Charting the charms and obstacles in the everyday, Jacobson’s book wobbles here and there, but it’s mostly a pleasure to...

I MIGHT REGRET THIS

ESSAYS, DRAWINGS, VULNERABILITIES, AND OTHER STUFF

The actor, producer, and series creator turns in a series of sketches, some brilliant and some pedestrian, chronicling episodes in her life to date.

With her friend Ilana Glazer—“a bacon egg and cheese with Ilana, anywhere, anytime,” she writes in an essay on bagels, this one decidedly nonkosher—Jacobson (Carry This Book, 2016, etc.) crafted the hilarious, edgy Comedy Central series Broad City. As she notes in passing, it morphed into something more than just a TV show: “It’s become a visual diagram of sorts in which I track my own life, where I’ve been and where I’m going…a reproduction of my reality.” Many of the pieces are set in far-flung places between the twin poles of Los Angeles and New York—in Santa Fe, say, which Jacobson worries isn’t really real, and Marfa, Texas, which is “so cute.” A common theme throughout the book is ceiling-studying insomnia as the author restlessly travels from town to town; another is wrestling to the point of fretfulness with mundane and big-picture worries alike: “Maybe I’m more Jewish than I think?” As she drives from Santa Fe to Kanab, Utah, she ponders such things as how often she ought to be changing her shoelaces, death and dying, aging, love, missing out on key events, and “if scrunchies are back and why.” Some of Jacobson’s observations are too casually tossed-off—“Starbucks might be more known for their bathrooms than their coffee"; “Do you think Ross-and-Rachel situations are happening all over the place?”—but many of the sketches are reminiscent of Nora Ephron in their sharp-edged goofiness, as when she concludes a piece on failed love with this: “I did what any intelligent, responsible, sane person would do. I got a dog.”

Charting the charms and obstacles in the everyday, Jacobson’s book wobbles here and there, but it’s mostly a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1329-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2018

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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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