Sunday, January 04, 2009

Complaint Dept.


This e-mail came in Tuesday from longterm reader Jessie:

I enjoyed the look back features this week (12/28 - 01/04) a lot but ... I like to laugh and it was a really a surprise to me that there was nothing including a good humor book. On film, at least you included House Bunny and that is hysterical.

I come back each week because you keep me focused and because you keep me laughing.

Since you do both, I know you value humor.

I do too and I've found damn little of it in books in 2008.

Matthew Honan's Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle: 366 Ways He Really Cares seemed like it would be a funny book but it wasn't. It was an embarrassment. "Barack swam across the channel with you." "Barack Obama arranged flowers in a vase and left them on your doorstep." It was a piece of crap and the laugh was on me because I didn't want to spoil the laughter by reading it in the store. So I paid twelve bucks and tax for this thing before I ever opened it up.

Then there were the priss-pots Christopher Cerf and Victor S. Navasky who are about as funny as they are young. Bill Moyers raved over this book, Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won The War In Iraq. It's crap and a clip-job at that.

Even the illustrations by Robert Grossman sucked and I thought the illustration of Jessica Lynch was both unfair to her and sexist.

So I was really hoping for a book recommendation, one that would have me laughing.

Maybe next year,

Jessie [edited out]

It is the next year now, Jessie.

We racked our brains for a book to recommend. 2008 didn't bring a funny one and we'd advise you not to pin your hopes on Tina Fey's offering this year. So we racked our heads for something to recommend. What was funny?

What was funny and something Jessie hadn't seen?

C.I., "Ty, e-mail and ask, 'Do you read cookbooks?'"

Answer came back no.

Recommendation: James Lileks' The Gallery of Regrettable Food. The book was published in 2001 and Lileks has a website for it.

The book jacket describes the contents as "a simple introduction to poorly photographed foodstuffs and horrid recipes from the Golden Age of Salt and Starch." Jessie went to a Half-Priced Books store and found a copy and "can't stop laughing." You won't stop either.

Lileks work is best in book form because it lulls you in. You know it's going to be funny and, sure enough, after the intro, you'll smile at the the wacky things they did (page 18), you'll laugh at "wriggling, erect wieners" joke (especially with photo, page 19) and then you get to, "If your guests are as drunk as you are, just shove stuff in a glass and dump sugar on a plate. They're just going to throw it up anyway."

If you're not laughing non-stop and out loud by page 59, you either don't have a sense of humor or you misplaced it in your rush to leave a New Year's Eve party.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }