Humor

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

By Dave Eggers

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"The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together."

Also available on audio.

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You Wish

By Amanda Hubbard

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Sixteen year-old Kayla may have had the worst birthday ever, but she’s just about to see things get a little worse. It all starts with one wish . . . for her birthday wishes to finally start coming true. But, when her first childhood wish arrives – a real-life My Little Pony prancing in her front yard – she realizes that it could end with kissing her best friend’s boyfriend.

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A Hell of a Place to Lose a Cow: An American Hitchhiking Odyssey

By Tim Brookes

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In 1973, Tim Brooks flew to the U.S. and hitchhiked across the country. The young man loved that summer so much that he settled in the States permanently. Twenty-five years later he decides to re-trace his idyllic hitchhiking adventure. Of course, he's not so young anymore, and it is not 1973.

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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned

By Alan Alda

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"He's one of America's most recognizable and acclaimed actors--a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances. 'My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six,' begins Alda's irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.

"Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow. It is the story of turning points in Alda's life, events that would make him what he is--if only he could survive them. From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist's shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can't be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them."

His tales continue in Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.

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Action Figure! The Life and Times of Doonesbury's Uncle Duke

By G.B. Trudeau

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"...the definitive history of his adventures from 1970 to 1991.The perennial bad boy of American comics has always been a man of action: libelous action, irrational action, covert action, back-street action -- even when comatose, he has a certain flair. Duke is the man of a thousand vices, with almost as many pages to his resume. For 17 years, from Samoa to China to Panama to Kuwait, wherever serious mischief was being dealt, Duke has been a major figure. Action Figure! gives the Toasted One his due -- one vast, staggering flashback that tracks his careening career from Gonzo Journalist to Governor, Ambassador, Coach, Laetrile Farmer, Fugitive, and Zombie. No risk has been too great, no prospect too strange, to sway the man with nerves of steel from his random course."

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Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible 70's

By James Lileks

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"Warning! This book is not to be used in any way, shape, or form as a design manual. Rather, like the documentary about youth crime 'Scared Straight,' it is meant as a caution of sorts, a warning against any lingering nostalgia we may have for the 1970s, a breathtakingly ugly period when even the rats parted their hair down the middle. (Please note that the author and publisher are not responsible for the results of viewing these pictures.) James Lileks came of age in the 1970s, and for him there was no crueler thing you could inflict upon a person. The music: either sluggish metal, cracker-boogie, or wimpy ballads. Television: camp without the pleasure of knowing it's camp. Politics: the sweaty perfidy of Nixon, the damp uselessness of Ford, the sanctimonious impotence of Carter. The world: nasty. Hair: unspeakable. Architecture: metal-shingled mansard roofs on franchise chicken shops. No oil. No fun. Syphilis and Fonzie.

"Interior Desecrations is the author's revenge on the decade. Using an ungodly collection of the worst of 1970s interior design magazines, books, and pamphlets, he proves without a shadow of a doubt that the '70s were a hideously grim period. This is what happens when Dad drinks, Mom floats in a Valium haze, the kids slump down in the den with a bong, and the decorator is left to run amok. It seemed so normal at the time. But this book should cure whatever lingering nostalgia we have. So adjust your sense of style, color, and taste. beware! You've been warned."

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Call of the Mall

By Paco Underhill

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The author of this bright and funny portrait of the mall has been called the Margaret Mead of shopping, and has done extensive research on the topic. Any doubts about how much we really want to know about how stores entice us to buy will be swept away by the engaging manner in which the information is presented.

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Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There

By David Brooks

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A brilliant description of upscale culture in America. Laugh (and cry) as you read about the information age economy's new dominant class. Marvel at their attitudes toward morality, sex, work, and lifestyle, and at how the members of this new elite have combined the values of the countercultural sixties with those of the achieving eighties. These are the people who set the tone for society today, for you. They are bourgeois bohemians: Bobos. Are you a Bobo?

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Doc Martin

Doc Martin

If you are a fan of House, MD and are tired of the summer’s reruns, give Doc Martin a try. This BBC series has a British version of a neurotic and tortured physician. He’s rude, socially awkward, and funny-looking – yet still lovable.

The series takes place in Portwenn in Cornwall, England, and has beautiful scenery of the Cornish coast and village and lots of local color.  In the first episode, Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) leaves his London practice because of a phobia of blood and becomes the general practitioner for the village where he had stayed as a boy with his Aunt Joan.
 

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

By Firoozeh Dumas

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"In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi). Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent."

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