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Cannonball Read V: Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

By JamiePomerhn | Book Reviews | April 5, 2013 | Comments ()


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Thanks to his book Heads in Beds, I kind of have a platonic crush on Jacob Tomsky. Like, I want to meet him and become his new best friend. I love his sense of humor; I was even caught chortling several times whilst reading his book on the train the other day. I am hoping some of the other people on the train took note of the title of the book. I'd like to think I spread the love for this book all over southern Germany. You're welcome, Jacob Tomsky.

Anyway, Tom (the name he gives himself in the book) graduated with a useless degree in philosophy. Since I have a useless degree in English literature, I can relate. While living in New Orleans, he began working in a hotel, and since he was good at it, he began to climb the hotel ladder, landing a managerial position. He needed a change of scenery, so he hopped around Europe for a bit, and then he chose to give New York City a try. This led him back into the hotel scene, which eventually led to writing Heads in Beds.

The book is a cross between a memoir and a how-to guide for frequent travelers. Want to know how to score free minibar drinks? Watch movies for free? Score free wine? READ THE BOOK.

The best part about the memoir is definitely the author's humor, which is both subtle and sarcastic. He would also pair lyrics from all genres of music with situations in the book, which I found to be funny and impressive--not many people can quote both gangsta rap AND Brian Wilson. Kudos to you, Mr. Tomsky. Kudos. There is also one part where he describes a particularly jerk-face famous guy, but he doesn't name names. I think I figured out who it was, and if it's who I think it is, my heart is broken. Maybe when we're BFFs, Jacob (May I call you Jacob?) will tell me who it is.

This is a five-star book, for sure. If you love to laugh, you should read it. If you don't love to laugh, you should probably see a professional, because that's just sad. Oh, and the next time you stay at a hotel? Leave a great big tip for everyone.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it , and find more of JamiePomerhn's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • PDamian

    I read this, and I thought it was funny, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I travel to a handful of large cities for business on a regular basis, and I always stay at the same hotels (government rate, plus I like the chain). I'm pretty easygoing, so it's easy to please me. I don't yell at the front desk staff, I don't ask for freebies or extra luxuries, and I have a wheelie bag, so I don't need a bellhop. Hotel front doors are automatic these days, and I don't drive, so I don't need a valet. There's very little reason for me to tip anyone. But this book left me feeling like I'm a giant mark every time I cross a hotel lobby, and wondering if the housekeepers were going through my bags. Lately, I've been hearing that I'm supposed to tip the housekeepers, too -- something I've never done, and wasn't aware should be done. Travel is expensive as it is; to how many people must I offer my wallet as a willing sacrifice, lest I be mistreated?

  • ,

    You never tip housekeepers? Seriously? Do you not tip bartenders and waitstaff either? I bet you do tip them, and those people are merely setting food and drink in front of you, not changing your semen-stained sheets and towels and cleaning the bathroom you puked all over, while also making minimum wage. Hell, we mostly clean up our hotel room before the service even gets there (I have to stop Mrs. , from making the bed), and still leave a couple-three dollars on the table. I mean, I can only imagine some of the horrors those people encounter when they open a door.

    And BTW, I do not now nor have I ever worked in the hotel industry. I just know a cheap bastard when one outs himself.

  • PDamian

    Well, being a single woman, my sheets aren't semen-stained unless the housekeeper neglected to change the sheets between customers, and I'm not tipping for that. I've never puked in a bathroom either, unless it was my own and I was home sick. My, but you must live an exciting life. ;-)

    Seriously, until recently I'd never heard of tipping the housekeepers. I've always tipped bartenders and waitstaff, cabbies, baristas, pizza/food delivery, and many other kinds of service personnel. After reading your post, I went online to see if I could find a list of persons to tip, and of the lists I've found so far, only half mention tipping hotel room cleaners. Lifehacker (http://lifehacker.com/5970143/... notes that hotel cleaning isn't a tip-based service, and that only about 30% of hotel guests tip the cleaning staff. I'll tip them henceforth, but really, it still feels as though everyone has their hand out.

  • mswas

    I only knew about tipping housekeeping from the Seinfeld episode where they go to California.

  • ViciousTrollop

    I think I saw this guy on 20/20 a couple of weeks ago. He basically said that if you don't tip the staff of a hotel they are going to go out of their way to make your stay miserable.
    The whole segment made hotel staff seem like a bunch of psychopaths.

  • Jadashay

    We are all psychopaths, but I assure you it was years of work for low wages and getting screamed at by people who don't understand why they can't use a "friends credit card" to check into a hotel room. The horror stories we hotel workers have are endlessly fascinating, disgusting and hilarious.

  • ViciousTrollop

    Haha. I had a job working for the city bus service a few years back. I was teetering on the edge of psychopathy after that. Customer service work is terrible.

  • kirbyjay

    The author basically said you could deliver a horse's head to your nemesis bed for a tip, and for a bigger tip, the horse's ass.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I never think to tip at hotels. Is that a thing I should be doing?

  • ,

    See above. Goes for you too. If you ever see a hotel maid end her shift and drive home in a Mercedes, then I'll admit you're justified in stiffing them.

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