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August 2017

Matthew Klam's novel "Who Is Rich?"

Okay, I need some help from you. The next time you see me reference a novel, by a man, that reviewers say does a good job of portraying women, you have to politely remind me NOT TO READ IT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY.

Who is richSo all summer I saw positive reviews for Matthew Klam's new novel Who Is Rich? And once again, just as I did for Nickolas Butler's appalling novel Shotgun Lovesongs, I fell for it. Why, I don't know. Am I this needy for a male author who writes literary fiction who a) doesn't lovingly detail masturbation (I'm looking at you, Sam Lipsyte) and b) seems like he might actually like women and want to portray them as actual people? Well, yes, I am.

But I'm going to get over it now. That's where you come in, what with the telling me not to read literary fiction by men anymore.

Here's the story: Forty-something cartoonist/magazine illustrator Rich Fischer leaves his wife and two young children every year to teach at an arts conference. He's in his midlife crisis, of course: he's struggling a bit in his marriage, he's sleep-deprived because he's got young kids, the buzz surrounding his published memoir/graphic novel/comic is long gone and he feels like a has-been at the conference. But this year, he has the anticipation of continuing an affair with one of the conference's students (that began the previous year), a married mother of three who despises her rich husband and yet seems fully at home in her one-percenter lifestyle and philanthropic activities. What's a poor schlub who loves his wife and kids and yet really wants to bang another woman supposed to do?

And that's it. That's literally it. It goes on for 300 pages like that, and yes, I read the whole thing, because I am an idiot, and at first I thought it might get better, and then I just couldn't believe that nothing else was going to happen.* And yes, I did try to skip to the end and just get some closure, but because this is literary fiction, there really wasn't any closure.

I don't want to be too hard on this guy. For one thing, it took him fifteen years to produce this book after getting a lot of press for his first book, so that must have been a bit nerve-wracking. For another, I really had no business reading this book, and I certainly shouldn't have stuck with it as long as I did. (I shouldn't even have started: with blurbs from Curtis Sittenfeld and Lorrie Moore, two of my least favorite female authors ever, I should have known to run screaming.)

As Albert Brooks once said in Broadcast News, I grant you everything. But GIVE ME THIS: stop referring to women characters who exist only as the wronged (or harpy) wife or the new fuck interest as "fully realized, whole, equals." That one's on you, reviewers, not the author.

So anyway. Here's your flavor of the book, just so you can see what I had to put up with:

"It seemed the parts of us were smarter than the whole. Or dumber, much dumber. I felt sorry for those parts, worn and red and working away down there when all we wanted was to cry. I was sad, patient, and careful with her, but very connected, impossibly close, and as I got closer I could hear her breathing with me. This was undeniably an activity in which we both excelled. We came at the same moment, kablammo, which of course I'd read about in dirty magazines as a youth, and had imagined but never in my life experienced until that instant." (pp. 213-214.)

I don't care if it's meant to be funny, or ironic, or what one of the reviewers called writing sex with "such verisimilitude you might think you've slept with him." I think it should be nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for 2017, myself.

We're done here. But you won't forget your help, will you? Please knock the next novel of this kind out of my hands. Thank you.

*If anyone ever tells me, again, that "nothing really happens" in Anne Tyler novels, I am going to punish them by suggesting they read this novel right away.

Citizen Reading: 28 August 2017.

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

In case you doubted the depth of my love for all things Poldark, I'd like to present to you...a guest article I wrote for Anglotopia about all things Poldark.

Podcast alert: here's one on the "history of literature."

Keep an eye on Becky's RA for All blog...she's been offering some great webinars for which you can see the slides anytime.

So when is a bestseller really not a bestseller?

Did you  know there's a New Yorker Radio Hour? Here's some clips from it on various topics, including why men should read romance novels.

On "the promise and potential of fan fiction."

Science fiction author Brian Aldiss: Obituary.

Ian Rankin has announced a new Rebus novel.

British actor Jim Broadbent has written a graphic novel.

All Saints: Trailer. (It's based on a memoir titled All Saints: The Surprising True Story of How Refugees from Burma Brought Life to a Dying Church.)

EarlyWord Update: Books to movies.

Ten predictions for the Game of Thrones season finale. (Related: "Chill out, Internet, George RR Martin does watch Game of Thrones.")


A new book about a wrongful conviction for rape: Ghost of the Innocent Man. Supposedly it starts with a description of the initial rape crime. I just don't know if I can handle it right now.

A new book explores the impact of the smartphone on today's teenagers.

I must get this one: a new book titled Mean Men: The Perversion of America's Self-Made Man.

How did the British TV series Dr. Who make its way into the hearts of Americans?

More books about books: The Futilitarians.

New York Times: What do colleges need to do to adjust to this new age?; a neuroscientist writes about finding signs of consciousness in vegetative patients; a new book about what education at the college level really looks like, titled Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Doesn't, for Professors, Parents, and Students; here's a review of two books trying to tell liberal arts majors that it's okay, the tech industry wants you too (personally, I think we should all find ways to tell the tech industry we don't want them); a new biography of African American novelist Chester B. Himes; a firsthand account of China's educational system; here's a review of one of those books on books, Bruce Handy's Wild Things; what's the view from med school these days?


IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of Aug. 24.

USA Today: The hottest books on sale this week.

Top 10 books about tyrants.

Overcoming summer fears with picture books.

15 celebrities you never knew wrote comic books.

Eleven historical novels for fans of John Boyd's hot novel The Heart's Invisible Furies.


The CRjrs are running out of free, unfettered time before the eldest has to go back to school, so I am just letting them wrestle as much as they want, read nothing but Scooby Doo and sports books, and watch TV. We are also eating a lot of cookies. I find that a bit of a good debauch before we all have to re-submit to The Institution's schedule is the only way to cope.

Trying to re-learn Spanish is kicking my ass. Currently I am trying to read the kids' book Nate the Great in Espanol, and the only phrase I have understood is "No tengo ni idea." (I have no idea.) That's how I'm going to answer for the rest of the year if anyone asks me about anything.

I wasted a lot of my life last week on fiction, most notably Matthew Klam's novel Who Is Rich? I will be going back to nonfiction now.


Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls at Parties: First trailer.

Friday Fun: A link proving I've spent way too much time thinking about the Poldark series.

Welcome to a special Friday edition of Citizen Reader!

Remember a while back when I couldn't stop talking about Winston Graham's "Poldark" series? The historical fiction series set in 1700s Cornwall that actually blew my mind the first time I read them? (And continue to do so, every time I re-read them?) Well, here's a link to a guest article I wrote for Anglotopia, proving once and for all that I spend TOO MUCH time thinking about the Poldark saga:

A Tale of Three Poldarks

In it I discuss the original twelve-book series. And the 1975 TV adaptation. And the 2015 adaptation. So you'd think all of that would be enough Poldark, wouldn't you? However, let me assure you: there will never be enough Poldark.

Happy weekend, all.

Ann Hood's Morningstar: Growing Up with Books.

Every season seems to bring a new crop of "books on books." The ones I've seen mentioned most this summer and early fall are Michelle Kuo's Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, Ann Hood's Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, Bruce Handy's Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult, and Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence.

MorningstarI currently have Reading with Patrick at home, but I also have Ann Hood's Morningstar, and it's only 185 pages long, so I thought I would start there. This slim book is a look back at the novels from which Hood has learned a number of life lessons (like "How to Dream," "How to Ask Why," and "How to Have Sex," among several others). It was fine, but I was decidedly "meh" on the whole thing. I'll admit I can't get too excited about John Updike's Rabbit, Run as one of anybody's favorite novels, regardless of what kind of lesson it taught (in this case, appropriately enough, "How to Run Away").

I was going to write more about how I didn't find much in Hood's life or reading experiences that resonated with me, but I got bored even typing that statement. So I'll give you a sample of the book, and then I'll move on, hoping that some of this season's other "books on books" will be more to my taste.

"For as long as I can remember, I wanted something big, something I could not name. I did not know what it was, only what it wasn't. It wasn't in my small hometown. It wasn't nine-to-five, or ordinary, or anything I had ever seen before. I would sit on the landing at the top of the stairs at home and look out the little window at Aunt Julia and Uncle Joe's house across the street. Someday I will go beyond there, I would think." (p. 30.)

Actually, it's not a bad book. I'd like to hear what you think about it.

Citizen Reading: 21 August 2017.

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

It's official: Millennials love libraries.

What's behind the "dramatic spike in swearing in books"?

Did you see this link about an automatic generator of romance book titles? Pretty hilarious stuff. (Thanks to Jenny at Reading the End for that one!)

Wait a second...Blake Lively also writes spy thrillers? She's gorgeous, she's an actor, she's married to Ryan Reynolds, she has two gorgeous daughters, and now she's a writer too? God how I hate her.

The author of The Rosie Project (and his wife) have a new book deal.

Mystery writer Sue Grafton is finally running out of letters. I don't actually mind Sue Grafton, but I can never hear her name without laughing. One day while working as a supervisor to two college students on our library circulation desk, the young woman was reading a Sue Grafton, and her co-worker, a rather superior (but nice; just very young) young man, saw the book and said, "Sue Grafton: H is for Hack." I laughed, because it was funny, but the young woman just said "Uh-huh" without hearing him and went right on reading. I thought that was the perfect response. Then I sent the young man out to shelve so she could read in peace.

Chinese novelist Liu Yongbiao: arrested for murder?

Check out author Hanya Yanagihara's apartment...and 12,000 books.

2017 Hugo Awards: Winners.

2017 German Book Prize: Longlist.

James Tait Black prize (UK): Winners.

This is unrelated to reading, but as a lover of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, I had to include it. Joss Whedon, if he is indeed a husband who cheated, should probably not be hailed as a feminist. This hurts me, but what hurts me even more is that I'm not particularly surprised (and by that I mean I'm not surprised at all; sigh) to read this story.

Salon: Fall Movie Preview.


I do so love actor Bruce Campbell. Now he's back with a "memoir of middle age" titled Hail to the Chin.

Books on books: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult.

A new book is out on the history and importance of American pop music.

Earthquakes: They're not just for the West Coast anymore.

This new book From Holmes to Sherlock looks good.

The New York Times: how the political radical right played the long game--and won; an "intellectual historian" wants the liberal left to find some kind of unity; a new biographer of Sigmund Freud wonders why he still has so much influence; there's a new memoir by a woman coder, Ellen Ullman; a family memoir about living with a child who has autism; can surfing help answer existential questions?; the story of the Russian Revolution as an "epic family tragedy"; Svetlana Alexievich offers a new oral history on "the unwomanly face of war" during World War II. I don't generally read books on WWII but Alexievich produces excellent oral histories.


IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of Aug. 17.

Nonfiction to read along with the solar eclipse.

"Five books to shed light on America's problem of white supremacy."

School Library Journal: August 2017 Picks.

Three romances for your August escape.

"Memoirs that reckon with death." I'll overlook the Randy Pausch title, which was one of the worst books I've ever read.

The most iconic books set in 150 countries around the globe.


I started reading Edan Lepucki's novel Woman No. 17, and it is okay. They seem to be trying to market it as a thriller, but I don't know that that's going to work. It is, though, suspenseful, and quite interesting. All the same I may not finish it; I'm just not in the mood. However, the author did just write this hilarious essay (about her wishes for this book) at The Millions.

I'm re-reading some True Crime books that blew my mind when I first read them, and learning it is almost impossible to re-read True Crime. When you know what's coming it's almost just too hard to read it again.

We are currently reading the CRjrs a series of books about a cat called Supercat, by Jeanne Willis. A few nights ago they wanted to finish the one we were on, but I said we had to wait until the next night for the exciting conclusion. So the next night one of them said, "Can we please have the exciting conclusion now?" Sure, the house is a mess and nobody's very good at tying their shoes. But, by damn, we are learning all the necessary book/story vocabulary.


Amazon has cast the leads for the adaptation of Gaiman's and Terry Pratchett's book Good Omens.


Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism are Screwing American Workers.

Mr. CR despairs of me, but I am right back on my Depressing Nonfiction Reading Kick, and I couldn't be happier!

Raw dealLast month I spent quite a bit of time with Steven Hill's Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism are Screwing American Workers. It's a journalistic work of my very favorite type--the author pokes his nose into all sorts of assumptions, like how the "sharing economy" is helping us all save money and "monetize" the assets we do have, and how the tech companies really have all our best interests at heart...and then proves that the underlying story isn't quite as rosy as all the pundits would have you assume.

I won't lie to you, this is a dense book and it definitely takes some time to get going. But even if you only read half, or bits, of this book, you will learn more than enough to make you start to wonder about where all the money in our economy is flowing, and why. I'll give you an example of an early jam-packed paragraph that appears on page 3 (page 3!) and should suffice to give you much of the lay of the land of the book:

"Sitting here in San Francisco, I have a front-row seat at the epicenter of this latest earthquake. But as the future that the tech geniuses have planned for us comes slowly into view, it looks increasingly alarming. It's not just the many people evicted, including elderly and disabled tenants. to clear entire apartment buildings to make rooms available for tourists via Airbnb, even as Airbnb has disputed its obligation to pay local hotel taxes; or the desperate workers scrambling like low-rent braceros--'arms for hire'--on jobs found via TaskRabbit, Elance-Upwork, CrowdFlower and other job brokerage websites, sometimes for less than minimum wage (according to some workers); or the middle- and low-income households being forced to leave the Bay Area in a tech-driven 'Trail of Tears' because they can no longer afford the escalating costs; or that Uber, which is valued at $51 billion--larger than Delta or United Airlines, and approaching General Motors and Ford--has incorporated more than 30 different foreign subsidiaries, many of them no more than mailboxes in the Caribbean, as low-tax havens to greatly reduce its US tax obligations."

Yeah. The entire book is like that. It takes a little while to read.

But you should definitely give it a look. The idea of "monetizing" stuff I have by giving strangers rides in my car or a room in my house has always made my skin crawl, but this author also points out that these tech "sharing" companies are making massive profits at the same time they are refusing to play fair with their workers (not their workers, technically, their "freelancers," to whom they give no benefits and provide no sick time) and with tax and local zoning laws in general. The sharing economy might have a nice name, but what exactly is it costing all of us in the end?

Citizen Reading: 14 August 2017.

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

The "boom" in books about boredom.

RA for All: Book Display Ideas. In general, check out Becky's RA for All posts from the last couple of weeks. There's tons of good info and news there, including news about Rebecca Vnuk's new book review magazine IndiePicks Magazine!

Free webinar: Engaging Reluctant Readers in Your Library.

Cultivate your readers' advisory superpower!

The Library of Congress opened its catalogs to the world. "Here's why it matters."

A new app from OverDrive aims to make signing up for a library card easier. and signing up for a library card.

Nine student needs academic librarians need to know.

Bless EarlyWord, they're still updating their list of book/movie adaptations.

How to talk to kids about death, according to picture books.

John Green has a new book out!

Novelist Maggie O'Farrell has a new memoir out--even though she wasn't quite comfortable writing about real people (herself and others).

Interview with Jeannette Walls, about her memoir The Glass Castle being made into a movie.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Recommending the best of Stephen King.

Ken Baker's novel How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly In Love to be adapted as a movie.

The fall TV outlook for the networks doesn't look good.

In a British bookshop, and looking for some V. C. Andrews? Look for Virginia Andrews instead!

The winners of the 2017 Hugo Award.


Ann Hood's new book Morningstar is about growing up with books.

I'd like to see this new book of essays: what has and hasn't changed for women in five decades of pop culture.

New comic book: The illustrated tweets of President Trump.

A physician has written a book about the ethics of "using medical assistance to hasten death."

OOOoooohhh...this one looks like fun...The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

There's a new biography of Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War, now available.

There's a new book out about the Kellogg brothers and their cereal beginnings.

New York Times: A biography of Washington Roebling, the man who built the Brooklyn Bridge; novelist Jami Attenberg reviews a new memoir about an unhappy marriage; "assessing the value of Buddhism"; a study of 1922, the "year that transformed literature"; what is it really like to die (new nonfiction from Edwidge Danticat). 


IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of August 10.

September's LibraryReads list. There's only one nonfiction title on it, but at least it's one that looks interesting.

School Library Journal: Best new math books.

True Crime for young adults.

The Guardian: The best recent thrillers.

Librarians have voted on their top 100 must-have YA titles. (And 42 diverse must-have YA titles as well.)

Adult Books 4 Teens: 8 coming-of-age tales.

Best business books to read for those starting a small business.

Ten business books to read to understand how capitalism works now.

Twelve of Bill Clinton's favorite titles.


I hammered through a new Elinor Lipman novel, On Turpentine Lane, that I actually liked better than anything else I've ever read by Elinor Lipman. Some of it was genuinely funny and it was a nice light book for summer reading, but I think I still prefer a novelist like Anne Tyler.

Last week I wrote about D. Watkins's The Beast Side, about Baltimore, and this week I see he's written an article about how many murders have taken place in Baltimore already this year.

I read a lot of depressing nonfiction last week (reviews to come) and it was AWESOME. Autumn must be coming...I'm starting to feel more like myself, and myself likes my depressing nonfiction!

The eldest CRjr completed his first Summer Library Program. He was entered in a prize drawing and got a free book and pass to a local swim club. We had to go home and recover from all the excitement. I'm not kidding. My definition of "over-scheduled" around here is when we have more than one place to be per week (ah, parenting while introverted, it's not for pansies), so two prizes and a sweepstakes entry blew his mind. In the best possible way.


Starz plans to keep "American Gods" going "for years."

D. Watkins's The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America.

I wasn't going to write about this book. But I can't NOT write about this book. I first heard about it in 2015 when it was published and became a New York Times bestseller, but didn't think about reading it. Then I read Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, about Baltimore in the 1990s (and from the cops' perspective, for the most part). I thought that reading this book, from a resident's perspective of Baltimore in the 1990s and 2000s, would be a valuable read on the other side.

Beast sideI don't know what to think about The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America.

On the one hand, it certainly describes a place that is unknown to me:

"I wanted to go to an out-of-state college. But my plans were derailed when, months before my high school graduation in 2000, my brother Bip and my close friend DI were murdered. I became severely depressed and rejected the idea of school.

Most of my family and friends came around in an effort to get me back on track. My best friend, Hurk, hit my crib every day.

I met Hurk way back in the 1990s. His mom sucked dick for crack until she became too hideous to touch. Her gums were bare, her skin peeled like dried glue, chap lived on her lips, and she always smelled like trash-juice. Then she caught AIDS and died.

Hurk's my age. His family was a billion dollars below the poverty line. He had so many holes in his shoes that his feet were bruised. I started giving him clothes that I didn't want, and he stayed with us most nights. We became brothers." (p. 6.)

Watkins himself worked as a drug dealer and makes no bones about that fact. He also does a very good job of describing segregated Baltimore, as when he is invited to talk at something called the "Stoop Storytelling Series" (after an essay of his, "Too Poor for Pop Culture," drew a lot of attention):

"That's when I realized. This is one of those events. By "those events" I mean a segregated Baltimore show that blacks don't even know about. I walked through a universe of white faces, and I wondered, how is this even possible? How could we be in the middle of Baltimore, a predominantly black city where African Americans make up more than 60 percent of the population, at a sold-out event, with no black people--except for me and the friends I brought?" (p. 4.)

I don't know what I was looking for in this book, but overall it mainly made me very sad. Sad that it was so sad, in parts (see above). Sad that it seems lately we are farther away than ever from being able to discuss and address the issues Watkins raises in this book. Sad that there is so much anger in this book--and there is anger--which I understand. And I suppose this is going to sound like something a privileged person would say (which I am, because I have never known hunger, and which I laughably am not, as I have had to work all my life to try and put a living wage together), but I don't know where the anger is going to get us. At one point Watkins lovingly describes what he would like to have happen, in prison, to a cop who has killed a black man, and it is disturbing. And all it does is leave me with the questions that violent action and reaction always leave me with: will retribution bring the victim back? Will it solve anything?

I think you should read this book. I don't know how on earth we're all going to talk about it, but I think you should read it.

Citizen Reading: 7 August 2017.

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Buzz Books Monthly for September (from Publishers' Lunch) now available.

Trend watch: Have you heard of "up lit"?

Looking to develop your maker spaces? Tips for makers on a budget.

Penn State Libraries: now dispensing short stories!

This was my favorite surreal article of the week. USA Today makes suggestions for what President Trump should read on vacation. Anybody else here remember when USA Today was called "McPaper" and was derided for being news lite? And now it's suggesting books for Trump? Very odd books. I'm crying. I'm laughing. I'm cry-laughing. Craughing. Is that a thing?

Now THIS is why tech moguls keep buying media outlets.

Stop letting your children play with apps.

A new literary journal gives all story writers the same first line to work with.

This is not a nice trend: Game of Thrones fans are buying (and abandoning) a lot of husky dogs.

5 reasons audiobook sales are booming.

Sales are up for the Cambridge University Press.

Not the Booker Prize 2017: Here's the very long, long, longlist.

Women's fiction author Isabelle Broom has signed a contract for two new books with Michael Joseph.

There's a new novel out based on the Lizzie Borden story.

E.B. White's farm, where he wrote Charlotte's Web, is up for sale.

Sam Shepard, author and playwright, has died at the age of 73. I'll always like him for his role in the movie "Baby Boom," although I've never read or seen any of his plays.

The editor who saved Anne Frank's diary from the rejection pile, and also gave the world Julia Child's cookbooks, has died.

Author Ariel Levy on feeling guilt over her miscarriage.

A new PBS program will explore Americans' favorite books.

The film adaptation of "The Dark Tower" is not getting good reviews.

"Game of Thrones": Episode leaks.

More and more books are being adapted for TV and film.

Arab American Book Awards: Winners.

Winner of the 2017 Diagram Prize for Oddest Title: Winner.

The Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017: shortlist.


Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona, and also known at one time as the least-liked Senator in America) has a new book out.

James Comey has gotten his book deal.

A new memoir by a woman who cut herself off from her abusive parents: Estranged: Leaving Family, and Finding Home.

Bustle: 13 best nonfiction books of August.

New York Times: A collection of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg's lectures on his contemporaries; a new biography of poet John Ashbery; a book on how poetry works.


IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of August 3.

Amazon: Best Books of August.

GQ: Best new books of August. The best 10 fiction titles of August.

Vulture: 8 books you need to read this August. This is like the third or fourth list I've seen Tom Perrotta's novel Mrs. Fletcher on. Fine. I am no Perrotta fan, but I will give it a try.

School Library Journal: 44 terrific titles for August.

Publishers' Weekly: The most anticipated books for fall.

Booklist: Spotlight on SF/Fantasy and Horror.

Ten "highbrow books for the beach." 26 favorite books of high achievers.

"In Search of Lost Words": Novels on dementia.


GardensI really wanted to spend a lot of time with Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes, by Piet Oudolf and Rick Darke, about New York's High Line park, but I have been too busy actually going outside with the CRjrs. I will get this one back in the winter.

I've had David Sedaris's new book Theft by Finding, Diaries: 1977-2002, for the full four weeks my library allows, and I have to take it back now. I've never been a yuuge Sedaris fan, although I have enjoyed some of his writings, but I am enthralled by the idea of diaries and thought I would take a look. I read the first hundred pages, largely because I was just dumbfounded by the events in his life, and then I skimmed the next 200 pages, and then I stopped. This is just TOO MUCH David Sedaris. Still, if you're a fan, you might find this an interesting look "behind the curtain." It is interesting to see how certain events in his life eventually ended up in the stories and essays of his you know...


Neil Gaiman is starting a book yoga challenge for his readers.

Tripp & Tyler's Stuff You Should Know About Stuff.

Sometimes you just want a short fluffy nonfiction book.

When that's what you want, consider Tripp & Tyler's (yup, they just go by "Tripp & Tyler") short book Stuff You Should Know About Stuff: How to Properly Behave in Certain Situations. Evidently Tripp and Tyler are a comedy duo who post their sketches on YouTube. I didn't find them there, and frankly, I don't even remember how I found this book.

StuffBut I enjoyed it. They offer sections on how to behave in public situations, situations involving communication, situations involving friends, and "situations we wanted to include in the book but couldn't figure out how to categorize" (among others).

When reading it, I just flipped through it at random and enjoyed it as it came, and here was the first thing I read, in the chapter titled "Recommendations for the next hotel I stay in":

"Please start washing the comforters. We all know that earlier in the day, a naked, sweaty, fat man rested his taint on the comforter while he blow-dried his hair. I know you can neither confirm nor deny this, but the least you could do is have the housekeeper bring a new comforter to my door, shrink-wrapped like an airline blanket." (p. 29.)

Oh, and there's a very funny picture to go along with that.

Another of my favorite chapters was the "Golf Rules for the Rest of Us" one:

"The vast majority of us suck at golf. We need to figure out a way to make the entire experience better; thus, Golf Rules for the Rest of Us:

When you hit a ball into the woods, just find a ball. It doesn't have to be your ball--any white ball will do...

No player should feel guilty for quitting after 14 holes. Everyone knows that is the ideal length of a round of golf." (p. 210.)

So, yeah. Is it great nonfiction literature? Nah. Is it a fun little read that might give you a few laughs? Yes, it is. Oh, and it includes this handy tip: "Get rid of a brain freeze by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth." Nice. Fun AND educational.