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Common Nonsense Paperback – October 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

He's at it again. In his inimitable style, the 60 Minutes commentator and bestselling author picks apart the stuff of our lives-from the ordinary to the extraordinary-to get to the heart of the matter. Whether it be chairs that are too small for comfort, or why Americans have trouble understanding the Koran, no subject is too small or too grand for Rooney to scrutinize. The 154 essays are, he says, "a reflection of a flawed brain with a capacity for being interested in more things than it can comprehend." Hilariously funny at times, Rooney also takes a tender turn and despairs at some of the sadder aspects of American life. He laments the decline of family farms, yet marvels at the beauty of their crumbling barns: "It's sad to see something so noble as a barn die a slow and painful death." He has precise, sometimes surprising-and rarely nonsensical-insights into dieting ("If you're going to lose weight, you can't be sensible about it. You have to do something extreme"), Jimmy Stewart as war hero ("He was a bomber pilot in WWII and he did it better than he acted") and religion ("The Catholic church has never officially recognized that sexual desire cannot be suppressed by resolve). Though rambling at times, this is a funny, touching, charming work that will be welcome alongside Rooney's previous collections; his take on the annoyances and joys of humanity always hit home.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Oh, sure, people like to make fun of Andy Rooney, just as he pokes fun at American life and customs from his desk-front vantage point on the 60 Minutes television show. But people sure do read his books, and both My War (1995) and Sincerely, Andy Rooney (1999) have landed on the best-sellers lists. His latest book is a collection of 153 short essays about--everything! In them, he comes across just like he does on TV: grumpy and irritable but also witty and avuncular. These essays are arranged into 14 broad categories, including food and drink, politics, sports, entertainment and the arts, and travel. Rooney waxes on about sentiments easy to agree with, such as, "Tops of jars and bottles are hard to take off" and "Common courtesy has all but disappeared in many public places." However, he also focuses on aspects of American life we may not have thought of but certainly can stand to be reminded about, such as, "A well-built barn is a thing of beauty. . . . The bad news is, wooden barns, like farmers, are disappearing." And there are topics we actually want him to rail against, such as when he insists that "advertising is out of control but so is packaging." Actually, he's more a humorous than an activist-type essayist, but we need all the humor we can get in this dysfunctional world. Expect considerable demand for this sure-fire best-seller. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; English Language edition (October 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586482009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586482008
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,418,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Mullins on February 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like most people, I really enjoy Andy's segments at the end of 60 Minutes, but this book was my introduction to his written word. I quickly determined there isn't much of a difference. Each little piece is like something he would say on air, and his voice could be heard in my head as I made my way through his commonly known form of crafting an essay.
I suggest reading this book over an extended period of time. Don't try to read it all in one weekend. He deals with some fascinating ideas that should be given appropriate time for reflection. I would read about ten pages per day, and in those essays, I would find two or three that would stay with me for a while. His greatest quality is his truly independent voice. I find it refreshing that his pieces on popularly discussed issues aren't littered with the same jargon and tired old arguments that are found in works by most pundits.
One last thing...I keep hearing people refer to Andy as grumpy and cantankerous. If I find myself intrigued and persuaded by many of his essays, does that make me grumpy as well?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed every page of this book. One critique is for the book's editors, not for Mr. Rooney: numerous small errors divert the reader's attention. Mr. Rooney deserves better. But if you enjoy Andrew Rooney (he writes that he prefers "Andrew"), you'll love this book and will already be waiting for the next.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A 17 year old reader on February 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am 17 years old and stumbled upon this book after seeing a few minutes of an interview with Andy Rooney. I knew of him, but found him quite interesting in the interview and decided to check out the book. I'm glad I did.
"Common Nonsense" is a collection of very short essays about nearly everything in life you could think of. Sports, politics, hobbies, food-- you name it, it's covered. Although he does repeat himself occassionally, the book is very facsinating to read. When I finished, I felt that I had just read a roadmap of life-- Mr. Rooney packs in 83 years of wisdom. Most everything that he writes just makes so much sense.
This is a fun book to read. The essays are short enough that you can read as many or as few as you want. He doesn't try to flaunt his writing skills with long, verbose words. When I read I felt like I was getting a couple hundred pages of pure, down-to-Earth honesty.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about life.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
definately enjoyable - makes for frequent conversation - one has to almost immediately share the humor, wit, and "normalness" of Mr. Rooney's logic - my teenager & I have to schedule turns to read the book - it's very good .......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first seen Andy Rooney's book 'Years of Minutes' while using a facility at a friend's house and was extremely interested. So I orderered this book. Very Good Stuff!
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Format: Paperback
This book is abolutely hilarious. However, there is very little knee-slapping humor in it. What is not funny, however, a lot of the stuff that goes on that no one even notices.

It simply tells, from Andy's point of view, all the goofy things that are going on in this country and the world. He is on target for most of it. It's sort of like getting in to a discussion at the local coffee shop with a friend - you can agree or disagree with his observations. Of course I don't know a lot about a lot of the statistics he throws around but that doesn't really matter, he gets his point across.

It certainly gives a person a lot to think about and decide whether you agree with his point of view or not.

If you can't find anything, controversial or interesting in this book you are not very interested in what is happening on federal, state or local level or for that matter in your own life.

What I found most interesting is all the stuff he brings up that are part of every day life and no one even thinks twice about.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By bill runyon on January 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is, indeed, a nice read, as we say, and many people will
find it a very pleasant book to browse through. This is a compendium of pure Andy Rooney, and if a person enjoys hearing his 60 Minutes commentaries, they will enjoy this present book.
His stories are short and to the point, and he makes no pretense
of them being anything other than his personal opinion on dozens
of topics, from WWII to the present, and he is usually funny
and accurate.
But there is nothing new here, and the book moves along almost
too smoothly. There is very little to catch the imagination.
This book is easily put down, and it can be read anytime, anywhere with some satisfaction.
It would be a wonderful gift for Rooney fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The short essays are so good that the title could be "UNCOMMON LOGIC"!
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