Canadian series Slings & Arrows is must-viewing for anyone with a weakness for theater. Each season showcases the staging of a Shakespeare play that finds its themes oddly paralleled in the current cast’s shenanigans. An entertaining blend of broad comedy and poignant life lessons played by a masterful cast.
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If you think of Shakespeare as stuffy and staid, get ready to experience the drama in a whole new way. Christopher Moore, known for his irreverent humor and wacky plots, takes on the weighty King Lear in Fool. This time the king’s jester, Pocket, is the lead, and he tells a story full of bawdy adventure, murderous mayhem, and outright vulgarity that exposes the royal family as anything but regal. Traditionally, the fool’s role was both to entertain and to expose the truth. This clown goes much further, engineering a complicated scheme to start a war, save a girl, punish the stupid, and do it all with more raunchiness than Shakespeare himself might have imagined. Oh, and there’s a ghost. There’s always a ghost.
Penny Marshall, star of Laverne and Shirley, has lived by a few simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have FUN.” My Mother Was Nuts, Marshall’s intimate memoir, talks with humor and heart about how she stumbled into acting and directing.
In a Vanity Fair essay, “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, Christopher Hitchens states that, though there are some exceptions, most women aren’t funny and, as a whole, the female sex is less humorous than the male. In her book, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, Yael Kohen fights Hitchens’ stance, stating, “Women have always been funny. It’s just that every success is called an exception and every failure an example of that rule.” We Killed is an oral history interviewing comedians, writers, producers, and club owners about women in comedy, and what they have to overcome to succeed.
Looking for an audiobook with laugh-out-loud humor, steamy romance, quirky suspense, and memorable supporting characters? If so, take a chance on Darynda Jones’ First Grave on the Right. Since she was a little girl, Charley Davidson has been talking to dead people. Now there are three murdered lawyers who won’t cross over, and it’s her responsibility to help them. She also has a very sexy someone visiting her lifelike dreams each night. What’s a woman to do? Lorelei King, the award-winning voice of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, plays to her strengths in narrating with the right blend of sarcasm, vulnerability, and fun.
Not everyone has the chance to meet and marry her soul mate, but Natalie does. She and Francois are ridiculously happy together and full of plans for the future — plans that are cut cruelly short when an accident takes him away. Heartbroken and barely functional, Natalie isolates herself until one day when she impulsively kisses a stunned coworker. The odd but charming courtship that follows is the subject of La Delicatesse by David Foenkinos, a runaway bestseller in France and the adult fiction selection for this year’s Book Crossing program. At heart, it’s a playful, offbeat story about the journeys of two unlikely souls and how we are sometimes given what we need instead of what we expect.
JOIN US to chat about Delicacy on Monday, October 1, at 7 pm, and also hear about similar books and movies you may enjoy. A screening of the film adaptation starring Audrey Tautou will be shown Tuesday, October 2, at 1 pm. Registration is required for each event.
Dave Hill is a comedian, writer, and musician. You’ve probably never heard of him, but don’t worry, he’s funny. If you like David Sedaris but want less cynicism, more self deprecation, and spades of bravado, Dave Hill is for you.
Have a look at the socially awkward trailer for Hill’s debut memoir, Tasteful Nudes…and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation. It guest stars Dick Cavett and Malcolm Gladwell.
Cary Grant agreed to the film Houseboat because he was in love with Sophia Loren, and their attraction is obvious in this warm family comedy. Grant plays a widower, Tom, who doesn’t know what to do with his three precocious children. Enter Cinzia, a sheltered Italian socialite who desperately wants the chance to meet a real American. Pretending to be a maid, she agrees to care for the children and helps to mend fences between Tom and his estranged family. Loren is captivating as the woman who wins all of their hearts with playfulness, understanding, and an appreciation for dolce far niente, “the sweetness of doing nothing.”
Like lightning in a bottle, Etgar Keret’s stories are rare, mesmerizing, and combustible. He has a talent for turning reality and expectations inside out and then peppering them with oddball humor. Even when it came to producing his audiobook, Keret bucked tradition. He brainstormed a dream list of who should voice each story and personally wrote the authors and actors to ask. The stories so intrigued the likes of Stanley Tucci, Willem Dafoe, Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, Nicole Krauss, Jonathan Safran Foer, Aimee Bender, and Dave Eggers that they agreed! Enjoy a tumble down the rabbit hole and hear their performances on Suddenly, A Knock on the Door.
Just in time to highlight great listens for summer reading, the winners of the 2012 Audie Awards have been announced! Honoring the year’s best recordings in a rich mix of categories, these awards are a perfect source of listening suggestions while traveling on vacation, basking in the sun, or making everyday routines more exciting. Try one of the most recent winners below or sample past Audiobooks of the Year. Need more incentive? Don’t forget that listening to an audiobook counts as reading in our Summer Reading Program!
Audiobook of the Year: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Biography/Memoir: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Fantasy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Humor: Shatner Rules by William Shatner with Chris Regan
Literary Fiction: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Multi-Voiced Performance: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Mystery: Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
Narration by the Author: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Personal Development: Prime Time by Jane Fonda
Romance: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
Thriller/Suspense: The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner