Celebrating fabulously, funny ladies

Special to the HeraldFebruary 16, 2014 

It may not be as widely recognized as "Women's History Month," but February has also been designated "Spunky Old Broads" month to celebrate all of the positive and fun-loving women over 50 who refuse to sit back and get old; women who want excitement and a regret-free life. We hope you will find a spunky old lady to enjoy reading about at your Manatee County Library.

• "If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)" is a collection of mini-essays by seven-time Emmy winner Betty White. This new book is filled with warm anecdotes about her starring role in TV shows and her love for animals. Wonderful photos from her life and career fill the pages. This is a special treat from a classy, funny and spunky lady that you are sure to enjoy.

• "Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball" by Stefan Kanfer, gives us the larger-than-life story of Ball in an entertaining book filled with behind the scene tidbits and plenty of photos of her life, career and family. Ball was a complicated woman, so driven to succeed she could be called a workaholic. This is a great read about a demanding artist, a loving person and a great and spunky woman.

• "Phyllis Diller, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy" is Diller's autobiographical look at the comedy and success in her life. For more than 50 years, Diller made millions laugh with her ground-breaking humor, coarse laugh, unique material, wild hair and garish clothes. From housewife to humorist, she tells of all the struggles and pain on her bumpy road to success as well as her separate careers as a piano soloist, her extensive plastic surgery and even her attempt to become a Playboy centerfold. It is quite a story that will touch your heart and make you laugh out loud.

• "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflections" is Carol Burnett's second book about her long and successful career. The stories, told in a chatty and intimate way, range from her childhood, as an early actress doing bit parts, to her 11 years hosting the "Carol Burnett Show." There are many comical reminiscences, such as her Tarzan yell and Scarlett O'Hara in a curtain rod dress. Burnett also touches on personal losses and dishes about her famous co-stars. Fans of both the show and the actress will enjoy this lighthearted and poignant look back at Burnett's career.

• "Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business" is Dolly Parton's tell-it-like-it-is autobiography. Told with her unfailing sense of humor, Parton talks openly about her public and private life, relating her rags-to-riches story and her down-home philosophy. She discusses her sense of style ("It costs a lot to make a person look this cheap"), the music she loves and her friendships with other stars. Readers will enjoy this memoir that reveals the simple girl from the country who became a superstar.

The library offers monthly email newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Cathy Habora is a staff member at the Braden River Branch Library.

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