Friday, November 17, 2017

In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd

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3.5 Stars

To borrower some of Jean Shepherd’s own words, I chose to read In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash in order to prepare for the . . . .

“Yearly bacchanalia of peace of earth and good will to men.”

Save your breath if you want to tell me “it’s too early” or “it’s not even Thanksgiving yet” because this is pretty much me . . . .



By the time Christmas actually rolls around I’m usually ready to curl up in a ball of blah so I’m all about faking it ‘til I make it and that means starting early. Now that I’ve acquired a taste for audiobooks I thought what better way to get the spirit moving through me than listening to the soothing sounds of Shepherd as he narrated me toward motivation. Alas, the porny librarian proved that he/she does live on porn alone as the audio was not an option. (Have no fear, porny librarian, you’re still my boo.)

Anywho, I settled for the eCopy and had a pretty enjoyable time experiencing new vignettes about crappie fishing and blind dates and faulty roman candles. And while creative license was taken with some of the selections such as this fabulous gift from Aunt Clara . . .



Being merely slippers rather than a full suit and this memorable moment . . . .



Being a mash-up of a little Santa’s Village mixed with a World’s Fair attraction or the quest for the Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring having a bit more depth . . . .



It was still like old home week when Ralphie spun yarns of finally acquiring his 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time . . . .



Or when Ralphie beat the crap out of that awful Grover Dill or when the Old Man finally received his major award . . . .



While drinking the afternoon away at Flick’s tavern.

3.5 Stars due to lack of audio as well as the lack of some of my favorite moments such as the Double Dog Dare . . . .



Or showing mommy how the piggies eat . . . .



But hey, at least it inspired me to get "the soft gleam of electric sex gleaming in the window" . . . .

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris


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5 Stars

I think by this point it’s pretty much common knowledge that I love David Sedaris like a fat kid I love cake and, well . . . . .



Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim might be my favorite collection yet. I could seriously kick myself for not only not trying audiobooks before this Fall, but also for not thinking of collections like these as something that would fit into my short commute time perfectly. We’re talking true . . . .



Even while in a stupid ass Fiat rather than a Volkswagen since mine decided to die like a whore on the corner a few months back. And when work got like WAAAAAAY too worky the other day and I was afraid I was going to full out pull a Milton . . . .



Or a Leslie Knope . . . .



I opted to schedule a mental health vacay day instead and went home to immerse myself in my favorite type of therapy this time of year – decorating Christmas trees (with an added bonus of listening to the soothing sounds of David’s dysfunction this go ‘round). Dress Your Family was a great blend of stories of the Sedaris children and parents (words cannot express how much I adore Sharon, their mother), the Sedaris children as adults, David and Hugh and everything in between. Thanks to the combo of some sort of sinus condition/basement dust I lugged upstairs along with the decorations, I laughed until I was overtaken by an emphysema-ish coughing fit/wheeze that may or may not have concluded with me urinating a bit on myself - and if THAT isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

I’ve put a hold on every other available Sedaris audio in order to get myself through the end of the year without (hopefully) causing bodily harm to anyone at work. Now I just have to deal with a cat who is terrified of Santa’s impending visit after hearing the story of “6 to 8 Black Men”. . . . .



No it isn’t. Read the story. Anyway, I keep telling him we don’t live in Amsterdam so he doesn’t have anything to worry about, but I think it’s pretty obvious by the look on his face that he doesn’t believe me . . . .

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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4 Stars

“The end of the world can be cozy at times.”
It’s glaringly obvious I don’t read much of this “critically acclaimed” kind of stuff when even my book bestie sends a comment about how I’m reading something for smart people. I’m pretty sure she was waiting for something like this to happen once I got a few pages in . . . . .



Guess what???? Not only did I get sucked right in and finish it super fast, but I’m also pretty sure I read it right . . . .



This is the story of Nadia and Saeed. They . . . .



Young people just trying to figure out their way in the world, their romance is soon interrupted by war where . . . .

“One’s relationship to windows now changed in the city. A window was the border through which death was possibly most likely to come.”

But the same can’t be said for doors. Because all around the world doors are opening – taking people away from certain death to new lands and new life . . . .



If you asked me my opinion of “magical realism” a couple of week ago I probably would have said I never read it. Turns out now I do. One hundred percent of the credit (blame?) goes to Erica and I'm so happy I dug it. So timely, so beautifully written, with a very simple lesson everyone should realize already . . . .

“We are all migrants through time.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh


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4 Stars

Welcome to Caesura, rhymes with tempura . . . .



Okay, not really. In reality, you can leave anytime you want. There are only three rules that have to be followed . . . .

“No visitors. No contact. No return.”

In other words, if you choose to leave? Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. You see Caesura isn’t your average town. Known as “The Blinds” by all who reside there, Caesura is a place for second chances. A new and improved Witness Protection Program, if you will, where the residents have had their most recent memories erased in order to obtain a fresh start in a town where not only does no one know their neighbor’s real name, but also don’t know whether they are part of the program because of something they did or something told. Really, though????



At least that’s the consensus. I mean how else could they all live peacefully? A tiger can’t simply change its stripes, right? That line of thinking was working out great – until someone committed suicide by bullet-to-the-head in a town with only one gun and another person was murdered. Now the residents are about to find out . . . .

“You might not remember the world, but the world remembers you.”



I can’t even specify what’s making me hold back on offering up that final Star, but I am going to withhold it. Still, Sternbergh is a dude with plenty of creative juices flowing and he really knocked this one out of the park.

Twist Me by Anna Zaires

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2 Stars

Here’s what I imagine Val’s reaction will be upon seeing this rating . . . .



You know, but with a wine glass in her hand.

My response?



Go read twelvejan’s review. She says everything. As for me and my meh reaction? I blame it all on Comfort Food . . . .

 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders


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5 Stars

As the first anniversary of the Civil War passes, Abe and Mary Lincoln have many concerns – about the state of the country, about public opinion of them carrying on with social obligations while war is raging. Yet nothing is more concerning to them than the state of their young son Willie’s health. When Willie succumbs to his illness he awakens from his “sick box” where a whole slew of new “neighbors” are waiting anxiously to meet him . . . .



There are no words. Not to mention there are already eleventy thousand other reviews and this won the Man Booker Prize so words aren’t really even necessary at this point. Simply put, this was brilliant. Magic. What a story! Hilarious and heartbreaking and everything in between. I opted for audio which amounted to a full cast production large enough to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Featured players referenced below, with scene stealers such as . . . . .



And . . . .



Added in for good measure.

Lincoln In The Bardo earns every single one of its Stars and I would gladly steal some more from other books if that was an option. If a dummy (straight up because I had never even heard of George Saunders before this) like me can appreciate how great this was, just think of what all you smarties will get out of it!

ORIGINAL "REVIEW:"

Decided to give this one a listen rather than a read. I'm intrigued with the full cast of 144 people, but mainly because Nick Offerman is my lobster . . . .



And y'all know how I feel about David Sedaris, but I can't elaborate on because . . . .

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

All The Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler


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2.5 Stars




I appreciate the effort, but really if you are looking for a book about youngsters’ dysfunctional relationships, it pales in comparison to The Master.

(Bonus half star for Lemony Snicket being ever so edgy at times.)