I haven't listened to the Night Vale podcast. I tried, but I couldn't get into it. It felt too disjointed to me. I'm sure a plotline emerges, but notI haven't listened to the Night Vale podcast. I tried, but I couldn't get into it. It felt too disjointed to me. I'm sure a plotline emerges, but not in the time I listened.
But I wanted to try out the book, and I thought audio would be the best format, given that its main iteration is in an audio format. I'm glad I listened to it, because I feel I'd enjoy it much less if I had to read it.
Night Vale is a strange, strange town. The library is full of dangerous librarians. The City Council eats people. The used car lot is manned by used car salesmen who like to jump up on the cars and howl. A faceless old woman lurks about causing drama. A house has thoughts and musings. Angels officially don't exist, but three angels named Erica live with Old Woman Josie. Government officials spy on everyone. Plastic flamingos bend time and space. It's that kind of town.
The story follows Jackie, the 19-year old owner of the pawnshop who has refused to turn 20 for decades. She gets a piece of paper from the Man in the Tan Jacket that reads "King City." No matter what Jackie does, she can't get rid of the piece of paper and anytime she tries to write she can only write "King City." The story also follows Diane, a single mother of a shapeshifting teenage son. Diane's coworker Evan disappears and no one else remembers he ever existed. These two events are connected, and eventually Jackie and Diane team up to try to solve the newly mysterious events in their lives. All while navigating the everyday dangers of the town of Night Vale.
I wasn't really sure where this book was going in the beginning, but I ended up quite liking it. I enjoyed the comedic horror (a sadly underrepresented genre) and I became invested in finding out the solutions to the mysteries. It wasn't wildly funny to me, but I did chuckle here and there and found it nicely amusing.
Definitely get the audiobook version though....more
I was not aware of the Youtube web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl before I spotted this book. Didn't matter - I grab up memoirs by feI was not aware of the Youtube web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl before I spotted this book. Didn't matter - I grab up memoirs by female comics, especially when the audio book is narrated by the author (and, yes, the audio book is definitely the way to go).
The most engaging parts of the memoir were Rae's tales from her childhood and teenage years. As a similarly socially awkward child, I could relate. Luckily for me, I was not a boastful child, unlike poor Rae who was trapped in a lie about being able to dance and trying to prove it in front of her classmates (she failed spectacularly, luckily in the age before cellphone cameras and youtube).
Overall, this passed my very subjective memoir test: does the voice from my audiobook dishing life anecdotes sound like a fun brunchmate? Issa Rae is definitely someone I'd love to grab brunch with and say, "Issa, tell me more!" ...more
Amaaaaaazing. Everything you ever wanted to know about your digestive track and then some. Wine tasting, stomach bursting, drug smuggling. Have you evAmaaaaaazing. Everything you ever wanted to know about your digestive track and then some. Wine tasting, stomach bursting, drug smuggling. Have you ever wondered about what goes into the taste of dog food? This book has the answer!
How can a book be so informative and so funny at the same time? Mostly by being utterly brilliant. ...more
David Sedaris can be incredibly funny. The early part of this book is mostly stories about his childhood, which I think are always his best work. TheDavid Sedaris can be incredibly funny. The early part of this book is mostly stories about his childhood, which I think are always his best work. The story about his pet sea turtles, for example, was horrifying (those poor, poor sea turtles) but at the same time compulsively listenable (I prefer Sedaris books on audio, since he reads his own works). I actually listened to the first half on a car trip, and there were several audible chuckles from various members – even though at times everyone shrank into their seat in horror at the fate of the sea turtles. I also liked the stories that involved Sedaris’ father, who came across to me as tough and harsh, but in his own way loving.
Some of Sedaris’ more recent experiences could also be quite funny – the time he went to a taxidermist to buy Hugh a present and really wanted to get the murdered pygmy skeleton, or Sedaris’ experience with the Pimsleur language series (and how bleak and despairing the German audio is compared to the Japanese).
But sometimes Sedaris seems to forget that as a rich, jet-setting author, his concerns can come off as #whitepeopleproblems. This attitude is what set my teeth constantly on edge in his last book, When You Are Engulfed in FlamesWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames. Sometimes Sedaris is expressing legitimate concerns – his passport got stolen, which is a pain and a half. But I have much less sympathy for someone who then goes on to whine about how this prevents him from going on a trip to Italy and he has to stay at his residence abroad in Britain and the summer is so wet and cold and everyone else gets to have fun and why can’t he gallivant around the world with all his money boo hoo hoo. I mean, yes, if I was in Sedaris’ place I’d be complaining to my friends about having to cancel my Italian trip because the stupid Home Office couldn’t get its act together to replace my stolen passport. But there are stories you tell your friends and then there are stories you tell strangers. Your friends will feel bad for you and commiserate. Strangers will more likely not give a fuck and be resentful that you are trying to garner sympathy for missing one trip after you have just talked about how you had to choose between France and England for your foreign residence and about all your other fabulous vacations and trips and how as soon as you get your passport back you can continue to travel endlessly, probably first class.
The last section of the book, where Sedaris makes fun of types of people he hates by writing mean little fictional stories in the voices of Obama haters and anti-gay marriage advocates, is also irritating. It is probably very cathartic to write these things. But they come across as very spiteful and out of place with the rest of the book.
The first half of this book is everything I love about Sedaris’ writing. Most of the second half was everything I hate about Sedaris’ writing. ...more
I vaguely knew this was fictional, but I thought it would be more of a straight-up memoir kind of book. I had no clue that this was an epistolary noveI vaguely knew this was fictional, but I thought it would be more of a straight-up memoir kind of book. I had no clue that this was an epistolary novel. Which was kind of a delightful surprise. And also such a good choice for this book. I read an interview where Semple said she initially wrote it as a straight-up POV from Bernadette and then realized that was too annoying and switched up her style. GOOD CHOICE. Because Bernadette is fun and brilliant and loves her daughter fiercely, but she is also such a whiner. I think I would’ve thrown the book at a wall if I had to listen to her for 300 pages. But the e-mails and notes and everything are brill. It ended up being very funny and sweet and – surprisingly – suspenseful!
I also do not see what the brouhaha is over Semple’s portrayl of Seattle – one, Bernadette is uber-critical and more than a little crazy even before she went mad and so whatever she has to say should just be discounted and, two, this is obviously a part of Seattle that has the same kind of school-mom-shenanigans that you find in any overprivileged community in America. It’s not specific to Seattle. Still - a fun, fun read....more
What happens to a supervillain after he conquers the world? He gets bored.
Emperor Mollusk is much like Artemis Fowl before he's reached his redemptionWhat happens to a supervillain after he conquers the world? He gets bored.
Emperor Mollusk is much like Artemis Fowl before he's reached his redemption arc. He’s a brilliant, arrogant, intellectual, curious, egotistical, condescending genius, though he has developed a fondness for Earthlings and isn’t pro-violence (though he will use it as one of his many tools). His counterpoint is Kala, who is to him what Holly Short is to Artemis Fowl. She’s an honor-bound, law-abiding, fierce warrior who views Mollusk with a mixture of grudging respect, exasperation and annoyance.
I love that Martinez has managed to make a gigantic centipede endearing and adorable (Emperor Mollusk's pet, Snarg). Oh, Snarg! I would cuddle with you! (which I don’t think I could say for any other insect of any size)
The story was appealing, the writing was clever and the humor stuck its landing nearly every the time. Success for Martinez!