Funny Pop Culture Books

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Funny Pop Culture Books

Beach season may be over, but the need for "beach reads" never goes away.  For me, a beach read is rarely a novel. My ideal relaxation book is usually light, funny, non-fiction and usually about some aspect of pop culture.  (I realize that this a very specific genre.)  I've picked some of my favorites below.  If you aren't in the mood for fiction the next time you go on vacation give one of these a try!

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell 
This book tells the true behind the scenes story of The Room, a film considered to by many to be "the best worst movie".  (Not to be confused with Room, an actual good movie.)  It is co-written by Greg Sestero, co-star of The Room and the best friend of its eccentric director, Tommy Wiseau.  The book recounts the history of their friendship as well as the tumultuous production of the movie that is now a cult phenomenon.  It's a hilarious and weirdly touching read, and it's currently being made into a film starring James Franco entitled The Masterpiece.   

Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt
In what he calls "either the most interesting or the most boring addiction memoir you've ever read" Patton Oswalt writes about his adult life was shaped by his obsession with film.  The highlight of this book is the story of Patton's attempt to stage a live reading of the script to Jerry Lewis's spectacularly misguided (and lost) film The Day the Clown Cried, only to be thwarted by a ridiculously infuriated Hollywood executive. 

Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt
The title essay in this book introduces the intriguing premise that the Star Wars universe is largely functionally illiterate.  Britt points out that the characters are rarely seen reading, and important information is communicated via crude symbols or holograms.  Yes there is a library in Attack of the Clones, but only the Jedi have access to it.  When the general public doesn't have access to accurate information,  Britt argues, it is easier for the Empire to take over.  It's a very funny essay and but food for thought.  We don't want an Evil Empire, guys, so support your local library

And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft by Mike Sacks
And Here's the Kicker features interviews with some of the great comedy writers of our time.  Some are underappreciated collaborators of more famous comedians (Stephen Merchant, the co-creator of Extras and the original UK version of The Office, Annie Hall co-writer Marshall Brinkman, and Sasha Baron Cohen's partner-in-crime Dan Mazer).  Others are comedy geek legends (George Meyer, Jack Handey, Larry Wilmore, Robert Smigel and Allison Silverman).  All of them have great stories and insights into the world of comedy.      

Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists by A.V. Club
Pretty much what it says on the label.  The AV Club, The Onion's entertainment sister website. While not satirical like The Onion, it's pretty funny and insightful on it's own.  Of course, a librarian is going to be biased towards a book that has lists that include "Lost in Translation: 20 Not-So-Good Movies Based on Good Books" and "So It Goes: 15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has or Ever Will."  However, even a non-reader can appreciate "Weeble Falls Down: 34 Actual Topic Names from Hasbro.com ("Cuddle Chimp Will Not Respond") or "Night of the Killer Lamp: 22 Ridiculous Horror-Movie Adversaries."  Also "The Party's Over, Go Home: 15 Pieces of Music Sure to Clear the Room" is genuinely helpful when you need to end the party quickly.