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Judd Apatow's Bookcase

Judd Apatow (/ˈæpət/; born December 6, 1967) is an American producer, writer, director, actor, and comedian. He is the founder of Apatow Productions, through which he produced and developed the cult television series Freaks and Geeks and directed and produced The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Funny People (2009), This Is 40 (2012), and Trainwreck (2015).

Photo by: David Shankbone

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The World of Stand-Up Comics

The Last Laugh is the first and only book to take readers deep into the bizarre universe of the standup comic, from the classic years of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and Shecky Greene, to today's comedy superstars. Phil Berger shows how styles and trends in standup have changed over the past fifty years, but how taking the stage in a comedy club is as tough as it's always been. Performers profiled in the book include Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Elaine Boosler, Robert Klein, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Dick Gregory, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin, Cheech and Chong, Eddie Murphy, and a host of others. Filled with comics' hilarious routines and anecdotes, this substantially updated edition also chronicles the lives and careers of more recent artists, including Richard Lewis and Jay Leno.

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The Real Story of What Happens to America

June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long.  Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America’s population was aging rapidly.  That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond.  Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward “the olds” and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents’ entitlement programs.

But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.

The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way.  In 2030, the author’s all-too-believable imagining of where today’s challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.

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Raymond Carver’s third collection of stories, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, including the canonical titular story about blindness and learning to enter the very different world of another.  These twelve stories mark a turning point in Carver’s work and “overflow with the danger, excitement, mystery and possibility of life. . . . Carver is a writer of astonishing compassion and honesty. . . . his eye set only on describing and revealing the world as he sees it. His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart” (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World).

From the eBook edition.

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The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon

When Warren Zevon died in 2003, he left behind a rich catalog of dark, witty rock 'n' roll classics, including "Lawyers, Guns and Money," "Excitable Boy," and the immortal "Werewolves of London." He also left behind a fanatical cult following and veritable rock opera of drugs, women, celebrity, genius, and epic bad behavior. As Warren once said, "I got to be Jim Morrison a lot longer than he did."

Narrated by his former wife and longtime co-conspirator, Crystal Zevon, this intimate and unusual oral history draws on interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stephen King, Bonnie Raitt, and numerous others who fell under Warren's mischievous spell. Told in the words and images of the friends, lovers, and legends who knew him best, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead captures Warren Zevon in all his turbulent glory.

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Heart Advice for Difficult Times

The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:

•  Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage    •  Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down    •  Practices for reversing habitual patterns    •  Methods for working with chaotic situations    •  Ways for creating effective social action

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This second book of short stories by Andre Dubus established him as a master of the genre in the lineage of Hemingway and Chekhov, even as its gritty truths and spiritual attentiveness served to set his voice apart. The opening stories focus on the fragile nature of youth, exemplified in struggles with a father, a friend, an enemy, and obesity. In part two, Dubus contends with more adult forms of discipline: the military, the police, and fate and then leaves us with the most wrenchingof all emotional challenges in the final novella, "Adultery." Poignant as parables, alive as fiction, and compelling as pure narrative, these familiar stories never fail to entertain while, at the same time, leaving the reader breathless with the immediacy and depth of real life in real America.

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First published in 1920, Flappers and Philosophers marked F. Scott Fitzgerald's entry into the realm of the short story, in which he adroitly proved himself "a master of the mechanism of short story technique" (Boston Transcript). Several of his most beloved tales are represented in this collection of eight, including "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and "Head and Shoulders," with their particularly O. Henry­like twists; the poignant "Benediction" and "The Cut-Glass Bowl"; and "The Offshore Pirate," the octet's opening and most romantic story. It is a collection of masterful short works from an American literary icon that led The New York Times Book Review to note that "[no one] can fail to recognize Mr. Fitzgerald's talent and genius." Pocket Books' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. Special features include critical perspectives, suggestions for further reading, and a unique visual essay composed of period photographs that help bring every word to life.

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A Book about Art, Independence and Spiri

For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book--published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA's in creative writing--to these matters of the writer's heart. Still, the real gift of the book is Ueland herself: She liked to write, she didn't care what anyone thought, and she had a great sense of humor. You're simply happy to hang out with her.

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Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgiving Mormon farmers; their father, a drunk, thief, and con man. It was a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. Mikal, burdened with the guilt of being his father's favorite and the shame of being Gary's brother, gracefully and painfully relates a murder tale "from inside the house where murder is born... a house that, in some ways, [he has] never been able to leave." Shot in the Heart is the history of an American family inextricably tied up with violence, and the story of how the children of this family committed murder and murdered themselves in payment for a long lineage of ruin. Haunting, harrowing, and profoundly affecting, Shot in the Heart exposes and explores a dark vein of American life that most of us would rather ignore. It is a book that will leave no reader unchanged.

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This fictional memoir, the first of an autobiographical trilogy, traces a self professed failure's nightmarish decent into the underside of American life and his resurrection to the wisdom that emerges from despair.

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In Conversations with Wilder, Hollywood's legendary and famously elusive director Billy Wilder agrees for the first time to talk extensively about his life and work.

Here, in an extraordinary book with more than 650 black-and-white photographs -- including film posters, stills, grabs, and never-before-seen pictures from Wilder's own collection -- the ninety-three-year-old icon talks to Cameron Crowe, one of today's best-known writer-directors, about thirty years at the very heart of Hollywood, and about screenwriting and camera work, set design and stars, his peers and their movies, the studio system and films today. In his distinct voice we hear Wilder's inside view on his collaborations with such stars as Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, and Greta Garbo (he was a writer at MGM during the making of Ninotchka. Here are Wilder's sharp and funny behind-the-scenes stories about the making of A Foreign Affair, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and Ace in the Hole, among many others. Wilder is ever mysterious, but Crowe gets him to speak candidly on Stanwyck: "She knew the script, everybody's lines, never a fault, never a mistake"; on Cary Grant: "I had Cary Grant in mind for four of my pictures . . . slipped through my net every time"; on the "Lubitsch Touch": "It was the elegant use of the super-joke." Wilder also remembers his early years in Vienna, working as a journalist in Berlin, rooming with Peter Lorre at the Chateau Marmont -- always with the same dry wit, tough-minded romanticism, and elegance that are the hallmarks of Wilder's films. This book is a classic of Hollywood history and lore.

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“What makes all of this so remarkable is not merely Bellow’s eye and ear for vital detail. Nor is it his talent for exposing the innards of character in a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase. It is Bellow’s vision, his uncanny ability to seize the moment and to see beyond it.” –Chicago Sun-Times

Fading charmer Tommy Wilhelm has reached his day of reckoning and is scared. In his forties, he still retains a boyish impetuousness that has brought him to the brink of chaos: He is separated from his wife and children, at odds with his vain, successful father, failed in his acting career (a Hollywood agent once cast him as the “type that loses the girl”), and in a financial mess. In the course of one climactic day he reviews his past mistakes and spiritual malaise, until a mysterious philosophizing con man grants him a glorious, illuminating moment of truth and understanding, and offers him one last hope….

This Penguin Classics edition contains an introduction by Cynthia Ozick.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Newly updated by the authors, here is the classic text for couples interested in creating freer, more joyful, and profoundly intimate relationships. In their best-selling book about couple relationships, Jordan Paul and Margaret Paul explore the delicate balance of being true to oneself and being loved by another. While couples think they are fighting about money, sex, or time, the authors reveal how such conflicts are almost always more deeply rooted and related to issues of self-protection. Offering a solid framework for conflict resolution, the authors guide couples in working through fears and false beliefs that can block the expression of loving feelings. Stories of couples and examples of dialogue validate readers- feelings and experiences. Key features and benefits a proven best-seller highly recommended by marriage therapists includes exercises for couples to explore core beliefs and values

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A Comic's Life

In the mid-70s, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away". At age 10 Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott's Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times: the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late 60s, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the 70s.

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This unforgettable memoir, by one of our most gifted writers, introduces us to the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning. Separated by divorce from his father and brother, Toby and his mother are constantly on the move, yet they develop an extraordinarily close, almost telepathic relationship. As Toby fights for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, his experiences are at once poignant and comical, and Wolff does a masterful job of re-creating the frustrations and cruelties of adolescence. His various schemes - running away to Alaska, forging checks, and stealing cars - lead eventually to an act of outrageous self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.

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The classic American novel, re-published for the 100th anniversary of James Agee's birth

Published in 1957, two years after its author's death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains a near-perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident - a tragedy that destroys not only a life, but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng

New York Times Notable Book New York Times Bestseller

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.

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In this haunting, bracing new collection, Dan Chaon shares stories of men, women, and children who live far outside the American Dream, while wondering which decision, which path, or which accident brought them to this place. Chaon mines the psychological landscape of his characters to dazzling effect. Each story radiates with sharp humor, mystery, wonder, and startling compassion. Among the Missing lingers in the mind through its subtle grace and power of language.

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