If we couldn't laugh in these insane times, we'd cry non-stop. Now more than ever, a good laugh is sorely needed. The decade that started with the Supreme Court installing second place Bully Boy Bush to the White House was supposed to end with change that would restore civil liberties, end the PATRIOT Act, end the wars, restore the Constitution, close Guantanamo and so much more. Instead, Barack Obama appeared to decide, "If I only have four years to serve, let me one-term it as a Bush."
Again, laughter was sorely needed in the last ten years. And many of the books we have previously picked for inclusion have a barb or two, a humorous aside. But our tenth and final pick of the ten most important books of the last ten years (2001 through 2011) is one that provides deep laughs.
Oh, and remember that white dress I wore all through the first movie? Unless you didn't see Star Wars, in which case, why are you still reading this? Anyway, George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, "You can't wear a bra under that dress."
So, I say, "Okay, I'll bite. Why?"
And he says, "Because . . . there's no underwear in space."
I promise you this is true, and he says it with such conviction too! Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn't see any bras or panties or briefs anywhere. Now, George came to my show when it was in Berkeley. He came backstage and explained why you can't wear your brassiere in other galaxies, and I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here's why you cannot wear your brassiere, per George. So, what happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn't -- so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit -- so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.
George is, of course, George Lucas. And the author, even more "of course," is Carrie Fisher.
2008's Wishful Drinking was both an excellent read and a mood enhancer -- a book that could lift you on a bad day and amuse you on a good one.
And true. The author found a way to look back at her own life and share it in an amusing manner -- which led to her stage show and then the book -- demonstrating yet again that the actress who came to fame as Princess Leia had even more talents than was initially understood.
And while she was bringing the much needed laughter to our lives, she was actually in a personal hell as she explains in this year's Shockaholic -- and still manages to keep you laughing.
She's often wrongly compared to Dorothy Parker. Both women were witty and funny. But "Big Blonde" is Parker's lasting claim to fame, a wonderful short story. Carrie's always needed a bigger canvas and has focused on novels (Postcards From The Edge, Surrender The Pink, Delusions of Grandma and The Best Awful) and memoir (Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic). There's only one Dorothy Parker and only one Carrie Fisher -- maybe proving each era gets the laughs it needs.
The book topped the list of best books for The Common Ills community in 2009 and Martha and Shirley explained:
Regardless, the book is much deeper than you'd expect from a writer's autobiography. We say "writer" because, yes, she is an actress, but when it comes to print, she earned "writer" with her first book (Postcards From The Edge).
So popular is the book it topped the 2009 picks of best books and turned around and made it to number four the following year on the 2010 best books.
In this series of ten important books of the last ten years, we've selected ten books that we think captured the era and offered something of lating use. Carrie's book is our tenth pick. We've also selected "Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected," "Chris Hedges'Death of the Liberal Class," "Shirley MacLaine's I'm Over All That," "CCR's Articles of Impeachment Against Bush," "Manal M. Omar's Barefoot in Baghdad," "Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream," "Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price's Courting Justice," "Anthony Arnove's Iraq: The Logic Of Withdrawal" and "Tori's Piece by Piece." Due to the Great Recession, your local libraries are both overtaxed (seeing more patrons than ever before) and underfunded. Make a point to check out your local library or local branch of your library and consider letting your local representatives know that you support increasing the budget for the library.