Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

ham (noun) [h?m]
1 the hind leg of a hog, salted, smoked, and cured
2 second son of Noah
3 somebody who performs in an exaggerated showy style
-always hamming it up


...
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Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories

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Overview

ham (noun) [hæm]
1 the hind leg of a hog, salted, smoked, and cured
2 second son of Noah
3 somebody who performs in an exaggerated showy style
-always hamming it up


Just when you thought you knew everything about ham, you discover that ham is also:
4 a reason to laugh about everyday life, and
5 an irresistible collection of humorous essays from a man who was born to entertain us.

In sixteen brilliantly observed true stories, Sam Harris emerges as a natural humorist in league with David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, Carrie Fisher, and Steve Martin, but with a voice uniquely his own. Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for his “manic, witty commentary,” and with a storytelling talent the New York Times calls “New Yorker– worthy,” he puts a comedic spin on full-disclosure episodes from his own colorful life. What better place to find painfully funny material than in growing up gay, gifted, and ambitious in the heart of the Bible belt? And that’s just the first cut: From partying to parenting, from Sunday school to getting sober, these slices of Ham will have you laughing and wiping away salty tears in equal measure with their universal and down-to-earth appeal. After all, there’s a little ham in all of us.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Sam Harris is one busy guy; the first Star Search champion has been a Tony-nominated Broadway actor, a multi-million-selling singer and songwriter, a film actor and frequent TV guest, and still found time to hold Liz Minnelli's hand through a newsworthy wedding and get snubbed by Aretha Franklin. In this collection of 16 well-sliced essays, he writes about topics ranging from his early obsession with theatre and performing, to being gay, parenting, his problems with alcohol, and learning to deal with his emotions. A fine entertainment.

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
In this vividly crafted series of essays about the author’s arduous journey to fame, Harris, the first-season champion of Star Search in 1983, explores his youth in Sand Springs, Okla.; he felt he was “odd and bizarre and deviant,” an unathletic kid whose father, the high school band leader, was embarrassed by but resigned to Harris’s obsession with theater, rather than with more traditional boy pursuits in their dusty, industrial town. Harris was known as “the little white boy with a big soulful voice.” The essays move back and forth in time, recounting the author’s teenage years singing in L.A. clubs after a stint at U.C.L.A.; he also describes securing Bette Midler’s agent, Jerry Blatt, who honed Harris’s full-out, emotive style; and he tells of his struggles as an alcoholic and how he came out as a gay man. “Liver” is the most hilarious piece of this charmingly candid collection, dealing with Harris’s self-subverting pattern of being blinded by what should be rather than what is (“the liver law: if it looks like liver and it smells like liver”); other essays feature painful episodes from Harris’s life, such as the time he was snubbed by his idol, Aretha Franklin, and when he assisted his best friend Liza Minnelli at her disastrous wedding. (Nov.)
PopSugar
“With a wry sense of humor, Harris writes about his life through humorous essays. Touching on everything from parenting to show business, he dishes on the ups and downs of his life through a witty lens.”
Esquire
“The essays in Ham are both rip-roaringly funny and sentimental, drawing natural (and justified) comparisons to David Sedaris and David Rakoff.”
People
“Reading singer-actor Harris’s essays is like having your smartest gay BFF propped up on your pillow sipping cosmos, regaling you with gossip and his keen wit.”
—Stephen Holden
"The show’s title is also the name of Mr. Harris’s just-published book of essays and stories. Funny, touching and cheerfully self-deprecating, the show consists of enthusiastic readings from his book with full-tilt renditions of songs....The darker side of Mr. Harris’s tale concerns his struggle with his homosexuality, his attempted suicide and his eventual self-acceptance. It is an archetypal coming-out story to which he brought an inspirational spin...every move generates excitement. The word “ham” says it all."
Stephen Holden
"The show’s title is also the name of Mr. Harris’s just-published book of essays and stories. Funny, touching and cheerfully self-deprecating, the show consists of enthusiastic readings from his book with full-tilt renditions of songs....The darker side of Mr. Harris’s tale concerns his struggle with his homosexuality, his attempted suicide and his eventual self-acceptance. It is an archetypal coming-out story to which he brought an inspirational spin...every move generates excitement. The word “ham” says it all."
Theater Pizazz
“Harris is such a marvelously engaging, clever, storyteller that you’ll be enraptured by every word that comes out of his mouth. With a fine eye for detail and actor’s expressiveness, Harris paints wonderfully vivid portraits of various episodes of his life. And then there’s that still glorious, blow-the-roof-off, remarkable singing.”
Jackie Lyden
“Sixteen short stories of a triumphant, tragic, and most of all, hilarious life in show business make up Sam Harris' new memoir.”
The Huffington Post
“This neo-vaudevillian stage persona, Harris has opted to launch Ham the only way he knows how: extravagantly, theatrically and, most of all, big…refreshingly self-effacing observations and playful humor.”
Broadway World
"Ham is a fabulous and funny, tasty treat; sweet and savory with just right touch of tang."
The Advocate
“Sam Harris, singer, songwriter, actor, and general multi-hyphenate, puts a comedic spin on episodes from his life…he’s up there with David Sedaris and David Rakoff."
Dallas Voice
“Harris writes with bouncing-on-your-toes energy, rushing from subject to subject with the occasional lingering moment to ponder things that are important to him. His is an eagerness that’s endearing….hilarious…teary. With humor, soul-baring, name-dropping, and just the right mix of vulnerability, Ham is a definite pleasure to read. If you’re looking for a memoir that you can enjoy, embrace this one whole-hog.”
Oklahoma Magazine
Ham is, by turns, harrowing and hilarious, uplifting and soul-shattering, agonizing and liberating."
The Steadfast Reader
Ham is honest and heartbreaking, entertaining and devastating all at the same time."
Washington Blade
"Ham is humorous, soul baring, name dropping, and just the right mix of vulnerability and snarkiness."
The Tattered Cover
Ham is a dishy celebrity memoir combined with profoundly harder things like 9/11, alcoholism, suicide attempts, coming out, marriage and parenting. There is as much hilarity in the book—he knows how to make people laugh, especially at him. He really opens up, showing us his struggles, and has far deeper dimensions that I wasn't expecting when I picked up this book. He's clearly added writing into his stable of talents, and I am hoping folks will give this book a try."
Passport Magazine
Ham is a collection of heartfelt, sharply funny memoirs. At a time when other essayists in the style of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs seem to have scraped the bottom of their autobiographical barrels, Harris arrives with great observational writing chops and a deep well of material to draw upon.”
Courier-Journal-Gannett Press
"Harris is wry, witty, bitchy, pensive, inspirational, and laugh-out-loud funny in this winning collection of essays."
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-03
One of America's first reality stars taps his way through five decades of life on stage filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Harris is best known to most readers as the first winner of Star Search and/or Liza Minnelli's BFF, depending on whom you ask. It turns out that the pop singer has the writing chops to tell a good tale, but be prepared for a slew of name-dropping: "I lunched with Lucille Ball! I shared a dressing room with Al Green and improvised with him! I discussed playwriting backstage with Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner! I was just about adopted by Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera! I was given song ideas from Bette Midler!" And that's just half of that paragraph. Two stories about Minnelli are more revealing about the author than the superstar. In "Promises," Harris examines how he helped her recover from her ill-advised marriage to "The Man Whose Name Shall Go Unmentioned." Far less whimsical is "I Know, Baby. I Know," in which Harris plumbs the depths of his own alcoholism during a visit to Minnelli in rehab. Another, "Comfort Food," elegantly crosses the terror of 9/11 with the author's appearance on Oprah. When the stories leave behind the lights of Broadway, most can be very touching, as Harris recounts stories of growing up gay in rural America, the story of meeting his longtime partner, the perils of modern-day parenthood, and the tale of his childhood home burning down not once, but twice in "Drilling Without Novacaine." There's melancholy aplenty, but most of the stories are uplifted by Harris' quirky sense of humor. In the cringe-inducing "I Feel, You Feel," the author is virtually abandoned on stage by a noticeably overdue Aretha Franklin. A standout is the navel-gazing meditation "Liver," an examination of blind optimism that ends well: "In the end, I would rather be bruised than cynical, trusting than suspicious, disappointed than apathetic." Entertaining and occasionally moving tales from the wilds of showbiz.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476733456
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 62,651
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing has been published in over fifteen languages. Dr. Harris is cofounder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Please visit his website at SamHarris.org.
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Read an Excerpt

Ham: Slices of a Life


  • When I was nineteen years old, while helping my aunt Betty reorganize her kitchen cabinets, I discovered a beaten and worn plastic Mary Poppins cup and saucer marooned in the back corner of an ignored shelf. They were issued in 1964, the year of the movie’s release. My aunt told me they’d been intended for me when I was little, but my father had returned them to her because I was “too obsessed with Mary Poppins and singing and dancing.”

In the next room, my dad, uncle, brother, and all four boy cousins could be heard yelling in that guttural, grunting Cro-Magnon caterwauling exclusively reserved for watching football games on television and killing wild pigs on a hunt. I marched into the living room and presented the cup and saucer with outstretched arms.

“Do you remember these?” I said, my confrontational passion unbefitting some battered old plastic children’s dishes.

They all stared at me, confused, as if I’d just asked for an honest opinion about the chances of a fashion comeback for the ascot.

“Uh, no, son,” said my father. “Ask your mother.”

The Cowboys scored another touchdown and the room erupted as they hug-slapped and adjusted their crotches. My father loved the Cowboys and could recount the great plays of the last twenty years. But he had no memory of banning the Mary Poppins treasures.

Cue home movie: Christmas 1964.

I am three years old. My mother is operating the camera. It is in grainy, Super 8 color, and there is no sound. A toy army tank and various toy guns are strewn about and a mini-rifle is propped against the wall. Plastic grenades litter the floor. GI Joe lies in a coffinlike cellophane-covered box. It is a battlefield of unwrapped but unattended boy toys around the base of our silver aluminum Christmas tree, which is bobbed with shiny red and green Woolworth balls, reflecting the muted shades of an electric color wheel. I open a new wool coat, charcoal with a spattering of white, knee length, with large lapels and giant black buttons. Now this is a present!

I eagerly put it on and model it full-tilt. I am overtaken with euphoria and begin to dance. The camera pans to capture the delight of each of my three grandparents, until it lands on my father, whose young, handsome face steams with displeasure and perhaps a touch of anger. His posture reflects a just released sigh of defeat. The camera pans back to me, still dancing. I look to my father and take in his reaction. For a split second I lose my timing.

Then I take a big breath, turn back at the camera, smile, and . . . just dance harder.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Salty and sweet!

    Wow, Sam Harris has captured my attention. Funny, touching, and just a little bit wicked is the best way to describe Ham Slices of Life. Get this book now. You won't be able to put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    Tara

    Moans while stroking you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    Tony to Tara

    Massages her puzzy and waits for her to respond

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    What a blast

    The most fun i have had between electronic pages in , well ... since forever!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

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