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The Insanity Defense
Woody Allen
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The Insanity Defense

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  833 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Comprising the classic bestsellers Getting Even, Without Feathers, and Side Effects, this definitive collection of comic writings is from a man who needs no Introduction. Really–this book has no Introduction.

The Insanity Defense reveals many sides of Woody Allen as he holds forth on the most human of urges (“Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only for food: fre
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published (first published 2007)
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به نقل از مقدمه‌ی کتاب:
" دفاع از دیوانگی که در سال 2007 منتشر شده، مجموعه‌ای از مقاله‌های طنز وودی آلن از سه کتاب « بی‌حساب » « بی‌بال و پر » و « عوارض جانبی » است. "

اعتراف می‌کنم از شنیدن خبر انتشار کتاب تازه‌ای از وودی الن به حدی ذوق‌زده بودم که حتی نگاهی به فهرست یا مقدمه نینداختم و در نتیجه یک مجموعه‌ی تماما تکراری روی دستم ماند. باشد که عبرت بگیریم!
This a collection of short stories, many dealing with issues and subject matter that Allen's films deal with - sex, fidelity, existence, art, music, etc. What struck me most was the inconsistency of the quality of his stories. I'm giving this book three stars, but if I could rate each story, there would be several five stars and several one star stories.

Some were extremely creative and delightful to read. You felt like these stories could have been expanded into full length films. The sci-fi st
Collection of separate essays on different themes by the sometimes funny Woody Allen. I'm not saying I didn't ever laugh at his jokes but most of them were just too abstract for me. I did however enjoy the ones on Hitler and in general the ones treating high or low society habits.

In a way, good public transport literature. Easy to read and keeps you entertained.
I found it impossible to read large sections of this at a time because Woody Allen's prose is unrelentingly absurdist. There is no narrative of any kind in any of the stories (except the "Kugelmass Affair", which is one of the more enjoyable stories in the book, about a middle aged prof who has an affair with Madam Bovary with the help of a magician), and the emphasis is on unexpected turns of phrase. So you have to pay close attention to the language to get anything out of this.

A lot of the ma
“Could Hitler beat Churchill to sideburns? Himmler said Churchill had a head start and that it might be impossible to catch him. Goring, the vacuous optimist, said the Fuhrer could probably grow sideburns quicker, particularly if we marshalled all of Germany’s might in a concentrated effort. Von Rundstedt, at a meeting of the General Staff, said it was a mistake to try to grow sideburns on two fronts at once and advised that it would be wiser to concentrate all efforts on one good sideburn. Hitl ...more
Truthfully I've been working on this book for a couple years and am not exactly done with it. I am a Woody Allen fan and I like his whole "thing" but it still is something which in prose form, I can only take piecemeal.
Tom M
The only other Allen book I've read was Mere Anarchy and I enjoyed this collection of three books much more than that.

My criticism is one that relates to that of a Dave Barry book I reviewed prior to this book. Allen's mix of dryness and absurdity is almost like a graduate version of Barry. What I mean is that Insanity Defense is a collection of funny stories, but all of them have the same dry/absurd/surreal humor quality that, if you read the book in one sitting like I did, tend to stop being f
Tom Steele
Okay, a lot of the reviews below are absolutely correct. This book is very hit-and-miss and Mr.Allen makes way too many references to various thinkers, artists and cultural icons throughout the book (particularly Igor Stravinsky, who must have been mentioned in 10+ stories/essays). As you might imagine this makes this a really difficult collection to read simply for the wide breadth of knowledge you need to have just to understand a simple one-liner.

I am a bit biased towards a lot of these ref
At times Woody's writing is hilarious, but I found it is best consumed in small amounts. This is a collection of individual pieces written over the years. I'm sure these pieces were highly effective when they were first published in magazines (mostly the New Yorker), but when taken as a whole they become a little repetitive. The humor is a blend of Woody's well known neurotic rants, a good dose of Jewish self deprecation, and at times complete absurdity. I was often reminded of Groucho Marx and ...more
Tanis Mejia
Divertido libro que entre sus capitulos de pequeñas historias habla sobre esas sectas que pululan por todas partes y que son capaces de prometer y pedir cualquier cosa a cambio de nada, sobre la idea de hacer ropa con olores especiales, entre muchas otras funciones, como la de batería para cargar el celular, por ejemplo... O sobre que los genios deberían cobrar en especie... Esta divertido :)
Diana Cortes
It just is, one of my favorite books to get lost in. Reading for the pleasure of finding meaning in the written word. Makes me smile, and cry and sigh and mostly makes me want to keep reading.
Pardis Parto
کتاب «دفاع از دیوانگی» وودی آلن که در سال ۲۰۰۷ منتشر شده، مجموعه‌ای از مقاله‌های طنز وودی آلن از سه کتاب بی‌حساب (۱۹۷۱)، بی بال و پر (۱۹۷۵) و عوارض جانبی (۱۹۸۰) است.
Ayesha Mirza
Not for the faint of heart but definitely will tickle the bones of the faint of mind-
in vein with the woody allen theme, this is actually a book i stole (accidentally? who can remember...) from my aunt's loft in new york city.

much like his movie repertoire, woody allen's short stories are incredibly hit-and-miss. some of them manage to be brilliant and hysterical and poignant, while others miss the mark, but not by too much. the highs are very very high and the lows are not even that bad, just not-too-great.
Really hilarious short stories and "essays". While I'm usually not embarrassed while laughing alone on the subway, this book caused me to have many loud outbursts that garnered strange looks. It could've been my Tourette's, but I'm pretty sure it was the book making me laugh, hard. If you're a comedian/comedy writer this will cheer you up, since if you are a comedian or comedy writer you are depressed.
Feb 10, 2008 Robert rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good joke
I remember reading "the Kugelmass Episode" in a English class in 7th grade... wonderful stuff. I didn't know who Woody Allen was, nor did I know who Madam Bovary was, and I had never even been to NYC, but it was still hilarious.

To read this full collection now was a great treat, and it is interesting to see how many of his short essays ended up in films later on.

Recycle, reduce, and reuse.
RK Byers
ok, i'm cheating. i didn't actually read "Getting Even" but since in appears in its entirety in the first part of this book, i added it. i didn't read the rest of this book because i'd already read the other two books. there hasn't been anything this rank done since Ricky Davis intentionally threw the ball underneath the basket so he could have another rebound and therefore a triple-double.
Jon Cox
I will admit that I laughed out loud at his absurdity at times, however, in general the prose is so choppy and disconnected that it leaves me wishing that Allen had enough patience to develop any of his ideas into an actual story rather than the hasty bedside notes they seem to be. But then, maybe he figured he could make a buck by publishing all his dead-end starts. Who knows?
Aaron Bruenger
Oct 15, 2007 Aaron Bruenger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woody Allen fans
ok, I'm a sucker for Woody Allen's sense of humor. so this collection is a good one (for me). got it as a birthday present. most of the pieces are short, so they make a good quick read or a nice "waiting room" read for the hair salon/cut place, the dentist's office (but no other doctor's office) or the post office. they also show off Allen's fine sense of absurdity and verbal play.
Hit and miss. Some of his stuff is absolutely hilarious. others, so so. You can always tell which character is Woody in all of his writings, as if they are really skits or ideas for a movie, starring him. Several of the stories are flat out great and so it's worth the read. Just do it in fits and starts or you'll tire of his voice quickly.
why am i never in the mood for this one? it's -kind- of like steve martin's books, but without me laughing out loud. it seems like allen's discarded gag scenes and setups from past movies. i'm sure it would strike me different some other time, but you definitely have to be in the right mood for this sort of reading...
Matteo Tonelli
A nice book for Woody's fans, otherwise too often overintellectual.
Some of the short stories seem to lack a good ending. Others are just an exercise of absurdism. Still, as usual with Allen's work, there is always a bit of genoius.

Real good stories are:

1)The Gossage-Vardebedaian Papers

2)The Kugelmass episode
Light in weight and in substance, perhaps even a little predictable, contrived and corny, but sure as shit the stories make me laugh. Maybe it's the New York thing, the self-deprication/narcissistic defense, or maybe it's all the analytic references, but reading his stuff always makes me feel (nervously) at home.
I loved this. So why not 5 stars, you ask? Well, it's short pieces and there's a little uneven-ness... But I've been doing a lot of bus riding lately, and that may be the ideal situation for reading these: ridiculousness in short spurts, and if one doesn't appeal, it'll be over in a couple of pages.
Cody Clarke
Mar 31, 2008 Cody Clarke rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woody Allen fans
Recommended to Cody by: Nobody
A little repetitive, but very enjoyable. A few stories stick out like sore thumbs, (The Shallowest Man, Retribution,) because they are the only two non-zany ones in the book. I wish there were more stories like that in here, but I guess he'd rather make those into movies.
Woody Allen mêle le ridicule à l'invraisemblable sans oublier d'y mettre une pincée d'acide. Il renoue avec un sens du décalage, de la dérision et de l'absurde qui rappelle l'esprit de ses premiers films. Avec, comme toujours, des dialogues à hurler de rire.
This is recommended for die hard Woody Allen fans only. I was overdosing on the absurdist writing about half way through. Some of these short stories are really quite excellent but others bored me and/or I couldn't follow the philosphical references.
I can't decide. The stories that were funny, were absurdly funny and amazing. The stories that weren't bored me like no other. That said, I'm taking the middle ground. Probably better in smaller doses (as in reading the books individually).
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Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Königsberg) is a three-time Academy Award-winning American film director, writer, actor, jazz musician, comedian and playwright. His large body of work and cerebral film style, mixing satire, wit and humor, have made him one of the most respected and prolific filmmakers in the modern era. Allen writes and directs his movies and has also acted in the majority of them ...more
More about Woody Allen...
Without Feathers Side Effects Getting Even Mere Anarchy The Complete Prose

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