The Stand Up Sit Down Book Club Has Read GNARR! And Now It Wants To Be Mayor Of Austin!

Someone asked at random to name one fact about Iceland would probably be able to remember that Bjork is from there. A true devotee of international culture may recall that Iceland is also the home of The Sugarcubes – a band that Bjork was in. It may then come as a surprise that this seemingly idyllic, quiet island was, until recently, one of the more corrupt nations in the European Union. Plagued by fiscal cronyism and handicapped by moral traditionalism, Iceland suffered a catastrophic economic collapse during the global financial crisis of the late 2000s. From the scrum of a panicked populace, one man rose to challenge the political establishment. One man became the figurehead of the European cultural revolution. One man spoke truth to power and led a people to freedom. And he wore a “sexy Darth Vader” costume.

Jon Gnarr, an Icelandic comedian, writer, and television star, founded the Best Party in 2009 as a satirical statement against perceived political incompetence. When his fellow Icelanders actually started taking him seriously, he had to start saying things worth listening to. Based on common sense and an appreciation of whimsy, the Best Party’s doctrine was appealing, digestible, and fun, and, in defiance of convention and good taste, Jon Gnarr became the sort-of-accidental mayor of Reykjavik in 2010.

Part memoir, part political manifesto, and all heart, Gnarr!: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World by Jon Gnarr traces the unlikely ascent of a troubled boy to a comedy hero to the most famous politician in Icelandic history. Gnarr’s wit transcends the solemnity of politics, and his earnest love for his country legitimates the anarchy of comedy.Gnarr! describes the necessary balance between a professional joker genuinely improving the state of his nation and a professional statesman refusing to debate another politician until he had seen every episode of HBO’s The Wire.

Join the Stand Up Sit Down Book Club on Monday July 27th at 7:00 p.m. in the cafe at BookPeople to discuss Gnarr! By Jon Gnarr, the chaos of politics, and the logic of comedy. The Stand Up Sit Down Book Club meets on the last Monday of every month to talk about books, comedy, and the hilarious intersection of the two. Swing by BookPeople this Monday to share your thoughts on Gnarr!, and maybe you’ll learn a fact about Iceland that doesn’t directly involve Bjork.

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– Steve(n) W.

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