Politics, his family and his neuroses used to be the meat and potatoes of Black’s stand-up act, but lately he’s been increasingly focused on religion. Thus it should come as no surprise to his ever-increasing fan base that the follow-up to his bestselling—and quite funny—debut, Nothing’s Sacred (2005), compiles 42 essays riffing on everything from praying on airplanes to suicide bombers. Unlike his always-solid stage routine, however, the proceedings here are hit-or-miss. Looking at his words on the printed page, readers will realize how important Black’s enraged delivery is to his act. The book certainly has its moments. “The God Lists: God the Father/God the Bother” (one list for each) features Black at his blackest: Among the 23 reasons he doesn’t believe in God, we find beets, Nazis, herpes and American Idol. But such spot-on moments are few and far between. The book’s worst transgression is the inclusion of the script from a critically lambasted play performed in 1981 by Black and fellow Yale Drama grad Mark Linn-Baker (better known from TV’s Perfect Strangers). “I know it’s strange to go into a play at this point,” acknowledges the author, who was a playwright for years before The Daily Show made him famous, “but it is truly the best way to conclude this book. Or maybe it isn’t. I really don’t know.” Black is a brilliant performer and a biting social commentator, but based on the evidence in this disappointing volume, he’s not much of a playwright…or a book author.
A can’t-miss comedic performer delivers a mediocre book.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)