Nonfiction Naked with Rob Kirkpatrick #4

Nonfiction Naked is a column brought to you by Rob Kirkpatrick, a senior editor with Thomas Dunne Books at St. Martin's Press!

Read all of Rob Kirkpatrick's Nonfiction Naked articles here on the Macmillan Library blog.

The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert
Lisa Rogak

AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTHINESS (Thomas Dunne Books, October) delivers a funny and personal portrait of the ground-breaking star.

Colbert stands as probably one of the biggest comedians today, beloved not just for The Colbert Report or for his bestselling book, but for his infamous appearances in Washington. He delivered a searing takedown of President Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner while the president sat a few feet away, and His Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart, appearances at Congressional hearings, and establishment of a political action committee have not just been opportunities for political jokes but a chance to bring media attention to lesser-known issues. And yet throughout all this, the man in the spotlight is a fictional character, played by a comedian. 

Lisa Rogak's book gives us a chance to see behind that mask to understand who the real Stephen Colbert is. She shows not only his development as a comedian and actor but also his upbringing and family life. In seeing his true personality – not the faux backstory you hear about on the Report – you get a better sense of what's driving him to make serious points, albeit sweetened with some of the best political humor there is.

21st-Century Movie Reviews
Kurt Loder

Millions of us grew up watching Kurt Loder on The Week in Rock or reading him in Rolling Stone. With his unique combination of hipster knowledge and pop accessibility, he became a household name for the MTV Generation. 

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GOD-AWFUL (St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, November) collects roughly 200 film reviews that Loder wrote for and, more recently, for his current online gig with Reason magazine. I devoured this collection when it first came to me. It's fun, it's insightful, it's snarky—a true feast for film buffs. (And, really, who isn't a film buff?) 

Chris Connolly (ABC News and former editor of Premiere Magazine) aptly notes, "Reading this book is like sitting next to Kurt at the movies...only you get to laugh as loud as you want!" and Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) declares, "Every sentence [is] a witty, take-no-prisoners surprise." And in one of my favorite blurbs of all time, the outrageous Sarah Silverman tells readers, "Kurt Loder is an alien from outer space brought here to review movies. Enjoy his gift before we dissect him for research." Whether writing about an underappreciated indie gem or overblown Hollywood flop, Loder emerges as the reviewer of record for the millennial generation.

Bye for now.

Up next: The devil is in the details...

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