She was sassy, opinionated, brash, self-deprecating, raunchy, offensive and funny. Joan Rivers passed away last week at the age of 81, and her death has left me thinking about both her signature brand of stand-up and the female comedians who have followed in her wake. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement, “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.” Here are some books from Rivers and her cohort to help us fulfill that wish.
“We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy” by Yael Kohen.
This oral history presents more than 150 interviews from America’s most prominent comediennes (and the writers, producers, nightclub owners, and colleagues who revolved around them) to piece together the revolution that happened to (and by) women in American comedy. Kohen traces the careers and achievements of comediennes – including Rivers – and challenges opinions about why women cannot be effective comedic entertainers.
“I Hate Everyone – Starting With Me” by Joan Rivers
Read this with a cocktail in hand. Rivers humorously lashes out at the people, places and things she loathes, including ugly children, dating rituals, First Ladies, funerals, hypocrites, overrated historical figures, Hollywood and lousy restaurants.
“Enter Talking” by Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers describes her bitter and bizarre rise to stardom, from her earliest memories that she belonged onstage, through her independent struggle in Manhattan, to the evolution of her one-person show and the winning of public and critical acclaim.
“The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee” by Sarah Silverman
Comedian Silverman’s memoir mixes showbiz moments with the more serious subject of her teenage bout with depression as well as stories of her childhood and adolescence.
“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling
The writer and actress best known as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” shares observations on topics ranging from favorite male archetypes and her hatred of dieting to her relationship with her mother and the haphazard creative process in the “Office” writers’ room.
“Seriously, I’m Kidding” by Ellen DeGeneres
For those who like their humor to be cleaner than what Rivers delivers. The stand-up comedian, television host, bestselling author and actress candidly discusses her personal life and professional career and describes what it was like to become a judge on “American Idol.”
Editor’s note: book descriptions adapted from publishers’ marketing text.
Daniel Boone Regional Library is sponsoring various films this month in conjunction with the One Read program. This year’s book is “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel Brown, which is a is an uplifting and fast-paced Cinderella story.
“The Rape of Europa”
Friday, September 5, 2014 • 7-9:30 p.m.
106 Lefevre Hall, University of Missouri
As part of our exploration of the 1930s during this year’s One Read program, view this fascinating documentary which uses historic footage and interviews to tell the epic story of the destruction, theft and rescue of the great artworks of Europe during World War II. As Nazis loot and pillage, those dedicated to saving the art do everything in their power to protect it, including emptying the Louvre and evacuating the Hermitage. Directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen and Nicole Newnham and narrated by Joan Allen. The film will be introduced by the Museum of Art and Archaeology’s director, Alex Barker.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 • 7 p.m.
William Woods University Library Auditorium
Based on a true story, this feature film follows a World War II platoon as they track down art stolen by the Nazis and return the masterpieces to their rightful owners. Following the film, Dr. Greg Smith, WWU associate professor of English and film, will lead a discussion about the movie and the University of Washington’s crew team’s experiences at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, as recounted in this year’s One Read selection, “The Boys in the Boat.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library – Friends Room
Before Bob Costas, there was Marty Glickman. A gifted Jewish-American athlete who was denied the chance to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to become one of the most revered and influential sportscasters in history, pioneering many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today. This HBO documentary directed by James L. Freedman is a companion to our One Read book, “The Boys in the Boat,” a story of the U.S. crew team 1936 Olympics.
“King of the Hill”
Monday, September 22, 2014 • 5:30 p.m.
Ragtag Cinema, 10 Hitt St.
As part of One Read, enjoy a free screening of the historical drama “King of the Hill,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. This film, shot in St. Louis and set in the 1930s, Depression-era Midwest, contains echos of Joe Rantz, the central character of “The Boys in the Boat.” It follows a young boy as he struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him. (Rated PG-13, 103 min.)
We recently added “Maidentrip” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year at the Citizen Jane Film Festival and currently has a rating of 82% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:Fourteen-year-old Laura Dekker sets out, camera in hand, on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura now finds herself far from land, family and unwanted attention, exploring the world in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams of her early youth at sea.
We recently added “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema and currently has a rating of 91% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
An animated documentary on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language.An animated documentary on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/577581018_is_the_man_who_is_tall_happy#sthash.59NCeRDk.dpuf Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them are coming from American’s largest megachurches. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/559029018_god_loves_uganda#sthash.hmxmLNTm.dpuf Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them are coming from American’s largest megachurches. – See more at: http://dbrl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/559029018_god_loves_uganda#sthash.hmxmLNTm.dpuf