Born Standing Up

Born Standing UpI think you would like Born Standing Up by Steve Martin.

It has a reputation for being the definitive stand-up comedy memoir, which is the only reason I felt compelled to buy it. To my shame, I have never seen Steve Martin’s stand-up act, and my only experience of his work is the film Cheaper by the Dozen. Yet, despite my ignorance, I found Born Standing Up insightful, entertaining, and beautifully crafted. It is far from being just another celebrity autobiography.

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The Girl In The Spider’s Web

The Girl in the Spider's WebI think you would like David Lagercrantz’s continuation of the late Steig Larsson’s Millenium Series, The Girl In The Spider’s Web. After the radically different and mundane turn the series took with the previous instalment Girl On The Train, this is very much a return to form.

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Once

OnceI recommend the novel Once by Morris Gleitzman. Well, I was going to. Then I read the sequel Then before I had a chance to put pen to paper / finger to keyboard and I would be doing Gleitzman and anyone reading this a great disservice if I didn’t recommend both. In fact, I’m tempted to provisionally recommend the further sequels After and Now as I can’t imagine that they’ll be anything less than superb.

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How I Escaped My Certain Fate

How I Escaoed My Certain FateI recommend the book How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee to anyone interested in the mechanics of stand-up comedy. I wouldn’t recommend it to the lecturers who taught the drama side of my degree. They have all as good as read How I Escaped My Certain Fate already because I crow-barred it into pretty much every essay I wrote. One lecturer handed back an essay which was meant to be specifically about writing stage plays with the words “it’s not really about theatre, is it?” it was called ‘An Analysis of The Use of Silence in the Stand-Up Comedy of Stewart Lee.’ I also cited Simon and Garfunkel as eminent theorists on the nature of silence.

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Jon Ronson

Jon RonsonJon Ronson is a journalist, writer and filmmaker. His earlier work focused more on the edge of society – extremists like the Ku Klux Klan, and conspiracy theorists and their subjects such as James P. Tucker and the Bilderberg group. His more recent work is about the weirdness hiding in plain sight, unnoticed and unexamined elements of modern life – the psychopathic traits evident in our society, and the mob mentality of the internet. It’s fascinating to read earlier books like Them: Adventures with Extremists where Ronson tells the stories of the distant nutters who we apparently share a planet with. It’s a different, scarier, even more engaging experience to read his later work when you realise that you’re a part of the weirdness.

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