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  • gilwilson 3:59 PM on January 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: humor, maine, white privilege   

    “Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches” By John Hodgman 

    True Stories from Painful Beaches
    By John Hodgman
    Narrated by: John Hodgman
    Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
    Release date: 10-24-17
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    I, as with maybe many of you, was introduced to John Hodgman on those Mac vs. PC commercials where Justin Long was a Mac and John Hodgman was a PC.  They were humorous and didn’t make me want to buy a Mac, but they tried.  Maybe because I was more of a fan of the somewhat dry humor of the PC.  Later Hodgman was a regular on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.  That’s when I loved Hodgman’s “White Privilege Humor.”

    I knew Hodgman had written some books, but for some reason those books never ended up in my hands.  Well this time I had to make sure this one got consumed.  It was was worth the wait.

    I am pretty sure I’m safe in saying this, but John Hodgman’s wit and commentary can be appreciated and enjoyed by anybody.  In fact, the humor lies in the fact that this, or something like it, has happened to everyone.  Hodgman takes us on a tour of his life, making this book almost an autobiography, and ending up in Maine, Vacationland.

    We learn about;  his speaking at a Mark Twain Day event at some unnamed school, even though he hasn’t read Mark Twain, and is only being used to make a colleague jealous, how tourism in Maine is dark and dismal, how he accidentally bought a boat (as we all have done), his getting high with a musician friend and making cairns, and hanging out with the lead singer of the Pixies.

    The many adventures are presented in a way that you may laugh or just smile but at the same time you may accidentally feel sorry for him.  Either way all the stories are great adventures.  I am so glad this audiobook was read by the author, only he could have delivered the stories with the correct inflections and feelings.

    Publisher’s Summary

    John Hodgman – New York Times best-selling author, semifamous personality, deranged millionaire, increasingly elderly husband, father, and human of Earth – has written a memoir about his cursed travels through two wildernesses: from the woods of his home in Massachusetts, birthplace of rage, to his exile on the coast of Maine, so-called Vacationland, home to the most painful beaches on Earth.

    Vacationland is also about Hodgman’s wandering in the metaphoric wilderness of his 40s, those years when dudes especially must painfully stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weirder dads that they are.

    Other subjects covered include the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison, and advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

    After three best-selling books of fake facts, Hodgman is finally ready to tell the truth – in the same outlandish, audacious, and inimitable style that has won him fans in every medium he has worked: books, stage, social media, television, and movies.

    ©2017 John Hodgman (P)2017 Penguin Audio
  • gilwilson 6:46 PM on August 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a fish called wanda, , , humor, ,   

    “So, Anyway…” By John Cleese 

    33032675“So, Anyway…”
    By John Cleese
    Narrated by: John Cleese
    Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
    Release date: 12-13-16
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    So, Anyway, yeah I had to start the review out that way.  So, anyway, I’m a huge fan of John Cleese and all of the Monty Python Alum.  I remember watching “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” every weekend on my local PBS station as a kid.  I would just laugh and laugh until my sides hurt.  The funny thing was that everyone else in my family would say they couldn’t understand them through their accents.  I would always ask, “how can you not? They are speaking English.”  It frustrated me to no end that a bunch of hillbillies from Oklahoma couldn’t get the humor because they couldn’t understand the language.  Eventually I trained them and after some time they could finally get “The Parrot Sketch.” Then when I introduced them to the series, “The Goodies,” they were able to follow the humor along with me.

    So, Anyway, John Cleese’s autobiography is a must for any Python fan.  Cleese not only tells of his upbringing, his education (he studied law and wanted to originally become a lawyer, or Great Britain’s version of same) and his brief career teaching.  This part of the book is interesting but not nearly as entertaining as when he finally starts talking about his career in entertainment.  For me the fun part was hearing all the great talent he had worked with, Marty Feldman, David Frost, Peter Sellers, et. al.  Creating several sketch comedy shows with this talent helped him to mold what was to become a world wide phenomenon of Python.  Through the early years he had worked with Tim Brooke Taylor (who later went on to write for and act in the series, “The Goodies”).

    With this audiobook, not only do you get the treat of Cleese talking about his own life and making comments on same, but he also includes clips of some of the sketches from the various programs he wrote and performed on.   It was funny to hear him and Marty Feldman actually perform a sketch rather than just read the script.  Comedy depends 100% on delivery.  For anyone who has seen the movie, “Rain Man,” that truth comes out when Raymond can recite the Abbott & Costello bit “Who’s on First.”  It’s not funny when he recites it but seeing/hearing it performed it takes on a whole new life.  Besides that it was just a treat to hear the original sketches.

    Yeah, you’ll have to trudge through the boring parts of John Cleese growing up, but that is part of the big picture which gives us the gift behind the talent of John Cleese.


    Publisher’s Summary
    John Cleese’s huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp, irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected with Monty Python, on Fawlty Towers, and beyond now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir, So, Anyway…, Cleese takes listeners on a grand tour of his ascent in the entertainment world, from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman) to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

    Cleese was just days away from graduating Cambridge and setting off on a law career when he was visited by two BBC executives who offered him a job writing comedy for radio. That fateful moment – and a near-simultaneous offer to take his university humor revue to London’s famed West End – propelled him down a different path, cutting his teeth writing for stars like David Frost and Peter Sellers and eventually joining the five other Pythons to pioneer a new kind of comedy that prized invention, silliness, and absurdity. Along the way he found his first true love with the actress Connie Booth and transformed himself from a reluctant performer to a world-class actor and back again.

    Twisting and turning through surprising stories and hilarious digressions – with some brief pauses along the way that comprise a fascinating primer on what’s funny and why – this story of a young man’s journey to the pinnacle of comedy is a masterly performance by a master performer.

    ©2016 John Cleese (P)2016 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 6:52 PM on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: humor, , norm macdonald,   

    “Based on a True Story” A Memoir By Norm Macdonald 

    28687347“Based on a True Story” A Memoir
    By Norm Macdonald
    Narrated by: Norm Macdonald, Tim O’Halloran
    Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
    Release date: 09-20-16
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Based on a true story, well yes it is, the fantastical veering off course from that true story is where the entertainment is in this book. If you are looking for a biography, well, you might get something out of this, but for the most part you are just going to laugh and actually have more questions than when you started. The biggest question being what did go on in that tool shed?

    For the most part you get fun and entertainment in a trip to Las Vegas and then Atlantic City where in his morphine induced euphoria Norm Macdonald tries to overcome his gambling habit by placing all his money on that one big bet.

    Norm channels his inner Hunter S. Thompson and tries to explain his talent and along the way the reader does find out that he owes a lot of the fame and success to his friend Adam Sandler.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Wild, dangerous, and flat-out unbelievable, here is the incredible memoir of the actor, gambler, raconteur, and SNL veteran and one of the best stand-up comedians of all time.

    As this book’s title suggests, Norm Macdonald tells the story of his life – more or less – from his origins on a farm in the-back-of-beyond Canada and an epically disastrous appearance on Star Search to his account of auditioning for Lorne Michaels and his memorable run as the anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live – until he was fired because a corporate executive didn’t think he was funny.

    But Based on a True Story is much more than a memoir; it’s the hilarious, inspired epic of Norm’s life. In dispatches from a road trip to Las Vegas (part of a plan hatched to regain the fortune he’d lost to sports betting and other vices) with his sidekick and enabler, Adam Eget, Norm recounts the milestone moments, the regrets, the love affairs, the times fortune smiled on his life, and the times it refused to smile. As the clock ticks down, Norm’s debt reaches record heights, and he must find a way to evade the hefty price that’s been placed on his head by one of the most dangerous loan sharks in the country.

    As a comedy legend should, Norm peppers these minutes with classic jokes and fondly mythologized Hollywood stories. This wildly adventurous, totally original, and absurdly funny saga turns the conventional comic’s memoir on its head and gives the listener an exclusive pass into the mad, glorious mind of Norm Macdonald.

    ©2016 Norm Macdonald (P)2016 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 4:57 PM on June 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: archer, bob's burgers, h. jon benjamin, humor, , shitting your pants   

    “Failure Is an Option” By H. Jon Benjamin 

    36036560Failure Is an Option
    By: H. Jon Benjamin
    Narrated by: H. Jon Benjamin
    Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
    Release date: 05-01-18
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    If you’re not an H. Jon Benjamin fan you need to be.  His deadpan delivery makes for some very interesting characters, Bob from Bob’s Burgers and Archer from Archer.    Okay so they are pretty much the same character except one flips burgers.  In fact there is a chapter dedicated to how he failed to differentiate between the two.

    In Jon’s attempt at writing his memoirs he lets the listener/reader know that it’s okay to fail.  Failure is an option because you want to better yourself after you fail.  Sure the book is nothing but self deprecating humor (one attribute I was accused of having back when I taught computer courses) but knowing that someone else fails is all that much better.  It was really nice to know that someone else made a huge mess in a rental car on the way to an awards ceremony due to having explosive diarrhea from Filet Mignon served in the 1st class section of an airline.

    If you do happen to pick up this book, I have to emphasize that you absolutely have to pick it up in audiobook form.  Jon (yeah I feel I can call him Jon after hearing all of his failures) delivers the book in his own voice, if you read the text you’ll be hearing in his voice as you read anyway.  Another way to enjoy the book is to listen as if Sterling Archer is reading his memoirs and then listen again as if Bob Belcher is giving his memoirs and then one last time as if Coach McGuirk is giving his memoirs.

    This book is absolutely hilarious at the expense of H. Jon Benjamin failing at life so we can all learn valuable life lessons.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Actor, voice actor, and comedian H. Jon Benjamin helps us all feel a little better about our own failures by sharing his own – despite his success starring on Archer and Bob’s Burgers – in a hilarious, self-helpful memoir.

    While he’s not quite a household name, most people would consider H. Jon Benjamin, the voice-actor star of Archer and Bob’s Burgers (and a sentient can of mixed vegetables in 2015’s Wet Hot American Summer) a comedy show business success. But he’d like to remind everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. In a hilarious, self-deprecating memoir, Jon lays out some of his many failures in all areas of life, from Work (“wherein I’m unable to deliver a sizzling fajita”) to Family (“wherein a trip to PF Chang’s fractures a family”).

    Fans of his characters’ signature wit and voice will rejoice in H. Jon Benjamin’s comical failures – and appreciate a rare look into the life of the man behind their favorite shows.

    ©2018 H. Jon Benjamin (P)2018 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 9:14 AM on June 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , humor, , scooby doo,   

    “Meddling Kids” By Edgar Cantero 

    32905343Meddling Kids
    A Novel
    By: Edgar Cantero
    Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
    Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
    Release date: 07-11-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    What a fun book. If you love Scooby Doo, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King’s “It,” then you are gonna have fun with this book.

    4 Teenagers and a dog investigate a haunted mansion mystery and uncover a man’s plot to steal a legendary stash of gold. His plan is to wear a suit and rubber mask to scare folks off an island, but he doesn’t get away with it, thanks to the meddling kids. Case solved…or is it?

    13 years later the kids having gone their separate ways and now adults are being haunted by something from their past. So haunted that one committed suicide, another is committed into Arkham insane asylum. To find what is wrong they have to revisit their past and find the real culprit.

    The constant Scooby Doo references throw in a lot of fun into this haunting mystery.  Zoinx river and more provide enought comic relief to keep you from being too frightened.

    Kyla Garcia delivers the narration of this book so perfectly that as the listener you are riding in that van with the kids.

    Publisher’s Summary
    With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

    Summer 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster – another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

    In 1990, the former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the onetime kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader…which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

    The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

    A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.

    ©2017 Edgar Cantero (P)2017 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 5:40 PM on April 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: humor, , , ,   

    The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks 

    The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living D535441ead
    by Max Brooks
    Published – September 16, 2003
    288 pages
    Publisher: Broadway Books

    I’m not sure exactly what it was that started this Zombie Apocalypse craze, but 2003 is definitely the year it was brought into mainstream a little bit more. 2003 brought us the premiere of “The Walking Dead” comic book and this book by Max Brooks. Then the rest just piled on to where we are now with families gathered around their TV Sunday nights to watch zombies kill or be killed.

    This book definitely has a great influence on all the zombies we’ve been having to deal with in all the media formats. What is really interesting about this book is that, while it is a humorous book written to teach how to avoid dying in the Zombie Apocalypse, it also has some general survival tips that could help in any survival situation, real or fiction.

    The first chapter, “The Undead: Myths and Realities”, outlines Solanum, a virus that creates a zombie, along with details on how it is spread and treatment of the infected. This chapter then goes on to explain the abilities and behavioral patterns of the undead, and the differences between “voodoo” zombies, movie zombies, and zombies created by Solanum. So at first it seems as though it will be a sort of novel with a story.

    The rest of the book describes weapons and combat techniques, places of safety, and how to survive a zombie-infested world. In the section describing weapons, Brooks writes about the human body: “If cared for and trained properly, is the greatest weapon on earth”. This is the part of the book where just general survival tips can be found

    I really loved the Recorded Attacks, zombie outbreaks through time, for example the missing Roanoke colony. This gave the book one last chuckle before closing. Most of the time when I’m done reading a book I will pass it on to someone who will enjoy it. This time however, I’m keeping this book as a reference guide.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

    Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack:

    • 1. Organize before they rise!
    • 2. They feel no fear, why should you?
    • 3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
    • 4. Blades don’t need reloading.
    • 5. Ideal protection: tight clothes, short hair.
    • 6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
    • 7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
    • 8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
    • 9. No place is safe, only safer.
    • 10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

    Don’t be carefree and foolish with your most precious asset: life. The Zombie Survival Guide offers complete protection through trusted, proven tips for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the living dead. It is an audiobook that can save your life.

    ©2003 Max Brooks (P)2006 Random House, Inc.

  • gilwilson 5:51 PM on April 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: humor, insult comedy, off color humor   

    “Diary of a Mad Diva” By: Joan Rivers 

    Diary of a Mad Diva24850667
    By: Joan Rivers
    Narrated by: Joan Rivers
    Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
    Release date: 07-01-14
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    Before we go any further, if you are a sensitive person stay away from this book! The book is full of off color humor, most of the time very harsh. The humor is based on insults for the most part. Realistically if you are a fan of Joan Rivers you will know what to expect. She was one of the last great insult comics. Some of her humor is self deprecating and it is just as rough as the insults. I mean, c’mon with the dedication going out to Kanye West because he’ll never f’ing read it, you know this is going to be a rough ride.

    Let me now touch on this audiobook version. The nice thing is that it is read by Joan herself. It was nice to hear her voice again. She was definitely one of a kind. Her delivery of this book is as if she were doing a 7 hour standup routine separated by topics. I’m sure some of the audiobook is improvised, but not having the text, I cannot prove that. But I’ll go on thinking she was performing just for me.

    Being her last book, I like to think of this as her big send off to the great unknown. It’s like she had some things to get off her chest before she left us, and she does. I happen to like her humor and enjoyed the book. Anytime an audiobook can make me laugh out lout for real, I love it. This one made me laugh so much that there were times I had to “rewind” to hear what I missed while laughing. Again, I have to say I am a fan of her humor, not many people are, so just be prepared.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Winner of the 2015 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album

    Following up the phenomenal success of her headline-making New York Times bestseller I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me, the unstoppable Joan Rivers is at it again. When her daughter Melissa gives her a diary for Christmas, at first Joan is horrified – who the hell does Melissa think she is? That fat pig, Bridget Jones? But as Joan, being both beautiful and introspective, begins to record her day-to-day musings, she realizes she has a lot to say. About everything. And everyone, God help them.

    The result? A no-holds-barred, delightfully vicious and always hilarious look at the everyday life of the ultimate diva. Follow Joan on a family vacation in Mexico and on trips between New York and Los Angeles where she mingles with the stars, never missing a beat as she delivers blistering critiques on current events, and excoriating insights about life, pop culture, and celebrities (from A to D list), all in her relentlessly funny signature style.

    This is the Diary of a Mad Diva. Forget about Anais Nin, Anne Frank, and that whiner Sylvia Plath. For the first time in a century, a diary by someone that’s actually worth reading.

    ©2014 Joan Rivers (P)2014 Penguin Audiobooks

  • gilwilson 11:06 AM on January 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bon jovi, humor, jay z, letters, ,   

    Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth And Other Pop Culture Correspondences By: John Moe 

    Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth917Xv4uaYKL
    And Other Pop Culture Correspondences
    By: John Moe
    Narrated by: John Moe
    Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 06-10-14
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    If you need to laugh out loud in your life, this is the book for you. I will warn you, unless spit takes are your thing, do not have anything to drink while listening to this audiobook (or reading the physical book). I had to clean coffee off the inside of my windshield a couple of times on my commute to work before I learned my lesson.

    We come to find out that Darth Vader was a caring father and looked for several ways to break the big news to Luke. Remember how Luke & Leia are brother and sister? Well just hold on to that thought, I will not spoil the results this book will cause.

    Many aspects of Pop culture are hilariously represented by John Moe in this book. Definitely worth the read / listen for any fan of pop culture, person in need of a laugh, or someone that needs to be talked down from the ledge. If this book doesn’t have you at least giggling, you may have broken something.

    John Moe is not only the author of this collection but also the narrator of the audiobook, he delivers with just as much humor as required.

    Publisher’s Summary:

    We all know how Darth Vader shared his big secret with Luke Skywalker, but what if he had delivered the news in a handwritten note instead? And what if someone found that letter, as well as all of the drafts that landed in the Dark Lord’s trash can? In the riotously funny collection Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Darth, John Moe finally reveals these lost notes alongside all the imagined letters, e-mails, text messages, and other correspondences your favorite pop culture icons never meant for you to see.

    From The Walking Dead to The Wizard of Oz, from Billy Joel to Breaking Bad, no reference escapes Moe’s imaginative wit and keen sense of nostalgia. Read Captain James T. Kirk’s lost log entries and Yelp reviews of The Bates Motel and Cheers. Peruse top-secret British intelligence files revealing the fates of Agents 001–006, or Don Draper’s cocktail recipe cards. Learn all of Jay-Z’s 99 problems, as well as the complete rules of Fight Club, and then discover an all-points bulletin concerning Bon Jovi, wanted dead or alive – and much more.

    Like a like a bonus track to a favorite CD or a deleted scene from a cult movie, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk Darth offer a fresh twist on the pop culture classics we thought we knew by heart. You already know part of their story. Now find out the rest.

    ©2014 John Moe (P)2014 Random House Audio

    Finally you will get to know what those 99 problems are, how to make great cocktails, family secrets, and how the Bates Motel is rated. The Bon Jovi wanted dead or alive has got to be one of the top 5 funniest bits of this book, if not the funniest. John Bon Jovi, has rocked over a million faces causing the police all points bulletin. Every time I read this or listen to it, which has been a few times already and more to come, I laugh so hard I cry.

    Do yourself a favor pick up this book. Be entertained and make your life better.

  • gilwilson 1:18 PM on January 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , humor, jenny mccarthy,   

    “Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life” 

    “Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life”
    By: Jenny McCarthyjmcarthy
    Narrated by: Jenny McCarthy
    Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
    Release date: 05-06-14
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    I’m not sure why I wanted to listen to this audiobook, but I did. Maybe it’s that Jenny were at SIU-Carbondale at the same time in the Early 90s. (I actually think I had a General Ed. Class with her.) Whatever the reason I actually enjoyed it more than I would normally think. I do try to read biographies on occasion, but usually they are musicians. This book won’t change your way of life or way of thinking, but it will provide you with a bit of humor. There were several times during the book I would laugh out loud and a couple of times where I had to “rewind” the audiobook to hear what I missed because I laughed.

    Ms. McCarthy reads the book which is great. I think all autobiographies should be read by the author because they can read it with the emotion/sarcasm/humor needed. Another aspect of her doing the reading is that she brings it down to Earth, and even with the crazy celebrity life she is just like us normal people.

    To sum up, entertaining anecdotes, from a down to earth yet stuck in celebritydom celebrity.

  • gilwilson 9:54 PM on August 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , B.J. Novak, humor, Jason Schwartzman, Jenna Fischer, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, Rainn Wilson, ,   

    “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories” By B.J. Novak 

    One-More-Thing-B.J.-Novak-e1392823050260“One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories”
    By B.J. Novak
    Read by: by B. J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Jason Schwartzman, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling
    Published by Random House Audio
    6 hours and 48 minutes

    Being a fan of the TV series, “The Office,” I was prepared for the quirky writing by B.J. Novak. What I wasn’t prepared for was the laugh-out-loud moments and the surreal storytelling that makes up this audiobook. 64 stories make up the book that will at least have you giggling from beginning. Not all the stories will be a hit for everyone but with that many to read/hear many will strike a chord. Personally I laughed out loud for many of the stories and probably made a spectacle of myself while listening to the book on my iPod.

    Novak’s talent on writing is only enhanced by the cast of characters doing the reading. Hearing the voices of his “Office” alumni was not so surprising. What was surprising was hearing Katy Perry, yes the singer, take part in this collection. Each of the voices were perfect for each story they read and added a little bit of oomph to the presentation. Each voice had the perfect mix of great comedic timing and tone and when needed the “straight man” in the comedy bit. This great combination of actors and writing made this audiobook too much fun.

    The subjects of the different stories vary from story to story and no theme is repeated throughout the book. I want to summarize every story for this review, but I would not be doing you a favor. Each story has its own little surprise in not only the subject but in delivery, depth and some even supply a surprise ending. You owe it to yourself to pick up this book and read or listen for yourself.

    In order to get you a little more interested I will describe (minimally) some of my favorite stories from this collection.

    Opening the book is the story of what happened to the hare after the fabled tortoise and hare race. The hare decides there should be a rematch, but this time he trains and decides to take the race seriously.

    A little boy, who is forbidden to eat sugary cereals, sneaks a box home only to find he’s won the million dollar sweepstakes, but his parents forbid him to claim the prize. When he sneaks off to the cereal’s business offices what he discovers is that he is ineligible to win and what he learns further could tear his family apart.

    This book contains lots of references to pop-culture but the best is the story of “Wikipedia Brown and the case of the Missing Bicycle.” This time around the genius of the story, Wikipedia Brown, is not as much help as you’d think.

    The final story I should mention is a futuristic sci-fi story where sex-robots can be ordered through the mail. But what happens if the female sex robot actually falls in love?

    You owe it to yourself to get this book and enjoy the wit and whimsy of B.J. Novak. The humor ranges from just pure fun to some really smart humor that will leave you feeling like you just got a degree from an Ivy League school.

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