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Quick read

The Last Girlfriend on EarthI just finished a short story collection titled The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich. It was a quick read; 24 hours didn’t even pass between the time I picked it up and the time I put it down. The stories were quirky and most were hilarious. The first one got me right laughing out loud on the airplane while I was sandwiched in between two older men. Once you figure out who the narrator is for that one, you won’t stop laughing (I’m not going to spoil it for you here). The next few stories that followed were okay, but the ones that got me were a little further in. There’s one where Seth meets his ex’s new boyfriend, Adolf Hitler, one where God’s girlfriend demands attention while he’s trying to create the universe on schedule, and one where a priest is asked to exorcise the ghost of an ex-girlfriend from an apartment, just to name a few. There are 31 stories in all, most of them funny, though one of them was sad (thankfully the collection didn’t end on this story or my feelings might have turned out differently). It’s difficult to put into words exactly why this collection was so good; I think the best thing I can say about it is that Rich has a way of thinking of situations, turning them on their heads, and making the best out of said situation. This collection is a must-read for anyone who’s ever been in a relationship.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Literature

 

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Hot diggity dog!

Chet is half of the Little Detective Agency, the one who sniffs out the perps.  Bernie is the other half, the thinking half.  Together they make a great team.  So what makes Spencer Quinn’s book stand out from all the other detective duo stories out there?  Well, for starters, it’s told from Chet’s point of view…Chet the dog.

Most of the cases that come to the Little Detective Agency are divorce cases.  But one day a woman asks Bernie to find her missing daughter Madison.  Hot on the scent, the determined duo hunt for the girl.  They suspect kidnapping but don’t know the motive so they go sniffing around her father’s business.  To Chet (and Bernie) something smells awfully fishy.

Throughout the book I was engrossed in solving the mystery but had quite a few laughs at what Chet was saying.  At one point, Bernie says to Chet, after checking out a suspect, “Exactly what I was afraid of…a wild-goose chase.”  Chet thinks, “That was a wild-goose chase?  No geese?”  The book is peppered with clever narration like this.  Bernie uses common human expressions from time to time, often ones that Chet doesn’t understand.  Chet also gets distracted when conversations between humans drag on and he sometimes repeats things, usually with a “did I already say that?” afterward.  Overall when I read the book, I got the sense that what I was reading was exactly how a dog would think and act.  Spencer Quinn is now on my list of favorite authors and I can’t wait to read the other books in which Chet and Bernie star.  Any animal lover should check them out.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Literature

 

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Quickies

A few years ago at work, I was helping a customer find a book.  As I typed my keyword search into the computer, a coworker of mine came up next to me and held up a book.  The title was Porn for Women.  As my eyes took it in, I quickly shoved his hand and the book out of the customer’s 7 year-old’s sight.  My coworker just laughed.  Later, when I was done with my customer, I went back to the information desk where the coworker and book still were.

“What were you thinking?” I asked him.  “That lady had a little kid with her!”

He laughed some more.  “Just look at the book.”  So I did.

Inside were pictures of half-dressed to fully dressed men.  Each picture had a caption that was supposed to be seductive.  For example, there was a man in a bathroom, his hand on the toilet seat as if raising or lowering it.  The caption read something like, “You don’t have to worry about falling in.  I’ll put the toilet seat down for you.”  Another picture was of a man on the couch (possibly shirtless, I can’t quite remember), his arm outstretched as if handing over the remote in his hand.  The caption was, “I don’t care about the game.  Let’s watch whatever you want to watch.”

So I had to admit to my coworker that it was pretty funny and we laughed about the book for hours.  Still, can anyone really blame me for thinking, purely from the title, that it was a book a 7-year-old shouldn’t see?  I think not.

Now there are multiple Porn for Women books as well as a journal, a calendar, and a coupon book.  (Guys, remember the coupon book for the next significant gift-giving event.  Yes, Fred, even you!)  If you have the chance, pick up a copy of one of the books at your local bookstore or library.  Just remember that it’s in the humor section, not sexuality.

Here are some other hilarious quick reads:

Chinglish: Found in Translation and More Chinglish: Speaking in Tongues by Oliver Lutz Radtke

These books contain pictures of foreign signs with their English “translations”.  The humor factor is that the English is not very well written.  One of the signs of the cover of the second book has this translation: “You can enjoy the fresh air after finishing a civilized urinating.”

Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong by Jen Yates

The cover is a picture of “the cake that started it all.”  Like so many other people, I’d seen the image of this cake in a forwarded email and got a hearty laugh at it.  Yates not only got a good laugh, but she built a whole blog around it.  I love the book and I check on the blog almost daily.  Yes, the pictures are hilarious in and of themselves but Yates’ commentary makes it even more funny.  She’s an expert in double entendres and puns.  It’s hard to say what my favorite section of the book is, which is divided into types of wrecks, but my top two are “The Pooh Phenomenon” and “Literal LOLs.”

Caution: Funny Signs Ahead compiled by RoadTrip America

Okay, so I haven’t gotten very far into this book just yet because I picked it up from the library about 3 hours ago and I had to stop to have dinner with a friend.  But I’m enjoying it so far.  It’s exactly what it sounds like: pictures of signs (road, restaurant, and otherwise) that are a bit…off.  For example, there’s a sign for an evacuation route on the same post and pointing the same way as the “Dead End” sign.  The book also tells what city and state the picture was captured in.  I was proud to see a couple from my city, one of which I’ve passed on several occasions but never fully took notice.

There are so many more quick, funny reads out there but I’m going to stop for now.  I’ll write another compilation in the future.  In the mean time, go find these books and have a good laugh.  I certainly did.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2010 in Literature

 

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