Books by Joe Queenan

ONE FOR THE BOOKS by Joe Queenan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 29, 2012

"An amusing homage to reading that contains something to offend even (especially?) the most ardent book lover."
A journalist shares his obsession with books, swinging his machete through the fields of literature. Read full book review >
CLOSING TIME by Joe Queenan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 20, 2009

"Close to home and heart, this portrait of the artist shows Queenan at the top of his form—his best yet."
The waggish blue-collar Philly scribe (Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country, 2004, etc.) ornaments his tough-childhood memoir with the sort of fancy writing natural to authors of Hibernian extraction. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 4, 2004

"With a comic crumpet, Queenan leaves his love in Albion. It's a bit of alright, Percival."
Prolific social critic Queenan (True Believers, 2003, etc.) considers Queen (but not much) and country (more, from Glasgow to Penzance) and delivers the age-old I-kid-because-I-love-you hustle. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: June 3, 2003

"A fan's overstated memoir and undeniably funny, if as protracted as regular season extra innings."
Attention, sports fans! You are slightly demented. Seeking help in the latest from droll journalist Queenan (Balsamic Dreams, 2001, etc.) will simply exacerbate the nuttiness. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: June 5, 2001

"A scathing dissection of the lamest generation in all their latte-loving vainglory."
A sardonic, often laugh-out-loud puncturing of Baby Boomer pretensions. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2000

CONFESSIONS OF A CINEPLEX HECKLERCelluloid Tirades and EscapadesQueenan, Joe Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2000

"axed. (Radio satellite tour; author tour)"
A spotty, curmudgeonly, generally funny satire of the virtues of political correctness. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 4, 1998

A slim, one-joke stab at pop-cult criticism from journeyman humorist Queenan (The Unkindest Cut, 1995, etc.). For 18 months, beginning with the musical Cats ("the worst thing on the entire planet"), Queenan immersed himself in the dregs of popular culture. He dined at Red Lobster and the Olive Garden, read Robin Cook and Robert James Waller, listened to Kenny G., Yanni, and John Tesh, watched the sequels of sequels of forgettable movies, such Body Chemistry IV and Children of the Corn III, and traveled to those meccas of bad taste, Branson, Mo., and Atlantic City. It's an amusing idea for an article but, at least in Queenan's hands, insufficient for a book. There's more padding here than in a La-Z-Boy recliner, more fluff than in all the touring companies of Cats. Queenan's research seems to have rubbed off on his writing: It's remarkably structureless, and the invective is usually playground-witty. While most of his encounters with the bad are predictable—hit-and-run ad hominem lambastings of the usual suspects—he does find some semi-precious gems in the rough. Sizzlers is surprisingly tasty: "an eloquent symbol for all that is best about American cheap food, and lots of it." Wayne Newton, Barry Manilow, and Andy Williams are hardworking and entertaining troupers. And Las Vegas could have been a lot worse. One of the best things about the book is its index, including such entries as, "Aykroyd, Dan,when coupled with ‘Starring,— 2 scariest words in English language," or "Davis, Jr., Sammy, unforgivable crimes of." In his travels through the badlands, Queenan frequently experiences what he calls "scheissenbedauren," a feeling of regret "when things you do expect to suck do suck, but not as much as you would secretly like them to suck." Readers familiar with Queenan's labored oeuvre will understand this feeling all too well. (Author tour) Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Feb. 8, 1996

Despite the lame, misleading title, a wry, even occasionally useful, real-life satire on low-low-budget moviemaking. With Robert Rodriguez's alleged $7,000 budget for El Mariachi in mind, film critic Queenan (If You're Talking To Me, Your Career Must Be in Trouble, 1994, etc.) often joked about making a movie for $6,998. But this goof turned serious when, in one three-week burst of semicreativity, Queenan actually cranked out a 90-page script, a satire of the recovery movement titled Twelve Steps to Death. Directing classes soon followed, and Queenan wore out his VCR looking for good scenes to steal from other films. Using only utterly nonprofessional actors (his Tarrytown neighbors), semiprofessional technicians, and dubious rented equipment, Queenan set off on a nine-day film shoot. Despite his amateurism and a host of disasters, he kept a fairly firm grip on the production in every area except the budget. By the time the film premiered as the only entry at the self-sponsored Tarrytown International Film Festival, Queenan had spent nearly $60,000. Winning the festival's coveted award, Le Chevalier Sans Tàte en Or (The Golden Headless Horseman), was thin compensation. Still undistributed, the film has yet to earn back even a penny of its cost. While Queenan, a poor man's P.J. O'Rourke, has a well-turned sense of humor, both this book and the movie it is built around (the full-length script is included) fall substantially short of Hollywood's three-laughs-to-a-page standard. But Queenan is to be commended for showing the lighter side of such expensive pratfalls and for airily distilling so much practical how-not-to advice. Along with Final Cut and The Devil's Candy, one of cinema's great cautionary tales. (First serial to Esquire) Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Feb. 3, 1994

Amusing bluster about stars and movie themes by wiseacre Queenan (Imperial Caddy, 1992), a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, Movieline, etc. States Queenan: ``As readers familiar with my work know, I make my living by watching unspeakably foul, hopelessly incomprehensible movies, and then issuing belated, useless warnings to the viewing public, telling them not to go to movies they have already gone to see...I really don't have anything better to do with my time than to sit at home wasting a whole day watching Once Upon a Time in America (227 m.) and Heaven's Gate (219 m.).'' Not everyone will agree with Queenan's dismissal of the bulk of Woody Allen's work in favor of a handful of his comedies, or his twitting of Meryl Streep as a ``monotonously talented humanoid.'' Sometimes he strikes a semi-serious note, as in his piece on Martin Scorcese (``The Lonely Raging Bull''), a director who makes movies about movies but is nonetheless brutal and disturbing, ``never stupid, condescending, or trendy....'' Perhaps Queenan's most wicked piece- -again at Woody Allen's expense—is his Home Nymphet Video Collection of movies Allen should have seen rather than studying Bergman's The Seventh Seal so assiduously, all of them about the corruption of childwomen by much older men: Lolita, Baby Doll, Pretty Baby, Georgy Girl, etc., flicks in which the man invariably gets his comeuppance, or worse. Readers will have a fine time weighing whether his hatchet job on Barbra Streisand matches Rex Reed's infamous interview with her. Nor should readers miss ``In the Realm of the Senseless,'' in which Queenan eviscerates the plots of the worst features in recent memory, quite often Mickey Rourke movies, though Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance seems to win the author's stinkcheese Oscar. Queenan has an audience from his sneerpieces in entertainment magazines, so this may do well with the video generation. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 8, 1992

Journalist Queenan (Time, Spy, GQ, etc.) brings a fine, sardonic sarcasm to the media's feeding frenzy over the hapless Hoosier who's so near the Oval Office. Queenan finds Dan Quayle a worthy touchstone from which to study the Vice-Presidency, the office of the Chief Executive, and the state of the nation. The author's text is funnier than it has any right to be as it expresses a cheerful and evenhanded scorn for all. Queenan explains why George Bush had to anoint young Senator Dan, and why tort reform, of all things, was picked as Quayle's fighting cause. He is able to compare Quayle to such late bloomers as Churchill, Bismarck, and Henry V. On the other hand, Queenan notes equally strong resemblances to such incompetents as Louis the Pious, Ethelred the Unready, and Louis XVI. Acknowledging ``the seemingly inescapable conclusion that the Quayle pound note may be short a few shillings,'' the VP is found to be not a bad person (that role goes to Marilyn), but just plain dumb. Still, Queenan points out, that's not so unusual. He ticks off the ``poltroons, varlets, dimwits and, yes, the occasional moron'' who have served as VP, and those who have occupied the White House itself. And that raises the serious possibility of there being a President Quayle: ``The next time Dan Quayle loses an election,'' Queenan points out, ``will be the first time he loses an election.'' But, the author believes, even with Quayle at the helm, the ship of state will stay afloat: ``If twenty-four lawyer presidents and thirty-two lawyer vice-presidents couldn't destroy it during its first two centuries of existence, nothing can.'' A clever piece of reportage that, as a sane and funny snapshot of America and its wacky politics, should, by all rights, survive long after November. Read full book review >