Category Archives: Humor
Book: Losing It by Cora Carmack, William Morrow/Harper Collins pb
Book Info: NA Contemporary, own kindle edition & pb, 258 pages
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Losing It came out last fall as a self-published e-book to rave reviews. I snapped it up immediately, but sometimes e-books get lost on my kindle. Subsequently the book had a paperback relaunch through a partnership with Harper Collins, with a companion book Faking It is on the way. I bought the paperback for an author signing and finally read the book! I admit I did judge the book by its cover and expected a racy read. But what I was surprised about was the amount of humor contained in the novel.
Losing It is just the kind of New Adult novel I prefer – it takes place in college when our heroine is figuring her next steps before graduation. Losing It reads more steamy and mature than YA, but is not as explicit as the title/cover suggest. I loved all the silly moments in the book; there are some LOL scenes on a par with Friends or Bridget Jones Diary. There’s friendship, awkwardness, a British guy, Texas, Shakespeare, and cat humor. If you’ve been holding back on reading this one, you really have to check it out.
In Losing It, college senior Bliss Edwards is still a virgin and just wants to bite the bullet and lose it with a one-night stand. With her friend Kelsey’s encouragement they head out to a bar with that goal in mind. Things don’t go exactly as planned though with the handsome Shakespeare-reading British guy from the bar, and hilarity ensues. Plus, there’s a Grey’s Anatomy worthy surprise the morning after in theater class.
I was going to have sex.
With a boy.
A hot boy.
A hot British boy.
Or maybe I was going to throw up.
What if I threw up on the hot British boy?
What if I threw up on the hot British boy during sex?”
page 21 paperback, Losing It
The book is fresh, witty and spicy, with a forbidden romance aspect. Once I finally picked it up I couldn’t put it down, and I stayed up late reading. There is some will they/won’t they mystery that keeps you turning pages. Plus, there is another guy in Bliss’s life (Cade) that wants to take their friendship to the next level. But beyond the boy drama, there is real drama in the form of Bliss’s acting and directing goals – what will she do after graduation? Bliss is very relatable and her awkwardness is endearing- I would totally want to be friends with her.
The paperback of Losing It includes the first two chapters of the companion book Faking It, due out June 4. Faking It centers on one of the secondary characters in Losing It, but Bliss also makes an appearance or two. And there will be one more companion book out later this fall called Finding It. Cora Carmack has a fresh voice in New Adult and I love her sense of humor. Can’t wait to read more from her!
Book: Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford, Harper Audio, April 2, 2013
Audiobook Info: Memoir/Humor,, Audio length: 10 hours, Read by the author.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Kelly Oxford is . . .
A wunderkind producer of pirated stage productions for six-year-olds
Not the queen of the world
An underage schnitzel-house dishwasher
The kid who stood up to a bully and almost passed out from the resulting adrenaline rush
A born salesman
Capable of willing her eyesight to be 20/20
That girl who peed her pants in the gas station that one time
Totally an expert on strep throat
Incapable of making Leonardo DiCaprio her boyfriend
A certified therapy assistant who heals with Metallica mixtapes
“Not fat enough to be super snuggly.” —Bea, age four
Not above using raspberry-studded sh*t to get out of a speeding ticket
“Bitingly funny. But everybody knows that.” —Roger Ebert
Sad that David Copperfield doesn’t own a falcon
A terrible liar
I don’t know where I’ve been but I haven’t heard of Kelly Oxford until her book came out last week. Oxford is a comedic writer (she wrote a tv pilot and has a movie script in development) and a twitter celebrity. I saw a mention on twitter coincidentally by The Mindy Project (love!) stars about Oxford’s book. I was just wishing for a new humorous memoir à la Bossypants or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, so I was thrilled to spend an audible credit on Oxford’s book. Oxford’s unfiltered sense of humor is entertaining to listen to and she’s gained a new twitter follower in me. She talks about growing up and working odd jobs and her adventures in parenting, so it’s all very relatable.
Kelly Oxford is from Canada and the book chronicles her life growing up in Calgary, before starting a family and later moving to Los Angeles. The book starts out with Oxford at age six, going through hoops to try to cast a stage adaptation of Star Wars. She later goes on a wild trip to Los Angeles to try to meet Leonardo DiCaprio and be his girlfriend before Titanic makes him a superstar. She also talks about peeing at a gas station while waiting in line to buy cigarettes, and her weekend trip to Vegas hosted by magician David Copperfield. Oxford is brutally honest in her observations and a fearless sharer of embarrassing moments.
Oxford is a good storyteller and I found all the essay’s absorbing. She does find the humor in everyday life, and even when she’s discussing a serious topic she gives it a light touch in keeping with the tone of the book. For instance, she talks about the worry that her husband will die and she won’t have a job to support herself, so she takes a job at a nursing home. Oxford actually had a few interesting jobs before doing the writing thing, like washing dishes at a German restaurant at age 12. My favorite stories were the Vegas trip and the family’s trip to Disneyland, but they all are pretty amusing.
Kelly Oxford reads the audiobook herself, something I always appreciate with memoirs. Who better than the author to read her own stories, right? Oxford speaks clearly and reads with an easy, conversational manner. I did speed up the narration a tad (to 1.25x) with the audible app, and that was just perfect for me. Oxford brings her stories to life with her reading and this is an audiobook I didn’t want to stop listening to.
If you like humorous memoirs like those by Tina Fey, Jenny Lawson, or Mindy Kaling I think you’ll eat up this book. I hope there’s a part two someday.
Audiobook Info: Memoir/Humor,, Audio length: 5.5 hours, Read by the author.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
I have been eager to listen to Bossypants by Tina Fey for ages, but had a hard time tracking it down at the library. The book format just would not do – I had heard too many good things about the audiobook. Finally I found a copy, and it came just at a time when I needed a little more laughter in my life.
Since I’m very late to the Bossypants bandwagon I’m not going to summarize the book too much. Tina Fey uses self-deprecating humor to talk about her life in entertainment and her experience as a wife and mother. Her stories are very amusing and at some points even laugh out loud funny. She talks about her upbringing and also her experiences as a woman in comedy and being the boss on 30 Rock. And though I was most interested to hear Fey talk about her career and SNL horror stories, what I ended up liking the most were her personal observations about beauty, weight, if she’s going to have another baby (she did!) and her experience as a cover girl.
I always like when authors narrate their own memoirs, and especially when the author is as witty as Tina Fey. Fey has a conversational tone and speaks at a pleasant, brisk pace. She does sometimes make a reference to the fact that you are listening to an audiobook and I always wondered if she was ad-libbing at all. Her voice trails off at times in her reading, but for the most part I thought she did a great job with the narration. Since I listened to a library copy I did not have access to the PDF that Fey refers to many times, and I’m tempted to check out the print copy sometime to see the photos I missed.
The audiobook is broken up into short segments on different topics ranging from Sarah Palin to 30 Rock to balancing work and motherhood. She gives props to her famous co-workers including Alec Baldwin and Amy Poehler, and also to the writers on 30 Rock, including favorite lines and episodes. The book is well balanced between personal and career highlights, and the only topic I wished she touched more on is her experience making Mean Girls.
Bossypants is an inspiring and humorous audiobook, and worth the wait. It is one I made time to listen to. Oh, by the way I listened to Bossypants in the Playaway format, which is a first for me. A Playaway is an all in one audiobook/mp3 player, and you supply the battery and earphones to listen. It is a pretty great format but I haven’t seen them around too often. Give one a try sometime! At just over 5 hours long, Bossypants is a quick and enjoyable listen, perfect for fans of memoirs, humor and of course, Tina Fey.
Audiobook Info: Memoir/Humor, Received for review, Audio length: 5 hours 58 minutes, Read by the author.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
I remember watching Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Chasing Amy back in the day – I was big into slacker movies in the 90s. I think those are the only two of Smith’s movies I’ve seen – now I’m more of a romantic comedy kind of girl. Still, I remember the two films fondly; they introduced me to Smith’s humor, and in turn led the way to me listening to this audiobook. Now I know Kevin Smith more as a personality, as well as an annual public speaker at Hall H at Comic-Con. Based on all this I knew I was sure to be entertained and amused with Tough Sh*t.
In Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good, Smith talks about his movie career and his influences from George Carlin to Wayne Gretzky to John Hughes. He dishes on which actors impressed him and which actors pissed him off as he takes you behind the scenes of his movies. Smith also gets the infamous “too fat to fly on Southwest” incident off his chest. Smith acknowledges his family by including a loving recognition of his wife Jen and compares his first date with Jen to Lloyd Dobler asking out Diane Court. Behind it all is some good career advice to get paid doing what you love to do.
Kevin Smith’s story is inspirational – he fell in love with film and followed his dream to be a filmmaker. From his first visit to New York’s Angelika theatre he knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Slacker’s Richard Linklater and make films. In fact I learned in this audiobook that Smith made his mark on cinema by creating the bromance film genre. Interesting, right?
The part of me that loves Hollywood gossip ate up Smith’s celebrity stories, from Bruce Willis’ on set bad behavior to his falling out with mentor Harvey Weinstein. Smith also gives a fascinating look at filmmaking when he decides to self distribute his Tarantino-esque film Red State. He also gets some jabs in to the movie critics who love to hate him.
Who better than Kevin Smith to narrate his story? It’s his life and his stories and you can hear the passion and enthusiasm in his voice. His story is very personal, and like his films potty-mouthed at times, and I can’t imagine anyone else narrating the book. Smith is a professional podcaster so is obviously very comfortable behind the mic, and the six hours I listened to this audiobook flew by. His sharp humor, intelligence and knowledge of pop culture made for an entertaining listening experience.
This book is for Kevin Smith fans, those who love movies and pop culture, and those looking for some creative inspiration. If you have six hours to spare and are not easily offended, check out this audiobook.
Check out some other opinions of Tough Sh*t the audiobook:
Audiobook Info: Memoir/Humor, Received for review, Audio length: 8 hours 41 minutes, Read by the author.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Though this title is neither fiction nor YA, I thought readers would enjoy hearing about it since it has some of the same intimacy, wistfulness, and lighthearted tone found in many books I review. Plus it’s about a blogger! I enjoy humorous memoirs and something about the description of this audiobook called out to me. Before this listening experience, I was unfamiliar with the Bloggess blog, but the blogger’s funny/bizarre life stories sounded really fascinating. When I first started listening, I was skeptical that the stories were actually true, but as the author actually narrates the book, I became more and more convinced that you couldn’t make this stuff up.
Before Jenny Lawson’s success as the famous “Bloggess”, she grew up in rural Texas and we learn about how her upbringing made her the person she is today. Stories about animals seem to be a running theme, which may have something to do with the fact that Lawson’s dad is a professional taxidermist. Some of these stories are not for the squeamish, and animal lovers such as myself are warned that they may be offended. Still, the stories are amusing in a dark humor sort of way – think dead squirrels made into hand puppets. Awkward high school years are also covered, and segue to the author’s married life. Victor is Lawson’s husband and is her opposite in many ways, though they have managed to stay married for fifteen years. There are some funny scenes with the two attending his business functions as Lawson worries about saying the wrong thing.
The book hooked me right away, and when I wasn’t listening to it I was thinking about it or telling my family about it. One of the things I was surprised about is how easily I could connect to Jenny’s story. No, I didn’t grow up in rural Texas or play with taxidermy animals. But, I can definitely relate to her health struggles. As someone also diagnosed with arthritis in her twenties, I was interested to read about another young persons experience living with the disease. We also took the same scary drug that is supposed to help you if it doesn’t kill you first. One of the parts of the book that made me laugh out loud is Jenny’s experience at the acupuncturist, something I can also relate to. Jenny’s depictions of living with anxiety also hit close to home and there are some touching yet funny scenes about Jenny’s apprehension about meeting her blogging friends in real life at a retreat.
It lends a personal touch when an author narrates her own audiobook, and I think it’s particularly appropriate with a memoir. Especially with this book, it would seem weird to hear the stories from a voice other than the author. Lawson’s reading is conversational sounding and matter of fact and it feels like she is relating the stories to you personally. Because the stories are hers, she is able to convey the appropriate tone and emotion as she recounts her life tales. She does take you out of the book experience occasionally by pointing out that you are listening to an audiobook, and I was not sure how much if anything was ad-libbed for the audiobook performance. There are sound effects between the chapters, musical clips, cowbell sounds, and Lawson even sings the chapter titles. One thing I missed about listening to the audiobook version is that I couldn’t see the captioned pictures referenced throughout the book. So, I wish there was a way to include a booklet with pictures with the audiobook. Other than that, the audiobook experience was thoroughly entertaining. The audiobook does have a bonus chapter though and behind the scenes outtakes that are a lot of fun.
I recommend this book for fans of the Bloggess blog, and readers who enjoy memoirs or humor books, such as Tina Fey’s Bossypants. The audiobook is a quick listen at just over 8 hours long and will have you laughing throughout. Be advised that due to language this book may not be appropriate for all young adults, and is in fact meant for an adult audience. Lawson promises more stories in future books and I can’t wait to listen in. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is on sale April 17 and is available for preorder now.
Book trailers – there are two! Here’s the official one:
And, here’s the celebrity edition:
GIVEAWAY has ended- congrats to Flannery who has won a copy of the audiobook.
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary / Humor / Adventure
Format/pages: Hardcover 390 pages
Format read/Source: Received from Scholastic, read June 12 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Beauty Queens is not your usual light summer reading fare. Libba Bray has written a smart, high concept, girl power manifesto that is hilarious and original. The premise is that a plane carrying contestants representing 50 states for the Miss Teen Beauty Pageant crashes on a desert island. The girls have their pageant attire and talent, cosmetics and accessories, and little else with them in the way of survival resources. They need to put aside their vanity and jealousy to try and find a way to survive on the island on their own. This satiric island adventure has a reality TV feel and a mix of Lost, Mean Girls, James Bond, and Lord of the Flies. Can these beauty queens discover their beauty and power beneath the surface and survive?
Beauty Queens has a large, diverse cast of main and supporting characters. In addition to the stranded beauty queens, the island comes complete with a group of cartoonish villains and a band of sexy pirates. The girls each take a turn in the spotlight as they share their stories of how they became involved with the pageant. With this large of a group it may be hard to keep up. After awhile I gave up trying and just let go and enjoyed the ride.
Along the way, the author tackles hard-hitting subjects such as self-esteem, feminism, the beauty industry, advertising, parenting, and sexual identity. This social commentary is creatively presented through the characters stories, and through footnotes about pop culture, scripted commercial breaks, and pageant contestant profile pages. The humor and references are sharp and relevant and it is fun to spot the intended pop culture targets beneath their pseudonyms.
One of my favorite issues discussed in the book is when the girls talked about how they felt the need to apologize after expressing their opinion. I agreed with them that the word “sorry” should be banned from their vocabulary. There are many thought provoking and empowering discussions and revelations like that found throughout the book.
In this over the top social commentary, the girls begin a journey of self-discovery to figure out who they are when they aren’t being judged in a pageant. Though heavy handed at times, the feminist message is relevant in today’s society and delivered in a clever and humorous way. I enjoyed being stranded with these beauty queens and the chance to dig in to these topical issues. This smart book is a great choice for young adults and adults alike to read for some humor and depth in their summer reading mix. Beauty Queens is a memorable ride, and a worthy pick for the summer and beyond.
Find out more, buy the book, or read more reviews here:
- Anti-Corporate Pageant Satire Is the Best: Book Review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (thesassylibrarian.blogspot.com)
- Children’s Books: Shipwrecked Beauty Queens (nytimes.com)
- YA Wednesday: A Conversation Between Libba Bray and… Libba Bray (omnivoracious.com)