Review: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Dad Is Fat
by Jim Gaffigan
Rating: *
Read 8/21/2013
I can’t remember why I put this on hold. I know that I was number six hundred and something when I did, and in the intervening months I’ve forgotten what made me think I’d like this. It’s entirely not my thing. It’s warm, fuzzy, cute (goodness gracious, the CUTE) and good. It’s about a man with a million children (maybe it’s actually five) and his long-suffering wife. It made me want to gouge my eyes out with a dull instrument.

 

Review: The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

The Adventures of Superhero Girl
by Faith Erin Hicks
Rating: ****
Read 8/1/2013

This was so much fun! I love Superhero Girl, with her annoying older brother, her roommate troubles, her inability to find an arch-nemesis, the adorable tiny-footed ninjas… and more. It’s a delightful graphic novel that made me giggle multiple times. Really enjoyable and recommended.

Review: The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline by Lois Lowry

The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline
by Lois Lowry
Rating: ****
Read 7/10/20013

I’m putting this one on my Burton-browbeating shelf, even though in truth I had to drag this recommendation from the Burtons with barbed hooks. And wow, I’m glad I did. Unfailingly hilarious, Caroline observes life through her own special lens. She’s an entirely geeky dinosaur-lover who has a wanna-be journalist best friend, a mostly obnoxious brother, a wry and observant mother…oh, the whole cast of characters here is a delight. I chortled and guffawed my way through this, little realizing that while I was laughing I was also being drawn ever deeper into Caroline’s world.

A few bits, too good not to share:
Parsnips! Mom! Nobody makes their kids eat parsnips! Listen, before you do another thing, Mom, call the Hot Line for Child Abuse. Confess to them that you were planning to feed parsnips to your children. They’re there to help you, Mom.”

and

“Maybe by then I will have married a millionaire,” said their mother. “In the meantime, do either of you want another sandwich, bearing in mind that this bologna cost $1.89 a pound?”

Review: Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary

Emily’s Runaway Imagination
by Beverly Cleary
Rating: *****
Read 6/08/2013

I loved this book so much, I have no idea why I was so resistant to reading it. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Ramona as well, i suspect because the first Cleary I ever read was one of those dreadful teenage romance things, and I read it at my most cynical, disaffected and obnoxious. So my default response to Cleary is “Oh, I hate her” but in reality, I mostly love all the books she wrote. Except the teenage romances. I think.

Anyway, Emily! Oh, how I loved Emily. She’s hilarious and delightful and awkward and so very real. Everyone should read this book. Even people who think they hate Beverly Cleary. Especially people who think they hate Beverly Cleary.

 

Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnik

 

Gorgeous
by Paul Rudnik
Rating: ***
Read 5/25/2013

“Her face was rigid with diligence and dignity, which are English Botox.”

Hilarious. Frothy romp, not at all my usual fare, but oh how perfect it was for me now.  The plot was sort of silly but sort of magical too. I wasn’t at all sure at first. I was soon hooked but good, and it kept getting funnier and more absurd as it went along. Requires a total suspension of disbelief but is totally worth it. This is my first Rudnik and I enjoyed his sure hand with dialogue. I liked the characters, too. My free review copy came from ALA Midwinter.

Review: Look At This F*cking Hipster by Joe Mande

Look At That F*cking Hipster

by Joe Mande
Rating: **
Read 5/8/2013

This collection of photographs of hipsters is cute. Some of the photos are hilarious indeed, but most of them are marginally cute. A few are just mean, and I’m not fond of mean humor. Well, unless we’re related, and then I’ll savage you. Lovingly. It was a fun way to spend an hour, flipping through the pages and grinning. The book did inspire me to look at the website, but I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time there.

 

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Today I also finally gave up on Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. It came highly recommended but I just could not care about the people. I suck at reading contemporary realistic fiction. I’m about to stop trying.

Review: Slouching Toward Adulthood by Sally Koslow

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Slouching Toward Adulthood
by Sally Koslow
Rating: *
Read 4/26/2013

The cover art was cute. The subtitle, “Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest” made me grin. The first page made me giggle. So I brought it home from the library, little realizing that I was about to embark on strange seas indeed. The kids, or as Koslow painfully calls them, adultescents, in this book are all college-educated. Most are world travelers. I found it hard to work up any empathy, let alone sympathy, for any of the characters in this book. Just not my kind of thing, I guess.

Review: Pretty Good Number One by Matthew Amster-Burton

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Pretty Good Number One
by Matthew Amster-Burton
Rating: ****
Read 4/23/2013

One thing I’ve read over and over is that this is the book that will make you want to go to Tokyo. I don’t want to go to Tokyo, however I really enjoyed reading about Amster-Burton’s adventures there with his family. He’s a funny guy and he has a delightfully unrepentant stance when it comes to food. He’s in it for what he likes, what his daughter likes, and to hell with your idea of what’s fashionable or acceptable or healthy.

I loved hearing about all the interesting foods they had, but even more, I loved reading about Iris’ adventures and how easily she made friends. My absolute favorite thing about the book (and by extension Tokyo) is cat cafes. I want to go to a cat cafe.

I loved the way Amster-Burton evoked the sense of place. His giddy love for Toyko warms my heart. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.