Tag Archives: comedy

Amy Schumer the Next Comedienne To Pen Memoir

In the growing list of female comedians who already have or plan to pen memoirs or books of essays — Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick — we now have another to add to the list: Amy Schumer.

Who’s surprised? Not me! She’s had a fantastic year, and now Entertainment Weekly is reporting her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, sold for between $8-10 million. Apparently her book was shopped to publishers all over Manhattan, but Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Book finally put in the highest bid.

No word on when the book is set to be published, but I think it’s safe to say it’s bound to be a bestseller!

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Review: Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution

Recap: Lola Montez is on the run, and where to next? It’s the mid-1800s, and Montez is not one to settle. So when she is dared to seduce a king, she moves to Bavaria to try her hand at seducing King Ludwig I. That’s where she becomes one of the most famous mistresses in European history. Does this sound familiar? It might. That’s because it’s all based on the true story of the real Lola Montez, an actress, dancer, and mistress from the 19th century.

It’s her relationship with King Ludwig that results in backlash from the public. But Lola and her crazy self is too oblivious to notice the continental shakeup she’s had a part in starting. As she hooks the king, she continues to have sexual relationships with other men. Meanwhile, her daughter is cared for by her own mother — the fact that she’s the mother is kept secret from the both the little girl and anyone else Lola knows. Right decision or not, it’s enough to give Lola a reason to keep going.

Analysis: It’s hard for me to put into words what I didn’t like about this book. All I can say is there was a lot. It was twisty, and with no knowledge of the real Lola Montez, I didn’t know where the story was going. Her character comes off not so much cosmopolitan as she is casually slutty. The book is obviously meant to be comedic; we’re meant to laugh at her obliviousness and her ability to command attention and power without necessarily meaning to. But instead, I found it annoying. She came off as silly and dumb to me, making it difficult for me to connect with her and her story. The most interesting part was the relationship she had with her daughter — the daughter who doesn’t know Lola is actually her mom. But the reader only gets small glimpses into that relationship.

The book is also hard to read as a stand alone. It’s the third book in a series about Lola Montez, the Whip Smart series, and though it was teased as a novel I’d be able to read without having read the previous novels, it didn’t feel that way. It referenced things that happened in the earlier books fairly often. Eventually I was able to figure it out, but it made it hard for me to sympathize with Lola and what she had already been through.

MVP: Lola Montez. Despite how many issues I had with the book, she was nothing if not a spicy character with lots of personality! I couldn’t help but laugh at her casual looseness and aloofness.

Get Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution in paperback for $14.60.

Or get it on your Kindle for $5.39.

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Review: The Stupidest Angel

Recap: Just in time for Christmas, an angel wants to grant a wish to a child. And that wish comes just in time, since a little boy from Pine Grove, California recently witnessed “Santa Claus” get killed in a cemetery. What better timing than now, so the boy can ask the angel to revive Santa from the dead? All of this happens while the townspeople in Pine Grove are getting ready for their annual Christmas party at the local church, near the cemetery.

Really, what could go wrong? Except everything goes wrong, when the boy’s wish is granted and not only does Santa come back from the dead — so do many other bodies buried in the cemetery. And to top it all off, they come back as brain-eating zombies.

Analysis: If you’re in the mood for a light, silly book, this is the book for you. With Christmas around the corner, it might be just the right time to read it. The book is funny, and it’s completely off its rocker. Some people might be into that. I am not. I had a rough time reading this book, and in fact, almost gave up finishing it entirely. But because it was for a book club, I kept on reading.

There were some funny jokes, but all of the characters were pretty warped, generally obsessed with sex, drugs or things that are just plain weird. The plot itself is psychotically silly and very focused on death in a comical, twisted way.

I’ve read that author Christopher Moore used several of his characters from his previous novels in this one, so maybe had I read some of his other books, I would have enjoyed this one more. If you already know you’re into Christopher Moore novels and his style, then I imagine The Stupidest Angel would be right up your alley. But it’s sarcastic, dark humor was too ridiculous for me to wrap my head around. I mean, read my recap again — and you be the judge.

Get The Stupidest Angel in hardcover for $13.59.

Or on your Kindle for $7.99.

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Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Recap: First, we’re given a report card. Then, a letter. Next, some emails. A little dialogue mixed in. And suddenly, we’re piecing together a puzzle full of characters coming at the reader from a wide variety of sources. This is the organized chaos in which author Maria Semple tells the story of architect-turned-stay at home mom Bernadette Fox, her Microsoft whiz genius husband Elgin Branch, and their bright, ahead-of-her-years daughter Bee.

The report card is Bee’s. The letter was sent home to Bee’s parents by her established private school. The emails are between Bernadette Fox and her virtual personal assistant who lives in India and earns less than one dollar per hour. Yes, there’s something not quite right here.

So begins the story of Bernadette Fox, a woman who appears to have a serious case of neurosis, social anxiety, and a general fear of life — a woman who, initially, seems a little wacky. But as we learn more about her and her architectural experience, her award-winning work, we come to understand that maybe she’s a little unstable. Or maybe the instability is first, then the wackiness. The point is, it doesn’t matter.

This is a seemingly dark, but actually comical story about a woman who plans to take her family on a trip to Antarctica, until her husband confronts her about the information she’s been giving to her virtual assistant (a person who is so close to stealing everything from her that the FBI gets involved). Suddenly she escapes and is nowhere to be found, while Elgin and Bee attempt to deal with a number of other problems. So the question is, where’d you go, Bernadette?

Analysis: Again, the point is, it doesn’t matter. Where Bernadette went is probably the least important part of the book. It’s the funny, distracted telling of the story and the background of each character that hold far more significance. The scatterbrained format of the novel — a mixture of emails, letters, notes — helps move the book along in a fun way, and mirrors the scatterbrained mind that belongs to Bernadette.

The last few sections of the novel become a more straightforward narrative, told by Bee. She fills in the blanks for the reader and  gives us a glimpse into how she feels about everything that’s happened to her and her family. Ultimately, the book is more about the relationship between a mother and her daughter, between a mother and her family, than it is about anything else. That, and maybe the laughter to be had along the journey. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a mystery story that I never wanted to solve — because unraveling it all was just so much fun.

MVP: Bernadette. Though seemingly unstable, she is easily the strongest and most resourceful character in the book. Her oddities only make her fun to read and laugh about — and that’s never a bad thing.

Get Where’d You Go, Bernadette in paperback for $9.14.

Or get it on your Kindle for $8.59.

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Three Memoirs Coming from Three Big Stars in 2014

It seems like every year, more and more celebrities pen memoirs. Some of them we care about. A lot of them we don’t. But 2014 seems like it might be a good year for celebrity books! Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, comedian Martin Short, and Glee actress Lea Michele are all working on books to be released next year.

According to The New York Times, Robin Roberts’ book will be a memoir detailing her struggles with cancer and recent bout with a rare blood disorder. Of course, it will also include the life lessons she’s learned along the way, much of which is owed to her successful career in the TV industry. Published by Grand Central Publishing, the as-yet untitled book has an April 2014 release date.

According to The New York Times, Martin Short is also penning a memoir due to be released next Fall. His book will include details about his career in show business (including Saturday Night Live and The Three Amigos) as well as his 30-year marriage, which ended in 2010 when his wife passed away. Harper is publishing the  funnyman’s book, which is not yet titled.

And last but not least, Glee actress and Broadway starlet Lea Michele is penning a book, Brunette Ambition, due out next Spring. According to Entertainment Weekly, her book, published by Harmony Books, is not all memoir. It will be “part memoir, part how-to, and part style-guide.” It will tell the story of her rise to fame and include fitness tips, exclusive photos, and “career insights.”

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Amy Poehler to Pen Memoir

Celebrities seem to constantly be publishing memoirs these days, don’t they? But few of them have us as excited as this one: a memoir by SNL and Parks and Recreation star and comedienne Amy Poehler.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Poehler has a deal with It Books to release her first book sometime in 2014. It Books is an imprint of HarperCollins. Not much is known about what the book will include, but I’m sure if it’s anything like Tina Fey’s Bossypants, it will sell like crazy.

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Review: How To Rule The World

Recap: When Wendy Sloane returns home from college to her small Pennsylvania town, she anticipates a quiet summer, catching up with her mother and grandpa and working at the small independent bookstore her family owns. It certainly starts out that way. But Wendy has a secret, one that no one, not even her mother knows. She wants to be a writer. This particular summer is the summer when Wendy starts to face her fears and works to accomplish her goals. She tells her mother about her plans to be a writer, while she works on her first book.

But she also uses the summer to play one big trick on her small town. Taking after her grandpa, the town trickster himself, Wendy paints a horrific display on the outside of her family’s bookstore. She’s on a mission to prove how easily people’s opinions can be swayed and how important it is to think for yourself. Her scheme sends the townspeople in a dither, all thanks to the power of persuasion — something that Wendy realizes is strong enough to rule the world.

Analysis: Jade Heasley writes this coming-of-age story with wit and charm. A light and easy read, I came to enjoy Wendy’s spunky, motivated attitude. She’s a tough girl, and it’s that spirit that helps her pull off the big stunt without turning people against her.

How to Rule the World is a fun book that kept me interested and didn’t force me to think too much. It did have a few flaws however. Parts of the book seemed preachy; as much as I liked Wendy, she was also a bit of a goody-goody, turning down dates with the town “bad boy,” instead of exploring her crush, as I imagine most 19-year-old girls would. Not to mention, she speaks very philosophically for a teenager. I understood that she’s a writer, and with that, comes more analytical thinking than the average person, but it still seemed a bit unlikely for someone her age.

There were also portions of the book that seemed irrelevant or forced, particularly the sections about her father. Since Wendy lives with her mother and grandpa, the author does have to explain where her father is. We get a few glimpses into the bad relationship he had with Wendy’s mom, their divorce, and one angry phone dialogue between Wendy and her dad, but it felt forced, as though the reader is meant to hate the father very quickly without very much reason.

That being said, it’s still a story with a good message to enjoy growing up and never give up on your dreams.

MVP: Wendy. Wise for her age and determined, she’s the girl young girls want to be, young boys want to date, and mothers want to have as their own daughter.

Get How to Rule the World in paperback for $12.99.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $7.99.

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