The Orpheus Deception by David Stone: A Short Review by Rickey E. Pittman

The Orpheus Deception by David Stone was a fascinating and surprising read. An audio book narrated by Erik Davis, the 12 CD kept me company on my recent road trips. It was a novel rich in details–in allusion and facts, in military weapons, tactics and equipment. From this novel, I learned much about the CIA, the British SAS, the Serbian mafia, the Italian Carabinieri, And the Sid of Singapore. Italy, and specific areas such as Venice, Florence, Singapore with its brutal dictatorship and unimaginably cruel Changi prison.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin: A Short Review

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, Scribner Publishing, 2007

A Short Review by Rickey E. Pittman

Sometime ago–it was either on Fresh Air or on NPR News–I heard Steve Martin discussing his memoir, Born Standing Up. The interview revealed a new and intriguing side of Martin I had not known about, so I ordered the book, which I have now just got around to reading. The book is worth reading if you have any interest at all in Steve Martin, in New York Times Best Sellers, or in stand-up comedy. Here you will discover the brutal life of a comedian when on the road and learn many techniques and the vocabulary of comedy.

Let me tell you why I think I liked the book. I often encounter students who I think will have a knack and interest in comedy performance, and I nudge them to study comedy writing, to study comedians, to collect jokes and bits and try them out in public settings. Perhaps one of them one day will find a career in stand-up.