Social Studies
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Social Studies

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Second collection of essays by the author of "Metropolitan Life" (1978).
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 147 pages
Published 1981 by Random House
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If you were to draw a line from early Woody Allen to recent Ian Frazier, odds are that Fran Lebowitz would snag her (undoubtedly stylish) sweater on it. Social studies, her second collection of sardonic essays, where she discusses "People," "Places," and "Things," utilizes the same methods of satire and parody made familiar by the New Yorker humorists of the 1970s. Lebowitz thus finds herself in the same field as Dorothy Parker and Victoria Geng, but Lebowitz manages to carve out a unique comic...more
Fran Lebowitz's compilation of articles were very hit and miss. I think the problem with the "miss" titles are that they're extremely and obviously dated. Now when I say dated, I don't mean they are so old that it's interesting in a retrospective type of way, as they are only about 25 years old. A lot of the jokes just didn't translate well and would definitely not even be mildly amusing or possibly understood by people who weren't living in NYC in the 80's.

That's not to say that the book is al...more
May 21, 2011 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Checkman by: The author. Saw her on television promoting it.
Shelves: humor
I read this book when it was published in 1981. I found it very funny. As a result of picking this book up one day on a dull Sunday afternoon I've been a fan of Fran Lebowitz for the past thirty years. I have to thank my mother. It was her book.

But if I understand some of the other reviews posted here I am dating myself. The essays are old and out of date.

Okay I'm old and out of date. The writing is still funny and smart. And I'm not even from New York state much less New York City.
Anne Walbridge
After years of seeing Fran Lebowitz popping up, Zelig-like, in all these incongruously glamorous settings, I wanted to like her writing. She's the classic outsider-insider, who's got to have some prime observations, right? But when I finally got around to reading this book, it just felt far too dated. Not even worthwhile as a period piece, just stale and cringe-inducing...
2 1/2 really,There's a lot of wit here but there's also quite a bit that feels dated. I'm sure it was a lot funnier twenty years ago.
I think I'm 20 years too late, and 20 years out of NY to truly appreciate this book.
David Macpherson
Wow, I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. Some of the essays were funny, but the jokes started to get reuesed, and maybe I just don't care about how hard it is to get an affordable apartment in 1980 New York, but it all left me flat. I got to see her wit and talent, but I felt that it was of a New Yorker mold, with nothing to truly distinguish it. Kind of bummed, wanted to love it.
Julie Stout
Clever, funny, self-deprecating in a way not hackneyed, cliched, and annoying. Wish Fran were more prolific. I could go for a lot more of her takes on things! Funniest essays were about navigating the cultural differences that this New Yorker experienced in L.A., as well as apartment hunting in NYC and some of the very eccentric aspects of those places.
I read this when I was in Virginia Beach for the first part of the summer of 1983. I remember almost nothing about it but that it was the smae snarky humor that had endeared Metropolitan Life to ...well other would be snarks. From my 1983 book journal, "Not bad. Liked M.L better. There were a few hee-haws, but it dragged." The I start rambling about how a boy named Michael and I had discussed marriage. He had been my neighbor in Italy and had been newly-found. I think that I read these collectio...more
I guess both of Fran Lebowitz's books are horribly dated (although the New York real estate jokes still seem pretty fresh), but they remind me of being a small child in the 80s thinking New York City was this dangerous and yet totally sophisticated place where someone could karate chop you on the subway and take your purse or just make fun of your clothes in a really cutting way.
Austen to Zafón
Rather dated humorous essays about the urban life of a writer. I often disagree with Lebowitz, but she is so funny, I don't mind. She actually reminds me of a friend I went to high school with who is just as misanthropic and opinionated. I first read these essays in high school, but recently perused them again since Scorsese has done a documentary about her.
Delightful! I laughed out loud on her essay on animals/pets which she has no use for. One of her solutions is to have the "lonely" lead the blind - that way the lonely will have a friend and the blind will be getting good directions. There's a little bit of everything for everybody in this book. A very easy read and fun.
She's so bright, educated, witty, with-it and downright funny. The only downside is that this book was published in 1981 and it is social commentary. Unfortunately, most of it is out of date. You can tell how funny she would have been at the time, and some of it is still funny, but mostly it's in mothballs.
Marissa Morrison
This book has wit, but Lebowitz doesn't seem to have any real messages to impart and there's no emotional payoff either. It's pretty dated (with references to things like phone operators and airplane smoking sections), so I'm sure I didn't get a lot of the cultural references.
Pretty funny. But also pretty clichéd. I didn't know anything about her before picking this up. Also, others mention that it's dated, while I just bumbled along through it not even realizing that.
This book opened my eyes to the other side of civilization beyond the farms of South Jersey. Fran Lebowitz is an incredible observer of life and behavior.
The reviews that said the humor was era-specific and felt very dated were right. I read it, but couldn't really tell you what it was that I read.
I liked it and I laughed often. I especially enjoyed the chapter, POINTERS FOR PETS. This book will lighten anyone's day.
Melissa, as always, was the one to introduce me to sophisticated things like caviar and Fran Lebowitz.
Matthew Towles
I couldn't read this within hearing it being read by Lebowitz herself. That's a good thing, right?
Brief, witty in parts. Worth the two hours it would take to read all at once.

Truly enjoyable. Lots of great, funny qotes.
Entertaining but old fashioned. Like my trousers.
John Roberson
John Roberson marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2014
Maria marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2014
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Frances Ann "Fran" Lebowitz is an American author.

Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Lebowitz is best known for her sardonic social commentary on American life through her New York sensibilities. Some reviewers have called her a modern day Dorothy Parker.

After being expelled from high school and receiving a GED, Lebowitz worked many odd jobs before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interv...more
More about Frances Ann Lebowitz...
The Fran Lebowitz Reader Metropolitan Life Metropolitan Life/Social Studies Tales From A Broad: An Unreliable Memoir Mr. Chas & Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas

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