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Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds Paperback – March 17, 2012
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"It's a weighty subject, and Zara tackles it with gusto. His research uncovers the details that make his subjects human to us." -The Santa Fe New Mexican
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Top Customer Reviews
Then along came this great book! It's really one of those books that when you pick it up and start leafing through it you find yourself wanting to read more and more. I'd say that they were like intellectual potato chips, once you read one chapter you're ready to read the next one, and the next. But they're more like intellectual Doritos, because they're a bit spicy and have a great stylistic zing to them that make it seem like you are already friends with the author. Just another fun art-sy creative type sitting around a bottle of wine - only now I have something interesting to say, because I've read this book.
So, if you are interested in pop culture, history, art, literature, or music - you're going to really enjoy this book. If you don't like those topics, well, god help you. You must be an insufferable bore and I pity your co-workers.
Irritatingly, Christopher Zara's diction is often questionable-- for example, many awkward uses of the word "uppity" in the wrong context. Worse, he tries much too hard to be funny, inserting all sorts of superfluous and unnecessary pop cultural references. It gets grating after reading the fifth reference to current American TV shows. I don't understand why he shoehorned these references in-- they won't help garner an audience and it certainly dooms the book to aging very badly. There is also a glaring lack of citation for the "facts" he liberally throws around. This, in combination with all the tired references all over the page, makes it difficult at times to separate facts from "jokes": eg. when he refers to Jane Austen as appearing to have "facial edema", it's hard to tell if he's making fun of her portrait or if he's serious. Finally, the ugly caricatures of the artists just makes the whole book impossible to take seriously. Perhaps this is Zara's first book and he will improve from here.
What this book really did was get me thinking about the link between pain and great art. Would any of these artists trade their "greatness" in order to have a happy life? Was creating art that transcends the ages worth being tormented and miserable during their lives? Would I be willing to experience deep pain across my life in order to produce a work of art on par with the artists listed in the book? I don't have an answer for any of these questions, but they certainly made me pause and reflect.
Also, the illustrations in the book are very fun and really added to the work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Witty and interesting. Loved to learn the back stories on this prolific artistsPublished on July 23, 2014 by Chrisoula Tsetsekas
A lot has been written about these artists but this book gets right to point --how these artist become who they are. Read morePublished on February 7, 2014 by carol caputo
Yes, I am the stereotype of the depressed writer, so not surprisingly, multiple friends recommended this one for me. Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by JennBen
What is there to say? The prose is like that from an 'advanced reader' for seven year olds. The research is even worse.Published on December 9, 2012 by Amazon Customer
"Tortured Artists" by Christopher Zara was recommended to me as an "excellent read" and I concur. We often hear of hardships some artists face in life but Zara reveals many little... Read morePublished on September 23, 2012 by Mary T. McCabe
Celebrity Trivia and Biography books litter many a bookstore, most treated with failed attempts of humor, bias, or just a general lack of focus. Read morePublished on September 16, 2012 by Francis J. McCabe Jr.
I'm really not that into celebrity biographies, but this book really caught and kept my attention.
The way the author sprinkles in wit and humor really makes the book. Read more
This book is so entertaining. I enjoyed the selection of celebrities and how each has it's own chapter.
You can pick it up and read it whenever. So witty and fun!