Wednesday, September 19, 2012

nothings sacred

Has anyone noticed a bug on Blogger with apostrophes? Its seems to be fine in the body of the text, but not so good in titles; titles of entries, titles of comments, even abbreviated text that shows up in widgets like recent comments. So that's why the title of this post doesn't have an apostrophe in it. and its not capitalized either, but that's a style choice, baby The title of the book is actually Nothing's Sacred, by Lewis Black.

I'm sure you've seen Black, going off on some politician on stage at a comedy club, or in one of his TV specials or appearances. He's the guy with glasses, graying brown hair who looks like he's about to have a stroke if he doesn't calm down. Lewis Black gets excited; with the pointing, and the grimacing, and the teeth gritting. This angst comes through in his writing as well; a review quote on the back cover summed it up: Jon Stewart said Black could even yell in his writing. Its true, you can almost hear him spitting with disdain and incredulity as you read.

What was surprising about the book was the autobiographical structure. I was expecting a book of Black's humor--which I got--but learning about how he grew up, and what made him the man he is was interesting as well as funny.

I read the paperback version which I understand is slightly different from the hardcover in that it contains 'bonus material.' In the new introduction to the introduction, Black seems to be at a loss for what else to write about, and says as much, giving me the impression that the whole book was a bit of a mystery to him. I have this impression that someone (a publicist, an agent, whomever) suggested that he write a book and Black said, Sure! and then didn't know where to start. I guess what I'm saying is: Maybe the memoir theme was a surprise to Black as well.

As anecdotal humor is Lewis Black's forte, his use of an anecdotal chapter is the structure that supports his book. Each chapter is just a few pages long, in which Black relates an anecdote or an observation about the world, especially this country, our politicians, his school masters, his family or the people he grew up with. I laughed both with and at Lewis Black from the time he was old enough to masturbate, until now. in fact, I get the impression he hasn't given up on the self-love

Black may have cobbled this together, like the script to an extra-long HBO special, but it reads funny from beginning to end. I bet the audiobook is even funnier. Black has written three books; you can check them out on his site.

Thanks to Steve for the book loan!

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