Monday, August 19, 2013

the Joker by Andrew Hudgins

Did you ever meet a guy for whom nothing is sacred? He (and it is always a he) tells racist, sexist, homophobic jokes among many others and because of his attitude or demeanor or what, I don't know, can get away with it?  That is this guy.

Andrew Hudgins Professor of Poetry at Ohio State (THE Ohio State University)  has always been enamored of humor and since he remembers hearing his first joke (what is black and white and read all over?)  he has been seeking out and dissecting jokes to understand what makes them funny.

This is an oddly fascinating memoir in which he tells the story of his life through the prism of joke telling.  He carefully remembers and records all the jokes he's enjoyed and told and even hated over the years.  Jokes correspond with an excellent anaylsis of racism and sexism and homophobia. They also play pretty heavily into his childhood and teen years.

Although he does bring his memoir into the present day, about 85% of this memoir is dedicated to his life at age 18 or before. I began to wonder if I would ever know what became of him, if he married (yes twice) or had children (no) or got a job.

Anyway, very interesting twist on the memoir.  Fabulous discussion about humor--all of it, the good, the bad, and the racist. Thanks to Susan for the recommend. Available at the Public Library.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Lets just call this the Summer of the nurse.  I seem to keep picking up books about the caring profession.  This time the memoirs of Jennifer Worth who was a nurse-midwife in the east end of London in the 1950's.  A remarkable account of the life and times of a particularly hard time in a hard neighborhood. I picked it up mostly because I am captivated by the series Call the Midwife that has been airing on PBS for two seasons and which is based on this series (there are two more) of memoirs.

Anyway, if you are a fan of the series the memoir adds enough extra material that you will find it interesting; it really explains things a lot more fully, and if you have not watched the series, it is really a fascinating read in the memoir genre. Very different from everything else out there.  It was written in 2002. Ms Worth died a few years ago.

Easily picked up, in paperback, at Barnes and Nobles or you can borrow my copy.