March 2013 Best Humor and Entertainment Books

Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno: A Memoir

Rita Moreno: A Memoir

Book Description
Release date: March 5, 2013
In this luminous memoir, Rita Moreno shares her remarkable journey from a young girl with simple beginnings in Puerto Rico to Hollywood legend—and one of the few performers, and the only Hispanic, to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys.

Born Rosita Dolores Alverio in the idyll of Puerto Rico, Moreno, at age five, embarked on a harrowing sea voyage with her mother and wound up in the harsh barrios of the Bronx, where she discovered dancing, singing, and acting as ways to escape a tumultuous childhood. Making her Broadway debut by age thirteen—and moving on to Hollywood in its Golden Age just a few years later—she worked alongside such stars as Gary Cooper, Yul Brynner, and Ann Miller.

When discovered by Louis B. Mayer of MGM, the wizard himself declared: “She looks like a Spanish Elizabeth Taylor.” Cast by Gene Kelly as Zelda Zanders in Singin’ in the Rain and then on to her Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story, she catapulted to fame—yet found herself repeatedly typecast as the “utility ethnic,” a role she found almost impossible to elude.

Here, for the first time, Rita reflects on her struggles to break through Hollywood’s racial and sexual barriers. She explores the wounded little girl behind the glamorous façade—and what it took to find her place in the world. She talks candidly about her relationship with Elvis Presley, her encounters with Howard Hughes, and the passionate romance with Marlon Brando that drove her to attempt suicide. And she shares the illusiveness of a “perfect” marriage and the incomparable joys of motherhood.
Infused with Rita Moreno’s quick wit and deep insight, this memoir is the dazzling portrait of a stage and screen star who longed to become who she really is—and triumphed.

 

Fringe: September’s Notebook by Tara Bennett, Paul Terry, Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman

Fringe: September's Notebook by Tara Bennett, Paul Terry, Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman

Fringe: September’s Notebook

Book Description
Publication Date: March 26, 2013 | Series: Fringe
Delve into television’s most otherworldly phenomenon! Fringe: September’s Notebook is a uniquely in-world collection that explores the intricate destinies of Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, and Olivia Dunham. Gathered by the Observer known only as “September,” these pages reveal new truths about the Fringe Division and Massive Dynamic. The book also closely examines the Amber timeline and the alternate universe “Over There.”

Packed with concept art, exclusive photos, and intriguing ephemera, September’s Notebook will satisfy every serious fan’s hunger for details about the Observers, quirks and little-known facts about each character, insight into Fringe Science, and much more. “Easter eggs” throughout build on the many symbols and codes woven into the show’s fabric, uncovering truths never before revealed.

With its layered storytelling, well-rendered characters, and complex overarching narrative, Fringe is the ideal show around which to publish, and Fringe: September’s Notebook provides a totally immersive reading experience.

 

Maddie on Things by Theron Humphrey

Maddie on Things by Theron Humphrey

Maddie on Things by Theron Humphrey

Book Description
Release date: March 26, 2013
Maddie is a sweet-tempered coonhound who accompanied her owner, Theron, on a yearlong, cross-country trip while he worked on a photojournalism project. In his spare time, Theron took photos of Maddie doing what she does best: standing on things. From bicycles to giant watermelons to horses to people, there really isn’t anything that Maddie won’t stand on with grace and patience. The poignant Instagram photos of this beautiful dog and her offbeat poses have captured the imagination of all those who long for a road trip with a good dog for company. Maddie on Things celebrates the strange talent of one special dog and will resonate with any dog lover who appreciates the quirky hearts (and extraordinary balance) of canines.

 

It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions from an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf

It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions from an Unprepared Single Dad

It Takes Balls: Dating Single Moms

Book Description
Release date: March 19, 2013
Josh Wolf–one of the stars and writers of Chelsea Lately and After Lately–delivers a hilarious collection of essays that reminds us all what it takes to conquer fatherhood without sacrificing manhood.

Struggling to make it as a stand-up comic didn’t always fit with being a single parent. But Josh figured out his own set of rules–through trial and (frequent) error. Early picking up kids from school? The nearby strip club is a great place to kill time and bond with some like-minded dads. Want a drunken heart-to-heart with your son? First make sure there’s no Sharpie around in case you pass out. Wondering where to take that special someone at the end of the night? Remember that no sane woman will have sex with you in a one-bedroom apartment where your kids are sleeping–even if you promise to be really, really quiet.

Whether it’s revealing the secrets to limitless hookups (hint: it’s single moms) and getting rid of your children’s friends that you just can’t stand (hint: it’s not single moms), or blackmailing PTA members and ignoring health codes, Josh is sure to impart some parenting wisdom along the way. Or at least have a good time trying.

 

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

Rest in Pieces by Bess Lovejoy

Book Description
Release date: March 12, 2013
IN THE LONG RUN, WE’RE ALL DEAD.
But for some of the most influential figures in history, death marked the start of a new adventure.

The famous deceased have been stolen, burned, sold, pickled, frozen, stuffed, impersonated, and even filed away in a lawyer’s office. Their fingers, teeth, toes, arms, legs, skulls, hearts, lungs, and nether regions have embarked on voyages that crisscross the globe and stretch the imagination.

Counterfeiters tried to steal Lincoln’s corpse. Einstein’s brain went on a cross-country road trip. And after Lord Horatio Nelson perished at Trafalgar, his sailors submerged him in brandy—which they drank.

From Mozart to Hitler, Rest in Pieces connects the lives of the famous dead to the hilarious and horrifying adventures of their corpses, and traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward death.

 

Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream by Tom Folsom

Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream by Tom Folsom

Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream

Book Description
Release date: March 5, 2013
As unconventional a biography as Dennis Hopper was a man, Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream by Tom Folsom charts his roller coaster life and career through the lens of the landscape of American popular culture.

The chopper-riding hippie outlaw in Easy Rider. The prophetic madman in the jungle in Apocalypse Now. The terrifying psychopath in Blue Velvet. The kid gone wrong in Rebel Without a Cause. The actor taken under the wing of James Dean, a friendship that set Dennis Hopper on his path to becoming a star. A quintessentially American dreamer longing to be the next Orson Welles. The hell-raising director who revolutionized Hollywood.

Dennis Hopper’s extraordinary journey takes him to superhero highs and plummeting lows. Capturing the magic and the madness of his American Dream, Hopper is a wild ride through Dennis’s many lives. Written in a rebel spirit, complemented with iconic photographs, and packed with insights from his fellow actors, artists, and friends, Hopper tells the story of a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of pop culture.

 

Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracey Thorn

Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Tracey Thorn

Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn

Book Description
Publication Date: March 15, 2013
A frank and funny pop culture memoir in the vein of Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman, this is “how to be a woman artist”

This is the story of Tracey Thorn, one half of the internationally successful group Everything But the Girl, collaborator with such artists as Paul Weller, Massive Attack, and dance legend Todd Terry. Tracey was only 16 when she bought an electric guitar and joined a band. A year later, she formed an all-girl band called the Marine Girls, played gigs, signed to an indie label, and started releasing records. Then, for 18 years, between 1982 and 2000, she was one half of Everything But the Girl. They released nine albums and sold nine million records, went on countless tours, had hits and flops, and were reviewed and interviewed to within an inch of their lives. Tracey has been in the charts, out of them, back in. She’s seen herself described as an indie darling, a middle-of-the-road nobody, and a disco diva. As she explains here, she hasn’t always fit in, a fact that’s helped her to face up to the realities of a pop career. She discusses her realizations—that there are thrills and wonders to be experienced, but also moments of doubt, mistakes, and violent lifestyle changes from luxury to squalor and back again, sometimes within minutes. This is the funny, perceptive, and candid story of her 30-year pop career.

 

Katharine Hepburn: An Independent Woman by Ronald Bergan

Katharine Hepburn: An Independent Woman by Ronald Bergan

Katharine Hepburn: An Independent Woman

Book Description
Release date: February 22, 2013
“This dame is terrific—and expert in her craft and so electrifying on set that if you don’t watch out, you’re likely to wind up as part of the scenery.” -Bob Hope

Bergan provides a glimpse into the life of a Hollywood legend, by charting both her career, which spanned seven decades, and her off-screen relationships with many of her leading men.
When Katharine Hepburn arrived in Hollywood in 1932, studio executives were confounded by a rare beauty who displayed both an imperturbable sense of humor and an intelligent sensibility. Nobody on screen could be so funny and so moving in making a fool of herself, or so touching in reclaiming her dignity. According to George Cukor, her friend and the director of eight of her films, “She always challenged the audience, [and] that wasn’t the fashion in those days.”

Much like Hepburn herself, her career followed no conventional pattern. Her on-screen personae ranged from the headstrong girl of her early appearances to the vaguely authoritative spinster of her later films; her performances won her a string of accolades, from her first Oscar for Morning Glory in 1933 to her fourth for On Golden Pond in 1981—with which she became the first (and to date only) winner of four Oscars for Best Actress, from a record twelve nominations.

Hepburn was always her own woman, insisting on and retaining the respect of all who worked with her. She refused to give in to the studio’s publicity demands, avoiding interviews and always wearing pants off the set. With her fierce, no-nonsense beauty—to which the 150 sumptuous photographs in this book amply testify—her strong-minded outspokenness, and her controlled yet sparkling performances, she will always be one of cinema’s most seductive illustrations of the advantages of independence.

 

David Lynch Swerves: Uncertainty from Lost Highway to Inland Empire by Martha P. Nochimson

David Lynch Swerves: Uncertainty from Lost Highway to Inland Empire

David Lynch Swerves by Martha P. Nochimson

Book Description
Publication Date: March 15, 2013
Beginning with Lost Highway, director David Lynch “swerved” in a new direction, one in which very disorienting images of the physical world take center stage in his films. Seeking to understand this unusual emphasis in his work, noted Lynch scholar Martha Nochimson engaged Lynch in a long conversation of unprecedented openness, during which he shared his vision of the physical world as an uncertain place that masks important universal realities. He described how he derives this vision from the Holy Vedas of the Hindu religion, as well as from his layman’s fascination with modern physics.

With this deep insight, Nochimson forges a startlingly original template for analyzing Lynch’s later films—the seemingly unlikely combination of the spiritual landscape envisioned in the Holy Vedas and the material landscape evoked by quantum mechanics and relativity. In David Lynch Swerves, Nochimson navigates the complexities of Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire with uncanny skill, shedding light on the beauty of their organic compositions; their thematic critiques of the immense dangers of modern materialism; and their hopeful conceptions of human potential. She concludes with excerpts from the wide-ranging interview in which Lynch discussed his vision with her, as well as an interview with Columbia University physicist David Albert, who was one of Nochimson’s principal tutors in the discipline of quantum physics.

 

The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck by Michael Rose

The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck

The Birth of an Opera

Book Description
Publication Date: March 18, 2013
The Birth of an Opera offers illuminating insight into how operas are written and the personalities, incidents, and musical circumstances that have shaped their composition.

Through a deft compilation of primary sources—letters, memoirs, and personal accounts from composers, librettists, and performers—Michael Rose re-creates for his readers the circumstances that gave rise to fifteen operatic milestones. From Monteverdi and Mozart to Puccini and Berg, each chapter focuses on a well-known opera and tells the story that lies behind its creation.
Rather than retreading familiar ground with pages of historical and musical analysis, Rose places each opera firmly in the context of the composer’s life and provides an engaging text in which the varied and colorful personalities involved are seen to discuss, comment, and contribute in one way or another to the progress of its composition. The reader will find Mozart with a new and flamboyant librettist tackling the risky enterprise of Le Nozze di Figaro; Wagner confessing his hidden love for the woman who inspires him as he creates the passionate drama of Tristan und Isolde; Verdi deep in Shakespearian discussion with Boito as they remodel the tragedy of Otello; and Debussy coming almost literally to blows with Maeterlinck over the soprano to take the leading role in Pelléas et Mélisande.

Throughout, Rose offers his readers the most direct possible link to events that have often become twisted or obscured by operatic myth, and in so doing he captures the bizarre interactions of chance, genius, practical necessity, and dogged determination that accompanied the making of some of opera’s most enduring masterpieces.

 

 

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