I wasn't entirely certain what I was getting into when I picked up this book from the library. I simply saw Welcome to Night Vale on the cover and thoI wasn't entirely certain what I was getting into when I picked up this book from the library. I simply saw Welcome to Night Vale on the cover and thought to myself "Oh, I like that podcast" and grabbed it. When I saw it was a collection of the podcasts episodes I wondered just how well the audio format might translate to writing, and exactly what behind the scenes info could possibly be used to introduce each episode that would truly be of interest. As my rating likely shows - the behind the scenes info was indeed interesting, and the podcast transcripts made for very fun reading.
It was interesting to read how few instructions there were for Cecil throughout the first 25 episodes of the show and to see how the stories evolved. So much was there from episode 1, unintentionally, and later added on to. It is very obvious just how much of Night Vale was whimsy turned substance, and you can almost feel the surprise of the writers as the show continuously evolved into something more and more as the months and years went by.
I don't listen to the podcast religiously, but man I would love to read more of the books....more
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It can often be difficult for me to rate these sorts oI received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It can often be difficult for me to rate these sorts of books. They're the kind I tend to pick up and browse in a book store, but rarely actually read. As far as entertainment value goes, this book definitely delivered. I recognized a few images as things I'd sent to Jonas for a laugh, a few more that I came across on my own online... many I hadn't, but were still very entertaining. The hilarity wasn't CakeWrecks level, but it was still just enough to amuse.
My main complaint is that the book wasn't longer, wasn't quite as funny as it could've been. It was enough to get a chuckle, more than enough to make the reader wonder just how such errors had ever been made, but not enough to really make me laugh as a reader or do much more than roll my eyes. I wanted a little bit more than that from the book.
Nevertheless, if you're looking for a quick smirk this book will certainly deliver....more
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book isn't for everyone. It's probably not even for most people, buI received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book isn't for everyone. It's probably not even for most people, but that's part of Skottie Young's appeal. His writing is so far over the top and out of left field that it'll either leave you laughing or entirely disgusted. Ultimately, there's not much room for middle ground.
I Hate Fairyland is a series light on character and plot but big on concept and the absurd. The central plot, that Gertrude (a girl of eight) has been transported to Fairyland and must stay until she discovers the key that will bring her home. Unfortunately, she's not very good at finding the key. She's been trapped in Fairyland for twenty seven years, but though her mind has aged, her body has not. Being trapped in Fairyland for so long, well, it can change a person. Gertrude is a menace that must be stopped. These five issues chronicle the various attempts to do just that.
Violence and insanity are the name of the day, all spelled out in gorgeous bright colors. The artwork and hilarity make up for what the book lacks in character development, though I highly doubt anyone picking this up is really looking for much of a serious nature. If you're in the mood for a bawdy raucous romp (in the censored version complete with exclamations of MUFFIN HUGGER) then this is the book for you....more
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Vampire Vic is the first book in a trilogy about a rather unfortunate vampire. The preI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Vampire Vic is the first book in a trilogy about a rather unfortunate vampire. The premise is interesting and fairly original. Victor isn't your typical vampire. He's sickened by the sight and thought of blood, insecure to a fault, and quite frankly a rather large loser. None of his staff respect him, he and his wife divorced two years ago but still live together and share a bed, his own daughter at one point even goes to father-daughter day at school with a friend's dad rather than be seen in public with him. Vampirism didn't change any of that. Most people treat it as a joke.
That is, until Victor finally bites someone.
Within the first few pages I was tired of reading about what a loser Vic was. While it's meant to be a satire, a lot of the humor just fell flat. I wasn't feeling bad for Victor, nor was I wanting to join in the others in mocking him. I was just bored. The writing failed to engage me, largely due to how redundant a lot of it was. It would have been enough for his workmates to ignore him once, instead there are pages upon pages of his staff failing to pay attention to him, stereotypes being played into again and again - it just got dull. The book could have been shorter, and would have hit its mark better if it was.
Eugene, the vampire slayer, also could have benefited from that treatment. While the scene with him in the chatroom was hilarious, it was undermined a bit by his continuous assertions as to what a great vampire hunter - no slayer - throughout the rest of the book. By shortening that dialogue, or having it shown through his bravado a bit more clearly, he would have been a more interesting player.
The action sequences also lost me. Shorter sentences would have heightened the tension during the few fights. A good example of an action scene that worked was Victor's encounter with Karina - the short sentences made the action flow better and drew me in. The encounter with Bob, on the other hand, lost me. Reading it three times still didn't clear up just what happened, which didn't bode well for the experience.
Better editing would make this book a good satire, but as it stands presently it just missed the mark. The premise was good, and the explanation for Victor's vampirism when it came was pretty hilarious. Part of me is curious as to how the trilogy wraps up, but I'm not compelled to do so when the writing lost me so quickly the first time....more
I received this book for free from the GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.
I was initially rather excited when I won this bI received this book for free from the GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.
I was initially rather excited when I won this book. I had enjoyed both Lamb and Coyote Blue and was looking forward to reading more by an author that I remembered for doing extensive research and drawing upon altogether fascinating mythology in a humorous way. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, used extensively in Lamb isn't exactly obscure or difficult to come by. I was hoping what would be found in Secondhand Soul may be more obscure. I was, needless to say, not entirely satisfied.
Secondhand Souls is the sequel to A Dirty Job and it contains much, much less plot than the former. It is entirely necessary to have read A Dirty Job to have the slightest idea what is happening in Secondhand Souls, though doing so will also likely irritate the reader as Secondhand Souls is making constant references to what happened in the previous book. I lost count of how many times Charlie Asher's encounter with the Morrigan was referenced and mocked, though that wasn't what (view spoiler)[killed him (hide spoiler)] in the first book at all. Likewise I lost count of how many times certain parts of his (view spoiler)[new (hide spoiler)] anatomy were described, mocked, and alluded to in general in spite of it having absolutely no bearing on the plot of the book or his character at all.
The essential plot of the book is as follows. Death, for some reason never entirely described, no longer works the way it is meant to. The Big Death (referred to as the Luminatus) no longer exists, so self-described Death Merchants, arbitrarily chosen by some unseen force, need to collect the souls of the dead and resell them to the people who lack souls. This distribution process is actually interesting, and in A Dirty Job a number of the scenes of the dead passing were incredibly touching. Secondhand Souls spends next to no time exploring this process. Instead, it focuses upon the Forces of the Underworld - not identified really until about fifty pages from the end of the book - trying to rebel against the Death Merchants, possibly the Luminatus itself, for some undetermined reason. It really isn't gone into at all. Also, there are a lot of ghosts on the Golden Gate Bridge and they need help crossing over - but again, what could have been an interesting plot is underplayed and glossed over.
There are interesting plots, but very few are developed. Instead the book relies on juvenile humor, fairly racist stereotypes, and a whole lot of nothing to fill pages. The hellhounds are there, and then they aren't - why did they leave? It's pretty much never explained. People have abilities, lose them when it's convenient, and then may or may not get them back again. Characters that were together at the end of the last book have messy breakups between books... and that's referenced a heck of a lot for pretty much nothing to come of it. New characters are introduced, and then never mentioned again. It's a bit absurd.
The book was a mess. Sticking with the Golden Gate Bridge plot would have been enough for a full book, and a really good one at that, but even that entirely section was horrendous for the way it handled discussion of depression and what the characters went through. The humor, while filed under satire, was downright offensive and unbelievable rather than even remotely funny. I've mentioned in the previous review the problem with Christopher Moore and racial stereotypes that served nothing to advance his plots.
All of this having been said, if you liked A Dirty Job, chances are you will like this book. It's much of the same, with the exception of having a heck of a lot more plot thrown in though it becomes too scattered to really wrap up satisfyingly. If you didn't like A Dirty Job, this book will be an even greater disapoointment than the former....more
This book was purchased as a surprise for my boyfriend, combined with Absolute Transmetropolitan as late birthday gifts. Only late due to their releaThis book was purchased as a surprise for my boyfriend, combined with Absolute Transmetropolitan as late birthday gifts. Only late due to their release dates, I should add. It's a signed copy, which means it has a pretty ridiculous squiggle in it. So. There's that.
The actual book proved quite surprising. I didn't expect it to offer as in-depth as sociological analysis as it did. The book was littered with interesting information, extensive references to studies and papers that had been done, and generally fun anecdotes from the experiments that Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg did themselves.
If anyone has looked into these topics before there won't be a terribly great deal of new information. Passionate vs Companionate love forms the basis of a lot of the books arguments, which at least to me is always quite interesting. The particular views of technology are interesting as well - as for once technology isn't viewed as either universally good or bad but rather as a tool that can be properly utilized to gain good results. Nice.
Some of the information in the book was in Ansari's most recent stand-up routine, but it hasn't gotten old for me yet. I enjoyed the humor, and think that it translated well to the page. It forced me to do a few double-takes as I was reading, when a humorous aside jumped into more serious text. It only became grating once or twice, and far more often got a real laugh from me. The full color pictures were beautifully printed and jumped off the page. It was nice to have a book that integrated them into the pages rather than having a few glossy pages in the middle. Well worth the money.
So, if you like Aziz Ansari's stand-up as well as sociological kind of pop-sci texts you'll like this. It's a weird niche, but I'm sure some people occupy it with me....more
This is an altogether adorable collection of comics from The Guardian. I think that Karen's review sums up the book far better than any review I writeThis is an altogether adorable collection of comics from The Guardian. I think that Karen's review sums up the book far better than any review I write could. I mean, it has pictures.
I picked this book up at The Book Thing thinking it looked charming and entertaining, and was pleasantly surprised by how poignant some of the comics were. Most were literary, some were an entertaining commentary on how sci-fi is viewed in most critic circles, some were just downright fun.
All I truly know if that I want to be able to rush to the rescue at some point yelling "Make way! I'm a Keats' scholar!"...more
I got this as a stocking stuffer years ago for Christmas and continue to read it every year. It's adorable, and one of the cats certainly looks like mI got this as a stocking stuffer years ago for Christmas and continue to read it every year. It's adorable, and one of the cats certainly looks like my Erik. :)...more
This book was far more entertaining to me than the first The Bad Beginning but that still isn't saying much. Most of the humor of this was lost on me.This book was far more entertaining to me than the first The Bad Beginning but that still isn't saying much. Most of the humor of this was lost on me. I'd recommend it to a kid easily, but reading it as an adult it just feels rather dull and predictable. Good vocabulary, though. Quick plot and pacing. Just a bit too lacking to hold my focus in the end....more
I'd be very curious to see how a person's reaction to the book and the ending itself changes as they grow older. This book was surpWell.
This got dark.
I'd be very curious to see how a person's reaction to the book and the ending itself changes as they grow older. This book was surprisingly creepy, surprisingly sad, and surprisingly troublesome when it comes to the ending. I've heard good things about the film, but I'm uncertain how they treat the final scenes in it?
I'd read this book to my children, should I have any. I'd watch them not sleep for months. But that's true of most Roald Dahl stories, innit?...more
A very cute story detailing the problems of dyslexia in a rather entertaining way. Classic Roald Dahl though the very last story he ever wrote. A bitA very cute story detailing the problems of dyslexia in a rather entertaining way. Classic Roald Dahl though the very last story he ever wrote. A bit controversial due to some naughty language, though hardly that awful from today's standards I'd think....more
Recently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. TRecently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. This was one of the stranger books I picked up there. It looked amusing enough, though not terribly indepth. The title made me laugh, and well, the cover left a bit be be desired... Unfortunately, so did the book.
This book was comprised of a series of lists of odd animal behaviors and why they might act that way. It was written in a conversational manner, each little tidbit followed by an incredulous explanation that tried just too hard to be funny. Let the animals speak for themselves, or their behavior do it for them. No need to throw in puns, amazed silences, or a shrug of the shoulders. Quite frankly, the book came off as mildly insulting. A bit like the friend who just doesn't know when to stop making jokes to fill in what otherwise would have been a companionable silence...
The book would be great for younger children. Maybe middle school or so? It'd probably cause them to want to read more about animals and their behavior, and they might be in a better range to appreciate the humor. As for me, well... Nil nole sub sole. Most of the facts I already knew, and what I did learn didn't particularly surprise me....more
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greaterHunting is bad, okay?
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater dash of humor to the typically dark Dahl tale. It's short, sweet, and rather to the point. Another fun example of "how would you like it if someone did that to you?" The answer? Well. Not much.
The high rating is less for the title story than it is for the awesome expanded facts in the book. After the story the new publication continued with a brief biography of Dahl, some fun quotes, bits of trivia, and other general madness related to the man. That bumped the rating up to a four from a more general three for a fun quick read.
What an awesome guy. Thus, I continue my "read everything by Roald Dahl" challenge of the year......more
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry cThis is such a fun idea!
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry consists of just a number and a brief sentence such as "Karaoke". Nothing more, nothing less. You're just reading a list of silly ideas with no real elaboration to make it more entertaining. Worse, several ideas are repeated multiple times which makes the list just redundant and ridiculous...
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or asWhat??? Four stars?? Why?
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as I feel like it. Or when I'm fairly certain I won't get slaughtered for disliking something as popular as Never Let Me Go. Oops.
Anyway, James and the Giant Peach was a movie I rather enjoyed. I retained the basic plot, and was amused enough giving it a read through. The illustrations were fun, the LadyBug lovely, the Silk Worm a deus ex machina if there ever was one, and the Spider charming. The Centipede was an unrepentant pest, but what can you do? I still hope I never see one again in my life. In real life, I mean. In books they're all right, for the most part.
What took this book down from a five to a four was more or less the fact that James didn't really gain much from his journeys. Oh, sure, he realized he was an intelligent human being. (view spoiler)[He gained friends once they got to America. (hide spoiler)] It just didn't feel like quite enough. The ending of Matilda, for instance, felt like enough to me. But this book felt a wee bit unfinished. Not as literally so as Staurt Little was, but still just a bit not fully there.
No bother, though. It's still a rollicking adventure and a delightful film....more
Lord Byron is one of those authors I've read scraps of here and there and always enjoyed. His reputation precedes him, and the allusions to him in othLord Byron is one of those authors I've read scraps of here and there and always enjoyed. His reputation precedes him, and the allusions to him in other works I've read have always made me laugh. I'd like to read more about him, but never quite know where to start. Hell, my to-read shelf is so huge right now I'd have difficulty even getting to any books I add to it, but... Well.
I had this collection of poetry lying about, and always wanted to get to it. Come to think of it, I've probably read it few several times and forgot about it as the years went on, I first got it so darn long ago. Picking it up again, I was rather taken with the poetry. The sly tone, the shifting affection and amusement. Lord Byron is a deservedly fascinating character, and one I probably should delve more into one of these days. As far as poetry collections go, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I don't really know enough about the author to have an informed opinion beyond just genuine enjoyment and amusement, though. I'll leave the in depth reviews and commentary to the experts....more
Roald Dahl is one of those authors omnipresent during childhood, but slowly fading into obscurity as the years go by. We all know the books he's writtRoald Dahl is one of those authors omnipresent during childhood, but slowly fading into obscurity as the years go by. We all know the books he's written, the films and plays made of them. We all know the basis of the stories, but have we actually read the books? I hadn't, unfortunately, but I've been slowly amending that over the years and trying to understand what exactly I missed during my childhood. Unfortunately, what I missed seemed to be rather a lot. Fortunately, I'm making up for it now and able to more greatly appreciate what would have flown a bit over my head had I read them all during childhood.
Matilda I mostly remember as the film that came out when I was younger and constantly playing on television. I had a distinct image of a child being thrown through a window by her pigtails, and sure enough that did end up happening a bit later on during the book.
The writing in the book is good, wry and told with a bit of a smirk. While the classic idea of children versus adults is at the heart of the story, so is the notion that good adults can and do exist. The nurturing of Matilda's teacher, and the constant seeking of knowledge on her part were refreshing themes that resonated for me at least, as I'd been a child reading at a rather higher level than the rest of my classmates for some time. I also was rather touched by the fact that the children never resented Matilda her knowledge, but rather liked her. She was humble about it, quiet about it, helpful and sweet.
The book was touching, illustrations grand, and the story funny without being too harsh or too vulgar, as some children's books can be. Roald Dahl well reserves his status as a classic children's author....more
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The begAh, who doesn't love William Shakespeare?
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The beginning features a nice biography of the author, although it does report some stories that are more likely inventions than truth. It does, however, quote some of the better Ben Jonson mentions of Shakespeare.
All in all this book, as previous reviewers have commented, is a bit too PG rated to be truly good fun. It is a good quick reference to various quotations, and a decent introduction to the life of the Bard.
All in all, quite fun, but a bit too whitewashed....more
Other reviewers have criticized Graeme Simsion for portraying Aspergers in the most stereotypical fashion, for writing a romNow, this was interesting.
Other reviewers have criticized Graeme Simsion for portraying Aspergers in the most stereotypical fashion, for writing a romantic comedy where he could have written something much more dark a serious, and even for writing a book where a screenplay could have gone over beautifully. Personally, I didn't take any umbrage at any of those facts.
This book was delightful, entertaining, and actually rather sympathetic to the way that Aspies work. The writing was clean and sharp, amusing and just fantastically ignorant of a deeper analysis of social cues while still providing them wonderfully. It's a bit like a puzzle with the pieces all out and face up on the table. You can see the full image if you look long enough - it's all there - just nowhere near a comprehensible order unless you take the time and effort to arrange them right. And really, do you need to after a certain amount of time? It can find its own incomplete glory, or you could try to get them right with a bit of help...
As someone reading from a similar perspective as the protagonist, I found no real fault with the book. It's a perfect quick read to put a smile on your face....more
I'm not entirely certain that John Green is a good author for me.
The book fell a bit too firmly into the various tropes the teen books tend to. The ovI'm not entirely certain that John Green is a good author for me.
The book fell a bit too firmly into the various tropes the teen books tend to. The overweight funny best friend who's squandering his potential, the shy geek of a protagonist who's looking for love but can't find it, the sassy independent girl... etc. It all falls a bit to neatly into place and at the end of the day fails to feel real, instead feeling like it's been scripted and will be showing a theater near you next summer. Too false.
It's also a problem when John Green's neat silly facts are largely facts you already know or have been debunked. Oops.
By the end of the book I was frustrated. It was left open-ended with nothing really solved or even nearing it. Too much On the Road in a romantic sense, failing to realize that On the Road itself was a criticism of that aimless wondering and a call to grow up....more
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some oWonderful, wonderful book.
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some of the most memorable stories from the blog, and adds several new entertaining ones. While I would love to see a book that collects all of the posts, this is still a very good start.
Allie Brosh's artwork is distinctive and hilarious, her writing both poignant and clever. While the subject matter at times does get dark, this book is still one of the funniest and most truthful ones I've ever read.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and InGosh, I love this book.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and Introduction that relate a number of anecdotes about Charles Schulz' life and writing/drawing techniques. Where he got his inspiration, what he wondered about his own characters - it's fascinating, and I'd love to read a biography of the fellow I admire so much....more
I was intrigued by this book originally when reading some criticism and praise of it. As a satire, the book sounded like an interesting attack on justI was intrigued by this book originally when reading some criticism and praise of it. As a satire, the book sounded like an interesting attack on just about all of the Shakespeare arguments as well as our tendency as a culture to try to overanalyze things. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, the book didn't quite come off like that to me.
Is Shakespeare Dead didn't just come off as a misinformed argument in favor of Baconian authorship, but it also came off as just... a rushed and jumbled essay that never found its footing. By the time Mark Twain began to employ his comedic touch the exhaustive arguments and analyses had already soured me to the piece itself. It was just confusing and strange from beginning to end. I feel like I missed something somewhere along the line, but if I did, then a great many readers did over the years as well.
I'm open to arguments, though I am a Stratford supporter overall. This just wasn't even an argument as much as it was a flailing Mark Twain who couldn't make up his mind as to what narrative voice would best support the piece going forward....more
This Peanuts collection was a gift to me.. probably from around the time it first came out. I can't even recall how many nighI got this book ages ago.
This Peanuts collection was a gift to me.. probably from around the time it first came out. I can't even recall how many nights I spent leafing through its pages, giggling at the same old jokes and admiring the artwork. Peanuts, baseball, and the cynical humor of Charles M. Schulz all combine to make this collection, well, a classic. Who doesn't enjoy a good joke now and then? This book is a summer's hot afternoon spent with lemonade by a pool....more