‘Oh god, keep this book out of schools’—comedian Evany Rosen launches What I Think Happened

A new imprint from Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press promises to bring some of Canada’s funniest people to print.

Overseen by local comedian/writer Charles Demers, Robin’s Egg Books will feature “fresh, smart and funny writing on culturally relevant subjects,” according to a media release.

The imprint’s first book, published earlier this month, is What I Think Happened: An Underresearched History of the Western World. Written by Toronto comedian/author Evany Rosen, the book looks at history from a feminist (and funny) perspective.

Rosen will be in town for the book’s official (and free!) Vancouver launch, Nov. 4 at Little Mountain Comedy (195 E 26th Ave., 7 p.m. start). Demers will also be in attendance, along with some special guests.

But just what lies between the covers of What I Think Happened?

According to the media release, the book features Rosen exploring “the moments and personalities that most affected her life: from her unnatural obsession with Napoleon; to her misguided understanding of the Royal Family; to her intrigue at America’s dumpiest presidents. Rosen’s approach to history is to make it personal, which any good historian will tell you is exactly what not to do; but in so doing, and with whimsy and irreverence, she rescues history from the dusty confines of ‘intellectually aggressive’ men and makes it fun again.

According to a Toronto Star interview with Rosen, Napoleon was the first subject the author tackled when she began writing the essay collection.

As Star correspondent Sue Carter writes, “The book isn’t intended to be a scholarly work — ‘Oh god, keep this book out of schools, I’m telling you,’ Rosen says — but exactly as advertised: a heavily Wikipedia-sourced comedic survey covering a vast swath of history from America’s dumpiest presidents to the world’s creepiest artists. There’s even a brief chapter on the history of cheese. Tone-wise, the book falls somewhere between Comedy Central’s Drunk History, in which inebriated celebrities share their knowledge of world events, and the subversiveness of Kate Beaton’s historical comics. (Beaton and Rosen share a fascination for Napoleon, and an alma mater, Halifax’s University of King’s College, where Rosen graduated with a degree in early modern philosophy.)”

What I Think Happened by Evany Rosen book cover

During her various discourses, the author—who was a member of a now-defunct improv troupe called Picnicface—also tackles subjects such as social anxiety, celebrity culture and capitalism.

A standup comic, actor and writer, Rosen has appeared at numerous comedy festivals and in films and on television. She is also a voice actor.

What I Think Happened book launch
Saturday, November 4 @ 7:00pm
Little Mountain Comedy/195 E 26th Ave
Special guests + books & beers for purchase. Book sales by The Paper Hound.

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