Tag Archives: humor

Diary Comic: Fitness

The Jacobs Ladder is the most diabolical cardio machine on the planet.

Standing Up by Marion Grodin

Standing Up by Marion Grodin: Though the author of this memoir is a stand-up comedian, this book is not funny. It has its moments, of course, especially at the very end, but by and large it’s a rather heart-wrenching tale of love, grief, addiction, illness, and loss. Grodin grows up in New York, the daughter of actor Charles Grodin and his extraordinarily needy ex-wife Julia. She has complicated relationships with her parents, years of drug abuse, and general aimlessness before she finally decides she wants to be a comedian. I liked reading this – I found it interesting to read about a life so strikingly different from my own – but it is not the same sort of memoir as, say, Laurie Notaro or Jen Lancaster. It is not a series of amusing anecdotes with the occasional touching scene, but rather a series of tragedies with the occasional joke thrown in. Parts of it, particularly when Grodin deals with cancer (her mother’s and her own), can be very inspiring, but do not come into this thinking it’s going to be a laugh-a-minute romp. It simply isn’t.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The De-Textbook by Cracked.com

The De-Textbook by Cracked.com: I’ve been reading Cracked regularly for years. Though it began as a second-rate Mad Magazine knock-off, the website has become known for consistently high-quality articles that are both educational and hilarious. If you are offended by adult language or juvenile humor, this is not the book for you. Seriously, both the language and the jokes are utterly filthy.

Because this is basically one long Cracked article. It’s laid out like most of their content: lists of incorrect things you were taught followed by true things you never learned about. I’d read some of the material previously, but there was more than enough new content to justify the purchase of the book. I was a little disappointed by the lack of a bibliography, especially since Cracked’s online articles are full of links to references and further reading. Some of the claims were, while not strictly false, also not nearly 100% proven facts as presented. But honestly, while this claims to be educational (and it is, as far as that goes), it is first and foremost a humor book, and a humor site. Read it as such, and you’ll probably enjoy it. You might even learn something on the way.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend: Adrian has declared himself to be a misunderstood intellectual who has fallen in love with his classmate, Pandora. He is pretentious and irritable and a bit slow on the uptake – in other words, a pretty typical teenager. I found much of this book quite funny, but mostly because I was reading from an adult’s point of view. I have no idea how many of the jokes I would have understood had I been reading this at Adrian’s age (which is generally the audience to which the book is marketed). I also don’t see many adolescents reading this because it’s so very dated: for example, there are several references to Margaret Thatcher and a big party to celebrate the marriage of Charles and Diana. That said, I could see it appealing to us adults familiar with British culture from that time period. I don’t know that I’ll seek out any other Adrian Mole books in the future, but this was a quick and amusing read.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Mr. Obvious by James Lileks

Mr Obvious by James Lileks: As a fan of Lileks‘s humor books, I was curious to see how his fiction read. Pretty well, as it turns out. After food critic Simpson is accidentally shot in the head, he finds himself on the trail of a mass murderer of decidedly minor media personalities. Don’t let the inane food puns on the back cover blurb fool you: this book really isn’t about food at all. Sure, his scathing critique of hospital fare was pretty funny, but it’s far from the main plot. Actually, the first three quarters of the book are almost nonstop laughs. I was reading the first few paragraphs to some friends and had to pause after every sentence so we could giggle. The ending is a huge let-down, though, vague and meta and generally kind of lame. That said, everything leading up to it is pretty great, so it certainly did not put me off Lileks in general. If you come across a copy, it’s worth a look.

Note: This is evidently the second book starring Simpson (the first being Falling Up the Stairs), but I haven’t read the first book so I don’t see why you should have to either. Also, this book is thoroughly out of print and I am shocked that I managed to stumble upon a copy at all.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook read by Simon Jones; 10.5 hrs on 9 discs): As a longtime fan of the series, I approached this book with some trepidation. After all, I had pretty lukewarm feelings about Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books. I am pleased to report that I was not disappointed. This book is hilarious. And, in a lot of ways, it makes up for the rather disappointing end to Mostly Harmless. All your favorite characters are here: Trillian, Zaphod, Arthur, and assorted other characters. No Marvin, but I’m pretty sure something final happened to him in a previous book. The Guide notes are marvelous and I did quite a lot of laughing throughout the story. The ending wraps up more or less satisfactorily while still left wide open for any future installments. To be honest, I did not expect to recommend this book to fans of the series, but I definitely do. It’s a pile of fun.

A note on the audio: Simon Jones played Arthur Dent in the original incarnations of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, and indeed I read somewhere that he was Adams’s inspiration for the character, so it was pretty durn nifty to have him read this book. He also has joined Prebble and Vance on my list of beloved audiobook narrators named Simon.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Movies in Fifteen Minutes by Cleolinda Jones

Movies In Fifteen Minutes by Cleolinda Jones: I’ve long been a fan of the original Movies in Fifteen Minutes blog, as well as Cleolinda‘s writing in general, so I sort of expected to enjoy this. That said, I was giggling almost nonstop through this book. I don’t know how much I would have appreciated had I not seen all the films being condensed, but now I want to go back and re-watch all these movies just so I can then go back and appreciate the m15m versions all the more. I loved the endless footnotes and the jokes that repeated through multiple films. And like most books I really enjoyed, I have basically nothing to say about it. Pick up a copy if you can find one – it’s a gem.

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster: Thirtysomethings Mia and Mack fall in love with “Jake Ryan’s” house (the character from Sixteen Candles) and buy it, despite it being a disaster in terms of needed repairs. The hyperbole of their experiences, from $45 lightbulbs to toilets falling through the ceiling, are funny enough, but Mia’s own attitude adds to the hilarity. Basically Mia is Lancaster if she were the author of teen Amish zombie romance novels who also makes poor real estate choices, so if you’ve liked any of her memoirs, you’ll get a kick out of this tale.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines: In many fantasy role-playing games, goblins are the first monster you have to fight, and thus also the easiest. By the time you’ve leveled up much at all, you can basically run them through without even breaking stride, much less losing any hit points. Here, we have an adventure from the point of view of a goblin named Jig. When a group of adventurers kidnap him in order to guide them through his home caves to the dragon they seek, the line between hero and monster becomes blurred. I thought it interesting how many of the characters were clearly a homage to other greats of the genre. In particular, the mage Rysland bore striking resemblance to Raistlin of the Dragonlance books. This is a very funny novel, and a must-read for any lover of fantasy dungeon quest stories.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

English As She Is Spoke by José Da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino

English As She Is Spoke by José Da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino: What happens when you use a Portuguese-French phrasebook and a French/English dictionary (and zero knowledge of English) to make a Portuguese-English phrasebook? This happens. It’s hard to pick a favorite “common” English phrase, but I am especially amused by “You hear the bird’s gurgling?” For extra giggles, read aloud. In short, this book really craunched the marmoset.

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