Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson


Author:  Jenny Lawson Title: Furiously Happy Narrator:  Jenny Lawson Publication Info: [New York] : Macmillan Audio, p2015. Summary/Review: This collection of humorous essays is a laugh riot from the perspective of the author of The Bloggess which skips among topics such as depression, anxiety, marriage, therapy, and taxidermy.  Really, a surprising amount about taxidermy.  Listening to the…

Book Review: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton


Author: Kate Beaton Title: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection Publication Info: [Montreal, Quebec] : Drawn & Quarterly, 2015. Summary/Review: The brilliant webcomic Hark! A Vagrant is collected in glorious print.  Beaton’s comics tend to focus on historical and literary references with various levels of absurdity, so as a History/English major with fondness for absurd…

Strange Lyrics in Later Verses of Popular Christmas Carols


A lot of people sing the first verse and chorus of popular Christmas carols and then move on.  But if you stick around to later verses you can find some interesting attempts by the lyricist to fit in large concepts and unique rhyme schemes.  Here are some of my favorites. Carol: “Cherry Tree Carol” Lyric:…

38 Things About Me and Star Wars


38 years ago in May 1977, Star Wars made its debut changing film and cultural history.  I’ve never been a Star Wars superfan, but I liked the movies as a child and grew up alongside the franchise.  With The Force Awakens premiering this week, here are 38 random thoughts about me and Star Wars. I…

Book Review: What If? by Randall Munroe


Author: Randall Munroe Title:What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Publication Info: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014 Summary/Review: This book contains the sentence: “Aroldis Chapman could probably throw a golf ball about sixteen giraffes high.” That alone makes it worth reading. The creator of the webcomic xkcd, Randall Munroe uses math and science to investigate…

Book Review: Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket


Author: Lemony Snicket Title: Shouldn’t You Be In School? Narrator: Liam Aiken Publication Info: [New York] : Hachette Audio, 2014. Other Books Read By Same Author: The Bad Beginning The Reptile Room The Wide Window The Miserable Mill The Austere Academy The Ersatz Elevator The Vile Village The Hostile Hospital The Slippery Slope The Carnivorous Carnival The…

Book Review: When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket


Author: Lemony Snicket Title: When Did You See Her Last? Narrator: Liam Aiken Publication Info: [New York] : Hachette Audio, [2013] Other Books Read By Same Author: The Bad Beginning The Reptile Room The Wide Window The Miserable Mill The Austere Academy The Ersatz Elevator The Vile Village The Hostile Hospital The Slippery Slope The Carnivorous Carnival The…

Book Review: Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket


Author: Lemony Snicket Title: Who Could That Be at This Hour? Narrator:  Liam Aiken Publication Info: 9781619695375 Other Books Read By Same Author: The Bad Beginning The Reptile Room The Wide Window The Miserable Mill The Austere Academy The Ersatz Elevator The Vile Village The Hostile Hospital The Slippery Slope The Carnivorous Carnival The End The Grim Grotto…

Hipsters Go Berserk


With apologies to Sandra Boynton on her birthday, here is a parody of a her classic picture book Hippos Go Berserk that I felt compelled to write.  I originally posted this on Facebook and several of my friends contributed, including: Steve W., Susan L., Christine R., Edward H., Chris D., Debbie W., Sid S., and…

Book Review: The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde


Author: Jasper Fforde Title: The Song of the Quarkbeast Publication Info: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2011) Summary/Review: The second book in the Kazam series returns to Hereford where dictatorial King Snodd IV is looking to corner the market on magic.  The only person who can stop him appears to be Jennifer Strange, the orphan teenager who manages employment…

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde


Author: Jasper Fforde Title: The Last Dragonslayer Publication Info: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2010. Summary/Review: This is the first in a series of books for young adults by the ever-so-brilliant Welsh author Jasper Fforde.  He sets his books in an alternate universe, this time a balkanized Britain the Ununited Kingdom, specifically the Kingdom of Snodd led by…

Book Review: Sleepwalk With Me by Mike Birbiglia


Author:Mike Birbiglia Title: Sleepwalk With Me  Publication Info: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2010. ISBN: 9781439157992 Summary/Review:  Stand-up comedian,  monologist, and This American Life regular Mike Birbiglia writes about his life and sleepwalking issues in this collection of autobiographical essays.  In the early going, I was disappointed because these were the same exact stories I’ve heard before…

Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson


Author:  Brandon Sanderson Title:  Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Publication Info:  Scholastic Paperbacks (2008) ISBN: 9780545024938 Summary/Review: Another audiobook I downloaded based on title alone from the public library and one that shows that Young Adult literature is far ahead of grown up fiction for imagination and creativity.  Alcatraz Smedry is a teenage orphan with…

Book Review: Selected Shorts: Lots of Laughs! by Symphony Space


Author: Symphony Space Title: Selected Shorts: Lots of Laughs! Publication Info:  Symphony Space (2005), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD ISBN:  0971921822 Summary/Review:  This collection is something I downloaded randomly from Overdrive and it was suitably entertaining.  There are seven stories and they are all read – or performed – in front of a live audience reminiscent…

The Real Sesame Street


I have a brilliant idea for a new reality show. Find some of the people who made appearances as kids on Sesame Street back in the 60’s & 70’s. Have them move into a set of real row houses on a real street in New York.  They can bring along any family members or companions…

Rules for Moving in Massachusetts


After helping a friend move from Waltham to Arlington yesterday, it occurred to me that there are certain things that happen every time somebody moves around here. The person moving provides a Box O’ Joe and Munchkins for the people helping out. The weather will be hot and humid (don’t try to outsmart this rule…

Book Review: The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse


Author: P. G. Wodehouse Title: The Inimitable Jeeves Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks (2000), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD ISBN: 0786199032 Summary/Review: Two things marred my enjoyment of this otherwise fine collection of Wodehouse stories.  First, the audiobook narrator employed an obnoxiously high-pitched voice in his characterizations of Wooster and Jeeves and with little nuance or finesse…

Book Review: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby


Author: Nick Hornby Title: Juliet, Naked Publication Info: Riverhead Hardcover (2009) ISBN: 1594488878 Summary/Review: This novel is about three people: Duncan an English man-child obsessed with an American singer/songwriter who abruptly quit show business in the 1980s, his long-suffering girlfriend Annie who is realizing that she may never have children, and the retired musician himself…