Forget whatever you know of or think of Martin as an actor; as a writer he’s an entirely different creature.  He’s incredibly gifted at both serious and humorous writing, and weaves the two together seamlessly and effortlessly.  Born Standing Up is his memoir; about his life as one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time.  I was more moved than I could have anticipated, reading about his youth, struggling through various jobs, all the while desperately attempting to learn: what makes someone funny? and ultimately, can I be funny?  and how?  Comedy is an art form, and it’s incredibly interesting to learn how a comic’s mind works, how he builds routines and reads audiences, manipulates himself and his character to generate the perfectly timed punchline.  The most impressive aspect of Steve’s comedy is that he does whatever he can to keep the pressure in the audience from releasing at the ordinary moments, carrying it over into the absurd until his audience is in the palm of his hand.  And finally, the book explains why he chose to leave the stage when he was on top of the comedy world.  Highly recommended, and one of the best memoirs I’ve read in the past several years. — Eleanore