Colin Beavan, the protagonist of the documentary No Impact Man, spends a year living "eco-effectively" — eating only locally grown foods and, eventually, forgoing electricity and toilet paper. Critic David Edelstein calls the film a "21st-century climate-change comedy of manners."
Actor and director Albert Brooks trolls for laughs in Asia and the Middle East in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. Playing a version of himself, Brooks is recruited by the U.S. government to help foster a deeper understanding of the region. A comedy tour ensues.
John Leonard reviews "The Emperor's Last Island," by Julia Blackburn, a history of Napoleon with frequent digressions about why that narrative is relevant to the author's life. Leonard says it's a compelling read because Blackburn herself is compelling.
Book critic John Leonard reviews "The Search for the Pink Headed Duck," by Rory Nugent, about his travels to India and Tibet. He says Nugent is a "splendid quack" whose stories are exotic and sometimes hard to believe.