A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a funny but interesting book. The book is about aliens destroying Earth to make way for an intergalactic bypass, and it follows a few characters trying to survive the universe that they've been put into. There were also many comedic moments, including strange things that the characters need in order to survive and be safe out in the galaxy, such as a towel, which is really important. The only thing I didn't really like about this book was that it was really difficult to understand at times. There were lots of confusing moments and new things just kept coming. But at the end of the book most of it started to make sense. Overall I thought this book was a great read if you like humor and are interested in space.
Reviewer Grade: 8
If you consider yourself an experienced reader, you can probably state that there are barely a few books in this world that can touch your heart. You went through hundreds of human fates written on thousands of pages; you can easily predict the plots of love stories or detective novels; you can easily identify what figurative devices the author used here and there to make you feel sad, hopeful or amused. You feel so confident and think that nothing in the literature world can surprise you anymore, but then… you open this book, A Man Called Ove by the Swedish author Fredrik Backman. The main character has nothing to do with standardized cliche characters that we’re used to. It’s an old grumpy man called Ove, who believes that nobody in this world knows how to do their job anymore, but instead everybody tries to get more money for less effort. Not only is he deeply convinced in this, he also never skips a chance to remind this to everybody he meets and to inform them as well which rules they have broken and which lessons they have never learnt. He lives all alone, even his wife has left him, and from knowing Ove for about 50 pages we think we know why. But then the curtain opens for the readers, and we learn a beautiful and tragic story of Ove and his wife Sonja. Two absolutely different personalities, who tied themselves together for life with bonds of love, patience, understanding and selflessness. But now Sonja is gone, she’s gone forever and Ove doesn’t see any sense in life anymore. He tries to commit a suicide several times to reunite with Sonja, but all of his attempts fail once the new neighbors move into the house next to Ove’s. An absolutely clumsy IT-specialist Patrick, his pregnant Iranian wife Parvaneh and two of their daughters change his life and become a barrier for all his pessimistic plans. Unexpectedly and against Ove’s will, he rescues a cat and becomes his owner; takes Patrick to the hospital by his precious car Saab; helps a teenager Adrian to fix a bike for the girl that he likes; lets a homosexual barista, who was kicked out of the house by his very conservative father, stay over; fights for Rune, the man who’s been his main opponent the entire life, against Men In White Shirts; teaches Parvaneh driving a car and buys an iPad for her older daughter. Even though he denies it, Ove becomes friends with the entire neighborhood, remaining just as grumpy, rude and straightforward as he’s always been. One day he almost dies and that puts an end for his attempts to get to Heaven prematurely. He finally realizes that there is life after death (after Sonja’s death) and there is always something to fight for.
An amazing book that will make you laugh and cry. Ove’s sassiness and barbed character will pull up a smile on the readers faces and his endless loyalty to Soja will move even the biggest skeptics.The characters are bright and strong individuals that follow their principles and show us the world of their beliefs, so different, but never false. This novel teaches us the importance of friendship and helping each other. It shows us that even in the darkest times of life we can find light in people around us.
Reviewer Grade: 12
I absolutely love this book series. I started reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid when I was in elementary school when it got recommended to me by a friend. I have no regrets. Even today I still love reading these books. The art in them is exceptional and unique as well as the stories and writing. I have read everyone of these books in the series, but I still think that the first one is a classic.
Greg Heffley is an extremely unique character within the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The author of this book gives Greg an almost “cartoony” personality. At first, I didn’t like Greg, but he definitely grew to become my favorite character in the book. The first book in this series introduces Greg and all of the characters and hardships they face. I would 100% recommend this series. If you want to start the series, read this one!
Reviewer Grade: 8
This was a light and hilarious read, though probably not a good choice if you are looking for something more informational. Jim Gaffigan is a great comedian, and the care he put into organizing this book about food is evident. It was nice that Gaffigan didn't take himself too seriously in each chapter. Since most autobiographies that mention food discuss more negative pressures of food culture, this book turned it around into a positive ode to food, a reminder to never feel bad about fueling your body with good food. Unexpectedly, it was also a reoccurring theme for Gaffigan to discuss the fear of not being a good enough parent and other anxieties about social norms that relate to food. Pick up this book if you are already a Jim Gaffigan fan or you just need a comforting book.
John Dies at the End is a story on two levels. On hand hand, it's a poignant exploration of the darkness of humanity, the fear of the unknown, the tragedies of life, and the devastating realities we exist besides everyday. But also, it's about two idiots on a space drug and their strangely resilient dog.
This book should be the blueprint for every dark comedy. It isn't a needlessly tragic story with a few laughs thrown in or a joke fest that undercuts every poignant moment. It blends comedy and tragedy seamlessly, balances it perfectly, and hits it for a home run with meticulous writing and characters. This is mostly done by finding the hilarity in tragedy, specifically the tragedy of life. This book is strangely and wonderfully existential for being mostly about shadows and movie monsters, a very classic demons of a character mirrored by demons of the world. The characters in general are stellar, with so many flaws and so much cynicism but with some shining nuggets of morality and love that makes them very easy to root for.
The entire thing is a joke that takes itself seriously in the best way possible. There are horrible moments of death and gore and dehumanization, and I would definitely look up some content warnings, but it's still such a fun ride. One minute there's gruesome character deaths and existential dread and body horror and such, the next minute one of the characters need to just kill the alien larvae quickly to get to work on time. Or their dog explodes and shows up like two days later and they don't care enough to investigate that. It's a rollercoaster of mood swings, but in a good way.
All in all, I don't know how to describe this book without using far too many words. Basically, despite some anticlimactic moments and weaker plot structure, this is a perfect dark comedy. I'd recommend this to any fans of horror, humor, existential dread, nihilistic humor, and well-written alien drugs!
Reviewer Grade: 12
In this second collection of Squirrel Girl comics, you'll once again find Doreen Green trying to balance her life as Squirrel Girl and as a computer science student at Empire State University. This can be quite the balancing act, especially when you have a huge fluffy tail that you have to hide when you're in your civilian persona. While other superheroes have origin stories that explain their tremendous powers, Squirrel Girl is...Squirrel Girl.
Doreen's "unbeatable" title continues to be tested as she uses both her skills as a squirrel person who can communicate with and control squirrels and as a computer science major to defeat villains who terrorize New York City. The fact that she's a superhero who can talk to and control squirrels is just amusing enough that fans of the first collection will likely enjoy this one. However, I wasn't prepared to read a Howard the Duck crossover in this collection, so know that it's not necessarily a volume completely dedicated to Squirrel Girl.
Once again, I enjoyed Ryan North's writing (there's a lot since Dorreen rarely resorts to violence to solve her problems). I haven't read many comic books, so I'm still getting used to the art styles, especially since they are distinctly different between the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl issues and the Howard the Duck issues. And while this volume was entertaining, there is a certain limitation that comes with a superhero whose only abilities revolve around squirrels. Doreen can use only so many iterations of these powers before they become repetitive.
More Squirrel Girl action with a Howard the Duck crossover, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Big Squirrels Don't Cry 3.5 stars out of 5.
I was first made aware of this somewhat obscure Marvel superhero because I am a regular reader of Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics webcomic series. While I sat on the knowledge of Squirrel Girl's existence for some time, I finally broke down and bought the two-volume collection of North's imagining of the hero. In this first volume, Powers of a Squirrel, we get to know Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl), a computer scientist student studying at Empire State University.
As a much more comedic superhero compared to the likes of Iron Man or Captain America, Squirrel Girl's claim to fame is the fact that she is "Unbeatable." This includes defeating some of Marvel's most fearsome and powerful villains in unique ways that don't involve violence. Sure, sometimes Squirrel Girl has to get her paws dirty, but the more amusing storylines are the ones where she saves the day using unconventional squirrel-based techniques. That being said, it's a funny gimmick the first few times, then it gets repetitive near the end of this volume.
The art for this comic was decent, but the writing was certainly worth the price of admission. Even the little author notes at the bottom of the page were fun to read, despite being in a minuscule font that my 35-year-old eyes had trouble reading. There's a lot of suspension of disbelief in this collection of the first eight issues of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but honestly, what superhero comic book doesn't have some amount of this? And while Squirrel Girl is a bit more quirky than other superheroes, I do hope that she'll get her own MCU movie in the future.
A quirky and fun Marvel super hero, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Powers of a Squirrel 4.0 stars out of 5.
The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is a short play about characters who are indeed NOT earnest. Algernon, a bachelor living in London, has an imaginary friend called Bunbury whose false existence he uses to get himself out of unpleasant social gatherings. Similarly, Jack—who lives in the country with his ward, an orphan named Cecily—has a made up brother named Ernest, whose constant state of “illness” allows him to visit the city when he pleases. From these false identities arises a huge misunderstanding, when Algernon decides to visit Jack’s country home posing as Ernest, the imaginary invalid brother whom Jack had planned to kill off that very day in order to end his pretending once and for all. The two friends must sort out the misunderstanding with their respective fiancées, and end up making an ironic discovery in the process.
This play is highly amusing, with its opinionated characters and witty commentary. It has a satisfying denouement; from start to finish the plot is engaging, and it doesn’t drag on. I would recommend The Importance of Being Earnest to anyone who likes a clever and entertaining comedy, or just a good laugh!
I'll be honest. The main reason I picked up this book was because I kept hearing people talk about how 42 is the meaning of life and I had no idea what they meant. I also read it because I'm generally a big fan of science fiction, but it was mostly to understand the 42 reference. Despite my less-than-admirable intentions, though, I massively enjoyed it. The author is very creative and the writing itself is well-crafted, but, at the same time, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. It's hilarious. From the "42 is the meaning of life" idea that everyone talks about to the name "Slartibartfast," this book made me laugh out loud several times, which isn'ta common occurrence when I'm reading. I also read it as an audiobook, and Stephen Fry as the narrator makes it that much better. My only complaint about it is that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's what sequels are for, so all in all, I would highly recommend.
Review grade: 10
I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11
Sadly, I wasn't impressed with this, as a radio drama or an audio version of Pratchett's work. For Pratchett's Discworld books, this is definitely not an alternative to audio books of these novels. As a radio drama, the abridgment of the books is limited almost exclusively to sections of dialogue. The narration and storytelling background sounds aren't enough to allow the listener who hasn't already read or listened to the books to understand more than the basic plot. I was really surprised by this one, because BBC usually does such good work.
Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I only thought Good Omens was just OK. You’d think that the combination of two of the best British writers would create an incredible story, but I felt it was mostly disjointed, un-climatic, and full of that British humor that tends to be more random than based in actual jokes. Granted, most books by Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman that I’ve read have been hit or miss, depending on how peculiarly random the subject might be. Sure, there are elements of a great story here; it just felt distracted from its main purpose half of the time.
The core of Good Omens is split into two parts: following the actual Antichrist who is unaware of his theological significance/role in the end of the world and the journey of an angel and a demon who happened to lose said Antichrist. This idea's strength is enough to give the story some merit, but the execution seemed flawed to me. Too much time was spent in random and meaningless interactions that didn’t add to the story other than to be “humorous” for their pure obscurity. If anything, this type of humor is standard for Pratchett, so I’m not surprised it was there, just disappointed that it seemed to play such a large part of the story.
I’m sure most people loved the relationship between the angel and the demon, but I almost found the actions of the unaware Antichrist to be much more interesting and would have liked that those parts of the book played more in the plot than just being a side story. I know Amazon made a television show of this book, so maybe I just missed something that the show might be able to reveal to me as to why this book was so popular. As for me, it was just kind of “meh.” An interesting plot that suffers from British humor, I give Good Omens 3.0 stars out of 5.
Phule’s Company combines humor and a great amount of detail in a single book. It also contains a good amount of growth mindset. Even though it's a novel, I think anyone could learn Growth Mindset from this. Though the humor is hard to see, it really is funny in a lot of ways. Some of the names are clever versions of household items, such as duct tape. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone looking for a sci-fi.
Maggie and Rose are sisters with very different lives and personalities. The two common things they share are their mother's tragic death, a "car accident" when they were kids and the same shoe size. Rose is an attorney, practical, responsible and has her own apartment. Maggie, the younger of the two, is good looking (which she uses to her advantage), impetuous and manipulative. They live together for a short stint, until a major falling out causes them to go their own ways. Thus begins a journey of self discovery for each woman and the surprise of a grandmother who they thought was long gone. The love/hate relationship of sisters is well captured, along with humor and sharp observations.
Polly is a southern mother who doesn't put up with anybody. She is a confident individual who knows everything there is to know about gardening. The life she knew soon changed when her husband (Captain) dies, and she is left with an unexpected baby. Willow was born when Polly was in her late fifties, and death has always been a constant fear. Besides the fear of her mother's passing, there's only one other thing that pesters Willow.....secrets. Polly's past is a closed book, even a slight mention of the topic is forbidden. As the novel continues, Willow races against time to both save her mother and learn about the wounds from the past. The Book of Polly is filled with twists and turns, with times of tears and roars of laughter. Every page is filled with surprises. From aggravating neighbors to the love-hate relationship with squirrels, the book truly emphasizes the bond between mothers and daughters. I highly recommend this book! I have read it twice, and it truly is incredible.
This charmer was a runaway international bestseller and it is easy to see why. The main character, Allan Karlsson, is memorable even as his stories from his wanderings around the world get more and more far-fetched. Karlsson has always done what he wanted and skipping his 100th birthday party at the start is the least surprising thing when looking back upon this Swedish novel. I read this for a book group (book club set available through PPLD) and one participant described Karlsson as Forest Gump with a dangerous affinity for vodka and explosives. This "intelligent, very stupid novel" as the author described it, is enjoyable if a tad long.
This debut novel is a refreshing romp through the Apocalypse narrated by a foul-mouthed domesticated crow whose only knowledge of the world is TV. This mash-up of "The Incredible Journey" and "The Walking Dead" has an environmental message, focusing on humankind's increasing disconnect from the natural world. You may want to reconsider all those hours of screen time. But do read this novel, which while a tad long, chronicles the adventures of S.T. (not a library appropriate name) and his heroic steed, the dim-witted dog Dennis. The crow tries to save humankind, learns about himself and the natural world in a frightening new Seattle featuring an emerging predator.
Five stars (If you don’t laugh at this, then I don’t know what cave you’ve been living in) The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy so specific that it is funny. Between the absurd circumstances and the very specific jokes, I couldn’t stop laughing. The start of the book is normal, but once you get into it it keeps you laughing as it gets weirder and weirder. The events that happen are so improbable that it turns it the other way and makes it very probable. When reading the Guide, don’t forget your towel!
This is a book well worth reading as it has all the mystery and glamor and humor a good mystery should have and it has people who help and show compassion for the girl in the story! It is also a story written with the correct facts of the era in which this story plays. I have read the other Donis Casey books and love how this one has come about. Its a follow up of Donis's other series. Can't wait to read the next one!!
A short history of tractors in Ukrainian is a very entertaining tale of the vastly different experiences and perspectives of Ukrainian immigrants post-WWII to post-Cold War in Great Britain. It's a story that also explores the challenges of caring for aging family members. Well worth the read - it'll completely broaden your horizons. Also, it's very funny.