the same wit, humor, hilarious self-reflections, and tangential footnotes that made her so popular with her first books Bitter is the New Black and Bright Lights Big Ass. Now, I have to admit that, for me, those first couple books were definitely her best and funniest books. While I enjoyed Such a Pretty Fat and Pretty In Plaid, I found them not quite as full of the laugh-out-loud humor I found in the first ones. But in this one, I thought Jen Lancaste In My Fair Lazy, Jen Lancaster returns with the same wit, humor, hilarious self-reflections, and tangential footnotes that made her so popular with her first books Bitter is the New Black and Bright Lights Big Ass. Now, I have to admit that, for me, those first couple books were definitely her best and funniest books. While I enjoyed Such a Pretty Fat and Pretty In Plaid, I found them not quite as full of the laugh-out-loud humor I found in the first ones. But in this one, I thought Jen Lancaster brought back the same hilarity I was used to. My Fair Lazy chronicles Jen Lancaster's attempts to sophisticate herself by turning off all the reality television she's addicted to and going to wine and cheese tastings, reading classics, watching opera, etc. This all started for her when, in an attempt to impress and befriend Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City), she pretended to know what/who Baudelaire is. I was able to relate to all her reality show references -- some because I, too, had watched that show, or because I could relate to being addicted to a similar show. (Jen professes that the only reality show she doesn't watch is Keeping up with the Kardashians which I can't understand because that show is sooo entertaining, lol. I managed to stay away from it for a while but got caught up in some marathons... that's besides the point though). Jen is honest and doesn't pretend to be someone she's not (well, except for when she's being interviewed by Candace Bushnell, lol) so I was able to put myself in her shoes when she had these experiences and laugh along with her. Jen Lancaster's humor is so funny specifically because she says what she thinks without worrying how others will respond. The things she says are often the things that I know people are thinking and just can't say! But her humor is also intelligent and witty which is why I think she's so well liked by readers. She's also gutsy and will do things or talk to people that I'd be scared to. There were a couple parts in My Fair Lazy that I remember her posting from her blog... other parts she mentioned on her blog but elaborated on in the book. I was disappointed in two specific incidences because she wrote about something she had written in previous books; one of these things I specifically remembered because I thought it was so outright hilarious when I read it the first time. But those are literally the only ones I could remember. In all, this was another great and hilarious book by Jen Lancaster. If you've never read anything by her, though, I recommend starting with her first two books, Bitter is the New Black and Bright Lights Big Ass, because those are the funniest and they will introduce you to who Jen is and how she got to where she is now. These things are all sort of assumed by the time you read this book and those who haven't "gotten to know" her yet may not appreciate the book as much as they otherwise would. Taken from my blog at www.takemeawayreading.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    thewestchestarian

    A featherweight blog-to-print conversion. Samuel Pepys is now well-known because he kept a personal diary of his mundane comings and goings during a turbulent time in English history – the late 1600s. Perhaps in a modern day effort to replicate this brand of immortality, there is now an entire subgenre of memoir devoted to converting personal blogs to printed books with minimal editing or concern for artistic flourishes. Jen Lancaster’s 384 pages of Twitter-esque recording of the trivial events A featherweight blog-to-print conversion. Samuel Pepys is now well-known because he kept a personal diary of his mundane comings and goings during a turbulent time in English history – the late 1600s. Perhaps in a modern day effort to replicate this brand of immortality, there is now an entire subgenre of memoir devoted to converting personal blogs to printed books with minimal editing or concern for artistic flourishes. Jen Lancaster’s 384 pages of Twitter-esque recording of the trivial events of her only modestly interesting life is highly representative of this new brand of ”book””. The book’s paragraphs may have been written using a small series of fill in the blank Mad Libs-type templates. ”I (fill in verb) (fill in direct object of the verb). This made me feel (fill in emotion). I learned I should never (fill in lesson learned to be relearned a few paragraphs hence). If he words ”I”, “me”, “Jen” and “ass” were deleted by the either non-existent or at least wildly lenient editor of this book, it would have been maybe 125 pages long. The closest the book gets to creative writing is a line which says: ”since the Nazi at the snack bar wouldn’t let me drink my wine in the theater, I drank in the scenery instead.” The closest the book gets to humor is a line about avoiding eating Cuban food in her SUV which reads: I didn’t want to get a DWI – Driving While Ingesting.” These observations are not meant to be negative but rather to convey that the facts of her life and her constant reality television references are like the Kraft Singles cheese she enjoys so much – not bad just wholly innocuous However, if you put some of the facts of her life together, an interesting picture might be emerging. Jen has a stinky pitbull as a pet, drives a large SUV, buys clothes for their functional value rather than for emotional reasons, spends hours on the couch watching television, is a huge Fox News fan, was formerly employed in sales, refuses to ask for directions, doesn’t listen when people talk and uses the word ”ass” approximately once for every eight words in the book. In short, Jen might be a guy. This is not to suggest she is secretly physically male but rather she might be psychologically a dude. Again, this is not meant to be a negative observation just a warning to anyone who thought they were getting a Carrie Bradshaw, ”Ab Fab" “grrrls” being fabulous romp. Suffice to say if the book had an index, there would not be an entry on “Manolo Blahniks” but there would be several on ”ass sweat”.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chanele

    It took me 2 months to finish this book, stopping and jumping to other books more than once, which is a huge difference from Lancaster's last book, which I finished in 2 days. This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't anything new. There is only so many different ways that an author can explain why they are so much better (and oh so much RICHER than you'll ever be) before it just gets boring. Lancaster realized finally that she is just an average girl in middle America, but instead of embracing this It took me 2 months to finish this book, stopping and jumping to other books more than once, which is a huge difference from Lancaster's last book, which I finished in 2 days. This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't anything new. There is only so many different ways that an author can explain why they are so much better (and oh so much RICHER than you'll ever be) before it just gets boring. Lancaster realized finally that she is just an average girl in middle America, but instead of embracing this and going with it in her charmingly snarky way, she drops names and barrels of cash on a mission to "better" herself. From $500 meals at restaurants the average reader wouldn't even contemplate and socialite BFFs (I was waiting for a Hilton to materialize), she goes from being an endearing "dumb ass" (her words, not mine) to a soulless "dumb ass." Did you learn nothing from Bitter?!?! The whole thing just sounded too much like an exercise in vanity while trying to maintain the "any girl" image. You can't have both. I implore you, Ms. Lancaster, make your next book on what happens when a white bread middle American girl takes on the mission of community service. I can even give you some numbers of volunteer recruiters in the Chicago area. Because I know from experience you can sandwich some community service hours in between the Goodman Theater and dinner in the Gold Coast. Continue the "Jennaissance" with a revolution of your soul. Even Republicans can make the world a better place.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is the third and final book of Jen Lancaster's that I will read. There is a pretty consistent pattern in her writing - 1.) include emails to friends that outline that she was a total bitch in a situation but she wants it to come across as funny 2.) Ambien-induced Twitter messages or stories involving Ambien mixed with alcohol that are first funny but after a while you wonder how someone in their 40's can continue to do the same thing and be surprised at the outcome 3.) Pfft repeated over an This is the third and final book of Jen Lancaster's that I will read. There is a pretty consistent pattern in her writing - 1.) include emails to friends that outline that she was a total bitch in a situation but she wants it to come across as funny 2.) Ambien-induced Twitter messages or stories involving Ambien mixed with alcohol that are first funny but after a while you wonder how someone in their 40's can continue to do the same thing and be surprised at the outcome 3.) Pfft repeated over and over again when someone is trying to have a conversation with her. The level of arrogance that comes across in her books is outstanding. Jen took an apparently Jewish friend to a German restaurant and asked how often the friend comes there. The friend had to essentially remind her of the Holocaust. Not funny to me at all; I'd call that insensitive. Jen seems to create situations either by doing something stupid or saying something rude or insensitive with the thought of, "I'll put this in my book" at the forefront of her mind. She thinks she is MUCH funnier than I do. Her books ramble on and with this one, I wasn't totally sure what the point of the story was. Yes, she had success with "Bitter is the New Black" which I absolutely enjoyed but she needs a new format and approach to her books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    In spite of the fact that the book is full of 80's pop culture references and they don't particularly resonate with this child of the 60's-70's, I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. All of Jen Lancaster's books to date have been memoirs. Just as Such a Pretty Fat reflected her quest to work on a better body and healthier lifestyle (Aren't we all looking for that?), this one is about her effort to "culture up" a bit. She's a reality show addict who desires to round herself out so that she does In spite of the fact that the book is full of 80's pop culture references and they don't particularly resonate with this child of the 60's-70's, I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. All of Jen Lancaster's books to date have been memoirs. Just as Such a Pretty Fat reflected her quest to work on a better body and healthier lifestyle (Aren't we all looking for that?), this one is about her effort to "culture up" a bit. She's a reality show addict who desires to round herself out so that she doesn't have to panic when she finds herself in more sophisticated social settings. Her quest is often nothing short of laugh-out-loud funny. My taste in reading material definitely can be described as eclectic - the last book I finished was about the scientific research that lead to the discovery of the first immortal human cells (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)to gems such as this one! This type of book is a great read coming off of something heavier. I love, love, love a good belly laugh and can especially appreciate people who can laugh at themselves!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Love Jen Lancaster. So nice to read an author who I agree with on so many issues. She is smart sarcastic and funny. I want to hang out with her !!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Jen Lancaster is laugh out loud, hilarious. She is honest and the type of girl I would love to be friends with. Warning to readers-she tends to be a bit profane. It's not every word but when she drops a swear word, it tends to be a doozy. I liked this book so much because I could definitely relate to having a possible addiction to reality-television, many conversations and comparisons centering on the seasons of Bachelor or ANTM, and a surge of joy whenever I discover someone else watches the sa Jen Lancaster is laugh out loud, hilarious. She is honest and the type of girl I would love to be friends with. Warning to readers-she tends to be a bit profane. It's not every word but when she drops a swear word, it tends to be a doozy. I liked this book so much because I could definitely relate to having a possible addiction to reality-television, many conversations and comparisons centering on the seasons of Bachelor or ANTM, and a surge of joy whenever I discover someone else watches the same guilty pleasure I do! I also at times feel that urge to become more cultured and elevate myself above the trash that is on most channels. So essentially, this book is about Jen trying to do more than just watch reality TV and become cultured. She attempts to do this by going to see plays with a very patient theater friend, "Eat The World" by trying different cuisines from other countries, read classical literature and listen to operas and classic music. All of these endeavors take place among the background of her normal day to day life with her small zoo of pets, adoring and also incredibly patient husband, while juggling book tours and moving to the suburbs. While some may question the legitimacy, method and results of her experiment, I felt it was a success and inspiring, in it's own way. I had much more fun reading this than watching Top Chef, and that is one of the highest compliments I can give. I also felt cultured by proxy because, the novel did get me away from the television! Her writing is peppered with footnotes at the bottom of the page, which instead of irritating, only further the laughter that will be spilling out of you while reading this book. She is sort of like a Republican Tina Fey, only much more relatable and edgy. I think one of Lancaster's best features as a writer is her ability to convey basic themes and lessons of life in a completely original way. Favorite Quotes: Because I no longer report to a boss, I never have to take on hard or boring tasks, thus traveling outside my comfort zone is a rarity, and most likely involuntary. "Well...when I got it, I didn't notice the company name on the cover. I was just thumbing through it, looking at the furniture and linens and decorating items, and I was all, 'This stuff is so the real me!' Turns out it was a Pottery Barn TEEN catalog." I pause to consider the implications. "Meaning I have the design aesthetic of a twelve-year-old." I snort. "Pfft, I never sleep on the plane. I have to be awake and using my mind power to keep it in the air."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin Baker

    Accidental choice makes for good read Not sure how this book got in my "for later" shelf two years ago. I need a quick read before the next book was ready and thought, "Hey! Why not?" I enjoyed the ride for the most part. I laughed out loud and chuckled, and even took notes on a few authors for future reference... Possibly for my own Erinaissance, perhaps? I think what threw me was that the author seemed to dominate all conversations. With her friends, husband, strangers.... And that just might be Accidental choice makes for good read Not sure how this book got in my "for later" shelf two years ago. I need a quick read before the next book was ready and thought, "Hey! Why not?" I enjoyed the ride for the most part. I laughed out loud and chuckled, and even took notes on a few authors for future reference... Possibly for my own Erinaissance, perhaps? I think what threw me was that the author seemed to dominate all conversations. With her friends, husband, strangers.... And that just might be a poor perception. To be honest, I don't read autobiographies. It's still worth the read. It flowed well and quickly and, like I said, parts of the book were inspiring.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenno

    This is Jen Lancaster's fifth book (though I must confess, although I consider myself a fan, it's only the second one I've read), and those who have read her before will not be disappointed by her humor and wit, though Lazy has less substance than the one other I've read, Bitter is the New Black. Having moved from a 9-5 life to a full-time writer's life (thanks to her previous successes), Lancaster has found herself giving much of her free time to the pursuit of reality TV watching, and less time This is Jen Lancaster's fifth book (though I must confess, although I consider myself a fan, it's only the second one I've read), and those who have read her before will not be disappointed by her humor and wit, though Lazy has less substance than the one other I've read, Bitter is the New Black. Having moved from a 9-5 life to a full-time writer's life (thanks to her previous successes), Lancaster has found herself giving much of her free time to the pursuit of reality TV watching, and less time following (or being a part of) the real world. As such, when she does engage in society, cultural references befuddle her and she often falls back on story lines from gems such as "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York" (and her personal favorite, "Survivor"), only to look and feel foolish and out of the loop. This prompts her to embark on a "Cultural Jenaissance," to increase her knowledge of and appreciation for things everyone else in her circle already seems to get: theater, literature, dance, wine, etc. Her stories are extremely entertaining, often causing me to chuckle aloud (or burst out laughing), and her footnotes, as usual, can at times be the funniest parts of her writing, but compared to Bitter, she has lost some of her relatability. Bitter chronicled her crash from moving-up-the-corporate-ladder to jobless, and her subsequent attitude change about herself and the world around her, parts of which the average person can identify with. In Lazy, she chronicles days spent wasted in front of th TV (by choice, not by force of unemployment), and later, time spent taking in plays and dance performances, reading a wealth of classic literature, attending wine and cheese appreciation classes, etc. -- not so easily related to. Thumbs up for a story well-told and largely entertaining in it's retelling, thumbs 'neutral' for a story that is built on a foundation of "comfortable life wasted on selfish pursuits." Maybe her next book will chronicle a year spent in community service to balance her karma.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Moritz

    Confession time: I have a writer crush on Jen Lancaster. Her writing is entertaining and clear and not just funny but witty. She makes me want to read more, write more and do more. And to me, that's one of the signs of an great talent. In this memoir, she writes about her "Jenassaince" -- her desire to step away from reality television and get "culture" and "class" though much of the book is a question of which comes first, culture or class. Her goal is to not be the girl who says the first thin Confession time: I have a writer crush on Jen Lancaster. Her writing is entertaining and clear and not just funny but witty. She makes me want to read more, write more and do more. And to me, that's one of the signs of an great talent. In this memoir, she writes about her "Jenassaince" -- her desire to step away from reality television and get "culture" and "class" though much of the book is a question of which comes first, culture or class. Her goal is to not be the girl who says the first thing that comes to mind in important social situations. This is (a) a sign of personal growth and self awareness as she realizes the fact that she is, um not nice, is probably the reason why she lost her job in the dot-com bust years ago and (b) slightly disturbing because her lack of a mental/social filter is part of her charm. Then again, if all we ever read about was the dumb-ass things she said, well, her books would be boring and repetitive and I love her too much to see that happen. So you go ahead and improve yourself, Jen. I want to read all about it. By the end of teh book, she realizes it's not so much about what she's doing but that she is out doing: "We're obligated to make the most of what we have, and the best way to do that is to expand the depth of our experiences. Do we want to spend the next thirty years on the couch, waiting to see who wins America's Next Top Model Cycle Forty-Five, or do w want to fill our lives with a million new experiences, even if sometimes they're unpredictable or scary or take effort? Essentially, we realized we need to keep diving in. And if we do, our lives won't be richer for being long; our lives will be richer for having lived." Yes, Ms. Lancaster, along with making me laugh out loud and bringing me all the things I love about reading, you also gave me a fresh reminder of how I try to live my own life -- by pushing myself out of my comfort zone. You make me want to try something a bit harder and unexpected. A sincere thanks for the inspiration.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Loyola University Chicago Libraries

    Frankly, it's a miracle I gave this two stars, because after the first 50 pages, I was ready to give it 0 stars and a kick across the room. This is my first experience reading Jen Lancaster, and she comes off VERY poorly at the beginning of this memoir, which details her attempt to watch less reality TV and become more cultured. I thought this sounded like a fairly interesting project, particularly as American culture has become increasingly anti-intellectual. Sadly, Lancaster's attitude to both Frankly, it's a miracle I gave this two stars, because after the first 50 pages, I was ready to give it 0 stars and a kick across the room. This is my first experience reading Jen Lancaster, and she comes off VERY poorly at the beginning of this memoir, which details her attempt to watch less reality TV and become more cultured. I thought this sounded like a fairly interesting project, particularly as American culture has become increasingly anti-intellectual. Sadly, Lancaster's attitude to both her project and this book is fairly casual, and I was disappointed that she squandered the opportunity to take a more focused, serious approach. But as I kept reading, I realized that Jen Lancaster's books aren't supposed to be about serious reflection; they're about observational humor and snark, and by the end of the book, I found myself somewhat charmed by her writing. In real life, she would drive me crazy for a number of reasons, but she's a genuinely warm, funny writer, and I can absolutely see the appeal of her books. I've heard that her previous efforts were a bit more polished, so it's possible that I'll try another -- but in this case, I found myself wanting more substantive content.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dorina

    As with all Jen Lancaster’s books this was hilarious! Lots of laughing out loud and spraying my cat with whatever I was drinking at the moment. This particular book is about Jen’s desire to be cultured including to finding a way to not to babble when she meets celebrities. As a reader, they were really funny and you feel for her in those situations. Most of the book is about her visits to cultural spots in Chicago and New York which she starts with some hesitation. She does seem to enjoy many of As with all Jen Lancaster’s books this was hilarious! Lots of laughing out loud and spraying my cat with whatever I was drinking at the moment. This particular book is about Jen’s desire to be cultured including to finding a way to not to babble when she meets celebrities. As a reader, they were really funny and you feel for her in those situations. Most of the book is about her visits to cultural spots in Chicago and New York which she starts with some hesitation. She does seem to enjoy many of these new experiences. The ones that don't impress her provide laughter for her book. Her enthusiasm jumps easily from the reality shows to live theater. She has even tried some new food trends and discovers that she enjoys what she wouldn’t try prior to this cultural experiment. Her descriptions include a stay at the Four Seasons, which she adores for its flawless customer care and amenities. When she describes her attempt to adjust the room’s lighting, we discover how she nearly sets the curtains on fire! While I wanted to provide you with a little teaser about this book, I hate to give away too much. Jen is worth the read and the laughter. When I read her books and always think she would be a great person to have as a friend. So thanks, Jen, for sharing your life with us in your books and I look forward to the next one!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Still a fan and in addition to being entertained, I actually learned a few things in this one ;)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Jen is entertaining as always.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    The author is just ick! She is not funny or clever. This is what a mean girl becomes when they enter adulthood.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    Until now, I had pretty much ignored Jen Lancaster's addiction to reality television, which I consider the absolute lowest form of television entertainment (well, besides wrestling and porn). I have never watched a "reality" show in my life, unless you count HGTV shows like Trading Spaces as reality shows, and I quit watching those years ago when they got completely outlandish. I could understand Jen watching the fashion-based shows, since she is very much into fashion. One of my primary interes Until now, I had pretty much ignored Jen Lancaster's addiction to reality television, which I consider the absolute lowest form of television entertainment (well, besides wrestling and porn). I have never watched a "reality" show in my life, unless you count HGTV shows like Trading Spaces as reality shows, and I quit watching those years ago when they got completely outlandish. I could understand Jen watching the fashion-based shows, since she is very much into fashion. One of my primary interests is interior design, which is why I watched the HGTV shows. But Jen didn't just watch Project Runway and other shows about fashion, she watched dozens of reality shows. And again, I can understand retreating into television when your life isn't going the way you would like. I admit I've spent a fair amount of time in Stars Hollow, escaping with the Gilmore Girls. Since Netflix has made it possible to binge-watch TV series, I've spent hours in Roswell and Sunnyvale and other fictional (or fictionalized) places. I totally understand the need to escape. What I don't understand is how Jen got a college degree, even one that took her eleven years(!) to complete, without being exposed to at least a minimal amount of culture. It's possible, I suppose, if your major is science-related and you avoid all humanities-related courses, but Jen's major ended up being political science. At the very least, that should have familiarized her with international culture. I will give her points for setting herself a course of self-improvement, even if her motivation was somewhat less than noble: She was becoming famous because of her best-selling books and finding herself in situations where she had to talk about something other than the "Real Housewives" of wherever. I have to say, this is one of my least favorite of her books that I've read so far, and I have a feeling the next one (Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner) is going to be lower still on the list. So far I've only read the introduction and already I'm pissed. Until now, I've managed to overlook Jen's swollen ego. I don't know how much longer I can do that. Her next book may be a DNF. We'll see.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Since this is the fourth Jen Lancaster memoir I've read (and the third in a fairly short time period), I can't say I don't know what she's all about at this point. Still, I was expecting something more from this book. I've been aware for awhile that politically speaking, Jen and I don't have much in common. She hints at her Republicanism in earlier books, and I haven't had a problem with it because hey, the whole world doesn't have to agree with me (also, that's not why I read her - I read her b Since this is the fourth Jen Lancaster memoir I've read (and the third in a fairly short time period), I can't say I don't know what she's all about at this point. Still, I was expecting something more from this book. I've been aware for awhile that politically speaking, Jen and I don't have much in common. She hints at her Republicanism in earlier books, and I haven't had a problem with it because hey, the whole world doesn't have to agree with me (also, that's not why I read her - I read her because she writes funny stories about her clothes and pets and friends). But in this one, her right-leaning views seemed to come out of the woodwork a lot more frequently, often at times when I don't think she was fully aware that she was doing it. It was curious that her politics would come out in the middle of a book about expanding her cultural horizons, and particularly curious that her stance on it would be "these are my opinions and I can back them up because I know a lot about the issues" when her entire schtick involves self-deprecation around her own closed-mindedness. Near the end of the book, Jen accidentally attends a couple of events featuring speakers and attendees from the opposite end of the political spectrum, and her great moment of personal growth is that she doesn't get into a shouting match with anybody and instead just ignores them. I'd have enjoyed it more, and it would have had a more compelling place within the context of the rest of the book, if she'd actually taken the opportunity to examine her own beliefs or come away understanding the other side a little better. (And I'd feel the same way if she were a far-left liberal thrown into a Fox News lion's den.) Otherwise, I'd have far preferred another chapter about her adventures with wine and stinky cheese, because that is something I can't argue with at all.

  22. 4 out of 5

    LaurieH118

    Jen Lancaster is funny, aggressive and insensitive. Sometimes she's such "a mean girl" that her unlikeability outweighs the funny. (Example: A woman who is so supportive of her gay male friends, and in Bright Lights, Big Ass, she goes on an on about being "all about the gays," should know it's not cool to dismiss Rachel Maddow in this book as "he.") For an author who so proudly writes about keeping her politics out of her work, she certainly manages to do her share of liberal slagging. And just Jen Lancaster is funny, aggressive and insensitive. Sometimes she's such "a mean girl" that her unlikeability outweighs the funny. (Example: A woman who is so supportive of her gay male friends, and in Bright Lights, Big Ass, she goes on an on about being "all about the gays," should know it's not cool to dismiss Rachel Maddow in this book as "he.") For an author who so proudly writes about keeping her politics out of her work, she certainly manages to do her share of liberal slagging. And just when I'm sure I'm done with this annoying woman, I come upon a passage like page 91 (PB edition): "The issue here is that I'm a dangerous combination of stupid and mouthy ... Maybe when my old company was forced to make cuts, they didn't keep me, despite my numbers. Instead they kept the people they liked. Maybe not being an a**hole was more important than being good." And then I want to hug her. That moment of self-awareness, as well as the touching passages about her ailing dog and cat, go a long way toward humanizing her and balancing her work. So what makes this book fun is not only just her clever way with words. It's when she lets that brittle "aren't I smart/isn't everyone else stupid" guard down a little and becomes a woman with a heart. It gives this book a dimension some of her snarkier memoirs lack. And yes, it's very funny. As a Chicagoan who both watches America's Next Top Model and attends the Goodman Theater, I felt that Jen does a hilarious job of straddling both worlds. I took this book with me on vacation to South Florida and even heard her voice in my head as I looked at a lunch menu. Why would a Chicagoan eat beef while looking out onto Gulf of Mexico? Inspired by the Jenaissance, I had the fresh salmon and it was terrific.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Lancaster isn't for everyone with her sarcasm and quick-witted humor, but I liked this book almost as much as Bright Lights, Big Ass, which was my absolute favorite. It's an easy read, and what I liked in this is that Jen still has her same sense of humor, but she's evolving a bit more and (thankfully) maturing. A lot of her critics say she's narcissistic, but it's a memoir and I've yet to read a memoir that couldn't have that same criticism. Lancaster is just all about fun (and her) and since I Lancaster isn't for everyone with her sarcasm and quick-witted humor, but I liked this book almost as much as Bright Lights, Big Ass, which was my absolute favorite. It's an easy read, and what I liked in this is that Jen still has her same sense of humor, but she's evolving a bit more and (thankfully) maturing. A lot of her critics say she's narcissistic, but it's a memoir and I've yet to read a memoir that couldn't have that same criticism. Lancaster is just all about fun (and her) and since I can relate to her on soooo many levels (weight, age, etc) well it becomes all about ME too. A good laugh, a great read. Thanks Jen! My own little criticisms - the Republican thing, such a huge turn-off, and I agree a bit with that some of the writing seemed forced, as if Jen has run out of things to talk about/do and is now having this "Jenessaincee" It's always nice to read a fish-out-of-water story, but I didn't really buy that she was THAT out of water. Considering her books have been popular for quite a while and she used to be a top marketing exec, I would have to surmise she has SOME social skills, and didn't completely buy the Eliza Dolittle angle because she's farrrrr from being in Eliza's predicament (poor, poorly educated, etc). But again, I loved the book and loved reading Jen and will do so again and again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole R

    Jen Lancaster is back with hilarious tales of her life in Chicago with her husband, writer friends, and house full of pets - this time she is convinced that her TV diet of reality television has made her uncomfortable in social situations and makes people look down on her. To solve this problem, she is taking a page from Miss Eliza Doolittle and is getting some culture - Jenassaince style! Nothing is taboo: plays, operas, classic literature, poetry, and Eating the World! As always, she manages t Jen Lancaster is back with hilarious tales of her life in Chicago with her husband, writer friends, and house full of pets - this time she is convinced that her TV diet of reality television has made her uncomfortable in social situations and makes people look down on her. To solve this problem, she is taking a page from Miss Eliza Doolittle and is getting some culture - Jenassaince style! Nothing is taboo: plays, operas, classic literature, poetry, and Eating the World! As always, she manages to add a touch of humor to every situation and sometimes even gets the Shame Rattle....laugh out loud funny! I was pretty disappointed in Jen's last book - Pretty in Plaid - but this was a flash back to Jen's earlier works. The central theme was a little weak (especially in the beginning) but it finally came together and added continuity to the story. I heard a rumor that Jen has already been signed for another book and I will definitely be picking it up to see what ensues next in her life! Ps. Kudos to Fletch (Jen's husband) for managing to tolerate her crazy tactics and keeping a wry sense of humor through it all! lol. I would love for an entire book to be published of Jen and Fletch's emails to each other while she is at home doing "research" for her books and he is at work. Those emails in between the chapters are some of my favorite parts. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jensownzoo

    The subtitle mostly tells you what this book is about. The author is flailing about, trying to think of a subject to tackle in her next memoir when she realizes that all of her references (in conversation) relate to reality TV programs and starts feeling wholly uncultured. She sets herself a goal to experience museums, theater, ethnic food, etc. in an effort to broaden her horizons and make herself a more interesting conversational partner. Her aim is to not make a fool of herself at an upcoming The subtitle mostly tells you what this book is about. The author is flailing about, trying to think of a subject to tackle in her next memoir when she realizes that all of her references (in conversation) relate to reality TV programs and starts feeling wholly uncultured. She sets herself a goal to experience museums, theater, ethnic food, etc. in an effort to broaden her horizons and make herself a more interesting conversational partner. Her aim is to not make a fool of herself at an upcoming Author's Night in the Hamptons. I loved the author's first few memoirs as they made me laugh out loud on a regular basis. This offering, while a worthwhile read, didn't really do that for me which is why it scored a bit lower. I don't really watch reality TV (or actually much TV at all -- probably because most of it has turned into reality shows), so the references were going over my head and that may have something to do with it. Also, the book seemed to be less directed than the author's previous offerings. More like a bunch of blog posts thrown together to form a book. This didn't bother me, but it is something worth noting. All in all, if you like Jen Lancaster's other books, you need to read this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    My Fair Lazy is the type of book one picks up when they just want to laugh by the pool on a hot summer afternoon. I have never read memoirs by a funnier, more irreverent person than Jen Lancaster. The most hysterical parts happen when you cannot believe what you just read. "New York Times" bestselling author Lancaster is a self-proclaimed reality show addict, hence the subtitle of the book: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover if Not Being a Dumb Ass is the New Black, or a Culture- My Fair Lazy is the type of book one picks up when they just want to laugh by the pool on a hot summer afternoon. I have never read memoirs by a funnier, more irreverent person than Jen Lancaster. The most hysterical parts happen when you cannot believe what you just read. "New York Times" bestselling author Lancaster is a self-proclaimed reality show addict, hence the subtitle of the book: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover if Not Being a Dumb Ass is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto. Reading about her attempts to go through her own personal "Jenaissance" is the gist of the book, from finally reading the "classics" (loving Brave New World but not being able to get through Eudora Welty) to trying various cultural foods. Lancaster especially has a talent for moving from humorous to heartwarming in a single page, most notably when she discusses her many pets. This memoir is a very easy read. It feels like you are talking to an old friend who is not afraid to put into words what we think, but don't say out loud. Read this for an escape and many, many laughs. MY RATING - 5 See this review on 1776books.net... http://1776books.blogspot.com/2010/06...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen Troester

    I am a big fan of the previous books written by this author, and while I did have a few laugh out loud moments this time around, I wasn't as impressed with the book on a whole. It almost felt as though she was reaching for something to talk about. Knowing she had to write another book, but without having much else to write about, so she just randomly chose a subject and attempted to run with it and make it funny. A lot of it wasn't all that funny, though, and this time around her remarks about h I am a big fan of the previous books written by this author, and while I did have a few laugh out loud moments this time around, I wasn't as impressed with the book on a whole. It almost felt as though she was reaching for something to talk about. Knowing she had to write another book, but without having much else to write about, so she just randomly chose a subject and attempted to run with it and make it funny. A lot of it wasn't all that funny, though, and this time around her remarks about her super conservative beliefs became annoying. Yes, we all know you are a die hard Republican...keep it out of your books, K? Also, at times it got a bit too gushy for my taste. I expect a funny, witty, topical book that is an easy weekend read. It was odd to have that kind of writing mixed in with some heavier thoughts. They just seemed out of place. It was a really quick read, though. I got through it in 2 nights time. If you have been an avid reader of her other books, I would recommend you go ahead and read it. If not, I would skip this one and delve into her previous, and better, offerings.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joanie

    I loved this book. It was light, fluffy and laugh-out-loud funny, a perfect break from The Kid which I was reading at the same time. This is my first time reading anything by Lancaster so I really didn't know what to expect but I was totally entertained. Maybe the fact that I am a total reality show junkie helped too (i won't even tell you how many of the shows she mentions that I have watched myself-shame rattle indeed!) The book is basically about Lancaster's decision to break out of her comfo I loved this book. It was light, fluffy and laugh-out-loud funny, a perfect break from The Kid which I was reading at the same time. This is my first time reading anything by Lancaster so I really didn't know what to expect but I was totally entertained. Maybe the fact that I am a total reality show junkie helped too (i won't even tell you how many of the shows she mentions that I have watched myself-shame rattle indeed!) The book is basically about Lancaster's decision to break out of her comfort zone (parked in front of her TV watching bad reality shows) and to start exploring different cultural offerings. She explores dance, opera, poetry, literature, theater, and various ethnic cuisines. Some things she likes, some things she hates, but all in all, it's a positive experience told with a sharp wit. I'm definitely planning to read more by Lancaster soon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Maybe it's because I listened to this on an audio book instead of reading it, but I thought this book was 10% funny and 90% obnoxious. I'll admit, the narrator's voice was so annoying that I had a hard time focusing on what she was saying. However, this has to be the most incoherent and unorganized book that has ever been published. There is no logical flow from chapter to chapter; Jen bounces from a highly detailed review of a play to restaurant to weekend at the beach to a 10 page analysis of Maybe it's because I listened to this on an audio book instead of reading it, but I thought this book was 10% funny and 90% obnoxious. I'll admit, the narrator's voice was so annoying that I had a hard time focusing on what she was saying. However, this has to be the most incoherent and unorganized book that has ever been published. There is no logical flow from chapter to chapter; Jen bounces from a highly detailed review of a play to restaurant to weekend at the beach to a 10 page analysis of her dinner, with snippets of her irrelevant emails pasted in between. I get the vibe that Jen thinks being "cultured" means that you dine at the most trendy, overpriced restaurants and go to the finest theaters every weekend, and that frustrates me because there's so much more to culture than schmoozing the rich and being able to name-drop. Jen is one of my favorite authors, but this memoir felt poorly executed. And if she uses the word "strongs" one more time in reference to her muscles, I will scream so loud it will shatter more glasses than her favorite opera singer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Valissa

    I've loved Jen Lancaster since her first book, Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, but I've started to outgrow her books. This book is far more disjointed than her previous, and less pointed. It can't be easy to mine your own current life for a full book, although I applaud her goal and attempt. Alas, I had read so much of this on her blog, it was slightly disappointi I've loved Jen Lancaster since her first book, Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, but I've started to outgrow her books. This book is far more disjointed than her previous, and less pointed. It can't be easy to mine your own current life for a full book, although I applaud her goal and attempt. Alas, I had read so much of this on her blog, it was slightly disappointing. Plus, I am insanely jealous of the culture she has access to. I am torn between keeping up on her blog or waiting for her next book.

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