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Tag Archives: humor

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warmbodiesFull disclosure: I’m not one for zombie novels. Or zombie anything, really. And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve seen The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, 28 Days Later and I Am Legend and I’ve read World War ZPride & Prejudice & Zombies and various other zombie stories. Aside from a couple of chuckles and a healthy sprinkle of nightmares, I got nothing. But I think I may have pinpointed the issue. Zombie novels have no real thought behind them. Wait! Before you gnaw my head open for some juicy braiiinns, let me finish. The human characters in zombie books and movies have deep thoughts about their situation and the purpose of their horrific existence. But this is all in-between fighting thoughtless murderers (in the literal sense). I mean, in the canon of zombie literature, zombies are usually without a philosophy or desires other than to feed. And I can understand the logic behind that but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. That’s why when my seeester handed me this book and said that it was “not has good as The Hunger Games but better than Twilight,” I was not expecting much.

Plot. “R” is a zombie living in a zombie colony in an airport. And yes, he does what zombies do: hunt people and eat brains. But he also desperately wants to know his name. All he can remember is the first letter. And he wants to know his zombie friend’s name. And his zombie wife’s name, which is printed on a name tag pinned to her shirt which he can’t read because he lost that ability when he turned. He also wants to converse with his fellow zombies about their lot in life, about when they turned, about whether they still dream when they sleep, about their theories on how they came to be (plague? bombs? evolution?), hell, even about the weather. But he can’t. Stringing two coherent syllables together is his personal best and he’s the most articulate of the group. What “R” craves more than anything else is humanity. He wants nothing more than to experience and share and talk again. Which is why he loves eating brains. When he bites into a person’s brain, he becomes privy to their thoughts, fears and memories – things that he lost God knows how long ago.

And this is where “R” is when he goes hunting with his friend and comes across a group of teens/adults to NOM. “R” tackles some guy and busies himself with his brain when he sees a girl out of the corner of his eye. And since he just ate her boyfriend’s brain (with all the memories and feelings he felt for this girl), he feels inexplicably attracted to her. While the rest of his zombie gang busies themselves with devouring everyone, “R” rushes over to the girl, smears her with blood to camouflage her human scent, and takes her back to the airport. He keeps telling her, through stilted words, that he’s doing this to protect her. But it’s more because she awakens things in him that have long laid dormant. Also, she knows her name and can say it: Julie. Big advantage over the wifey there.

But “R” could not have chosen a worse person to kidnap. Julie’s father kind of runs the army for the human resistance living in the arena nearby. Also, everyone can kind of tell that she’s human. And the Boneys (the members of the zombie oligarchy at the airport) want her dead because she’s not one of them. And she represents a threat to their way of life. Self-actualized zombies with a clear philosophy on non-life?! If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is. Also, they look like this:

warm-bodies-skeletons-bonies

Eeep.

This is the tension in the novel: the human philosophy versus the philosophy of the undead. Which one will win? Who will defeat whom? Can they co-exist? Are they all that different? Can Julie and “R” hope for any sort of real life together given who/what they are? Also, “R” kind of ate Julie’s boyfriend. You don’t just get over that kind of thing. Right?

This book, guys! I try rullll hard not to be all “This book is AMAH-ZING! Read it!” because then people read it and they’re like “Calm yourself. It was only all right.” So I won’t tell you just how good I think this book is or how powerful the philosophical questions are or how it made me question how I live/want to live my life. I’ll just leave you with this quote from the book where Julie gives her theory on how zombies came to be:

‘I think we crushed ourselves down over the centuries. Buried ourselves under greed and hate and whatever other sins we could find until our souls finally hit rock bottom of the universe. And then they scraped a hole through it, into some…dark place.’ 221-222

4.5 out of 5 coffees. Read the book soon; the movie comes out this Friday. Also, the soundtrack!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

lets-pretend-this-never-happenedYou know that one friend that we all have who insists they had the weirdest childhood? And then when you ask for anecdotal proof, it’s always a wah-wah? Because, seriously. Who among us doesn’t have emotional scars from being raised by flawed beings?

But Jenny Lawson’s claim is not a “wah-wah.” It’s more of a “wha-what?!” Like the time she was chasing her little sister around her backyard and ran into the carcass of a deer cut open, splayed in half, and air-drying on the clothes line. And by “into” I mean ran inside of the deer and came out covered in deer insides. And THEN her father hosed her and the deer down and later served that deer as part of a meal. And then there was this other time where, after being chastised by her younger sister for being “weird” and a bit of loner, she went on a field trip with her class and ended up with her arm stuck inside of a cow’s hoo-haa. Because she was in the process of artificially inseminating it.

I am not making this stuff up, people. And neither is Lawson. And that’s what makes this book so ridiculously good. Lawson really did have an unusual childhood. And she really is an unusual adult. And she’s fine with you knowing that and even judging her. Because she doesn’t have time to care about what you think because vultures are trying to pick at the dead body of her snake-bitten dog, okay?! Or because she’s too busy convincing her husband that Jesus was, in fact, a zombie. Or that having a small, taxidermied alligator dressed as a pirate is worth having, even if it means setting off airport security alerts on the way home. She’s just too busy.

I don’t know. I might just have a soft spot for the weird and awkward. But I think this book puts you in such a shock that you realize that you shouldn’t be shy about waving your freak flag. Because everyone’s got one.

4 of out five coffees. You go, Jenny Lawson.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

Okay, so, full disclosure: I am not a huge Chelsea Handler fan. So take what I am going to say with a grain of salt.

This book is…embarrassing. Like, I know her brand of humor is less…sophisticated than TFey’s or Demetri Martin or Ricky Gervais. I knew that going in. But that still didn’t prepare me for the first chapter. It was entirely about Handler’s discovery of how to…self complete, if you catch my drift. And apparently once Handler learned how to, ahem, self complete, she spends all her time doing it. Everywhere. Like in the family den when everyone is watching TV. Or while riding a bike. Or at the family table during Thanksgiving dinner. Erk. ERK, guys. I don’t think that’s funny. That’s the kind of stuff you keep to yourself and pray that everyone else involved forgets about. Amiright?

I always knew that Chelsea Handler’s humor centered on the uncomfortable and playing practical jokes on close friends. And I don’t mind that. Her comments are usually the funniest on those VH1 shows. And a few of the stories on the book are great. Like the one where she convinces her boyfriend she killed a friend’s dog and now they have to attend the dog’s funeral. But then there was the one where she spends the whole day eating hot pockets, drinking alcohol and watching the Sex and the City movie. I mean, that’s just sad. Get it together, woman. You are an adult.

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Book Reviews, Humor

 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Okay, first, would you take a look at this title? It’s like Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood all over again! But it has such purpose you guys!

The book is almost entirely made up of letters: correspondences between various characters in the book. When I saw this, my thoughts went straight to Dear Mr. Henshaw and how much I disliked that book. But it works because 1) there is more than one character writing the letters, 2) each character has dimension, and 3) the characters actually carry conversations instead of writing to someone who never responds (ahem…Mr. Henshaw).

Henyways, the novel is set in post-WWII Britain and centers on Juliet Ashton, a recently-published and successful author in search of a new subject. She is also lightly batting off the attentions of a new beau, approved of only by her best friend but not the friend’s brother. Raised eyebrows,right? In the midst of all this, Ashton receives a letter from a stranger residing in Guernsey, a little known island off the coast of Britain that was occupied by Germany during the war. And this place exists, people. Like, it’s on a map and everything. Who knew?

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Awkward by Marni Bates

Awkward by Marni BatesIn high school, I wasn’t awkward at all.  I had all the right clothes, hung out with all the right people, and got invited to the best parties.  Plus I dated the hottest guy at school.

Okay, so none of that is true.  Especially since my school was all girls.

If you don’t think about high school (whether it was years ago or you’re still there) and cringe, this book may not be for you.  But I’m pretty confident that most people feel out of place and awkward during their teen years, and this book understands that feeling perfectly.

Mackenzie is bookish and clumsy, but is mostly okay with that because she has her ridiculously high GPA and close group of equally nerdy friends to keep her company.  So what if she attends study sessions instead of parties on the weekend?  There’s nothing wrong with that.  (I mean, that’s what I did, and look how I…oh, never mind.)

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

When Alice comes to after falling off her exercise bike and hitting her head on the handle bars during her spin class, her first thought is about her unborn child. Is little Sultana (the nickname that Alice and her husband – Nick – came up with for the baby) all right? Her second thought is of Nick. He is going to be so worried about her and the baby. And once he realizes it’s no big D, he’s going to laugh at Alice’s characteristic klutzy-ness.

But it is a big D. And Alice realizes this soon after she gets to the hospital. When her sister – Elizabeth – comes to visit her, Alice can’t help but notice the coldness in her eyes and words. Her mom is also unrecognizable when she comes in. It isn’t until the doctor comes in and begins asking routine questions to check for brain damage that we realize the extent of Alice’s injury. She thinks it’s 1998. It’s really 2008.

Alice forgot everything, ya’ll. This would be bad in the best of circumstances but, you guys! Things. Have. Changed. And Alice realizes this most painfully when she calls her husband, Nick, to explain the ordeal and all she gets back is an angry and profane response accusing her of being a manipulative wretch. A dumbstruck Alice hangs up the phone after the tirade and only then is told by Elizabeth just what she’s forgotten. Alice is not 29, newly married, and expecting her first child. She is 39, has three children, and is in the middle of a divorce and a nasty custody battle.

That sucks.

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The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel

Premise: cousins share a “kid table” at every family occasion (Fourth of July, New Year’s, an adult relative’s bar mitzvah). They enjoy each other’s company – for the most part – but resent the table, scheming of ways to join the adults. This is where we meet our narrator, Ingrid, as she shares the indignity of sitting at the kid table while also resenting the fact that her slightly older cousin – Brianne – somehow managed to make it out.

Ingrid’s relationship with Brianne wasn’t the best to begin with. But when Brianne uses her burgeoning knowledge of Psychology to diagnose Ingrid as psychopath, things go from bad to worse. Now the rest of the family is watching her every move out of the corner of their eyes for confirmation of this diagnosis. Great. And her favorite, Cricket, is looking suspiciously skinny and gets panicky around food. Fantastic. And that really attractive guy (Trevor) who was flirting with her a little earlier? Yea, he’s Brianne’s new college boyfriend. Could get things get any better? Why, of course. Dom is still calling everything “gay” as a way of hinting to his nuclear and extended family that he is same-sex oriented. And Micah can’t seem to keep his clothes on! What is happening?

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