Category Archives: Humor

Hyperbole and a Half

Brosh, Allie. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013). Touchstone. 384 Pages. $6.99

Book Cover Final threeFrom Amazon

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative– like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it– but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

First Lines

It seems like there should be some sort of introduction to this.

Here is a recreation of a drawing I did when I was five:

It’s a guy with one normal arm and one absurdly fucking squiggly arm, If you look really closely you can see the normal arm under the squiggly one. What you can’t see is that in the original, the squiggly arm continues for the entire length of a roll of butcher paper. It started on one end and then just kept going until I ran out of paper.

I remember drawing it and thinking. This is insane… I can’t even believe how long this guy’s arm is. If I had not run out of paper, who knows what would have happened.

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Filed under Book Review, Humor, NonFiction

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened

Lawson, Jenny. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (2012). Berkeley Trade. 384 Pages. $7.99

letpretendthisneverhappened31From Amazon

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

First Lines

This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing. And I know, you’re thinking “But Little House on the Prairie was totally true!” and no, I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. Laura Ingalls was a compulsive liar with no fact-checker and probably if she was still alive today her mom would be saying “I don’t know how Laura came up with this whole ‘I’m-a-small-girl-on-the-prairie’ story. We lived in New Jersey with her aunt Frieda and our dog, Mary, who was blinded when Laura tried to bleach a lightning bolt on her forehead…”

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Humor, NonFiction

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

O’Brien, Cory. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology (2013). Perigee Trade. 304 Pages. $10.92

tumblr_ncowy3sgun1sokmcuo5_r1_1280From Goodreads:

All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified. Wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words. Skeptical? Here are just a few gems to consider:

  • Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed.
  • The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone.
  • The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties… on the corpses of their enemies.
  • The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace.

And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.

First Lines

Introduction

(Or the Part of This Book You Can Safely Tear Out If You Need to Make It Slightly Lighter for Some Reason)

‘Sup guys.

Here is a book I wrote, and I hope you enjoy it.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, General Fiction, Humor

First Lady

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. First Lady (2000). 384 Pages. Avon. $6.99*

Wynette Texas | Book Four

Susan Elizabeth Phillips' First LadyI mentioned First Lady in my review of Call Me Irresistible, but I’ll bring it up again, and point out that there are a fair amount of character cameos, though it is not necessary to read them in strictly chronological order. Sure, knowing that they end up together can put a small kink in it, but really, it’s a romance novel, and if you’re surprised the headliners end up together, I’d have to be a bit concerned. I will mention that there are two or three “generations” in these books, and this in particular deals with the first. Lucy makes her own appearance later in Call Me Irresistible, but that is not really her book. (Her book is The Great Escape, due July 2012)

Synopsis

The beautiful young widow of the President of the United States thought she was free of the White House, but circumstances have forced her back into the role of the First Lady. Not for long, however, because she’s made up her mind to escape — if only for a few days — so she can live the life of an ordinary person. All she needs is the perfect disguise…and she’s just found it. As an entire nation searches for her, the First Lady teams up with an infuriatingly secretive, quietly seductive stranger and two adorable little orphaned girls in need of a family. And all together they head out across the heartland chasing their own American Dream — on a wild journey, adventure, and glorious rebirth.

First Lines

Cornelia Litchfield Case had an itchy nose. Otherwise, it was a very elegant nose. Perfectly shaped, discreet, polite. Her forehead was patrician, her cheekbones gracefully carved, but not so sharp as to be vulgar. The Mayflower-blue blood that rushed through her veins gave her a pedigree even finer than that of Jacqueline Kennedy, one of her most famous predecessors.

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Filed under Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Romance

Zombies vs Unicorns (Anthology)

Black, Holly & Justine Larbalestier (ed) Zombies Vs Unicorns (2010). 415 Pages. Simon & Schuster. $16.99

The thing which actually made me want to read this anthology was Diana Peterfreund’s addition “The Care and Feeding of your Baby Killer Unicorn,” which is set in the same universe as Rampant. However, I am glad I took the time to read this, since I enjoyed almost every story in the book (at least on some level.)

The offerings are mixed, but are all labeled as either “Team Zombie” or “Team Unicorn,” with only one (I think) that has both zombies and unicorns. Additionally, the top corners of the pages are also marked by either a Zombie or Unicorn logo, making quick-scans for specific stories easy. A few of them were sweet, one or two romantic, and a couple actually bleak. I’m glad I took the time to read this, though.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Otomen (Volume 4)

Kanno, Aya. Otomen Volume 4 (2009). 200 Pages. Viz (Shoujo Beat) $8.99

The hardest part about reading series which are incomplete is that they are incomplete. You have to wait for each volume to be released, which can be difficult (at best) once they start dragging into the high double digits*. Otomen is an ongoing series, unlike Othello or Doubt!! which were both complete before I started reviewing them. Even more difficult is the fact that until they are licensed by US Distributors, many good manga can be found fan-translated, so you’re simultaneously hoping they do get licensed (so you can buy it) and they don’t get licensed (so you can read them online, instead of having to wait).

This all relates to Otomen because I had read a few chapters online before Viz published it, and had really liked it, but now I have to wait for it to publish on their schedule.

The Story So Far…

Asuka was the ultimate representation of masculinity until he met Ryo. Something about having a crush on her brought back all his long-repressed feminine habits; he cooks, he cleans, he crafts, and he adores Ryo. Of course, Ryo was fairly clueless, being oblivious to Asuka’s feelings for her (even if she is his perfect match). Juta, meanwhile, has been observing the two and secretly basing his manga on them.

Finally, Asuka got up the courage to ask Ryo out, and now they’re dating, which would be great, if anything had changed. We got to know a lot more about Juta and his family, and a little bit about Asuka’s rivalries, and status in the martial arts world. Tonomine especially is an interesting contrast to Asuka, making things extra fun.

In This Volume…

Asuka prepares to celebrate Ryo’s birthday, and spends some time with Ryo’s father (Takeshi Miyakozuka).

Asuka discovers a hidden flower garden, and makes a new friend (Kitora Kurokawa).

Yamato returns, and drags Asuka, Ryo, Juta, and Kitora off on a summertime beach adventure. Then Tonomine gets involved and it becomes a battle for honor.

Thoughts…

Otomen is a fun story, and part of what makes it so fun is the semi-cluelessness which plagues Ryo and Asuka. Another part of the fun is the way that nothing quite happens the way you expect, or the characters get excited over something which doesn’t go how they expected it to.

The “summertime beach trip” is a manga classic which is done well in this series, managing to be fun and unique while still staying true to the series/characters. I think this volume deserves a 5/5 for being my favorite so far.

_____________________________________

* I’m looking at you, Ranma 1/2 & Inu Yasha. You and I have a love-hate relationship. I hate you for taking so long to tell a story, but I love you for being so brilliant and for being my first manga.

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Filed under Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Graphic Novel, Humor, Romance, Shojo Manga, Young Adult Fiction

Othello (Volume 6)

Ikezawa, Satomi. Othello 6 (2005). 192 Pages. Del Rey. $10.95

Previously: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5

The Story This Far…

Yaya Higuchi is so painfully shy and timid that she cannot stand up for herself, which is why Nana– her alternate personality– exists; to deal with the situations which Yaya cannot cope with.

Of course Shoujo Manga just wouldn’t be Shoujo Manga if there weren’t a dozen obstacles between every potential couple ever. Just as Hano-chan is taken care of, a new competitor emerges; Shuuko. How will Nana and Yaya deal with this latest problem?

In This Volume

Moriyama decides that it may be time to tell Yaya what’s going on, though he may not get the chance.

Shuuko– Moriyama’s ex girlfriend– shows up unannounced and throws Moriyama and Yaya’s delicate relationship into turmoil.

Thoughts

With only one volume left, it’s not surprising that Yaya finds out that she is Nana, but what is surprising is her reaction. It’s a little unexpected (though not completely) and it promises to complicate her life even further. There are a few ways to go with this– it will be interesting to see which path it goes down.

As with the other volumes, I really appreciated the cultural notes at the end– even when I already “get it”, it’s nice to have a refresher.

This volume gets a 4.5/5.

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Filed under Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Graphic Novel, Humor, Shojo Manga, Young Adult Fiction