Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Samuel L. Jackson Reads G*T*F*T*S

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The news about this season’s most popular gift book, Go The F@@k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (Akashic Books, published yesterday) just keeps coming. Audible is offering a downloadable audio version with Samuel L. Jackson reading (free download now available here). Brilliance will be releasing a physical audio version in mid-July (both Audible and Brilliance are owned by Amazon). Jackson is scheduled to read from the book on the Letterman Show on Thursday. You can see a clip of him reading the book for the audio here.

There have been stories about another audio version featuring Werner Herzog. It appears that recording was made for the book launch at NYPL last night (a take-off on the many Herzog impersonators who have read actual childrens’ books on YouTube, to hilariously chilling effect, such as this reading of Where’s Waldo?). It’s not clear, however, whether the Herzog version will be released as an audiobook.

The NYPL/Akashic press release describes the book as,

…a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world; profane, affectionate, and radically honest. California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach’s verses perfectly capture the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting our little angels to bed for the night. He begins a conversation about parenting in the process, granting us permission to admit our frustration, and laugh at its absurdity. Bright and whimsical hand-painted illustrations by Ricardo Cortés evoke the traditional bedtime story in clever contrast to Mansbach’s hilarious verses. Go the F**k to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny—a book for parents new, old, and expectant.

Target has said they will only carry the book only if it is shrink-wrapped (it is not currently available on their Web site), while Wal-Mart has refused to carry it at all. In New Zealand, a Christian group, Family First, has called on booksellers not to stock the book. The head of the New Zealand Booksellers Assoc. responded to the local press that Family First “needed a sense of humour.”

The book is also be available in eBook format from Open Road (available on OverDrive).

GO THE F@@K Author on TODAY Show

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Adam Mansbach, author of the phenomenally successful faux-bedtime book, Go The F@@k To Sleep made his first TV appearance on The Today Show on Friday.

As the author has said earlier, a G-rated version is in the works, planned for release around Christmas.

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Buying Dilemma; GO THE F@@K TO SLEEP

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

The little book that began as a Tweet continues to build steam. Go The F@@K to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, (Akashic), a faux-bedtime story that gives vent to parents’ frustrations in trying to get their little ones to shut their eyes, gets a second NY Times story today, a week in advance of its release date (the original October pub date was moved up, both because of the media attention, but also because it gets it on shelves in advance of Fathers Day. The publisher has seen this as a gift items for adults from the beginning).

While many are excited to sell it, the NYT notes,

Still, Akashic [the publisher] has encountered resistance from some retailers. While the book has a clearly identified reader demographic — parents of young children — some of the stores whose shoppers fit that profile have refused to carry it. Wal-Mart, for instance, has declined to sell the book.

What about libraries? A check of catalogs at several large library systems shows half have ordered it. Curiously, there are not as many holds as one might expect.

If you’re still on the fence, EarlyWord Kids correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, offers this review.

Despite its completely inappropriate language and the fact that it is being tracked as a children’s book on the Amazon lists, this satire on every sickly sweet “good night” picture book is spot on for sleep deprived “billyburg” hipster parents [Ed Note: “billyburg” refers to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn].

The rhyming text captures the frustrations of the grown-up dealing with the umpteenth request for a glass of water, the billionth story as the manipulative toddler who refuses to “go the f*** to sleep.”

It reads aloud well with a sickly sweet voice supported by over-the-top cute painting of sweeping landscapes and pudgy wide awake, wide eyed babies plopped in the middle.

Is it for the children’s collection? No.

Will it be the highlight of an adult only  new parents gathering?  Yup.

Go the F@@K to Sleep is also coming out on June 14 as an eBook from Open Road Media, which DOES make its books available to libraries via OverDrive. An enhanced ebook version will be published later. Brilliance is also releasing an audio version on Aug. 3.

Nora Ephron’s Google Moment

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Nora Ephron‘s latest collection of humorous essays, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections is a People Pick in the new issue, and New York magazine has a Q&A with her. Entertainment Weekly rains on the parade a bit, with a B- review (worth reading as an example of saying a great deal in just a few lines) as does Jane Maslin in today’s NYT, at much greater length.

Ephron’s also said to be launching a divorce section on the Huffington Post this week.

We hope she can remember her schedule next week, it’s a crowded one:

NPR/Morning Edition– 11/8
Charlie Rose – 11/9
Today Show – 11/9
The View – 11/10

All that, coming off the heels of her 2006 bestselling collection I Feel Bad About My Neck, is adding up to a 500,000 print run for her latest.

Booklist says: “A master of the jujitsu essay, Ephron leaves us breathless with rueful laughter. As the title suggests, she writes about the weird vagaries of memory as we age, although she is happy to report that the Senior Moment has become the Google Moment. Not that any gadget rescued her when she failed to recognize her own sister.”

I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections
Nora Ephron
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-11-09)
ISBN : 9780307595607

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

Decision Points by George W. Bush (Crown) gives personal insight into the major events of Bush’s presidency. Though it’s embargoed, there have been lots of leaks, as we’ve already mentioned.

Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory by Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen and Albert S. Hanser (Thomas Dunne) is historical fiction about the Continental Army during the winter of 1777, following up on the authors’ success with Try Men’s Souls (2009). Booklist says, “The dialogue tends to get a little long-winded, and the authors are unabashed cheerleaders for GW, but, really, who can blame them? American readers can’t get enough of Valley Forge, so expect high demand for this fair-to-middling fictional adaptation.”

Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers Adriana Trigiani  (Harper)  was featured at the BEA – AAP  Librarian Lunch. PW says, “Trigiani combines family and American history, reflections on lives well-lived, and sound advice to excellent effect, as a legacy to her daughter and a remembrance of two inimitable women.”

Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices by Noah Feldman (Twelve) analyzes the composition and decisions of the Supreme Court during the 1940s and 50s. Kirkus calls it “an immensely readable history that goes behind the façade of our most august institution to reveal the flesh-and-blood characters who make our laws.”

Portrait of a Marriage

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Antonia Fraser’s memoir of her 30-year marriage to Nobel Laureate and playwright Harold Pinter, Must You Go?, coming next week, is beginning to draw attention on this side of the pond.

Best known as the biographer of Marie Antoinette and The Wives of Henry VIII, Fraser began her relationship with Pinter when he asked her book’s eponymous question while they were both married to other people.

The New York Times says

Must You Go? is not a proper biography of Pinter, nor a remotely full account of Ms. Fraser’s own life. Instead it’s a book of glowing fragments, moments culled from Ms. Fraser’s diaries. The prose is not overly winsome. “My Diary: it’s not about great writing,” she admits. “It’s my friend, my record, and sometimes my consolation.” But there’s hardly a dull page.

But Entertainment Weekly is more impressed, giving it an “A”:

Fraser’s bold, intimate, madly entertaining memoir of the years with her late husband Harold Pinter. . . . [is] a tender portrait of an exciting marriage, and a deliciously detailed account of living in the thick of creativity and fame.

Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter
Antonia Fraser
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese – (2010-11-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0385532504 / 9780385532501

More Notable Nonfiction

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris (Grand Central) is a farcical guide to crafting hobbies. Booklist says: “The true joy of this book lies in its hilarious and amazingly well-styled photo spreads, many featuring Sedaris in one of her uncanny disguises, including a teenager, an elderly shut-in, and Jesus. She devotes equal time to instruction on making homemade sausage, gift-giving, crafting safety, and lovemaking (aka “fornicrafting”).”

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester (Harper) chronicles the geological and sociopolitical history of the Atlantic Ocean. PW is less than impressed: “Although he does not neglect the chief tragedies of the Atlantic, like the slave trade and the maritime battles, Winchester occasionally flits beelike from scene to scene, and the facts become lost in a blur.”  But the Economist finds it more satisfying balanced.

Me by Ricky Martin (Celebra) is the memoir of a pop music superstar.

Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan (Doubleday) was previewed in USA Today this week, after very positive prepub reviews, including stars from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell’Abate and Chad Millman (Spiegel & Grau) recounts the early life and career of the Howard Stern Show producer.

Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro (Free Press) is a memoir by the star of the TLC show. PW says “despite great technical descriptions, including his bakery’s cannoli recipe and photos of his spectacular cakes, Buddy’s tale of immigrant success proves too familiar.” Thousands of show fans may beg to differ.

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese) is an examination of the books and book people that have had an effect on the novelist’s life.  The new issue of Entertainment Weekly gives it a just a B-; “Like a coal worker dutifully marching back down the mine shaft, Pat Conroy returns to the seemingly non-depletable source of most of his output: his own life…It’s hardly new terrain, but some of the chapters are still sweetly moving.”

Before Animal House

Monday, October 11th, 2010

How can you not want a book that caused its Wall Street Journal reviewer to,

…laugh so hard I had to leave the room. My daughter was trying to study, and I could see she was getting alarmed. … You hear people say things like “I laughed so hard I cried” and “I nearly fell out of my chair,” but I had gone well beyond the crying stage by the time my metabolism began to return to equilibrium. And then I realized that I hadn’t laughed so hard in 35 years, since I was a teenager, reading National Lampoon.

The book, about the National Lampoon, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, rose to #75 on Amazon sales rankings after the review appeared. It was also featured two weeks ago on NPRs All Things Considered. It was not reviewed prepub and was ordered by less than half the libraries we checked.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great
Rick Meyerowitz
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Abrams – (2010-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0810988488 / 9780810988484

Johnson and Chernow on the Rise

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Buzz is building for Where Good Ideas Come From by science writer Steven Johnson. The New York Times ran an early review in the Business section, praising Johnson’s storytelling ability in this exploration of innovative environments like the city and the Internet, and how a “series of shared properties and patterns… recur again and again in unusually fertile environments.”

At libraries we checked, current orders are in line with reserves, but this looks like one to watch, since Johnson was also a featured speaker at TED, the elite technology, entertainment and design conference, this summer. And his cool video trailer for the book appears to be going viral.

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
Steven Johnson
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1594487715 / 9781594487712


Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow gets a respectful review from critic Janet Maslin in the New York Times, who finds that this biography is justified by new material unearthed from Washington’s papers at the University of Virginia.

At 900-odd densely packed pages, Washington can be arid at times. But it’s also deeply rewarding as a whole…. [and] offers a fresh sense of what a groundbreaking role Washington played, not only in physically embodying his new nation’s leadership but also in interpreting how its newly articulated constitutional principles would be applied.

Entertainment Weekly gives the book an “A-,” adding that Chernow

…makes excellent use of Washington’s own voice — the man’s angry letters are like thunderbolts — and turns constitutional debates and bureaucratic infighting into riveting reading.

Washington: A Life
Ron Chernow
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 928 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202664 / 9781594202667

Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week

A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson (Random House) is “a wonderfully meandering journey through history, sociology, science, and more. The thread that connects it all is Bryson’s. . . home, a charming former church rectory in a small English village,” according to bookseller Christopher Rose in the October Indie Next Pick citation. NPR’s Morning Edition will feature the book on October 5, followed by  the New York Times Book Review on October 10. It is also the Amazon Spotlight Selection for the month of Oct.

Is It Just Me or Is It Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg (Hyperion) finds the actress and co-host of ABC’s The View sharing stories from her own life, when she’s been forced to deal with tough situations in family, marriage, friendship, and business.

Cesar’s Rules by Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier (Crown) is the bestselling dog trainer’s primer on establishing the rules of the house.

The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (Harper) considers the far-reaching consequences of the co-evolution of dogs and humans, drawing from recent scientific research.

You: Raising Your Child by Michael F. Roizen & Mehmet C. Oz (Free Press) explores the biology and psychology of raising a child from birth to school age.

Trickle Up Poverty by Michael Savage (Morrow) is the author and conservative talk show host’s attack on President Obama’s agenda and his political tactics.

I’m Not High: (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories about Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior) by Jim Breuer (Gotham/Penguin) is a memoir by the comedian and Sirius radio show host best known as “Goat Boy” on Saturday Night Live. He was also featured on the ALTAFF Humor Panel at ALA Annual.

The Real Nut

Monday, September 27th, 2010

After years of exhaustive investigative reporting, Matt Lauer revealed the true identity of the letter-writing “nut” behind the best-selling books on the Today Show on Friday; it turns out that it is by comedy writer, who worked for the Seinfeld show, Barry Marder.

Seinfeld and Marder followed up with and appearance on Larry King Live.

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The fourth title in the series came out earlier this month.

All New Letters from a Nut: Includes Lunatic Email Exchanges
Ted L. Nancy
Retail Price: $19.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307716287 / 9780307716286

More Than Woodward in Nonfiction Next Week

Friday, September 24th, 2010

We hardly need to tell you that Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward is the big nonfiction title arriving next week. The embargo has already been broken by the NYT, Politico has already explored how that happened (How Times stole Post‘s Thunder), and the book is #2 on Amazon.

Several memoirs are coming next week that may create their own buzz.

Jenny McCarthy turns from being an autism activist to the crassly funny persona of the best-selling Belly Laughs (Da Capo, 2004), Baby Laughs (Dutton, 2008) and Life Laughs (Dutton, 2006) in her new book, Love, Lust and Faking It. She is scheduled to appear on Oprah on Tuesday.

Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies, and True Romance
Jenny Mccarthy
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062012983 / 9780062012982

Marlo Thomas has some laughter of her own to recount in Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny, excerpted in the current issue of People. Booklist calls it “an engaging, highly informative memoir…definitely not the routine show-biz autobiography.”

Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny
Marlo Thomas
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 140132391X / 9781401323912

Dogs are an ever-popular publishing theme. This week Steven Kotler’s A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life (Bloomsbury) arrives. Kotler treats dogs with special needs at his Rancho de Chihuahua in New Mexico.

We couldn’t help but notice a striking similarity between the cover for A Small Furry Prayer and a certain other successful book about an entirely different breed of dog.


A Small Furry Prayer is also on audio from Tantor.

It’s worth watching the book trailer just to see all those chihuahuas hanging out together (click on the image below).


Friday, September 17th, 2010

Barack Obama has often propelled books onto best seller lists. Can Michelle Obama do the same?  The ABC News blog reports that she’s reading The Grace of Silence: On Matters of Race and the Consequence of Silence, a memoir by NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Michele Norris, which goes on sale next week.  Libraries we checked have modest holds on modest orders.

In the book, Norris explores her family’s silence about her father’s shooting by a white policeman in Alabama in 1946, following his return from service in WWII, and rejects the reassuring myth that we live in a “post-racial” America.

Booklist gave it a starred review, calling Norris “a remarkably warm, witty, and spellbinding storyteller, enriching her illuminating family chronicle with profound understanding of the protective grace of silence and the powers unchained when, at last, all that has been unsaid is finally spoken.” PW found the book “eloquent and affecting,” and Kirkus found it “outstanding.”

The Grace of Silence: A Memoir
Michele Norris
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0307378764 / 9780307378767

Other Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central) satirizes the history and achievements of humanity. Stewart rocked the house at the Book & Author Breakfast at BEA, and his book has been mentioned in many fall previews. His promotional appearances include Bill O’Reilly’s Fox news channel show on Wednesday. You may remember that sparks flew when Stewart appeared on that show for his prevous book.

White House Diary by Jimmy Carter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) contains sections of the actual diary Carter kept while in office. He will appear on 60 Minutes this coming Sunday, contending that Americans could have had comprehensive health care coverage decades ago if Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hadn’t blocked a plan Carter had proposed during his presidency. The embargoed book was also briefly available on Google Books yesterday morning, before the publisher requested it be taken down, according to the Politico blog.

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt (Penguin Press) is the French Colombian political leader’s account of her harrowing abduction by the opposition during her presidential campaign. As we reported earlier, the Daily Beast says to “forget Blair or Bush, [Even Silence Has an End] is the memoir of the season.”

Got Your Number

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Looking for the next David Sedaris or Nora Ephron? On NPR’s Web site, Heather McAlpin says that Sloane Crosley, whose second book of essays, How Did You Get This Number came out last month, is on her way to joining those authors who write “Humorous personal essays, spiked with sparkling observations and mordant opinions served up in carefully calibrated cocktails of self-absorption and self-deprecation…”

Last month USA Today made their own comparisons,”her prose lands somewhere between the stand-up comedy of Kathy Griffin and Bridget Jones’s Diary.” The article also mentions that Sloane’s first collection, I Was Told There Would be Cake is being developed as an HBO series. The SF Chronicle notes that the pilot has just been completed.

Libraries are showing heavy holds.

How Did You Get This Number
Sloane Crosley
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2010-06-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1594487596 / 9781594487590

OverDrive eBook and audio

There’s Money in Them Cheezburgers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Like us, you may be obsessed with the crazy cat humor of the I Can Has Cheezburger? site. Today, the NYT looks in to the site’s phenomenal success.

That success includes a line of books, beginning with the indisputable classic,

I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun
Professor Happycat,
Retail Price: $10.00
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Gotham – (2008-10-07)
ISBN / EAN: 159240409X / 9781592404094

Silverman’s Media Shower

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The media is lining up to interview comic Sarah Silverman about her first book of essays, Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee. Often compared to Lenny Bruce, the 39 year-old trash-talking comic who performs in pigtails and football shirts will appear on ABC’s Nightline on April 19, CBS’s The Early Show on April 20, and on NPR’s Fresh Air (date to be determined), among many other TV and print outlets.

Some libraries may be a step behind the demand – several we checked had only one copy of the book, with demand likely to grow.

PW gave it a starred review:

“Best known for sexually explicit jokes, Silverman is able to address more serious subjects in the book without losing her edge, particularly her teenage struggle with depression and that her often abrasive public persona allowed her to “say what I didn’t mean, even preach the opposite of what I believed…. It was a funny way of being sincere.”

According to New York magazine, the book has “a tenderness that is disarming… But while it can be revealing, it is curiously unreflective, much like Silverman’s stand-up.”

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
Sarah Silverman
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061856436 / 9780061856433

Rebel Comedy

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Featured on NPR’s Fresh Air last night, a book about the Smother’s Brothers that is not owned by most of the libraries we checked, despite strong pre-pub reviews.

The book rose from #4,970 on Amazon to #134.

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”
David Bianculli
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Touchstone – (2009-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1439101167 / 9781439101162

David Sedaris Audio Drop-in

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

A new Sedaris audio-only title will be released Nov. 24, called Live for Your Listening Pleasure. It consists of highlights from his latest tour; events in Denver, NYC, Durham, L.A. and Atlanta. Similar to his 2002 Live At Carnegie Hall audio, this is a standalone and will not be published as a book.

A clip is available at Entertainment Weekly ‘s “Shelf Life” blog and another is on the publisher’s web site.

We can do them one better; Hachette Audio is making a limited number of copies available for readers of EarlyWord. To enter, just send an email to EarlyWord, with “Sedaris Live” in the subject line, by 11:59 p.m, this Friday, Nov. 13. Don’t forget to include your shipping address (no P.O. box numbers). EarlyWord will select winners at random. This is only open to librarians residing in the 50 states.

Libraries we checked do not have the audio on order and WorldCat shows it listed on just one library catalog.

By the way, at least one wholesaler annotation incorrectly describes this as the 2002 Carnegie Hall recording. It is all new material.

David Sedaris: Live For Your Listening Pleasure
David Sedaris
Retail Price: $17.98
Audio CD:
Publisher: Hachette Audio – (2009-11-24)

Also downloadable from OverDrive


And, how retro and how David Sedaris, it will also be available in vinyl (this from the company that held a funeral for the cassette format over a year ago).

Love how different the vinyl and the CD covers are.

David Sedaris: Live For Your Listening Pleasure
David Sedaris
Retail Price: $24.98
Audio Cassette:
Publisher: Hachette Audio – (2010-01-05)
ISBN / EAN: 160788447X / 9781607884477