- Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- Year: 2009
- Pages: 240
You may not realize it, but Ben Karlin has impressive comedy bona fides; he was, for a time, the executive producer of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report before leaving Comedy Central in 2006. He was also a writing lead on the wildly successful America: The Book under the same auspices.
Thing’s I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me is a relatively short anthology, collected/solicited by Karlin, of mostly humorous pieces about romantic breakups. Or it would be, if its writers didn’t so often stray from the assignment, but that’s not such a bad thing.
My favorite new-year pastime, the Buffalo Beast‘s annual “Most Loathsome” list, is now up. It’s a little more brief (and tame) this year, but still a funny read.
- The Guinea Pig Diaries
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Year: 2009
- Pages: 256
I became a fan of A.J. Jacobs when I read his debut book, The Know-It-All. The idea of reading the entire encyclopedia was a bit preposterous, but overshadowed by the sheer joy of trivia; I never really thought of it as an experiment per se. Things changed a bit with The Year of Living Biblically, which was a genuine life experiment for Jacobs, and one that sometimes put him in awkward positions. If you read my reviews, you’ll find that I enjoyed both, but found the latter somewhat cloying at times; Jacobs has a tendency to profess life-altering revelations or profundities which, if they are true, make him naïve, and if they are false, making him disingenuous.
- Last Words: A Memoir
- Publisher: Free Press
- Year: 2009
- Pages: 320
Last Words took about 17 years to write. As the story goes, Carlin commissioned it in 1993 with Tony Hendra, but it wasn’t until Carlin died in 2008 that Hendra finally pulled together all of his recorded conversations, notes, and other materials and cranked out the more or less definitive semiautobiography of George Carlin, and Last Words is that book.
I need hardly explain who George Carlin is or why he is important—if you don’t know, this review will be meaningless to you—but for those of us well-acquainted with his unique and sometimes unpredictable views, Last Words is really quite illuminating, and I was surprised by not only the general quality of its craft, but the depth of its information, as well.
- Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
- Publisher: Plume
- Year: 2004
- Pages: 448
It occurred to me recent that I’ve read and reviewed Al Franken’s 2005 The Truth (With Jokes) three times since the start of this meme (1, 2, 3), but never its predecessor, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, which is arguably an even better book.
Conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly hates Media Matters, a website/organization which mostly just documents lies and distortions of conservatives. It’s important to note that there are really no polemics or extended rants of the Ann Coulter variety—the site is, by and large, either transcripts or video clips of the TV appearance/radio show/etc. in question, usually followed by evidence to the contrary. Given O’Reilly’s penchant for dissembling on-air, it is little wonder that he hates them so much.