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Cool, Calm & Contentious: Essays Hardcover – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345518918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345518910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Advance praise for Cool, Calm & Contentious
 
“Now that I’ve read Merrill Markoe’s latest book, I’ve learned a lot—about virginity, fetishism, sociopaths and narcissists, and how she explained the BP oil spill to her dogs. Also that Merrill is funnier, smarter, and more honest than anyone any of us knows. Just accept it—I have.”—Winnie Holzman, creator of My So-called Life, co-author of Wicked

“Alarming and reassuring . . . Wait, that’s impossible.”—George Meyer, writer, The Simpsons

PRAISE FOR MERRILL MARKOE
 
Nose Down, Eyes Up
 
“Read this novel for its nose-to-the-ground wisdom, for its unsentimental take on family, and for the funniest, furriest pack of jokesters this side of the Marx Brothers.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Whimsical . . . an ideal place to bury your nose.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Hilarious.”—Publishers Weekly
 
Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
 
“Bound to make you laugh out loud.”—People (four stars)
 
“Fun and charming . . . So spin around three or four times, curl up with your four-legged friend and enjoy.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“A delight.”—Boston Sunday Globe

About the Author

Emmy Award–winning writer Merrill Markoe lives in Los Angeles, California, the garden spot of America, with four dogs and a man. She has authored three books of humorous essays and the novels Nose Down, Eyes Up; Walking in Circles Before Lying Down; and It’s My F---ing Birthday and co-authored (with Andy Prieboy) the novel The Psycho Ex Game. A lot of additional information about her—including a long bio, goofy videos, etc.—can be found at merrillmarkoe.com. After great amounts of hesitation, she is also on Facebook. But since she thinks about pulling the page down on a daily basis, check fast.

More About the Author

Merrill Markoe graduated from UC Berkeley with a masters degree in art, then went on to use her degree in the most pragmatic way possible by becoming a writer of comedy for assorted venues, including television, movies and magazines,(when there still were magazines.) Along the way she won five Emmys for Late Night with David Letterman and a Writer's Guild Award for HBO's Not Necessarily the News.These days she is STILL writing books and making short films. To learn more than you probably need to know about her, visit Merrillmarkoe.com. And when I say "her", I mean "me." As far as I can tell, I'm the only one writing this.

Customer Reviews

This book is hilarious throughout, and the warm personality of the author shines through.
K. B.
My wife stopped at a 1/3 of the way and I tried my hardest to get to the 1/2 way point still not being able to get any humour or enjoyment out of this terrible book.
Vasu S. Kengeri
This is the best, funniest and most hair-raising book ever written by anyone named Merrill Markoe, and I've read every book written by every Merrill Markoe.
Drew Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 83 people found the following review helpful By jbrown3079 on November 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was worth the wait. The writing is so good. It's more of a conversation than a book.

The approach Merrill takes to difficult subjects is extremely clever. Whether she is talking about her mom or her adventures in relationships, she handles it with wit and grace.

When I was done reading the book, I wanted to be able to give her a big hug of thanks. But since I couldn't do that, I wrote this instead.

This is a must buy.
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Gentle Reader on November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always been a huge fan of Merrill Markoe's novels. I bought this book of essays as soon as it came out. Not only is it hilarious (trying to model herself on Jack Kerouac as a desperate-to-be-liked teenager is full of laughs) but incredibly brave and revealing. Markoe writes with honesty, wit and wisdom on a wide range of topics: her impossible-to-please mother, a perfect explanation of the narcissistic personality, or a river rafting trip for women to bond over. Oh, and dogs! Lots and lots of dogs. This book is a treasure.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By VD (vdbooks) on December 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fun read, especially the parts about Merrill's peculiar yet fascinating mother. She came across as a character we've seen Claude Rains play (and that's why we love Claude Rains). Her 'first time', arty teen, rafting, and 'how to spot an a-word' essays were also fun. I got bogged down with all the dog stuff, but a dog owner may slurp that stuff up like spilled gravy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anna on December 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you Merrill for writing a book as a true comedian who knows what it means to be a comedian that isn't afraid to be self-reflective and serious at times. This book is poignant, heart breaking and entertaining at the same time. But not in the weird "checked out entertaining" way. I highlighted phrases in this book more times than I can count. Thanks for keeping it real [even alarming] and not being afraid to be you but being downright honest and hilarious at the same time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Drew Friedman on March 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best, funniest and most hair-raising book ever written by anyone named Merrill Markoe, and I've read every book written by every Merrill Markoe. A MUST READ for anyone who's ever known a Narcissist, has never known a Narcissist, or who would like to meet a Narcissist!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Claudia Miles on January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've heard it said that comedians would be cease being funny if they gained too much insight into their neuroses but Merrill Markoe proves that the opposite is true. Delving into the abyss can lead to some pretty humorous findings.

Markoe gets personal in Cool, Calm & Contentious, writing about herself, yet doing so makes the book that much more relatable. She shares the impact of being parented by a mother who's less than maternal, shall we say, and how that affected her self-esteem and choices in men. The flip side is that her uobringing also helped form and shape her considerable comedic skills, which have improved with age, while being ruled by self-doubt becomes more a thing of the past. Markoe's lighthearted, breezy style might make it seem like she came by self-knowledge easily, but there's no doubt it was hard won. I imagine some years of therapy (and more years of angst) as she suggests preceded that understanding. But this isn't math and Markoe need not show her work.

I like the description of the Fetish Ball as we've all been in situations where we feel out of place. I think we all do have felt the same sadness in hearing about people who attach harm or humiliation to intimacy and The story is funny because it's so unique and yet so human. The chapter on How to Spot an A****** should be required reading as young people go forth and "date." These seemingly small clues actually point out huge warning signs- and in a funny way. I encourage all my single-and-dating clients to read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So true and yet so hilarious - I could not stop reading it once I started. I saw Merrill being interviewed by Jon Stewart and decided to get the sample for my kindle. Thought it would only be about her mother's travel diaries - bought it anyway because it was so funny. It turns out that it is about many people (and dogs) throughout her life. Her explanation of recognizing (and learning how to cope with) people with narcissistic disorders may save you thousands in therapy sessions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Panchoskie on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Markoe offers an excellent and often hilarious book of essays. If you're a fan of the form and enjoy writers like David Sedaris, you'll love this little gem. For dog-lovers, it's a must-read.
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