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Lee Siegel

Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence

Yale University Press

Unlike many (if not all) books on the Marx Brothers, there’s little show-biz anecdote or adulation in Siegel’s. This short work attempts to reassess “Marxian” humor’s principal voice through a combination of biographical evidence, film analysis and sometimes-stretchy deconstructive thinking. Add vaudeville, Freud, Samuel Beckett, Nietzsche and King Lear (a favorite of Groucho’s), and the conclusion is that, while not everything the Brothers did was actually funny, modern confrontational, combative comedy owes its existence to the Marx Brothers. Of course, not everything in modern comedy is funny either, as Groucho once observed.

– Bruce Collier

Kresley Cole

Sweet Ruin: Immortals After Dark, Book 16

Audible (Unabridged, Narrated by Robert Petkoff)

Immortals after Dark, where Valkyries with OCD end up falling in love with South African mercenary demons and there are more than one flavor of vampire out there in the dark. This latest funny, sexy and fast-paced installment introduces Thaddeus’ sister Josephine, a/k/a “Lady Shady.” She’s a street smart, wisecracking, butt-kicking “superhero” with a penchant for knocking around pimps and hustlers who take advantage of women (especially). Most importantly she’s trying to watch out for her “mortal” brother Thaddeus from afar. That is, until a new immortal player, the Archer—Rune the Baneblood—comes into the scene with an agenda of his own seeming at odds with Josephine’s only purpose in life, protecting Thaddy.

 

Problem? They just may be the only ones destined for each other, and his very kiss is poison.

 

I wish I could tell you to jump right into this fantastic series with this book, but you can’t. The good news is you could probably pick out whichever of the first few books that sound promising and work back and forth. It’s just that in a complex world-building urban fantasy, there’s too much backstory by the time you hit book 16.

 

With this series it’s not just high angst and unrequited ongoing emotional crap. It’s a genuinely funny, snarky and very light hearted read (or listen—Petkoff nails it).

– Lesha Maureen Porche
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