1 Jun
2012

No Commitment

The­se are great books to read in between oth­er sum­mer activ­i­ties, like skin­ny-dip­ping, grillin’ up some ‘dogs, and tak­ing three naps in one day. You don’t even need a book­mark for most of the­se. Just pick them up, flip to what­ev­er page tick­les your fan­cy and give it a quick read. The­se books can also be great for recharg­ing your mind after some more seri­ous, brain-bend­ing reads. Or just leave them out for peo­ple to flip through while they are sip­ping mint juleps or going to the bath­room.

All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps by Dave Isay

Sto­ryCorps founder Dave Isay shares true sto­ries of love and mar­riage from the rev­o­lu­tion­ary oral his­to­ry project, reveal­ing the many and remark­able jour­neys that rela­tion­ships can take. In sto­ries that car­ry us from the excite­ment and antic­i­pa­tion of courtship to the deep con­nec­tion of life­long com­mit­ment, we dis­cov­er that love is found in the most unex­pect­ed of places—a New York toll­booth, a mil­i­tary base in Iraq, an air­port lounge—and learn that the course it takes is as unpre­dictable as life itself. As the sto­ry­tellers in this book start careers, build homes, and raise fam­i­lies, we wit­ness the life-affirm­ing joy of part­ner­ship, the com­fort of shared sor­rows, and pro­found grat­i­tude in the face of loss. The­se sto­ries are also tes­ta­ment to the heart’s remark­able endurance. In All There Is we encoun­ter love that sur­vives dis­crim­i­na­tion, ill­ness, pover­ty, distance—even death. In the courage of people’s pas­sion we are remind­ed of the strength and resilience of the human spir­it. This pow­er­ful col­lec­tion bares wit­ness to real love, in its many var­ied forms, enrich­ing our under­stand­ing of that most mag­i­cal feel­ing.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

The uncom­mon­ly sen­si­ble, reflex­ive­ly fun­ny Miz Fey puts on the lit­er­ary equiv­a­lent of a great night of sketch com­e­dy in a genial­ly jum­bled mem­oir-esque col­lec­tion of riffs, essays, laun­dry lists, true sto­ries, fan­ta­sy sce­nar­ios, SNL script excerpts, and embar­rass­ing pho­tos from the wilder­ness years before she received the gift of a flat­ter­ing hair­cut. Read close­ly to enjoy the work­ings of the lady’s first-rate hypocrisy detec­tor, mer­ri­ly call­ing bull­shit where call­ing bull­shit is war­rant­ed. Espe­cial­ly on her­self, the ­for­mer dork duck­ling from Upper Dar­by, PA., who ­became a com­e­dy swan queen.

Good Poems selected by Garrison Keillor

Peo­ple tune in to The Writer’s Almanac on pub­lic radio every day to hear Gar­rison Keil­lor read them a poem. And here, for the first time, is an anthol­o­gy of poems from the show, cho­sen by Keil­lor for their wit, their frank­ness, their pas­sion, their “utter clar­i­ty in the face of every­thing else a per­son has to deal with at 7 a.m.” Good Poems includes verse about lovers, chil­dren, fail­ure, every­day life, death, and tran­scen­dence. It fea­tures the work of clas­sic poets, such as Emi­ly Dick­in­son, Walt Whit­man, and Robert Frost, as well as the work of con­tem­po­rary greats such as Howard Nemerov, Charles Bukowski, Don­ald Hall, Bil­ly Collins, Robert Bly, and Sharon Olds. It’s a book of poems for any­body who loves poet­ry whether they know it or not.

Ant Farm by Simon Rich

Excerpt: A Con­ver­sa­tion at the Grownup Table, as Imag­ined at the Kids’ Table:
MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.
DAD: O.K.
GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the pol­i­tics? It made me angry.
DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.
UNCLE: I’m hav­ing sex right now.
DAD: We all are.
MOM: Let’s talk about which kid I like the best.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

It is a truth uni­ver­sal­ly rec­og­nized, but rarely pub­lished, that for an acute­ly cal­i­brat­ed, wit­ti­ly embroi­dered appre­ci­a­tion of life’s infinite lit­tle absur­di­ties you can’t beat the com­e­dy stylings of a fun­ny gay guy. Let whim­si­cal Jew­ish gals, divert­ing bisex­u­al fel­las, and sidesplit­ting Chi­ne­se chicks com­plain of stereo­typ­ing, the fact remains: A fun­ny gay guy sees the world with lim­it­ed-edi­tion con­tact lens­es that allow him to keep his vision on two realms of sex­u­al and cul­tur­al inter­est at once — the straight world where he gets his gaudy junk mail and the gay world where he reads his love let­ters. From the inani­ties of day jobs to the snob­beries of fan­cy restau­rants, from the con­found­ing antics of par­ents to the baf­fling self-expres­sion of their adult chil­dren, it’s his abil­i­ty to see both sides that allies David Sedaris with literature’s spriest and most hilar­i­ous gay voic­es — from Oscar Wilde to Paul Rud­nick. All of Sedaris’ book are hilar­i­ous, and laugh­ing out loud while read­ing them is VERY com­mon.

Mountain Man Dance Moves edited by McSweeny’s

This book had me laugh­ing so hard I actu­al­ly peed a lit­tle. Snot also came out of my nose.

Broetry by Brian McGackin

As con­tem­po­rary poets sing the glo­ries of birds, birch trees, and men­stru­a­tion, reg­u­lar guys are left scratch­ing their heads. Who can speak for Every­man? Who will artic­u­late his love for Xbox 360, for Mama Celeste’s frozen piz­za, for the cin­e­mat­ic oeu­vre of Bruce Willis?
Enter Broetry–a stun­ning debut from a daz­zling new lit­er­ary voice. “Broet Lau­re­ate” Bri­an McGack­in goes where no poet has gone before–to Star Wars con­ven­tions, to frat par­ties, to video game tour­na­ments, and beyond. With poems like “Ode to That Girl I Dat­ed for, Like, a Mon­th Sopho­more Year” and “My Friends Who Don’t Have Stu­dent Loans,” we fol­low the Bro from his high school grad­u­a­tion and col­lege expe­ri­ence through a “quar­ter-life cri­sis” and beyond.

Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg

Schnaken­berg pack­ages the lives and loves of 41 famous writ­ers into a super­mar­ket-tabloid par­o­dy. All rumors, idio­syn­crasies, feuds, etc., are fod­der for laughs or sar­cas­tic jeers; no event is so trag­ic as to be exempt. Agatha Christie had a dis­abil­i­ty called dys­graphia and had to dic­tate all of her writ­ing. Also, both of her hus­bands cheat­ed on her. Schnaken­berg com­pares F. Scott and Zel­da Fitzger­ald to P. Did­dy and Lind­say Lohan as King and Queen of the celebri­ty par­ty cir­cuit, “astound­ing guests with their out­ra­geous, drunk­en behav­ior.” Thanks to mod­ern head­li­nes and real­i­ty TV, noth­ing here is par­tic­u­lar­ly shock­ing, but the author does show that celebri­ty is celebri­ty no mat­ter when it occurs. All read­ers will find at least a few “you have to hear this” tid­bits.

10 Best of Everything by National Geographic

This deluxe, enter­tain­ing dream guide show­cas­es the expe­ri­ence and savoir-faire of such lumi­nar­ies as Prince Charles on archi­tec­ture, Arnold Palmer on favorite golf cours­es, Bob Ell­sasser, head of the esteemed Coun­try Walk­ers, on the best walks and hik­ing tours, and Baron Philip de Roth­schild on the best vin­tages. Scores of experts name the 10 best islands, posh­est pubs and polo clubs, best things to do on Sun­days in the world’s best cities, and a trea­sure tro­ve of musts for the high-end trav­el­er or any­one who aspires to be. But there are sim­ple plea­sures that fit even the hum­blest bud­get here, too, includ­ing top-rat­ed burg­ers, flea/antique mar­kets on sev­er­al con­ti­nents, and awe-inspir­ing cathe­drals.

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