Category Archives: Humor

T. J. Klune, How to be a Normal Person

(2018-04-30 001) DELETETitle: How to be a Normal Person

Author: T. J. Klune

Publication Information: Tallahassee, FL : Published by Dreamspinner Press, c2015

ISBN: 978-1-63476-579-4 (digital); 978-1-63476-578-7 (print)

Library of Congress Classification:
PS3611.L86

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Gay men–Fiction
Drug utilization–Fiction
Asexual people–Fiction

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this and so does everyone in Abby, Oregon. He has a ferret named Harry S. Truman, and he reads encyclopedias before he goes to bed. He talks to as few people as possible, which isn’t too hard since he runs a video rental store. Besides the few customer interactions he has, he talks to Lottie, who owns Lottie’s Lattes, and three elderly women known as the We Three Queens. They ride Vespas.

His life continues in it’s daily rut until he meets asexual stoner and hiptser Casey, a relative of Lottie’s who has come to stay in Abby. The world Gus knows is thrown completely out of order as he cannot resist the attraction to the hip stoner. Therefore Gus decides that he wants to be “normal.” Gus goes to great lengths to discover the “secrets” of being a “normal” person so that Casey would like him.

I’ve never read a book by T.J. Klune, but I fell in love with this one almost immediately. Gus lost his father, Pastor Tommy (he’s not really a cleric, just a title given to him by everyone in Abby), a few years before the story begins; his mother left them when Gus was five. Gus is anti-social and tries to control all interactions he has with people. (My impression was that he might be on the autism spectrum.) He limits the time he talks to them and has no real interest in small talk, but all this begins to change.

The book is quite sweet. Gus wants so badly to be with Casey that he finds an Internet site on how to be normal and then proceeds to use the information with hilarious results. There is a lot of drug use in the book, Pastor Tommy being a pothead and Casey having used the drug off and on. This seemed to offend a few people who gave the book bad reviews on Amazon. Casey, being asexual, really isn’t interested in the act of sex; he prefers hugs, so there are no hot and heavy sex scenes.

I wondered about Gus’ relationship with Pastor Tommy, but it unfolds over the course of the entire book. We learn that there was real love Pastor Tommy had for his son, and that Gus really misses his father. (Pastor Tommy died of cancer.) It’s quite poignant. The book is cleverly written.

The book was thoroughly enjoyable, and I highly recommend it.

 

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Bruce Eric Kaplan, Edmund and Rosemary go to Hell

(2016-04-28 001)Title: Edmund and Rosemary go to Hell

Author: Bruce Eric Kaplan

Publication Information: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007

ISBN: 1-4165-4549-2 (978-1-4165-4549-1)

Library of Congress Classification: PS3561.A5534

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Life–Comic books, strips, etc.
Hell–Comic books, strips, etc.
Life–Humor
Hell–Humor

This is brilliant.

Edmund and Rosemary are a married couple that decide to go for a walk one Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. They come to the conclusion that the world is truly an ugly, unhappy place. People on cell phones, lousy movies, chain stores offering no health care, evil corporations, traffic everywhere–there was no respite. It is at this point that Edmund and Rosemary conclude that they are living in Hell.

Of course everyone assures them that they are not, in fact, living in Hell. They contact their governmental representatives and end up talking to a spineless, top governmental official in D.C. who confirms that they are, indeed, in Hell. Anyone who discovers that we live is Hell is given a huge lottery win as hush money. And so Edmund and Rosemary start their new lives, but find that they still aren’t happy.

This is a wonderful little book to read on those days when the world seems worse than usual. Edmund and Rosemary are those of us who just get fed up with the world and want a way to escape–but there is no escape, so what do we do to make ourselves feel better?

Read the book. The line drawings only add to the fun.

Dan Piraro, Bizarro Heroes

(2016-04-19 001)Title: Bizarro Heroes

Author: Dan Piraro

Publication Information: San Francisco, CA: Last Gasp, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-867-19756-3

Library of Congress Classification: PN6727.P47

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Superheroes–Comic books, strips, etc.
Superheroes–Humor
American wit and humor, Pictorial

I found this book in P!Q in Grand Central Terminal on the way to work. I laughed my head off.

Cartoonist Dan Piraro draws a comic online called Bizarro. This book must be cartoons culled from the title. I had never heard of Bizarro, but the book has some great cartoons in it. One captioned “Spiderman Walking His Dog” (2016-04-19 002)shows an ordinary street scene with people walking down the street. Up in the right hand corner is a dog on a least who is choking. Apparently Spiderman doesn’t “walk” his dog but zips around on his webs, dragging poor Fido with him. In another, the Joker strikes again at the diner, where Batman and Robin are eating and Batman has discovered that the top of the salt shaker has been loosened.

I liked the book so much that I bought one for a friend of mine. This is just a fun book that will make you laugh.

Horrifyingly Mad

(2014-03-23 001)Title: Horrifyingly Mad

Publication Information: New York: Fall River Press, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4351-3743-1

Library of Congress Classification: NC1428.M23

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
United States—Civilization—Humor
Motion pictures—United States—Humor
Popular culture—United States—Humor
United States—Civilization—Comic books, strips, etc.
Motion pictures—United States—Comic books, strips, etc.
Popular culture—United States—Comic books, strips, etc.

When my brother and I were growing up, getting an issue of Mad, or Cracked (which I preferred), was a real treat. The silly, satiric commentaries on life resonated with our views on what was going on around us. Making fun of movies, television shows, advertisements, anything and everything really settled well. In retrospect, many of the commentaries were quite good.

This collection of horror-themed comics are fun, but like any typical issue of Mad and Cracked, the entries are uneven. Some are excellent, some are okay, some completely miss the mark, and others leave you wondering, “Huh?” Nonetheless, they bring back some nostalgia for me. Since all of these are collections of already-published issues, some come from the time I was actually reading Mad and Cracked.

If you are looking for something that can bring back good feelings from the past and still entertain, this is for you.

Kevin Hearne, Hounded; Hexed; Hammered

(2014-06-19 001)Author: Kevin Hearne

Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles

Publication Information: New York: Ballantine Books, 2011 (Del Rey mass market ed.)

Title: Hounded

ISBN: 978-0-345-52247-4

Title: Hexed

ISBN: 978-0-345-52249-8

Title: Hammered

ISBN: 978-0-345-52248-1

Library of Congress Classification: PS3608.E263

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Druids and druidism–Fiction
Goddesses–Fiction
Gods–Fiction
Magic–Fiction
Dogs–Fiction
Human-animal communication–Fiction
Werewolves–Fiction
Vampires–Fiction
Demonology–Fiction

Think of a world where all the pantheons of all the world’s deities are real. Add to this mix vampires, werewolves and witches–and Druids. Atticus O’Sullivan (his current alias; real name: Siodhachan Ó Suileabháin) is the protagonist. He looks 21 and has the libido of a 21-year-old, but he’s really 2,100 years old. He’s also the last of the Druids, so he tries to keep a low profile in the world, which usually doesn’t work. Long ago, he made a deal with The Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war, and she has allowed him to live on in the world. Each week, he takes a cup of immortal tea that keeps him 21.

Atticus owns an occult shop where he sells books and different types of tea for different types of ailments. He also possesses the magical sword Fragarach. Atticus’ power comes from the earth, so he always tries to fight with his bare feet planted on the ground. The Celtic tattoos covering his right arm can also be used by him to channel energy from the earth. With his dog Oberon, with whom he’s able to telepathically communicate, Atticus lives in Tempe, Arizona. He chose the New World and the desert because there are no Old World deities in the area.

In the first book, Hounded, Atticus finds that his old enemy Aenghus Óg, the Celtic god of love, has discovered where he’s living. For centuries, Atticus has been on the run from this god, who wants to kill him and take Fragarach. Only recently has Aenghus Óg started causing trouble that alarms The Morrigan. Something is amiss, and she knows that Aenghus Óg is in the middle of it. And thus does Atticus get involved in battle, accompanied by werewolves.

In Hexed, the aftermath of Aenghus Óg’s defeat and the problems he created, are being addressed by Atticus. He ends up teamed with Coyote, the Native American trickster god, to destroy a fallen angel. Meanwhile, his vampire lawyer works on a non-aggression treaty with a coven of Polish witches after a few of them joined Aenghus Óg’s side in the last book. (Atticus does not like or trust witches.) A group of Bacchants from Vegas come to town, bringing destruction in their wake. These followers of the Roman god Bacchus start orgies that always end with the followers killing and even eating the initiates; Atticus and his friends therefore move against them. (Note: in this universe, the Roman and Greek pantheons are completely separate. Atticus taunts Bacchus by telling him he’s a pale imitation of Dionysus, which infuriates the Roman god.) Then there’s the new cult of witches who move into town; this group had ties to the Nazis. Atticus had battled them before during World War II. It’s also inconvenient that the local police believe Atticus is responsible for a few murders, so the Druid has to tread lightly.

In Hammered, Atticus has acquired an apprentice, but he doesn’t know just how long he’ll be able to stay in Tempe. His vampire lawyer and one of his werewolf associates from the law firm want Thor, the Norse god of thunder, dead. Seems that the Asgardian really is an asshole; those who can stand him describe him as “a douche bag.” He is the friend of no mortal, and has even pulled many nasty tricks on some deities. Joined by entities from other pantheons, Atticus leads the group to Asgard to make war with Thor. The resulting battle does real damage that forces Atticus to pull up roots and flee Tempe.

I liked these books. Some of the funniest dialog goes on between Atticus and Oberon as they communicate mentally. Also, Atticus likes to not only take off his shoes for battle but also takes off his clothes at times. (Lying on his right side on the ground, the earth’s power flows faster into him via his tattoos.) Watching Atticus negotiate the modern world as well not offending the deities with whom he comes into contact with is fun.

If seeing the Virgin Mary administer to today’s poor and downtrodden, and Jesus appearing as a Black man and having a drink with Atticus in a local Tempe bar doesn’t offend, then these books are for you.

Francesco Marciuliano, I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats; I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs

Book Cover-I Could Pee on This (2013-09-30 001)Title: I Could Chew on This: and Other Poems by Cats

Author: Francesco Marciuliano

Publication Information: San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1058-5

Library of Congress Classification: PN6084 .C23

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Cats–Humor
Cats–Poetry

Title: I Could Chew on This: and Other Poems by DogsMarciuliano-I Could Chew on This (2013-09-30 007)

Author: Francesco Marciuliano

Publication Information: San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1903-8

Library of Congress Classification: PN6231 .D68

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Dogs–Humor
Dogs–Poetry

I bought the cat book at Northshire Books when I was in Manchester, Vermont because it was 20% off the cover price. The dog and cat books are also carried by Whimsies.

Like most poetry, some are better than others. The ones that are funny are really funny. The full-color photos of the dogs and cats that accompany the poems are adorable, with many complementing the poems quite well. With dog titles like Unleashed (“I’m free! … I’m lost!), Splash (a dog that keeps chasing stones as you skip them across the water–and he cannot stop), and Time (a dog wondering where you are, and not to leave him again), I laughed quite a lot.

Some cat titles are Cold (everything at the vet’s is cold–except the puddle of urine on the vet’s notes), Why are You Screaming (a cat trying to figure out why you don’t like the present–a dead mouse on your bed), Something’s Wrong (a cat realizes that the walls are a different color, the place is laid out wrong … all since he got out of the carrier, and he intends to find out what happened), and  Nine Lives (what each one is for, including writing ones’s memoirs), were a lot of fun.

This is for cat and dog lovers, or for anyone who likes animals.

Matt Adrian, Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds

Adrian-Guide to Troubled Birds (2013-09-30 010)TitleThe Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds

Author: Matt Adrian

Publication Information: The Mincing Mockingbird, Inc., 2012

ISBN: 978-0615593685

Library of Congress Classification: PN6231.B46

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Birds–Humor
Adrian, Matt—Humor
Adrian, Matt—Catalogs
Painting—United States—Catalogs
Birds in art—Catalogs

The Mincing Mockingbird returns! Actually, this book came out before the other two, but this is the first time I’ve seen it.

This time, Matt Adrian write a book for “anyone to quickly identify psychotic, violent or mentally unstable bird species.” As usual, Adrian’s paintings of birds are accompanied by crazy things the birds seem to be saying from the way they look. There are some entries for birds that go on for a page or more.

There are two entires that I spotted for owls, which made me happy.  Of course what’s written about owls is not complementary, but a study in the owl psyche. Like other birds, owls cannot be trusted.

New paintings come to Whimsies, which carries the book as well as the paintings. I was told by Karen that Adrian never does the same paintings; he doesn’t have a set number of this or that bird on hand, he just paints. Apparently, he hasn’t painted any owls lately. The last shipment had two or three different owls in it, so I should have bought then.

So if you like twisted humor and birds, this book is for you.