You guys! I’m so behind. I meant to write up this post more than a week ago. Well, same as always, I got distracted by real life! Last weekend my parents were in town and I had a concert, and the weekend before that I was sick (BOO) but of course that does afford one lots of reading time, so I was able to finish this year’s KC Library Winter Reads program! This year’s theme was “Stop Me if You’ve Read This One,” all in the humor genre. Last month I read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (click for review) also for the program. I was glad to read humor since it’s not normally a genre to which I naturally gravitate, but I’m glad to get into something dark and heart-wrenching this week.
In Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell delves into American history and politics with a roadtrip hopping around to different landmarks associated with the assassinations of Lincoln, McKinley, and Garfield. Vowell has a quirky sense of humor and feels a little bit like she’s trying too hard to seem… I don’t know, weird or unique (or weirdly unique) or something. But I did like how much I learned from this book, and I think Vowell does a great job weaving the history with humor, especially related the past to the current (well, early 2000’s) political climate in the United States. It’s a fun, educational journey (yes, both! sneaky). Assassination Vacation was the February book for my library book group, but I missed the discussion due to being sick. [Read from February 23 to 27, 2014.]
An Unexpected Twist by Andy Borowitz was next, and I sort of feel like I cheated a little bit here (a Kindle Single, so, it was super short), but it was funny, and it still counts as reading. Comedian Andy Borowitz tells about the time not long after getting married when a painful intestinal condition leads to a couple surgeries and his almost dying. Basically, he starts feeling horrible and is diagnosed with a twisted colon, so there are cracks about poop a-plenty in this shorty. I’m not sure how much of his memories are hyperbolic, but I appreciated how Borowitz took the life-threatening edge off this retelling with lots of great humor. Laughter is the best medicine, they say! [Read on February 27, 2014.]
I’m generally not into books that spring from Twitter accounts, but Rob Delaney’s Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. is more of a memoir than straight Twitter-to-book experience, and definitely my favorite of the five humor books I read for the Winter Reads program. Mother. Wife. Sister. is a collection of essays about Delaney’s life roughly in chronological order. I loved the one about his childhood fandom for Danzig, his college year abroad in Paris, and his stance on the cats v. dogs debate. The darker passages about his alcoholism, recklessness, and depression were harrowing and fascinating at the same time—and at the end I found myself feeling really happy that Delaney made it through his struggles, finding and making good use of the help he received. There’s profanity, poop, bungee jumping off the Manhattan Bridge, hepatitis A, masturbation, and lots of food. Mother. Wife. Sister. is a great example of a comedian who has fought personal demons, which seems to be quite common. I’ve never seen or heard Rob Delaney, but he’s hilarious on paper! [Read from February 27 to March 1, 2014.]
Lastly, I had no excuse not to finally read Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Hmmm… well, hmm. I have read Sedaris before years ago (Me Talk Pretty One Day and Barrel Fever) and I can’t remember anything about or from them. I’m afraid this collection might be the same… maybe Sedaris isn’t for me, we don’t share a similar sense of humor. I did chuckle at times, but they were for things others said or did that he observed, not his own humor. A lot of the essays just kind of came off as an old grump annoyed by everything. People are harried and wear schlumpy clothes at airports? No kidding! (eyeroll) I found myself cringing a bit through his self-absorbed, petty rants (to which he admits, to his credit). I was uncomfortable with his nonchalant attitude about his abusive childhood, the way he mentions race, and his stories about his affluence didn’t capture my attention. However, I did like the travel essays, which is a lot of the book (counting it for my Eclectic Reader Challenge!)—especially his observations on learning different languages for his travels. But still I don’t know—I feel ambivalent. I think Sedaris is a talented writer and with finely tuned observational skills, and I had a great time at his reading here last summer—he was charming in person!—but this might be my last Sedaris book. [Read from March 1 to 2, 2014.]