Costco’s has banned the new Joan Rivers book – I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me -- supposedly because it objects to the cover blurbs that were made up and are intended to be funny. Though I think it hypocritical for Costco’s to play censor when it comes to selling books (Do you know how many novels and other books it carries that feature cursing, violence, sex, etc?), I agree with them that Rivers’ book should not be sold. It simply is not very good.
I love going to comedy clubs and finding comedians who can stimulate me intellectually. I prefer witty to stupidity, but sometimes the latter can work well, such as with the recently released movie, Ted, about a guy and his talking teddy bear. I also like books written by funny people. Howard Stern penned a few gems. George Carlin, though bitter towards the end of his life, could deliver a funny book. But I came across the Rivers book and am highly disappointed.
Her tome just was not funny.
I have seen her on TV many times over the years and have usually enjoyed her humor. I saw her in person a few months ago and was pleased. She doesn’t act her age – I think she is 78 – and she can come off as crude, mean, and biting – but she is usually really funny. Still her book disappointed.
I have noticed a pattern with comedians. Most either take a depressed persona – Louis CK and Woody Allen for instance – or a bitter one – Carlin, Larry David and Rivers for instance – with few who are in between. After all these years of listening to comedians, I have concluded that one of the best is Jerry Seinfeld. He could probably toss in some salty language and be a little more emotional, but he knows how to deliver a funny, intelligent joke that most can relate to.
Rivers’ book started out with a good vibe. Her book is dedicated to OJ Simpson, whom she said “deserves another chance. Maybe the lippy ex-wife had it coming.” I didn’t underline another joke until page 50, when she intimated she reads the obituaries each morning to “start my day off right.”
Most of her book covered the negative side of life-death, aging, sickness, etc. She hates everyone and everything. She sounds more at ease to be at a funeral than a wedding.
Sadly, her book showed how dated she is. Her references are always from a generation or two or three ago. For instance, she mentioned the candy Chuckles on several occasions. I don’t know anyone under 40 who would think to buy Chuckles. My wife never even heard of the candy.
She seems to cozy up to gays, Jews, and New Yorkers, which is understandable since she believes they represent her core fan base, but she sounded a bit limited. She also comes off as ridiculously cheap, which is hard to imagine for someone who has to be worth tens of millions of dollars. It just sounds like an elitist trying to act as if she relates to the 99% shnook fan who reads her book.
I like her faux testimonials better than the book:
“Let her eat shit!” – Marie Antoinette
“If I was alive, even I wouldn’t f*ck her!” – Wilt Chamberlain
And the one the one that summarizes how I feel after investing several hours in this book:
“This author should be euthanized.” – Dr. Kevorkian
Interview With Author Michael Rowland
1. What type of books do you write? My first self-published novel I wrote was - 9/11: Official Complicity by Michael Rowland (AuthorHouse). Available to download on e-book. I have been asked numerous times why I wrote this particular novel, and the answer to that is simple. When I witnessed the tragic events on live TV, I felt there was something not stacking up with what was being reported. Then after visiting New York for a week, talking to the polite citizens of New York, and also spending two years researching the background to 9/11, I decided to write a fact based novel, leaving the reader to decide at the end whether it was an "Inside Job" or not? I have also peppered the novel with 'facts' which appear in the novel and also at the beginning of each chapter. I am happy to announce that Dr David Ray Griffin has endorsed this novel. Dr Griffin has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and he has been voted one of the top 50 influential people in the world by The New Statesman. He is also the leading exponent on 9/11. My second self-published novel is a children's book: Leap Year by Daniel M Warloch. (anagram of Michel Rowland). (Strategic Publishing). Available in China, Korea, Russia and soon in Japan.
The reason for using a pen name is because I didn't want to associate a serious topic with a children's story. This novel is about three brothers who find themselves trapped back in time in an old abandoned Hall when the clock strikes midnight on 28th February. As the trio become separated within the rooms of the creepy hall, they face terrifying challenges and they must solve a complicated riddle or they could be trapped in the hall until the next Leap Year. Since publishing these two novels, I have now a book deal with Mira Publishing Leeds England.
2. What is your latest or upcoming book about? My third novel is also a children's book. Christmas Presence by Daniel M Warloch. (Mira Publishing). Due out November 2012. Christmas 1967 . . . When 12 year-old Barnaby Tinker-Tailor innocently buys three mysterious figures from a bizarre old gentleman at a Christmas fair, little did he know at the time what terrifying adventures he would encounter? Unexplained happenings and numerous amazing characters, such as a wicked Shadow Thief enter his life with alarming consequences . . .I am now finishing off the sequel to Leap Year. Leap of Faith by Daniel M Warloch. I won't give the game away and tell you what this one is all about! You'll just have to buy the first one and see what happens at the end . . .
3. What inspired you to write it? They say there is a book in everyon. Well, it took me nearly 60 years to find my first one. I have read since an early age, and I am passionate about children of all ages reading. In actual fact I have attended a number of 'work shops' with schools in the local area. These were great fun and the response from the children was amazing. It also makes it all worthwhile when you get a standing ovation after reading a few chapters of your book to them. The main reason for writing was when I began to research the events surrounding 9/11. The vast majority of books available about 9/11 were factual ones, and unless you were interested in conspiracies, you wouldn't know where to find them, as they tended to be hidden in the basement of book stores. So by writing a novel I was hoping to reach a much wider reading audience. The children's novels were ideas I'd had since an early age.
4. What did you do before you became an author? Since the tender young age of 15, I have been working in the Printing Industry. From being an apprentice, with me ending up as the Operations Director of a large company based in Leeds. I sorry to say I am presently out of work, and like most up and coming authors of today; I can't afford to retire JUST yet!
5. How does it feel to be a published author? After spending months writing and rewriting and then to hold your bound book in your trembling hands; is magical to say the least. It's also worth while and especially gratifying when you receive great reviews, and also having encouraging feedback from both adults and children when they have read your books. One particular family specially came to see me at one of my book signings just to tell me that all the of them had read Leap Year and they were really excited when I told them there would be a sequel.
6. Any advice for struggling writers? I know at the beginning it can be disheartening, especially when you can't find a publisher. I knew it would be hard, and that was the reason I self-published my first two novels, hoping I would be spotted. Luckily for me, It worked. If you enjoy it, carry on doing it, as you never know you may get your lucky break in life. Don't forget J K Rowling was turned down a number of times before someone caught on to the fact the Harry Potter books were good. Also Watership Down was turned down by a number of publishers before that was published.
7. Where do you see book publishing heading? I have to say that e-books will at some point in the future be as popular as printed books, or more so, as we are now living in a technological age . And I have to admit I have one. But only because some of the books I want to read have been printed in a small typeface. This really annoys me. I know it cost more if there are more pages, but I do prefer to have a bound book in my hands. Whether e-books will take over bound books; well I can't answer that.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.
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