Of the books I started last weekend, I've only been back to continue reading one: Daniel Nester's humorous essay collection, How to Be Inappropriate. I think I originally requested it from the library because I was charmed by its title, and when it arrived and I saw the cover, I really got a chuckle.* Of course, I do not need instruction on how to be inappropriate. It is one of the few skills I have down cold; every report card and work evaluation I have ever gotten in my life included some variant on "needs to think before she speaks."
Nester offers a collection of often very funny, sometimes surreal, humorous essays. He won me over right off the bat in an essay called "The Puerto Rican Lockhorns Reunion," in which he describes meeting up with an ex-girlfriend with whom he had a tempestuous (and loud, evidently) relationship; their neighbors used to call them the "Puerto Rican Lockhorns" (based on the comics couple, the Lockhorns, who are always snarking at each other). I also really enjoyed an essay called "Queries," which were comments written on student papers by Nester, when he worked as a creative writing professor. My favorite series is below (although I've taken out other interspersed comments, in the interest of time):
"Is a 'Drow' the same as the 'Dark Elf'?
Is the 'Darkened Elf the same as the 'Dark Elf'?
Why is Drow--or, the Dark/Darkened Elf--not revisted until he's killed?
Is the 'White Elf' the same as the 'Light Elf'?
Listen--if you're going to dub an elf the 'elf of light,' give the elf some uppercase love, why don't you?
Why is the Darkened Elf both kindred and lover to the Light Elf? Are they related? If they are in different tribes, then that's the only other meaning I've left to assume?
Wait--the Dark Elf and the White Elf are sisters?" (p. 144-145.)
I don't know why, but I found that completely amusing. Consider checking this title out. Although it's not consistently strong (Mr. CR must have been reading it without me noticing--out of nowhere one night when I was reading it he opined, "Some of the stuff in there is funny but most of it is just kinda strange") I'd say there's more to enjoy here than not.
*The lovely library worker who checked it out to me said, "ahem, I'll just put this one in the middle of your pile."