Tag Archives: james lileks

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.

Threadbared by Kimberly Wrenn and Mary Watkins

Threadbared by Kimberly Wrenn and Mary Watkins: As a longtime fan of James Lileks’s Institute of Official Cheer, this sort of snarky commentary on vintage items looked right up my alley. And yes, it’s decently funny, but I only chuckled aloud a handful of times. The pictures range from amusing to creepy, but it just seems to be lacking something intangible. Maybe color – several of the pages made references to the (generally godawful) colors in the photos, which of course were printed in black and white, and on a few occasions made the jokes fall a little flat. It doesn’t help that the back cover copy includes quotes that don’t actually appear anywhere in the book. I suppose there may be folks who would find this uproariously funny, but to me it was just kind of meh.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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