Category Archives: Humor

Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

5 Stars

Fair warning, yet another book that you shouldn’t read around your co-workers or strangers unless you want to get really strange looks as you laugh so hard your tea comes out of your nose.  This book isn’t meant to be a comedy or a humor book, it’s a memoir.  But you truly can’t help yourself.  There are times where you know you shouldn’t be laughing, but it just bubbles up and bursts out.

Jenny takes you through her less than normal upbringing in a very small Texas town.  It’s funny stuff, there are serious issues she raises, like poverty, but they are approached in a way that you smile at how her family pushed through and thrived.  Bread-bag shoes and all!  And her parents are definitely NOT the normal parents that you and I probably grew up with.  Did your dad come into your room at night with a magical talking squirrel?  How about throwing a live bobcat at your fiancée?  Having your father explain that he’s not making stew but he’s boiling skulls to your future in-laws?  What about a taxidermy shop?  Yeah, didn’t think so!  It’s amazing that Jenny and her sister survived at all!

Jenny doesn’t shy away from anything and talks very candidly about her life, the good and the bad.  She talks about miscarriages, suicide, mental illness and dead animals.  Her candor and her self-awareness is amazing and her ability to speak about subjects that many of us would simply bury and hide away is something that I find amazing.  She has shown that mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide from the world.  It helped shape who she is and she’s sharing her world with us and it’s amazing.

At one point I was tempted to switch careers and go into Human Resources.  And the chapter names alone are worth the price of admission!

I would definitely recommend Jenny Lawson’s books to anyone who wants to sit down and read vignettes about real life and how we deal with it and how it effects us and those around us.  I really can’t accurately describe this book in any meaningful way because it’s a memoir about a real person.  She’s not a historical figure, mega celebrity, etc.  She’s a perfectly abnormal human being and this is the story of her life so far and how she got to this place.

I recommended Jenny’s books to my daughter, who suffers from severe social anxiety and depression.  She was brave enough to go to a book signing and had the privilege of meeting Jenny and one of her most prized possessions is the book that Jenny signed and the selfie that she was allowed to take.  She was able to see that she’s so much more than her mental illness and she doesn’t have to let that illness define who she is or take away her happiness or her life.  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened lets the reader know that it’s okay to be broken, we’re all a little broken and that’s okay.  What’s important is to never give up and live Furiously Happy (had to plug her other book, which was amazing too!).

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Filed under Biography/Memoir, Humor

Review: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

5 Stars and a tremendous Thank You to the author.

As someone who has very dear loved ones with various different forms of mental illness but having never truly suffered from it myself, this book was a window into their world.  A way to give me a small sample of what they deal with on a daily basis and how real the struggle is to just even appear to be normal and have their shit together.  To hope that they too have the strength to own their crazy and be okay with it.  To remember that this world is so much better with them in it and there may be easier ways but they definitely won’t be better.

The author talks about being furiously happy.  Taking those moments where the depression and anxiety are somewhat dormant and testing the limits and doing things that she may have never otherwise done just to say that she’s taking control of her life and is going to make memories of happy times and fun things so that when she’s in the depths of darkness, she can look back on things like having Rory the grinning stuffed raccoon ride her cats in an amazing cat rodeo and see that little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Full disclosure…I want to meet Rory and Rory II, they sound like they would be awesome to hang out with.

There’s an amazing section where the author includes an appendix in the middle of the book.  This appendix is an interview with the author where she’s interviewed by her husband.  The interaction is hilarious but her insight and her ability to make a ‘normal’ person understand what she and others face on a daily basis is just astounding.  I can only hope that I can take some of what I’ve learned by reading this book and using it to help myself understand those who I know are suffering with similar problems and do everything I can to help.  Even if that means letting them curl up in a ball and hide in their room, shutting out the world.  And that’s okay.

I think that she has an amazing voice and it’s very clear that this book, while absolutely hilarious, is also one person’s story about their own mental illness.  Something that’s been treated with so much stigma that most people hide it away and never tell anyone about it.  I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers from mental illness, cares for someone who suffers or just wants to know more about what life is like having to live in a body that constantly lies to you and wants you to harm yourself and just give up.  There is plenty of laughter (the people on the bus looked at me funny) and plenty of times where you just want to reach through and give her a hug.

The epilogue was incredibly emotional and it’s definitely a section I will find myself reading from time to time because it truly is that poignant.  The final words are probably one of the strongest statements I’ve ever read.  “Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else.  Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow.  And sometimes…sometimes we fly.”

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  I’m actually getting copies for those loved ones that I mentioned.  They may or may not read it, but if they do, it will remind them that they are not alone.  That there are other people out there who understand, who know what they go through on a daily basis.  They don’t have to feel bad or broken.  They can own their crazy and be furiously happy because of and in spite of it.

Now where can I find a koala jumpsuit…

 

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Review: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

4 Stars

I hate math.  I hate science.  Mostly because I don’t understand them enough to really have a higher opinion of either subject.  That and I’m really, really bad at them!  But this book actually made me take another look and have a grudging respect for how cool science and math can actually be.  I found myself laughing out loud at many of the questions and the hilarious responses to these questions.

Can you swim in a pool where they store spent fuel rods from a nuclear power plant?  Surprisingly, the answer is yes…as long as you stay close to the surface.  And even more surprisingly, the water actually has a lower radioactive level than the level that we are dosed with on a daily basis by just walking around the surface of the Earth.  Though the answer given to him by a friend who works in a nuclear reactor made me nearly spit out my drink.

Can you build a periodic wall of elements?  Made out of cube shaped bricks where each brick was made of the corresponding element.  This one had me giggling from nearly the beginning.  I remember memorizing that stupid table of elements that I couldn’t pronounce and had never heard of.  I didn’t know what half of them were or what they did.  But to see what each element can do, especially when you put them in contact with other elements.  Let me just give you one word of wisdom: Do not build the seventh row.

Added in are Weird (and Worrying) Questions from the What If? inbox.  Some of these questions are absolutely hilarious but at the same time, incredibly frightening.  You have to ask yourself, what kind of a person spends their time dreaming up questions like: How fast would a human have to run in order to be cut in half at the bellybutton by a cheese-cutting wire?  This is not the sort of person I want to have sitting next to me on the bus!

Added into each story are hilarious drawings.  The author is also the mind behind a popular web comic, so the drawings and little quotes really add another dimension to the question and answers.  And the answers are backed by real science.  There is an extensive reference section at the end of the book.  The footnotes to each story are also pretty hilarious.

I would easily recommend this to geeks and non geeks alike.  You don’t have to understand or even like science and math to appreciate this book.  It’s a lot of fun and I actually learned a thing or two.  Not that I can do much with that knowledge…but I’m just happy to have another perspective on two of my worst subjects during school!

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Review: Beating Ruby by Camilla Monk

4 Stars

I received this an an ARC from the author after reading and reviewing the first book in the series, Spotless.  And being a total airhead, I totally forgot to post my review until I got an e-mail about the upcoming third novel in the series.  So I apologize to the author, I don’t have any other excuse other than to say I was busy trying to convince Krakky to pick the lotto numbers for me.

This book is the second in the Spotless series and picks up a few months after we left Island Chaptal.  She has seemingly gotten on with her life after she was kidnapped and learned that everything she knew about her life was a lie.  She has a new job that she enjoys and she has found a nice, normal boyfriend, Alex.  She is still healing from her broken hart, having had it broken at the hands of March.  The hit man sent to kidnap her and who ultimately helps her unravel the secrets of her life.

Island has been working on Ruby, a revolutionary software project for the banking industry.  Her boss is soon found dead and all evidence points to him stealing a vast fortune using Ruby and then erased all records of the transaction and the software itself.  Of course it falls to Island to clear his name and set his legacy right.  And of course she needs to turn to the one man who broke her heart to help her.  But can she trust him again?

Once again this book is hilarious.  A romance novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows the reader to laugh at the plot, the characters and ultimately themselves.  A truly tongue-in-cheek approach to “Chick-Lit” that makes you smile every time you pick up the book.  It’s a romance novel that makes fun of the entire genre.  Every outlandish situation is one that makes you smile.  You know that nothing like this would ever really happen in real life, but that’s the whole idea!

Once again this book had everything.  Romance, intrigue, epic battles and a scene with a baby octopus that simply cannot be missed.

I love the characters in spite of myself.  You really do have to suspend belief because there cannot possibly be people like this in the real world.  Though, if there were, I think I would love to meet them!

If you want a romance that doesn’t take itself or the characters too seriously, definitely pick up this series.  As long as you read them in the spirit that they were written, you will not be disappointed.

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Review: Spotless by Camilla Monk

4 Stars

At first I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  It was so far fetched and so unbelievable I just couldn’t take it seriously.  And I believe that was exactly what the author wanted us to do.  This is a romantic comedy with action and suspense thrown in, but one that is tongue in cheek and is completely campy and outlandish.  I found myself laughing out loud and unable to put the book down.  It was a quick read and I was sorry to see it end, but heartened to know that there’s more to come from Island Chaptal and the OCD assassin, March.

Island (yes, that’s really her name) Chaptal is a geeky IT engineer who is socially inept and escapes into trashy romance novels, living out her fantasies.  Her boring and predictable life is interrupted when she comes home to her apartment to find a polite and cleanly professional killer sorting out her tax returns by year.  He is there to find out what she knows about a missing diamond that her mother seems to have stolen from an unsavory organization.  Island agrees to help him locate the diamond, not that she has much of a choice!

Soon, Island and March are crossing the globe from France to Japan trying to stay one step ahead of other parties who are looking for the same diamond.  Crossing and double crossing seem to be par for the course for the bad guys.  There are twists and turns galore and moments that are simply laugh out loud funny.  You can’t wait to see what else the author has in store for these two complete opposites who are inexplicably drawn toward each other.

At the beginning of each chapter is a quote from some trashy romance novel Island seems to love so much.  Each quote is funnier than the last.  Just like each situation that Island and March seem to find themselves immersed in.  Whether they are shooting up a strip club or blowing up a bad-guy lair with a bazooka with Twitter capabilities, you can’t help but smile at the utter outlandishness that this book brings.

If you’re looking for a campy action, comedy, socially awkward romantic comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is a load of fun, you can’t go wrong with Spotless.  I’ve already put the second novel on my wishlist, just waiting for it to come out in a few months!

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Review: Pop Sonnets by Didriksen

A very enthusiastic 5 stars for Pop Sonnets.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Net Galley.

I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into when I sat down to read this book.  Pop music turned into Shakespearian sonnets?  This was either going to be really bad or it was going to be utterly amazing.  And I’m definitely going with the utterly amazing description.  I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book.

I will have a lot of fun using this book in parties and in gatherings with friends and family.  It will be a blast to read these sonnets and try to have people guess what song it’s talking about.  No genre is safe.  Pop, rock, metal and even rap make an appearance here.  In many cases, the sonnet is SO MUCH BETTER than the original lyric that I wish we could have the artist go back and record it again and use the sonnet in place of their original lyrics.

I think one of the best experiences was being Rick-Rolled.  That was a nice touch!  I laughed and found myself going back and reading many of them again.  This will definitely be a book that comes out on a regular basis.  This will be awesome for trivia nights and get-togethers.  There aren’t many books that I would readily pick up and read again, but this book will definitely go onto that list.  I think I’ll read it again right now!

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Filed under Historical, Humor