Items tagged with Humor

Bestselling Author Mary Norris in Conversation with Patrick McCord of Write Yourself Free

July 9, 2015
Patrick McCord, Mary Norris

Hear New Yorker editor Mary Norris in conversation with Patrick McCord, editor-in-chief of The Editing Company/Write Yourself Free(SM) discuss her new book, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, an irreverent and useful treatise on language from July 9, 2015.

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Brain Series: Work Out Your Brain by Flirting With French

October 16, 2014
William Alexander

William Alexander, author of the bestselling memoir The $64 Tomato, spoke about his new book, Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart on October 16, 2014. 

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What's So Funny?

February 23, 2014
Mary-Lou Weisman

Mary-Lou Weisman, author of the bestseller,
My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A Place to Write Down All the Things You'll Soon Forget, conducted a light hearted exploration of the nature of humor, on Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Photo credit:  contributed photo from

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What's So Funny?

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Mary-Lou WeismanJoin Mary-Lou Weisman, author of the bestseller
My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A my middle aged baby bookPlace to Write Down All the Things You'll Soon Forget, in a light-hearted exploration of the nature of humor. 

Weisman is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Her published books include My Baby Boomer Baby Book, Traveling While Married, My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A Record of Milestones, Millstones & Gallstones; and Intensive Care: A Family Love Story. Her essays, feature articles, interviews, and film and book reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New Republic, Newsweek, Glamour, Vogue, Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times. She has also contributed essays and commentary to Public Radio International. 

McManus Room
Authors, Humor

A man for his time and place...

Posted by SusanM on Friday, Sep 9, 2011 - 3:07 PM

big lebowskiI love Jeff Bridges.  I loved him when I first saw him in The Last Picture Show way back in 1971.  I loved him when he played Jack Baker in The Fabulous Baker Boys.  I was thrilled when he finally won an Academy Award playing Bad Blake in Crazy Heart a few years ago.  And I was a little disappointed last year that he wasn’t recognized again for his re-creation of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.  But of all the movies that Jeff Bridges has appeared in, to me none come even close to his performance as the “Dude” in The Big more

Humor, Movies

How to sell a mystery

Posted by on Friday, May 13, 2011 - 9:00 AM

slugfest coverI am always amazed at how hard authors work to sell their books.  At a recent mystery conference one of the panels I attended had a “mistakes I have made” theme.  Most of the authors cited continuity or factual mistakes but one author said her biggest mistake was thinking that as a writer she would get to spend all of her time writing. She finds that she spends more of her time on promotion than anything else.

Publishers and agents provide some support, but writers are often left to their own more

Video: Cartoonist Roz Chast

April 12, 2010
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New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast delivered the Malloy Lecture in the Arts in Westport, Conn. on April 12, 2010. In the event jointly presented by the Westport Arts Center and the Westport Public Library, the Brooklyn-born Chast talked of life in the suburbs.

What Happens in Vegas

Posted by on Sunday, Sep 26, 2010 - 1:18 PM

lucky.jpgA young woman falls to her death from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter and lands in the Pirate’s lagoon in the middle of the 8:30 show and bystander Lucky O'Toole comes to doubt that this was just another spectacular Vegas suicide. The book is Wanna Get Lucky, a debut novel by Deborah Coonts, who lives in Vegas with her husband, author Stephen Coonts. Lucky is the Customer Relations head at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip. Lucky's mom Mona, owner of Nevada's best-known bordello, and Lucky’s best friend Teddie, a straight Harvard MBA working at the Babylon lounge as a female impersonator, help with the investigation. Booklist called it “chick-lit gone wild and sexy, lightly wrapped in mystery and tied up with a brilliantly flashing neon bow” that “hits the proverbial jackpot.” louie.jpgMidnight Louie is the star of one of my all-time favorite Vegas-based series, which is written by Carole Nelson Douglas. Louie, a cat, “helps" public relations person Temple Barr in these stellar feline-as-protagonist mysteries. Kirkus described Louie as “a big black tomcat who fancies himself another Philip Marlowe.” No offense to Rita Mae Brown’s cozy cat detectives, but this isn’t Virginia farm country. This is Vegas! Anything goes. randisi.jpgI also enjoy Robert J. Randisi’s Rat Pack series. Yes, that Rat Pack … Frank, Dean, Sammy, et al. It starts off with Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime, when Eddie Gianelli, Brooklyn CPA turned Vegas pit boss, is asked to do a favor for Sinatra. Booklist said “Randisi vividly re-creates the rough-and-tumble Vegas of four decades past … the Rat Pack defined cool for a generation, and Randisi does them all justice ...”

Sudoku showdown

Posted by on Monday, Feb 1, 2010 - 11:55 AM

puzzlelady.jpgJoin us for our first mystery program of the new year. Author Parnell Hall will be discussing his newest entertaining and fun-filled mystery, The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady, on Thursday evening, February 4, at 7:30 pm in the McManus Room ... the perfect warm-up for the Library’s eleventh annual Crossword Puzzle Contest on February 6.

It’s the battle of the century when Minami, the Sudoku Lady, shows up in Bakerhaven, Connecticut, to meet Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, whose sudoku books have just edged Minami’s off of the Japanese bestseller list. Before the rivals have a chance to square off, a killer strikes, and a sudoku puzzle is found at the scene of the murder. Now it’s a fight to the finish to see who can unmask the killer.

Nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, and Lefty awards, Hall is an actor, screenwriter, and former private investigator, as well as the author of two popular mystery series.

caper.jpgFans of his Stanley Hastings (New York City actor and private investigator) series will be pleased to hear that there will be a new Hastings mystery, Caper, coming out this July.

Some of you may have experienced Hall’s remarkable wit and humor at last year’s Murder 203.

He will be the Guest of Honor at this year’s Malice Domestic conference, April 30-May 2, in Arlington Virginia.

If you are looking for a bit of levity to get you through your day, take a few minutes to watch Hall’s brilliant YouTube video Kill 'em : A Simple Guide to the Art of Writing Murder Mysteries.

The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady will be available for purchase and signing.


Posted by on Sunday, Jan 3, 2010 - 3:54 PM

maugham.jpgThere are so many literary gems out there, and I am always insufferable pleased with myself when I make “a find.” Life is good … I have just made two.

Everyman’s Library recently released The Skeptical Romancer: Selected Travel Writing by W. Somerset Maugham. What is unique about Maugham’s narratives, as Pico Iyer points out in his introduction to the book, is that “… Maugham breaks almost every law you might lay down in Travel Writing 101: he generalizes wildly, he claims not to be interested in the places he’s visiting, he admits that he’s only hunting for material and often his digressions go on so long that we lose all sense of where we are …” But what a ride!

Known for his razor-sharp prose, Maugham was one of the seminal writers of the twentieth century. While probably best known for his semi-autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage, Maugham is also identified as the father of the modern spy novel, one of mystery fiction’s many sub-genres. Ashenden: the British Agent, a fictionalized account of his experiences in the British Secret Intelligence Service during World War I, was published in 1928.

For many years Ashenden was on the required reading list for secret service recruits, and it inspired Ian Fleming and countless other novelists, as well as numerous films, beginning with Alfred Hitchcock's 1936 classic, The Secret Agent.

thurber.jpgJames Thurber was known for his razor-sharp wit which capitalized on the frailties of human beings, often in trying situations of their own making. He is also regarded as something of an American folklorist, especially for his character Walter Mitty, who lived in a world of imaginary tall-tales, and his drawings of animals, including those wonderful dogs and their baleful expressions.

The Mysterious Press published Thurber on Crime: Stories, Articles, Drawings, and Reflections on the Evil That Men and Women Do in 1991, an assemblage of 36 stories, articles, and essays – complete with drawings – that run the gamut of crime from domestic strife to gangland rubouts.

The late Donald Westlake provided the foreword and he warns mystery fans that “the detective story does not at all emerge unscathed.”

Thurber_Dog1.jpgThurber parodies spy novels, presents Macbeth as an Agatha Christie whodunit, and spins a Kafkaesque-like yarn about a man who joins a secret organization, the purpose of which is unknown to him. Dan Brown, take notice.

Many police dogs, or “flatpaws,” appear throughout, in the text and drawings.

In my favorite drawing, a defendant is in the witness chair, facing the court, saying “I’m Virgo with the Moon in Aries, if that will help you any.” Makes at least as much sense to me as the Twinkie Defense.