Fans of Parks and Recreation and Offerman’s brand of deadpan humor are sure to gorge themselves on the healthy portion he...

PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE

ONE MAN'S FUNDAMENTALS FOR DELICIOUS LIVING

An actor’s comedic memoir and how-to guide for enjoyable living in the modern era.

In his debut book, actor Offerman—best known for his role as the carnivorous, hypermasculine Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation—summons his inner Swanson when writing of his principles for “Delicious Living.” For the author, living deliciously means dedicating more than a few pages to the wonder of meat (“If there is a God, no part of the Bible or Christian doctrine will convince me of his existence half as much as the flavor of a barbecued pork rib”), though he tackles more serious subjects as well: religion, love, friendship and the value of hard work. In a particularly prickly chapter entitled “Assholes” (in which he tackles everything from slavery to lobbyists), Offerman becomes acutely aware of his balancing act between comic and curmudgeon. “But wait, I thought this book was a lighthearted look at living one’s life deliciously?” he writes. “That’s all well and good, fat boy, but you cannot just blithely drift through life in your canoe whilst turning a blind eye to the bullshit going on around you.” Though he deems himself the “average meat, potatoes, and corn-fed human male,” his Go-West-young-man story is anything but average. From his humble roots as a pig poop–shoveling youth to his rise as a beloved actor, Offerman’s story embodies the tenets of the American dream, complete with a few more moustache jokes. Wavering between finger-shaking admonishments toward society’s ills and songs of praise for self-reliance, Offerman offers plenty of laughs, though a few head scratches as well.

Fans of Parks and Recreation and Offerman’s brand of deadpan humor are sure to gorge themselves on the healthy portion he provides.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-525-95421-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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