If this were any other author, I would have probably rated it higher. But it's not just any author, it's Christopher mother-f*cking Moore who wrote th...moreIf this were any other author, I would have probably rated it higher. But it's not just any author, it's Christopher mother-f*cking Moore who wrote this and my expectations were high. Because when your previous works include a new gospel of Christ's missing years, the story of an antiques dealer turned soul stealer, and a trilogy of the most delightfully irreverent vampires ever to drain a rat for blood, you have some mighty big shoes to fill.
So what went wrong? Well... it's hard to put my finger on it but it just... well, it just wasn't funny. You'd think with a cast like this- Vincent and Theo Van Gogh, Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Camille Pisarro, Claue Monet, basically every impressionist you could think of- that the laughs would come ripping off the page. I mean they're debauched painters who get roaring drunk at every opportunity and spend nearly every waking minute in brothels! How could you miss with this? By focusing instead on the love story of a moon-eyed baker who wants to be a painter and his model/lover/muse/tormenter who is hiding a mysterious past and is accompanied by a penis-waggling cretin known only as the Colorman.
It's not that it's not entertaining. It definitely has its moments of ribaldry and I found myself chuckling at bits, particularly when the young painter visits a professor who is attempting to train rats and mice to reenact the chariot race from Ben Hur, but for the most part I was just left with a feeling of *meh* throughout most of these pages. I don't want to say that Moore has lost his magic touch, but Sacre Bleu just does not live up to his previous feats. I'm hoping that this is merely a stumbling block along the road to much greater hilarity down the line.(less)
Chaos, wanton destruction, irrational behavior in the face of the massed forces of The Man- it's always been a good bet that if a book has any of thes...moreChaos, wanton destruction, irrational behavior in the face of the massed forces of The Man- it's always been a good bet that if a book has any of these elements then it's a book that I want to read. As such I was incredibly happy to hear that Lance Carbuncle had released his follow-up to Smashed, Squashed, Shattered..., his hilarious first novel- a book hilarious enough to have been banned from my bedroom due to incessant laughter at late-night hours.
The titular Grundish and Askew are a pair of down-on-their-luck losers living among a trailer park of pedophiles. These best friends have never caught a break: Grundish is stalked by the lustful parole officer who wants to get her hands on the strap-on penis that he regularly uses to pass drug tests, Askew's one-lunged Great Aunt Turleen has just been kicked out of a nursing home for strangling a dog. It's a life, sure, but it's up for debate as to whether it's worth living. Regardless, deciding to get back at all of The Fuckers who have been making their lives miserable for so long, the duo find themselves on the run after Askew beats a man to death.
At which point the novel drinks a big tall glass of crazy juice. Now, I mentioned above that I'm a big fan of the wantonly insane in books. I like that mixture of titillation and repulsion that comes with reading about Thalidomide babies or homeless men performing stripteases on street corners. Carbuncle just goes crazy with it, though. Cringe-inducing descriptions of the sweatily obese and the liver-spotted ancient, tonsilliths (Google it- but be ye warned), burros that barf up rancid hair balls, frozen meat sticks- it all gets thrown in the kitchen sink and blended into a fine mess.
I think I'd have been fine with these macabre details had the plot hung together toward the end, but the last 30 pages just read as though the book needed to be rushed to print and an ending hurriedly constructed. Characters did things not keeping with the selves that we've gotten used to over the preceding pages and the surprise twist which we've been gearing up for just left me feeling "meh." Still, this book is an absolute riot for the most part and I'll definitely be first in line to read Carbuncle's next.(less)
I heard this in its Audiobook format, which probably led me to appreciate it more than I otherwise would have. Having each author read their short ess...moreI heard this in its Audiobook format, which probably led me to appreciate it more than I otherwise would have. Having each author read their short essay was perfect, especially with such instantly recognizable voices as Patton Oswalt, John Oliver and Will Forte. It's a very short read, even the audiobook was barely over three hours long, but one that will have you chuckling all the way. I particularly liked Dan Savage's ode to the vagina that scared him out of the closet and Larry Wilmore's "my new baby hates me" essays.
Nothing that will stick with you for too long, but funny enough to distract you from your day to day cares.(less)
It is little secret that I think that Christopher Moore is one of the funniest writers currently putting ink to page. Whether he's writing about playi...moreIt is little secret that I think that Christopher Moore is one of the funniest writers currently putting ink to page. Whether he's writing about playing stone the adulteress with Jesus, talking fruit bats or a schizophrenic former B-movie star who still believes that she's a warrior babe of the outlands, Moore almost never fails to leave you panting on the floor with tears in your eyes and lungs aching for air. Needless to say, I was all up ons Fool when I first heard of it.
A humorous take on Shakespeare's King Lear told from the perspective of the royal jester, a fool named Pocket. Moore gets to wield his wit against such worthy targets as the British, the French, Royals, Shakespeare, redheads, scullery maids, British cuisine, witches, the hopelessly mad and, of course, the epically tragic Lear himself. Hell, one could roast Lear for hours and still have enough material left over for a follow-up. He's always been my least favorite of Shakespeare's protagonists and I loved reading Moore take him down a notch or two.
If anything though, the book hewed too closely to the source material which only rarely allowed Moore to let loose with his trademark hilarity. The tongue-in-cheek takes on death and mortality that made A Dirty Job such a great read are missing here. Pocket tries to lighten the mood but when you are competing against the heinous fuckery of Lear's daughters you can't help but get dragged into dark waters. Still, it's a deliciously fun read that I'm sure I'll return to. Those looking to read Moore for the first time would be better off with Lamb or A Dirty Job. (less)
Edward Zanni seems to have it made: he rules the roost at his high school's drama department, has a very important audition for Juilliard coming soon...moreEdward Zanni seems to have it made: he rules the roost at his high school's drama department, has a very important audition for Juilliard coming soon and more potential lovers than seems right for a boy of his doughy physique. To cadge a line from Gypsy Lee, "everything's coming up roses" for young Ed. Until, in delightful Disney fashion, his yuppie father marries a Bavarian ice princess who makes Snow White's evil stepmother look like the poster-parent of foster care. Soon Edward is cut off financially and is left scrambling to find a way to pay for the ever-increasing tuition of America's preeminent drama school in a series of increasingly hilarious (if far-fetched) adventures.
A great beach read that doesn't really require much attention from its reader, this book reminded me of everything I loved about growing up in musical theatre. I mean, really, who doesn't enjoy singing showtunes in Greenwich Village piano bars or reminiscing about hiding youthful bawdy excesses from the willfully blind parental units? The front cover describes this as "a book for mature readers that reminds us what a blast immaturity can be" and this is a promise that it keeps, in both regards. (less)
I'll be the first to admit that there's been a glut of books like this on my reading list lately. Humorous takes on horror archetypes seem to be all t...moreI'll be the first to admit that there's been a glut of books like this on my reading list lately. Humorous takes on horror archetypes seem to be all the rage right now, which is more than fine by me. They're quick, light and entertaining- just the break I need in between the other books that howl at me from the shelf, trying to guilt me into reading them next.
Gil's is a buddy adventure starring Earl the Vampire (think Dwight Yoakam with fangs) and Duke the Werewolf (think Jesse Ventura with fur) who spend the years prowling the backroads of America in a beat-up truck with Earl's home/steamer trunk strapped in the bed. One night their wanderings lead them to an all night diner (fortunate when you travel with the undead) located far from any major highway and directly next door to a cemetery where the dead just won't stay dead. The diner's proprietress, a lovingly obese woman named Loretta, cajoles the duo into sticking around to assist with the zombie problem in return for some much-needed gas money (the employment opportunities for vampires and werewolves being few and far between).
What follows is a hilarious romp through a small desert town plagued with far more than their fair share of supernatural oddities from zombie cows (I'm not kidding- zombie cows) to mirthful ghouls as a result of a nubile teen's attempts to open a portal through time and space (and a few other dimensions) to call back the long-banished Old Gods of Lovecraftian lore. Helping Tammy, errr... sorry... Mistresss Lilith, is her feeble-minded henchman Chad who is more interested than what lies beneath her blouse than in any of the graves that Tammy has him robbing.
Like I said, it's a quick read. I'd be surprised if it took most longer than a day or two to consume. Yet that day would still count as one well spent as evidenced by my aching ribs once I finally stopped chortling long enough to put the book back on the shelf.(less)
Hilarious, as always. Magnificently endowed midgets, an Adonis of a stripper known only as THUNDER, a cruise ship performer- her conquests stack up ra...moreHilarious, as always. Magnificently endowed midgets, an Adonis of a stripper known only as THUNDER, a cruise ship performer- her conquests stack up rather quickly and fortunately for the reader nearly always end in tears and/or vodka. Chelsea is always willing to skewer herself for the cause of a good joke and this book is full of them. Definitely not for the easily offended or delicately sensible. (less)
Delightfully crass. An extremely quick read that had me actually laughing out loud. Chelsea may be the comedian that most closely matches my wife and...moreDelightfully crass. An extremely quick read that had me actually laughing out loud. Chelsea may be the comedian that most closely matches my wife and I's sense of humor, for which we are most assuredly going to hell. If you love stories of extreme intoxication, inappropriate interactions with family pets, or day-dream about carrying a midget in a Baby Bjorn, then this would be a book for you.(less)
This humorous compendium of the marvelous "Science Fiction Future Wasn't" is a little more brief than I would prefer but makes up for it with a fun to...moreThis humorous compendium of the marvelous "Science Fiction Future Wasn't" is a little more brief than I would prefer but makes up for it with a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude and cute illustrations. Basically a series of short articles about various Sci-Fi innovations that would make our lives drastically easier (or at least so much cooler) the book looks at real-world attempts to build such things as self-driving cars (progressing pretty well), jet packs (sadly R&D on this wonderful concept is lacking), underwater cities (soon to open in sunny Dubai!), and hoverboards like Michael J. Fox used in "Back to the Future 2" (loud and slow, but they exist). It's a fun read but lacking in the detail that I would have preferred. Still, I'd keep "Where's my Jetpack" on the back of my toilet for some light reading.(less)
Quality Moore that is definitely amusing in points, if not as gut-splittingly funny as his more recent works. Nice cameos from standard Moore characte...moreQuality Moore that is definitely amusing in points, if not as gut-splittingly funny as his more recent works. Nice cameos from standard Moore characters; Inspector Alphonse Rivera drops in, as does Minty Fresh. I knew I was saving this one for last for a reason, and it's because it just doesn't stack up to the genius of Lamb or the morbid hijinks of A Dirty job(less)
By far my favorite Neil Gaiman read, which I think says more about Terry Pratchett than it does Gaiman. Gaiman can create great worlds and populate th...moreBy far my favorite Neil Gaiman read, which I think says more about Terry Pratchett than it does Gaiman. Gaiman can create great worlds and populate them with interesting people, but it's Pratchett who deserves the props in this book. His ability to turn a phrase is second to none.(less)