All posts tagged: joke’s on you

April Book

We’re so glad to finally have a taste of spring! This winter felt much too long, don’t you think? Now it’s time to bring a little life and laughter back into our reading lives for Spring. In April we like to read something with humor and wit to break down any remnants of that dreary winter mood. And this year we’ve selected Michael Arceneaux’s I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyonce. Arceneaux is a Houston-born, Howard University-educated writer who started his career writing for various news media like The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Essence, The Washington Post, etc. And this collection of essays, published in July of 2018, is the first book published by Arceneaux (he’s currently writing his second, titled I Don’t Want to Die Poor addressing private student loan debt). “There are stories that simply demand to be told and Michael Arceneaux’s is one such story. Arceneaux writes from his life as a black gay man with an uncanny strength of conviction and such fine …

Phone on table

A Dog is a Bicycle with Emotions

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.” First things first, I loved this book. After hearing people rave about the audiobook version, I decided to give it a shot. (I mean, who doesn’t want to list to Trevor Noah on their way to work and while making dinner?) I’m fairly new to audiobooks, but this one might be my favorite so far. Noah was able to convey his story as only he can, with perfect inflection, comedic timing, and emotion in his voice. The story kept me engaged the entire time, and my mind tends to wander easily. Noah’s story is an incredible one, and he did a phenomenal job of injecting just the right amount of humor to lighten up even the most intense situations. In fact, (if you’ve read it, you’ll know just the scene I’m talking about) one particular story toward the beginning of the book had me laughing …

A Heavy Kind of Funny

When I read and review a book that I love, one of the most common compliments I give is “I read this in one sitting” or something similar. Born a Crime was quite the opposite. It’s a book that I love that took me forrrevvvverrrrr (in my world) to read. My husband actually commented about how few pages I was able to read in one sitting each night. So why did it take me so long? I think that, for a humorous book, it was heavy and it felt too dense to read quickly. I wanted to take it one chapter at a time and really sit with what I’d read. Obviously, apartheid and racism are not new to me, but South African history is certainly not my area of expertise and a lot of the details were new. I just needed time. {Spoiler alert: this paragraph has them!} Noah’s story is simply incredible. That one person lived all of those stories is almost mind-boggling. And even more so when you think about the fact that there …

Humor and Heart

Our April book Born a Crime was just what I was in the mood for! After lots of dark and cloudy months and some intense books (i.e. Birdbox, The Hate U Give, The Healing of America), Trevor Noah’s ability to make anything into a joke was just what I needed. He covers some really dark subjects to say the least (attempted murders, carjacking, domestic abuse, apartheid, racism, etc), but manages to tell his stories with humor and heart. “One day as a young man I was walking down the street, and a group of Zulu guys was walking behind me, closing in on me, and I could hear them talking to one another about how they were going to mug me. ‘Let’s get this white guy. You go to his left, and I’ll come up behind him.’ I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t run, so I just spun around real quick and said, ‘Yo, guys, why don’t we just mug someone together? I’m ready. Let’s do it.’ They looked shocked for a moment, …

April Book

It’s been dark and gray for awhile now. I’d say we’re ready for more light, literally and figuratively. Which is why in April we read something with a sense of humor to help lighten the mood. And this April we’re reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime! And we’re SO excited for this one. If you know the name Trevor Noah, it’s either because you’re a fellow booklover and have heard GREAT things about this book, and/or you’ve seen Noah on The Daily Show as Jon Stewart’s replacement as of September, 2015. He’s a comedian (writer, producer, political commentator, television host, etc.), so we definitely expect a few laughs out of this book. However, from the little we know so far, he also has a very interesting, pretty intense, story to tell. Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa during apartheid. The son of a black mother and a white father, his parents’ relationship was illegal. His childhood was layered with all the complexities of race, religion, family, homeland, and everything in between. Beginning his career …

Great, Just Not for Me…

I’m sure the title of this post made you say “WHAT?!” And I don’t blame you. Let me start by saying I’m the wrong person to review this book. Why? I’m not a short story person. I enjoy the occasional short horror story and I have a slightly higher tolerance for personal essays or memoir-based short stories a la David Sedaris. But fictional short stories are just not my jam, and they honestly never have been. Generally, when I see those words on the cover of a book, the book goes back on the shelf. I give you this information so you understand my biases before you read any further. Let me start with the positive. This is a smart read. I was consistently and repeatedly impressed with how intelligently written all of B.J. Novak’s stories were. They are all based in that intellectual, thought-provoking humor that manages to still be just a little silly and a little absurd. I really enjoyed it. It’s also an incredibly fast read. I have a Kindle, and after …

Great Reads

After the rollercoaster that was Betrayal, One More Thing was just the book I needed. I guess you could say it restored my faith in the good. It was short, sweet, and, let’s be honest, you could just skip whichever stories you weren’t in the mood for. The stories range from one sentence, at most, 20 pages. Each story is a nice little package with interest all its own.  So it was easy to hop from story to story, making it a very fast read. Granted I read most of it on a plane, but I finished it in only a day and a half. I’d definitely recommend this as an entertaining, thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud book for anyone and everyone. I think my favorite part was how a few of the stories connected to each other (the ambulance driver and the girl who gives the best advice, and the missed connections red shirt post). Of course I had my favorites, and my not-so-favorites: Love it : Missed Connection: Grocery spill at 21st and 6th 2:30pm on Wednesday The longest missed connection post …

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Quick, Quirky, and Quiet

As someone who didn’t watch “The Office” (I know, shame on me), I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I just wanted it to be funny. And it was! I found myself chuckling out loud a couple of times, causing my husband to inquire about what I was reading (and then adding it to his own TBR pile). Full of humor and insight on the absurdity of life, these stories vary in length and subject. Most are relatively short, making this a super quick read that I was able to finish in under 24 hours. A couple of my favorite stories: when an elderly man makes it to heaven and can’t wait to reunite with his grandmother… and her reaction isn’t what he expects; when a Frosted Flakes-prize winner sets out to claim his winnings only to uncover a big secret; and a man who wears a red t-shirt every day in hopes of finding female companions. A collection of stories that find humor in both the ordinary and the extreme, they also quietly …

April Book

Images ©Knopf Doubleday In the mood for a good laugh after last month’s read? Phew! Us too. So, in honor of April (the month of foolish pranks) we’re reading One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak; “the wonderfully cockeyed, consistently hilarious debut.” You probably recognize the name B.J. Novak. He’s a writer and actor widely known for his work on the acclaimed comedy series “The Office” as an actor, writer, and executive producer. Now, Novak is expanding his scope beyond the walls of Dunder Mifflin. In One More Thing he takes on a range of human experience in this quirky new story collection.   “Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete.”   Published in 2014, Novak’s One More Thing joins a growing list of celebrated books published by comedic actors/writers (Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, etc.). Although unlike others who have written autobiographical …

Humility, Humor, and Hyperbole

Right around the time this book was coming out, I heard an interview with Allie Brosh on NPR. Not being familiar with her blog or her story at the time, I was intrigued and enjoyed the personality she conveyed in the interview. I intended to pick up her book, but never got around to it. So when we picked this book as our April read, I was eager to get my hands on a copy, especially because the format she chose is a new one for me. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I found her sense of humor both endearing and relatable, often laughing out loud or reading certain snippets to my husband. My favorite stories were by far “The God of Cake” and “Motivation,” mostly because I found myself nodding my head in solidarity. My two weakness: sweets and my tendency to procrastinate. “I had tasted the cake and there was no going back” and “Most people can motivate themselves to do things simply by knowing that those things need to be done. But …