The Fran Lebowitz Reader

( 5 )

Overview

Fran Lebowitz in
Public Speaking
A Martin Scorsese Picture
Now an HBO® Documentary Film

The Fran Lebowitz Reader brings together in one volume, with a new preface, two bestsellers, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, by an "important humorist in the classic tradition" (The New York Times Book Review) who is "the natural successor to Dorothy Parker" (British Vogue). In ...

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Overview

Fran Lebowitz in
Public Speaking
A Martin Scorsese Picture
Now an HBO® Documentary Film

The Fran Lebowitz Reader brings together in one volume, with a new preface, two bestsellers, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, by an "important humorist in the classic tradition" (The New York Times Book Review) who is "the natural successor to Dorothy Parker" (British Vogue). In "elegant, finely honed prose" (The Washington Post Book World), Lebowitz limns the vicissitudes of contemporary urban life—its fads, trends, crazes, morals, and fashions. By turns ironic, facetious, deadpan, sarcastic, wry, wisecracking, and waggish, she is always wickedly entertaining.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
On METROPOLITAN LIFE
"Hilarious...an unlikely and perhaps alarming combination of Mary Hartman and Mary McCarthy.... To a dose of Huck Finn add some Lenny Bruce, Oscar Wilde and Alexis de Tocqueville, a dash of cabdriver, an assortment of puns, minced jargon, and top it off with smarty pants." —The New York Times

"Her humor made me laugh aloud and call friends to read passages to them." —Newsweek

On SOCIAL STUDIES
"Right on the mark.... Among the things she hates this time...baggage-claim areas, high tech, after-shave lotion, adults who roller skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan." —Newsweek

"Unique.... Lebowitz offers vocational guides for aspiring heiresses, popes, empresses; manuals for landlords; guidance to the rich who wish to meet the poor." —Vogue

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679761808
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1994
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 399,414
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Fran Lebowitz still lives in New York City, as she does not believe that she would be allowed to live anywhere else.

Biography

Fran Lebowitz' New York City sensibility has been called "urban cool" by scores of reviewers, and while she definitely embodies the sarcastic and the bitter, she makes us laugh throughout. Lebowitz floated between odd jobs before breaking into the literary circuit in the early 1970s, when Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for his Interview magazine. Nearly overnight, Lebowitz became known as a sharp-witted, irreverent humorist, and she added magazines such as Mademoiselle to her resume.

In 1978, Lebowitz collected a series of essays and released Metropolitan Life. Hilarious and luxuriously dry, Lebowitz' cynical outlook on the oddities of New York City during the 1970s included observations on human nature ("Humility is no substitute for a good personality") to her ongoing struggle with writers block ("Contrary to what many of you might imagine, a career in letters is not without its drawback -- chief among them is the unpleasant fact that one is frequently called upon to sit down and write"). Metropolitan Life quickly became a New York Times bestseller because of its ability to speak to readers in middle-America as much as those in New York City.

Her second collection of essays, Social Studies (1981) delivers more of the same sardonic humor, with her fearless approach to exposing human weaknesses. Another New York Times bestseller, readers are treated to the bittersweet doses of reality they know and love, such as "Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you."

For more than 20 years, Lebowitz fans waited for random columns or interviews to get their fix of her classic one-liners. In 1994, The Fran Lebowitz Reader was released, combining all of her essays from Metropolitan Life and Social Studies into one riotous, cohesive publication. Reading Lebowitz in the 1990s, many of the essays, with titles like "Success Without College" and "When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...Shut Them," still delivered the big laughs, proving that her deflating humor was still viable decades after they were originally published.

Lebowitz also published a children's book in 1994, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas, about the treasures to be found in the secret passageways of a New York City apartment building. It appeared on the Publishers Weekly juvenile bestseller list.

Like Dorothy Parker of Algonquin Round Table fame, Lebowitz is best known for her lightning-fast, scathing comebacks. Her sophisticated pessimism and all-too-human humor make her a joy to read, whether it's done all in one sitting or one essay at a time.

Good To Know

Lebowitz worked many odd jobs -- including bartender and taxi driver -- before being discovered by Laurie Colwin at Dutton.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Frances Ann Lebowitz (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 27, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Jersey

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2005

    Plenty of memorable barbs

    With its references to citizens band radio, disco, smoking on airlines etc., this collection of essays and observations written during the 1970s can come across as dated. Even so, Lebowitz's wit frequently shines through with some lasting one liners. ('Polite conversation is rarely either.' 'Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.') Lebowitz relies too much on puns for my taste ('Sherlock Homes and Gardens') and some of her essays are thematically shallow. Yet, overall, she deserves a high ranking as one of the nation's top humorists - especially if you enjoy a bit of cynicism with your chuckles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    sometimes entertaining but mustly vervous.

    mildly entertaining

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 20, 2012

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    Posted February 27, 2010

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    Posted December 14, 2010

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