Elna Baker is a New York-based comedian and writer. Her memoir, "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance," is about her struggle growing up in the Mormon faith, and living as a practicing Mormon in bohemian New York City. She struggles with her weight, her faith, and her virginity as she balances an artistic temperament with a longing to live a traditional Mormon lifestyle.
Scott Schuman is the creator of the street fashion photography blog The Sartorialist. His new book collects some of his favorite photos from the blog. His subjects range from Hasidim on the streets of New York to garment industry insiders in Milan.
Nick Hornby is the author of numerous books, the most recent of which is Juliet, Naked. He's also written the screenplay for the film "An Education."
Our pal John Hodgman is touring the paperback of his hilarious book More Information Than You Require. He'll be here in LA tomorrow, in Chicago Tuesday, and across America thereafter:
* Book Soup, Hollywood (7:00 pm)
* Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago (6:00 pm)
* Borders, Ann Arbor (7:00 pm)
* Books and Company, Beavercreek (7:00 pm)
* Bookmarks Book Festival, Winston-Salem (5:30 pm)
* Miami Book Fair, Miami (5:00 pm)
We particularly like the poster that our friend Tom Deja designed for his Second City show on Tuesday.
Hodgman's also podcasting the "This Day In History" portion of his book. You can find it in iTunes.
Sarah Vowell joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about moving, animatronic presidents and more. Her most recent book, The Wordy Shipmates, was just released in paperback.
Bucky Sinister is a poet, comedian and recovering addict. His most recent book is "Get Up: A Recovery Guide for Misfits, Freaks and Weirdos."
Nathan Rabin has been the head writer of The Onion's AV Club for over ten years, his first book The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture delves into the unusual upbringing that helped create the pop-culture savant that we know and love today: in a way that's both hilarious and heartbreaking.
John Wenzel is an entertainment writer for The Denver Post. He’s also a huge comedy nerd. Lucky for us he combined his professional skill with his personal passion and came up with Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny. Wenzel talks about why indie comedy works, why some comedians aren’t fond of the term and tells us about some people you may find funny.
Chris Bowman: Indie music once referred to the way a label would operate, independent of major label affiliation and/or mainstream attention, now it seems to describe a sound. Is indie comedy similar that way, has the definition changed over time?
John Wenzel: At this point I don’t think so. I don’t think the term is wide spread or used often enough to denote that D.I.Y ethic of doing comedy outside the traditional club circuit or the mainstream stand up circuit. But, I think it has the potential to go that way. Like you said, and like I say in the intro to the book, indie music used to refer more to the means of doing it and its relationship with the commercial world but in the past ten or fifteen years it has come to mean more of an aesthetic or a tonal quality. And maybe for good or bad, maybe the book might have something to do with this, maybe indie comedy will come to mean more of a style than a way of going about things. I think it’s not well known enough as a term or used often enough to be used as a descriptor of a style. There are so many different styles that I talk about that to me fall into the indie comedy label, so to speak. I think it is short hand though, for people to know what it means.
For more from John Wenzel click Read More
Larry Smith is a writer whose work has appeared in Salon, Slate, Popular Science, and Men’s Health. More importantly he’s the founding editor of SMITH Mag. A site entirely devoted to the art of storytelling and encourages you, the reader, to contribute. One of the many projects on the site is Six-Word Memoirs. It has been so successful that it has spawned a series of books. Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs is the first. There are more that 800 hundred contributions in one nice little package. Smith spoke to Chris Bowman about origins, community, and how a few words can lead to many.
Chris Bowman: First off the most obvious question, with Not Quite what I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs, what were you planning?
Larry Smith: Originally we started SMITH magazine as a participatory populist story telling community in January 2006. The idea was for a place where people who may consider themselves writers could write all personal stories. We always wanted to be a community where we had some professional editors involved and it was curated. I mean give them story projects. My Life So Far is a personal essay or part of your memoir in progress. Brushes With Fame you’d write about meeting celebrities. My Ex…that kind of stuff. We have other projects like non-fiction web comics and Memoirville, where we do interviews with up-and-coming or even famous memoirists. And all of that was going fine. We started with no money, a lot of volunteer labor and sweat. In November 2006 we decided to try this six-word memoir idea. The idea came from Hemingway, who was once challenged in a bar bet to write a six-word short story, For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn. The idea of six-words has shown up in different literary circles over time but no one had done a six-word memoir. It makes perfect sense for our readers because we are a community of storytellers.
CB: It has been said in a few places that text messaging is the death of the English language. And recently I read an article that cites Twitter as one of the reasons people are losing the appreciation for the rhythm of language. What’s your opinion when it comes to the state of our language?
Click on "Read More" for more from Larry Smith
Noted humor publication The Wall Street Journal just published a lengthy story about one of Kasper Hauser's two (count 'em - two) forthcoming books, "Obama's Blackberry."
This is how Rob from Kasper Hauser describes their writing process: "It’s kind of like four clowns driving a clown car and each one has a steering wheel and at any time two of them are sad and there’s no food.”
They even get a comment from Joe Biden's press representative. Apparently, the book isn't funny, because Joe Biden would never actually ask the President if he can leave at 4:45.