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Barack Like Me

by David Alan Grier Alan Eisenstock

FROM GROWING UP IN DETROIT, where he marched as a ten-year-old with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama, where he narrowly avoided the Purple Tunnel of Doom but still saw nothing, David Alan Grier examines how he -- and America -- have changed for the better and the funnier. Within these pages, Grier imagines being called to serve in President Obama's cabinet as the "secretary of mirth"; takes you to a wild and emotional election night party he hosted that didn't go as planned; explains the true meaning of the "magical Negro"; recalls the formative episodes from his life -- including being rejected by the Black Panthers at their headquarters door and turning down the initial offer to work on In Living Color -- and for the first time ever sneaks you backstage at Dancing with the Stars, where he exposes the inner workings of the show -- the camaraderie between dancers and stars, the excruciatingly painful rehearsals, the outrageous preparations, and each hysterical moment of his four-episode appearance and subsequent public meltdown. Grier unabashedly muses on politics, culture, and race while recounting his own life story in this edgy, timeless, hilarious, and revelatory memoir and look at all things Barack. Barack Like Me is David Alan Grier at his best -- the man, comic, and twenty-first-century thinker -- funny, brilliant, and original.

Cancer on Five Dollars a Day* (*Chemo Not Included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life

by Robert Schimmel Alan Eisenstock

In the spring of 2000, Robert Schimmel was riding high. He'd won the Stand-Up of the Year Award, his HBO special was a huge hit, and his sitcom had been picked up. And then it all came crashing down. Diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he was told he would have to undergo chemotherapy immediately. The sitcom was dumped and the fire of his white-hot career started to go out. But Schimmel never lost his sense of humor, his knife-like edge, and most of all, his passion to entertain. Indeed, it was his basic need to laugh-even if the only people around him were suffering from cancer and the room he was playing was the Mayo Clinic infusion center-that carried him through his ordeal. From his colorful banter with nurses and other patients during chemo, to his hilarious conversation with a wig salesman, going for the laugh was Robert Schimmel's survival mechanism. Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and profound,Cancer on Five Dollars a Dayis an honest account of how one man's face-off with a deadly disease helped him better understand himself.

The Handoff

by John Tournour Alan Eisenstock

John Tournour, known to his many listeners and fans as JT the Brick, is one of the biggest sports radio personalities in America. Making it as a sports radio host is almost impossible, and JT went about it in a fearless way, leaving a lucrative position as a Merrill Lynch stockbroker to pursue his dream. But Tournour's hardest challenge would come when his best friend and mentor, Andrew Ashwood was diagnosed with cancer.THE HANDOFF is about JT the Brick's rise to sports radio stardom, and how his entire view of life changed as his best friend fought a losing battle to a deadly disease. As Andrew heroically endured chemotherapy treatment after treatment, Tournour was at his side, marveling at his friend's bravery and trying to be there for him as best he could. THE HANDOFF is about facing your fears, the power of connection, and the incredible lessons Tournour learned from his dear friend.

In Stitches

by Alan Eisenstock Anthony Youn

Scrubs meets David Sedaris in this hilarious fish-out-of- water memoir about a young Korean-American nerd turned renowned plastic surgeon. Tony Youn grew up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town where diversity was uncommon. Too tall and too thin, he wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, Hannibal Lecter headgear, and had a protruding jaw that one day began to grow, expanding to an unthinkable, monstrous size. After high school graduation, while other seniors partied at the beach or explored Europe, Youn lay strapped in an oral surgeon's chair where he underwent a life-changing jaw reconstruction. Ironically, it was this brutal makeover that led him to his life's calling, and he continued on to endure the four horrific, hilarious, sex-starved, and tension-filled years that eventually earned him an M.D. Offering a window into a side of medicine that most people never see, Youn shares his bumpy journey from a shy, skinny, awkward nerd into a renowned and successful plastic surgeon. Now, Youn is the media's go-to plastic surgeon. He appears regularly on The Rachael Ray Show, and his blog, Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, is widely read and very popular. But it was a long road to success, and In Stitches recounts Dr. Youn's misfit adolescence and his four tumultuous years in medical school with striking wit, heart, and humility. For anyone who has ever experienced the awkward teenage years or is ready for some escapist fun, In Stitches is one man's heartfelt, candid, and laugh-out-loud funny, journey of finding his true calling in life--and learning to be comfortable in his own skin.

The Kindergarten Wars: The Battle to Get into America's Best Private Schools

by Alan Eisenstock

THE KINDERGARTEN WARS is the first narrative nonfiction book ever to take the reader inside all aspects of the private school application process. Eisenstock follows several families across the country from their first school tours until the moment they open their admissions letters. He interviews admissions directors, school heads, teachers, educational consultants, and kindergarten tutors, who coach both parents and kids. Did you know the most important line in your child's application is where you-the parent-went to college? Did you know that you can qualify for financial aid even if you make $192,000 a year? Eisenstock uncovers startling information, starting with how private school admissions directors decide who gets in. Does the child of a single woman of ethnic diversity on financial aid have a better chance of getting into an elite kindergarten than a child of a middle-class white couple? He will ask Ivy League students, their parents, and their admissions counselors the $500,000 question: Does where you go to kindergarten ultimately help you get into the most prestigious colleges? At its core, THE KINDERGARTEN WARS is a human drama. It's the story of a quest and the people who are vying for the prize-a space in private school kindergarten-at any cost. The book is honest, funny, suspenseful, and emotional.

Sports Talk: A Journey Inside the World of Sports Talk Radio

by Alan Eisenstock

Their voices explode over the airwaves -- with names like Mike and the Mad Dog, the Stinkin' Genius, Hacksaw, and JT the Brick. They broadcast in drive time and downtime, from rush hour to the dead of night. And yet, millions of fans tune in around the clock to hear their favorite larger-than-life radio personalities rant, rave, critique, predict, and mix it up with callers -- the dedicated fans of sports talk radio. Never before has this cloistered world opened its doors to a no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes, full-access look at itself. Noted journalist (and fan) Alan Eisenstock embarks on a journey through the American sports radio landscape and gives readers a front-row seat -- from breakfast at the kitchen table of Eddie Andelman, Boston's godfather of sports radio, to the WFAN commissary with Mike and the Mad Dog in New York; from the plush home game room of Chicago's hot dog-vendor­turned-#1 DJ Mike North to the empty 3 AM studio parking garage with nationally syndicated JT the Brick. Eisenstock goes into the studios, homes, and lives of these and many other of America's hottest and most-listened-to sports talk hosts. Filled with hilarious and entertaining tales of what makes these hosts tick -- as well as the unbelievable stories of how they got where they are today --Sports Talkpaints a picture the fans never see. Eisenstock shows us the blood, sweat, and tears of program directors with their reputations on the line; hosts searching for career security; and station managers who are always eyeing the bottom line. And, of course, there are stories of the rabid, obsessed, and off-the-wall fans. Whether you're a sports fan or a sports talk junkie, you'll be hooked from the first page.

Ten on Sunday

by Alan Eisenstock

A moving, lyrical, eye-opening look at the true nature of intimacy among men. The L. A. riots had an indelible effect upon the city of Los Angeles, upon the wider debate in this country about race, and especially -- in the pages of this wonderful memoir -- on ten weekend basketball players. After the riots, and once he'd fled his mid-city home for the relative safety of suburban Santa Monica, Alan Eisenstock at last found himself with a driveway that was big enough for a weekly basketball game. For years he'd yearned for this; now all that stood between him and the zone defense was the fruits of the carob tree that fell on the driveway and threatened to ruin the game. Once the surface was clear, however, Sundays were given over to a raucous, competitive, and hilarious series of ball games. But what began as a recreation soon became a chance to shatter the Boy Code once and for all. So here they are: doctors, lawyers, writers, construction guys -- some single, some married -- all, however, committed to the game they're playing, and to the deepening of friendships the time together engenders. Along the way there's a fight and a falling-out; the tragic death of one of the guys' wives; a trip to Mexico that's right out of a buddy movie, except that these early-middle-aged men end up in bed by 9:30 P. M. ; a laugh-out-loud karaoke session that has to be read to be believed; and more bagels than any book should ever be able to bear. Holding it all together is Alan Eisenstock himself. His own personal journey from unhappy, stressed-out screenwriter to full-fledged, fulfilled book writer is the story of a man risking his financial and emotional life in order to follow his heart. And what begins as a weekly ritual of game-playing becomes, over five years, a meaningful exchange on marital issues, money worries, and the onset of various midlife crises. The result is a lovely, whimsical, and hilarious book about guys and what they talk about when their better halves are not around.

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