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Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Hardcover, 352 pgs.
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Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore is a long-awaited follow-up to A Dirty Job, which I loved.  Readers should start with the first book before reading this one.

Charlie Asher, a death merchant, has taken on a new form, and his daughter is living with his sister even as his situation becomes more hopeless.  Minty Fresh reprises his role as comic relief, but there really is much more of that going around in this novel.  San Francisco is one again under threat from dark forces.  The Big Book of the Dead has sensed the change, and as things happen magically, the instructions in the book morph into dire warnings — most of which are ignored, at least until the banshee shows up.  Through a mix of characters from the previous book, Moore is at his best with these sarcastic, wise-cracking misfits who riff off one another like guitarists in a large band.  Their tune is haphazard but effective in this hunt for balance in the world of the dead.

“‘Sure, you could say talked. Ghosts mostly communicate by odor. Gotta tell you, you got a house that smells like farts, you got a haunted house.'” (pg. 75)

“With that, great clouds of fire burst out the twin tailpipes of the Buick and it lowered its stance like a crouching leopard before bolting out of the turnout.” (pg. 122)

Moore is a talented writer, who can write a funny quip and hilarious dialogue in one stroke and a gorgeous set of literary images in another. This duo of books combines the best of those talents, along with some great supernatural elements that are based not only on Egyptian mythology but also Buddhist teachings. This mash-up is unique and engaging, and his characters bring it to life easily. From Minty Fresh who wears all lime green clothes and owns a secondhand music store to Lemon who wears all yellow and has a calm demeanor that covers his dark motives, Moore’s characters will have readers laughing and questioning every turn of plot.

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore is a wonderful follow-up that will have readers wondering about where their soul is headed, who will guide it where it needs to go, and whether they will one day find themselves with a super-ability they never wanted.  It’s another winner from this author.

About the Author:

Christopher Moore is an American writer of comic fantasy. He was born in Toledo, Ohio. He grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Art Berlin: Version 2.0 by Kai Jakob

Source: A gift from Emma Eden Ramos
Hardcover
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Urban Art Berlin: Version 2.0 by Kai Jakob does have words, but words as rendered in urban art, also called graffiti.  This collection is of art in Berlin, and what’s interesting is how artists have set their work on top of others.  Art here has no boundaries, nothing to pin it in.  The introduction and foreword are in both German and English, which is helpful for those who don’t know German, and in it, Jakob says that public space is in actuality free space.  Berlin is the home to many artists, including those engaged in graffiti.  Jakob says that as urban landscapes become very monotone and similar, it is a splash of color and an unexpected image that can provide visitors with a glimpse into the true heart of the city.

The photos in this book bring to life not only spray painted images, but those made of paper stuck on walls, stickers on street signs, and more.  I’d recommend this book for those interested in other cultures, graffiti, photography, and art.  Jakob has collected a wide variety of images from the streets of Berlin, and some are comical, while others are downright bizarre.

About the Author:

Check out the Street Art in Berlin Facebook page.

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

Source: Quirk Books
Hardcover, 176 pgs
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William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher is just what it espouses to be, a Shakespearean rendition of Star Wars.  Doescher has clearly studied enough Shakespeare and is creative enough to pull this off, and as an avid reader and lover of Shakespeare and Star Wars, this one was a perfect fit.  In fact, I was chuckling to myself as I heard the movie version of Jar Jar Binks in my head speaking in near iambic pentameter.  It was hilarious.  If I could see this one filmed, I would.  There are people who hate Jar Jar, and there are people like me who just adore him.  What I loved about Doescher’s rendition of him is that there is more to the character than appears outwardly to the other characters.  The re-imagining of this polarizing character was fascinating, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next – even though I know the story.

Amidala: “A youth is no more frail than older folk,
No less intelligent, no less sublime.
Our steps are newer, yet we are no jewel
To be protected and encas’d by them.” (pg. 20)

Anakin: “Why do we worship at the shrine of change?
Hath change e’er put a meal upon our board?
Is change betoken to something positive?
Or may it be that change for changing’s sake
But changes good to evil, bad to worse?” (pg. 99)

This rendition can be read for its homage to Shakespeare and Star Wars, and it can be read for its humor, but it also is multi-layered with meaning. What does it mean to accept change so easily, and does it mean that youth is unequal to older people with experience? Doescher also speaks of the hidden commentary in Star Wars about perception and the “locals” of Naboo, in that the Jedi believe them to be primitive and less worldly. Fans of the movie franchise and its many incarnations have debated many things like these, as they have been debated in the study of Shakespeare and other literature, why not do it in a modern and fun mash-up like William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher.

ianAbout the Author:

Ian Doescher is a Portland native, and lives in Portland with his spouse and two children. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He is currently the Director of Nonprofit Marketing at Pivot Group LLC, a full service marketing, research and web agency in Portland, Oregon.

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg, illustrated by Madeline Gobbo

Source: Diary of an Eccentric
Hardcover, 240 pgs
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Texts From Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations by Mallory Ortberg, illustrated by Madeline Gobbo, provides the right amount of literary humor from classics like Jane Eyre to modern characters like Katniss and Peeta from the Hunger Games.  Readers can turn to this little gem again and again for a good laugh.  Text messages are sometimes completely off the wall, but totally in character with either the fictional people or the authors who send the texts.  However, readers will garner more enjoyment from the conversations if they are familiar with the books and authors involved.

From “Wuthering Heights” (pg 114-119 ARC)

“i love you so much i’m going to get sick again
just out of spite

i’ll forget how to breathe

i’ll be your slave

i’ll pinch your heart and hand it back to you dead

i’ll lie down with my soul already in its grave

i’ll damn myself with your tears

i love you so much i’ll come back and marry your sister-in-law

god yes

and i’ll bankroll your brother’s alcoholism

i always hoped you would”

Some are visited more than once in text conversation, particularly Hamlet, and those conversations are fantastically done.  It’s fun to see Regan and Goneril fighting via text, as it is also humorous to see Heathcliff and Cathy profess their love for one another in the most Gothic ways possible.  There are others that could have been better, like the one for William Carlos Williams.  While readers will see the intent to play off of his famous poems, the text conversations could have been more inventive.  And the text conversation with John Keats was uninspired, though it recalled his famous poem Ode on a Grecian Urn.

What readers will love about the book is the use of modern technology and text-speak as classical writers and characters could use them with both their antiquated notions and points of view mixed with a more modern sensibility in some cases.  Ortberg has clearly given her imagination free reign here, and while in most cases, it pays off with a chuckle or a snicker, there are some cases where it falls flat. Texts From Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations by Mallory Ortberg, illustrated by Madeline Gobbo, is a fun little bit of humor to cheer you up on a gloomy day.

About the Author:

Mallory Ortberg is a writer, editor, and co-founder of the feminist general interest site The Toast. She previously wrote for Gawker and the Hairpin, where she met Toast co-founder Nicole Cliffe.

Hitrecord on TV! Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Source: Dey Street Books
Video, 8 episodes
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HitRecord on TV Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a collaborative effort like the books, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 1, 2, and 3, but these collaborations come to life on stage and in video.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the host of the show, but really he’s his own variety show in that he can act, dance, do tricks, play several instruments, sing, and coordinate all of these projects with hundreds of collaborators.  While this box set includes full-color, stylized booklets for each episode, its the downloaded episodes that will have people riveted.  This show is addictive.  It is not American Idol or The Voice, or any other competitive show about who is the best.  This is a creative engine that is generating a life of its own beyond the screen and the books to create its own artistic community of collaborators and re-mixers.  It is addictive to watch, and I’ve had the song, Freakin’ On My Front Lawn stuck in my head for days!

Each episode is chock full of facts, stories, and fun, JGL takes his role as collaborator and host seriously and he’s all about honest production and fun.  There is audience interaction at the live reveals and each piece begins with the germ of an idea.  Rather than focus on our actual trash production, the episode on trash spoke with John Waters to talk about what it means to make or be trash.  These interviews with the famous and famous in their own industry add even more flavor to the show.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt clearly loves these projects from beginning to end, and audiences will be infected with this sense of joy and inspiration from the moment they begin watching.

With only eight downloadable episodes, the season seems too short, but there are additional downloads from 17 songs/soundtracks to bonus content.  Do not forget about the books!  These slim volumes include so much in such a small space that they are little powerhouses unto themselves.  HitRecord on TV Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make the perfect gift for the artists in the family, but also for those looking for a fresh show the likes of Ed Sullivan.  The only drawback is these are downloads and not DVDs, and for some of us not quite versed in streaming from computers to televisions, etc., it makes it a little harder.  But it is well worth the effort.

About the Artist:

HitRECord founder and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting career has managed to garner a massive popular appeal while maintaining a widely respected artistic integrity. He recently starred in Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-nominated Inception and received Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and People’s Choice award nominations for his performance in (500) Days of Summer. Currently earning rave reviews for his performance in 50/50, also starring Seth Rogen, his upcoming films include David Koepp actioner Premium Rush and Rian Johnson’s sci-fi thriller Looper, with Bruce Willis. He is currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and will next begin work opposite Daniel Day Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic, Lincoln.

My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart

Source: HarperCollins
Hardcover, 240 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut by Hannah Hart is a more how-to guide for noncooks and those who have few resources on hand.  In many ways this is not your ordinary cookbook — yes there are ingredients listed but they are mostly suggestions, and there are few if any step-by-step instructions on how to recreate Hart’s creations.  “Unconventional” is one word to describe this cookbook, and another would be “fun.”  This is a cookbook about having fun in the kitchen, getting creative, and inviting your friends to join in the frenzy — and alcohol always helps.  Hart lets readers into her life and her kitchen — from her younger years in the lunchroom scrounging among friends to fill her belly with various concoctions of candy and crackers, etc.

From this cookbook, we selected Pizzadilla for my birthday party last weekend, which requires sauce, shredded cheese, and tortillas.  The recommended drink with this is cold beer of course, and we happened to have Sam Adams in the house.  You smear the sauce on the tortilla and then add the cheese before putting another tortilla on top — you can stack these on top of one another to make them taller — put them in the oven to cook.  It looks as though this requires some babysitting as there is no temperature listed for the oven, nor is there a time for cooking listed.  You’ll have to keep an eye out for the browning of the tortilla and the melting ooze of the cheese.  You can cut these into slices with a butter knife.  These all came out great within about 10 minutes or so on 350 degrees.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them, and we think they could be filled with other toppings, like peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, and other meat.

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut by Hannah Hart is a fun cookbook for those not too worried about timing things and directions, who are interested in making creative dishes in the kitchen.  Beyond single people, bachelors, and drunk cooks, this book could be helpful in introducing kids to cooking.  It is humorous and fun.

***Silly me, we forgot to take photos of the creations, but perhaps we were too drunk.***

About the Author:

Hannah Hart, sometimes nicknamed Harto, is an American internet personality, comedian and author. She is best known for starring in My Drunk Kitchen, a weekly series on YouTube in which she cooks something while intoxicated. Apart from her main channel, she also runs a second channel where she talks about life in general and gives her opinions on various topics. She also has written a cooking book named My Drunk Kitchen – a guide to eating, drinking, and going with your gut.

47th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto

Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto is a guide to the mind of readers everywhere, and it offers some great tips on how to fake it for readers who may not have read some contemporary or classic authors that everyone else has been.  Leto is like many of us in that she says, “Considering yourself a serious reader doesn’t mean you can’t read light books.  Loving to read means you sometimes like to turn your head off.  Reading is not about being able to recite passages from Camus by memory.  Loving young adult novels well past adolescence isn’t a sign of stunted maturity or intelligence.  The most important thing about reading is not the level of sophistication of the books on your shelf.  There is no prerequisite reading regimen for being a bookworm” (page 8).  To that end, she discloses that she’s likely to be found with the latest Janet Evanovich in her hand when she has to fly anywhere.

The initial confessions read like that of any bookworm, with the boxes and boxes of books moved from apartment to apartment and from makeshift bookshelf to re-purposed material made into a bookshelf — in her case, a couple of old ladders (page 13).  Leto even offers a funny little bit about changing the readers’ mascot from a worm to a cat, but one of the most ironic reasons in the book is because cats hold grudges (page 63) — like many do against James Frey from A Million Little Pieces, who offers a witty quote about Leto’s book on the cover.

Through a series of chapters of advice on how to fake having read a particular book, using vague statements and comparisons to popular movies and other writers you may have read, Leto has created an unapologetic homage to reading as entertainment, education, enjoyment, escapism, and understanding.  She even includes a chapter on rules for the book club, which means talking about book club with others not in your club or about the books you are reading in the club as well as how best to end a disagreement over something that happens in one of the books read by the group.  Her observations on members of a book club and their roles from the leader to the quiet (usually girl) member are in line with many readers’ experiences, including those who might even fit those character types in one group or another.

Some of the best aspects of this book are the snarky comments about authors and readers of certain authors, like those who adore Chuck Palahniuk are boys who cannot read and those who love Chuck Klosterman are boys who don’t read.  Leto’s comments about the “Literati,” a chapter with an alternate title of “Why Ernest Hemingway Once Told John Updike Literary New York Is a Bottle Full of Tapeworms Trying to Feed on Each Other,” is hilarious and a warning for those would-be writers out there.  Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto is not really about judging anyone, but it is about having fun with books and reading, making connections even with strangers, and finding happiness in a bent page — to paraphrase her (page 245).

About the Author:

Lauren Leto dropped out of law school to start the popular humor blog “Texts from Last Night.” She co-authored the book Texts from Last Night: All the Texts No One Remembers Sending. She lives in Brooklyn.

This is my 78th book for the New Authors Reading Challenge in 2012.

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson is a humorous collection of stories from 11 dogs who bare all.  Not only do they divulge secrets about why those “pee” walks take so long, but they also enlighten dog walkers on the order that dogs should be taken out and why.  There are hijinks from dogs eating shoes and eating even mores hoes when owners lock them in the shoe closet, and there are dogs giving parenting advice to owners about their own puppies.

Sarge was one of the funniest given that he was a narcotics dog and became addicted to the pot that the police had him sniffing out.  He goes through several different jobs from junkyard dog to service dog.  He has trouble holding down a job.  Axelrod is another funny little dog who has a thing for herbs and incense given that there are herbal soaps in the bathroom, he thinks the herb garden outside is the perfect place to go potty since his owners seem to like the scent.

Conrad and Johnson have a firm grasp of the dog mindset and their seemingly erratic behavior from chasing cars to herding kids throughout the house.  A book you can dip into in the waiting room for entertainment, follow only one dog’s story from beginning to end, or read cover to cover.  Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson is fun for dog owners, kids, those who love dogs, and anyone in between looking for a good chuckle.

About the Authors:

Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy Conrad was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk, working on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages.  Hy’s first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, will debut in 2012 with the publication of Rally ‘Round the Corpse.  And his first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in May 2012.  He lives in Key West and Vermont with his partner and two miniature schnauzers.

Jeff Johnson spent most of his working life in advertising agencies, currently as General Manager of Cramer-Krasselt in New York City.  He is the author of The Hourglass Solution:  A Boomer’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life and co-authors (with Paula Forman) a national online advice column called Short Answers, which also appears in newspapers all along the east coast (from Massachusetts to Florida).  Jeff lives in Vermont and Key West and is on the Board of Directors of the Waterfront Playhouse and the Florida Keys SPCA.

This is my 76th book for the New Authors Reading Challenge in 2012.

Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, Read by Samuel L. Jackson

Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes and read by Samuel L. Jackson, is a “children’s book for adults” that will have most parents nodding, “YES!”  As a new parent, this book made me agree wholeheartedly with its sentiments about how hard it is to get kids to go to sleep.

They are often too wired to sleep or simply too worried that they will miss something important by going to bed.

THIS IS NOT a book for children; it is for adults and would be considered humor.  This is not a review of the book’s illustrations because I listened to this book via audio from Audible.

Samuel L. Jackson is a natural narrator for this book because of his brash attitude in his movies and the reputation he’s garnered as a result.  His narration gains momentum as he continues reading through the rhymed story, and the frustration escalates.  It is this movement and cadence that will amuse readers as they shudder with understanding — kids that need a drink or want one more story read to them before sleeping.

“The wind whispers soft through the grass, hon.  The field mice, they make not a peep.  It’s been 38 minutes already.  Jesus Christ, what the f**k! Go to sleep!”

One drawback is that the word “f**k” is used from the very first lines throughout the book, but it may have been more effective to save its use for later on as the frustration gains ground.  One of the best moments of the book is when the narrator realizes that his child will not be sleeping and has given up saying, “No,” and simply acquiesces to whatever the latest request is.  What makes the narration even more poignant is the light, lullaby music in the background.

Go the F**k to Sleep is a hilarious look at parenthood, and the introduction by Jackson about his own struggles with getting his daughter to sleep further drives home the point that we are not alone.

About the Author:

Adam Mansbach is an American author and professor of fiction[1] at Rutgers University[2] who wrote the “children’s book for adults” Go the Fuck to Sleep.[3] Other books Mansbach has written include Angry Black White Boy and The End of the Jews[4] (for which he won the California Book Award for fiction in 2008)

 

This is my 36th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

 

 

This is my 1st book for the 2011 Audio Book Challenge and the 1st I listened to on my Kindle.

College in a Nutskull by Professor Anders Henriksson

Professor Anders Henriksson has compiled a list of mistakes made by students in higher education in College in a Nutskull.  The spiral bound notebook with lined pages with doodles in the margin is filled with mistakes, misinformation, wrong facts, and spelling errors.  These answers are taken from essay tests all over the world, which were sent to Henriksson.

“Cast aside all worry and savor this text as an opportunity to visit a world remarkably different from the reality we think we inhabit.” (page viii)

The blunders, malapropisms, spoonerisms, and poor facts are arranged by subject, ranging from religious studies to all kinds of history and science and technology.  Many of these examples could be attributed to test-taking jitters as students rush to finish their timed essays, but it makes them no less amusing.  However, some of these lines read more like a “smart ass” spouting off “witty” comments, such as “Descartes began this by stating, ‘I think, therefore I’m Sam.'” (page 11) and “Some of these ideas are unfortunately too long for my attention spam.” (page 69)

Here are a couple malapropisms and spoonerisms:

“A vassal was a kind of servant, only rounder.” (page 63)

“Slavery was the big issue in the Anti-Bedlam South.” (page 76)

Beyond the unintentional word usage, there are just some major factual errors, from “The executive branch exists because Congress allows it to exist” to “Laws are invented by the courts.” (page 90-1)  What is likely to trouble readers, including me, is that the mistakes made are a sad commentary on the state of public education and its ability to prepare students for college.  Terrible grammar, improper word usage, Freudian slips, and other factual mistakes merely demonstrate how ill-prepared students are for college or a career, especially since they cannot communicate clearly.

Overall, College in a Nutskull by Professor Anders Henriksson is a humorous compilation of mistakes by college students that may make an unintentional commentary on public education and student preparedness.  For those who find student errors amusing or for those that enjoy malapropisms, this collection will have you chuckling, shaking your head, and spitting out your coffee.

Check out this article on Henriksson.

FTC Disclosure:  Thanks to Workman Publishing for sending me a free review copy of College in a Nutskull for review.

About the Author:

Photo credit: Kevin G. Gilbert

Dr. Henriksson is a professor at Shepherd University is located in historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and the author of Vassals and Citizens: The Baltic Germans in Constitutional Russia, 1905-1914, and The Tsar’s Loyal Germans. The Riga German Community: Social Change and the Nationality Question, 1855-1905. He is co-author of The City in Late Imperial Russia and has published articles in Russian Review, Canadian Slavonic Papers, the Wilson Quarterly, the Journal of Baltic Studies, and the Modern Encyclopedia of Russian, Soviet, and Eurasian History. His research interests focus on the role of class, ethnicity, and gender in the development of civil society in Russia and Eastern Europe. He is currently at work translating and editing the memoir of a Russian nurse in the Russo-Japanese War. Also a chronicler of the humorous side of campus life, Dr. Henriksson is compiler of Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students. A second humor book, College in a Nutskull, is due to appear in 2010.

This is my 32nd book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! by Michael P. Spradlin, Illus. Jeff Weigel

The holidays are a time for merriment and getting together with family and friends to celebrate and share.  Part of the holidays has always included caroling, at least for some people.  My husband and I love to sing, though we don’t sing well, but we like to make up lyrics from time to time.   It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel is the perfect collection of remastered Christmas Carols to liven up the holidays.  There’s even an introduction by the witty and dark humored Christopher Moore.

First, can you tell what classic novel this line’s beginning resembles?

“It is universally acknowledged that there are very few literarypursuits which cannot be improved with the addition of zombies, which are to the written word as cheesy goldfish crackers are to life in general; those little cheesy goldfish crackers also improve nearly everything.”  (Page VII)

Christopher Moore certainly has a unique perspective on literature and how it can be improved, but in the case of the zombie Christmas carol book, he may be correct.  Spradlin’s lines are well placed and maintain the rhythm of the original carols.  Family members young and old will love to sing to these revised songs —  from It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, I mean, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies to Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly, oops I mean, Deck the Halls With Parts of Wally.

Zombie, the Snowman (Page 39)

Zombie the Snowman was a jolly, happy ghoul,
With a corncob pipe and some boy’s nose
And two eyes he got at school.

Zombie the Snowman is a fairy tale, they say;
He was undead, it’s so,
But the children know how he came back to life one day.

There must have been a virus in
That old silk hat they found,
For when they placed it on his head,
He began to dance around.

Oh, Zombie the Snowman was alive as he could be,
And the children say he ate brains all day,
And they ran from that Zombie.

Thumpety, thump thump,
Thumpety, thump thump,
Look at Zombie go.
Thumpety, thump thump,
Thumpety, thump thump, 
Over the hills of snow.

Zombie the Snowman knew the brains were fresh that day,
So he said, “Please run, because it’s lots more fun when I eat your brain that way.”
Down through the village with a femur in his hand,
Running here and there all around the square,
Sayin’, “Decapitate me if you can!” 

He chased them through the streets of town 
And at a traffic cop,
And he barely paused a moment when he heard the cop’s brain pop!

Zombie the Snowman
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved good-bye, sayin’, “Please do cry,
I’ll eat your brains someday!” 

At a short 81 pages, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! is a fun read and will have you giggling and guffawing and singing.  Chock full of gruesome and surreal drawings of zombies in Santa Claus suits and other holiday outfits are eye-catching, and add additional verve to the carols.  This humorous Christmas carol book would make a great stocking stuffer and an after-holiday gift.  Heck, it would just be a fun gift for birthdays, anniversaries, and any other occasion.

FTC Disclosure:  My husband purchased this copy for me.  Clicking on title or image links will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary.

FU, Penguin by Matthew Gasteier

FU, Penguin by Matthew Gasteier is not a book for those without a quirky sense of humor. FU, Penguin is a spinoff of the blog, which has about 900,000 unique visitors per day, and the brainchild of Watertown, Mass., resident Matthew Gasteier who views the attempts of animals to look cute as antithetical to their nature.

Chock full of photos of cute fuzzy animals in adorable poses accompanied by sarcasm, ridicule, and disdain, Gasteier has created what some would call a pop culture phenomenon. Some readers will chuckle at the accompanying essays, while others may shake their heads.

In some cases, readers could find that the photos stand on their own as ridiculous without the essays. Gasteier’s harsh language choices for the captions could put some readers off, but the captions are some of the funniest bits in this book. If calling moose the “biggest dorks ever” or stating “Is it me, or are baby animals really being dicks lately” are your thing, FU Penguin is for you. Gasteier has started the conversation, but the question is how will you finish it?

In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I’m offering one lucky reader anywhere in the world my gently used copy of this book, which I received from Random House. This giveaway is international.

1. Leave a comment on this post about why you want to read this or tell me if you’ve ever been to Gasteier’s Website prior to this review.
2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that’s 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).
3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. this post and get an extra entry, just come back and leave a comment.

Deadline for entries is Sept. 19, 2009, at 11:59 PM.

As an aside, all BBAW 2009 posts are easily accessible on my navigation bar. So never fear, all the BBAW 2009 contests will be at your fingertips!