#37: Love Him or Leave Him, But Don’t Get Stuck With the Tab: Hilarious Advice for Real Women by Loni Love

Love Him or Leave HimThis was a really nice way to end 2013.

I discovered Loni Love on Chelsea Lately.  I loved how she doesn’t put up with any of Chelsea’s shit and her stories always make me laugh.  She seems like a hot mess, and yet she totally has it together.  She always comes across as super confident and you can tell that she has too many important things to do than deal with stupid people.  She’s the friend you’d go to when you want to know the truth, not get complimented.

Apparently women approach her all the time like they are BFFs.  There’s something about her that makes people think they know each other.  After standup shows, they wait for her in the bathroom or hang out at the meet and greet and then ask really personal questions.  Lots of TMI.  But they know Love isn’t going to bullshit them, so if they spill the details, she’s going to speak the truth.

When you have this much power, you write a book.

I for real lol’d several times when reading this.  She covers all aspects of dating and love.  First dates to throwing a man out of your house.  Recovering from dating disasters to dealing with his baby momma.  Figuring out how to handle an unexpected hook up to dealing with your man’s stupid friends.  It’s all in here.  The best part is that there are seriously out there questions, like can I sleep with my mom’s ex-husband (No.  Unless you trade her one of your exes.) and then there are things just about all women deal with like what to do when you don’t think you want to get married.  Or do want to get married.

The absolutely best part of this book is that Love has a story for everything.  Either she’s dealt with it herself or has a friend or family member who has been through it.  She details her own disasters and lays everything on the table.  You really do feel like you’re BFFs.  This book feels like you’re hanging out with a hysterical and honest friend.  Yeah, she’s going to tell you to stop fucking around, but she’s going to help you get drunk while you discuss it.  Also, there will probably be pancakes.

If you’re looking for a quick and fun read, grab this book.  If you’re a fan of Loni Love and haven’t read this yet, you will not be disappointed.  Although she had help writing it, it is 100% her voice.  I didn’t need the audio version to feel like she was reading it to me.

I couldn’t be happier with this being the last book I read in 2013!

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ABR’s #CBR5 Review #25: Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

holidays-iceI typically have trouble ramping up the holiday spirit so this year when I had the decorations up and the shopping done I thought I’d read something to help. I mistakenly chose David Sedaris’ Holidays On Ice. I’ve had the book on my book shelf for many years. I’m familiar with the “SantaLand Diaries,” the story that leads the book, and I would consider myself a David Sedaris fan, but Holidays On Ice was not the book I needed.

I would highly recommend the first essay, “SantaLand Diaries,” in which Sedaris details his experience as a Macy’s elf named Crumpet. In a twisted way, it just might put you in the holiday spirit. At least you’ll be able to laugh at some of the more stressful moments, like waiting in line to see a Santa that terrifies the kids and shopping amongst the masses. It’s funny, sad, pathetic, revealing and unfortunately, honest.

Although I would recommend the book on the strength of “SantaLand Diaries” alone, I also enjoyed “Dinah, the Christmas Whore,” which recounts a Christmas when the Sedaris family rescued a prostitute from her abusive boyfriend and invited her into their home for the holiday.

But do yourself a favor and skip “Season’s Greetings To Our Friends and Family,” the Dunbar family Christmas letter, which goes from sad to awful to sickening, and “Christmas Means Giving” in which two neighbors go to grotesque lengths to outdo each other during the holiday season. Yes, I understand they are sarcastic, but I thought they were just too creepy and outlandish to be funny.

Funkyfacecat’s #CBR5 Review #13: Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Rachel Samstat is a chef who’s been on TV, and a bemused but witty heroine/narrator. She finds out that her husband is having an affair…and she happens to be pregnant. From these simple beginnings emerges a frothy but sharp lemon cheesecake of a novel–light and creamy on top, infused with tartness, and grounded in the buttery biscuits of warmth and insight which evoked in me nods, smiles and sighs of recognition.

In Heartburn, divorce doesn’t lead to self-conscious self-discovery and life-changing experiences Eat Pray Love-style, or graphic sexual odyssey à la Fear of Flying. It’s a quieter, more humorous take on the muddles that people get themselves into, and the ways in which they survive heartbreak and separation. The book is set among the upper-middle-class, if such a designation is appropriate for American literature set in artistic New York and the political circles of Washington, but the emotional resonance of the novel, the pain and confusion of adultery and divorce and the split-second moments of clarity, as well as its commentary on the behaviour of the entitled male, is amusing and perhaps, to some extent, universal.

I’d recommend it if you like Julie and Julia (the book or the film), or Sex and the City (the series, not the films *brrr*). It’s a niche sort of book–less saccharine than some of the films she was involved in–the most acerbic bits and crackle from When Harry Met Sally come closest to the tone. Heartburn gains added interest because it was based on her second marriage and the fallout that followed, and it also contains recipes which look rather tasty.

 

(Note: I read this a while ago, so the details are a bit skimpy – do check out this great review of Heartburn by Loulamac.)

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #39, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

Moore, you’ve done it again. This book was laugh out loud hilarious: truly a joy from cover to cover. Many of the characters in this novel first appeared in other books so it would be neat if you could read all the others first and then watch them interact in this odd little world. I had only read one other so most of the characters were knew to me but I loved knowing more back story than was provided. (Read and reviewed, 2010 September 5)

Read this, read it now. I’m going to re-read it around the holidays to give me some perspective around that busy time of year.

(Read and reviewed, December 2012)

And I just completed another re-read, wrapped up at the end of Christmas Day. Irreverent and clever and a reminder no matter your day, things could always be worse if a dumb angel was involved, and El Niño. The characters are thrown together in a comedy of errors, and a final act that takes an unexpected turn. It is the perfect thing to cozy up with after the gifts are open and dinner is behind you

Merry Christmas to all!

(Read and reviewed Dec 25, 2013)

reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review #47 How to be a Woman by Caitlan Moran

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I started this book about 6 months ago, then picked it up again read a few chapters, then again, until I finished it. Caitlin Moran is pretty funny, although I found the interviews I heard on the radio funnier than the book I finally completed The book is primarily an autobiography with a dash of feminism here and there.

Moran’s views on feminism aren’t terribly radical.  She believes that any woman who wants to be free to do what she wants should consider herself a feminist.  As she says we need to reclaim the word “feminism.” Citing a survey that less than 30% of American women and 42% of British women consider themselves feminists, she says:  “What do you think feminism IS, ladies” What part of “liberation for women” is not for you” IS it freedom to vote?” The right not to be owned by the man you marry?” The campaign for equal pay? “Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?“ Ok, the use of all caps is really irritating (and she does this a lot) but she does make a good point. 

Moran doesn’t believe that all men secretly hate women, and she doesn’t think that feminism’s biggest problem is women turning on each other.  She may tick of a few folks with her statement that “women haven’t done F’all for the last 100,000 years.” To her credit, she doesn’t suggest that the past must dictate the future; rather, she’s simply conceding that thousands of years of patriarchy are not easily undone.

Moran spends a lot of time covering the insecurities of women, particularly about appearance and weight through the lens of her adolescence and adulthood.  It works, it’s funny, and lets face it, what most women think about their own appearance is pretty f’d up. 

To sum up, Moran is against burkas, heels, strip bars and cosmetic surgery, and pro-choice, pro freedom, and pro being yourself.  And she’s funny.  Good enough. 

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #36 Naked by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is obviously a great writer. I have a few friends who swear by him, so I figured I’d jump back in to see what all the hubbub was about. I previously read “Holidays on Ice” but it didn’t make much of a lasting impression.

The realism in this memoir is larger than life. Sedaris has composed a series of essays that skip around in his life, though there is a thin thread of forward motion as it traces moments in rough historical continuity. It is almost too bright in detail because the stories trotted out from Sedaris’ life are not inherently funny. They are hard stories, and awkward stories, but his usage of language and vantage point manage to take a sad or poignant moment and give it the edge it needs to make it palatable to the reader. What someone else would milk for sympathy he just states in a matter of fact way. Before you realize it, you are laughing at something that if told to you by a different person, might make you cry.

The absurdity of his life is striking, and I can see why it is so popular, though it’s not really my cup of joe. If you enjoy squirmy absurdist comedy, than give it a look. But if like me, you are the kind of person that strongly sympathizes with others you may like it, but it may be a hard read.

narfna’s #CBR5 Review #87: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon

7936477So, these books are pretty much the silliest things ever.

They’re satire, sure, but the satire is so silly, it’s lost most of its bite. And not that I’m complaining, mind you, because I laugh my ass off when I’m reading them. Every one of these books has the same basic structure: the Pirate Captain gets an idea or has a problem, the crew resists due to common sense, they run into one or two famous historical figures, have verrrry deeply silly adventures, and then everything is reset at the end. The pirates don’t have real names (except for Jennifer, the lady pirate who used to be a Victorian gentlewoman), but are instead called things like ‘the pirate with a scarf’, ‘the albino pirate,’ and ‘the pirate who liked kittens and sunsets.’ There are anachronisms EVERYWHERE. All the pirates are completely neutered. The worst thing any of them do in this outing is trick Napoleon into pretending he’s having a dream where he meets famous historical generals (and Napoleon remains entirely convinced it is in fact a dream).

Actually, it’s hard to convey just exactly how silly this book is, so I’m just going to give you some examples:

“The best thing about he seaside,” said the albino pirate, “is putting seaweed on your head and pretending you’re a lady.”
“That’s rubbish,” said the pirate with gout. “The best thing about the seaside is building sexy but intelligent looking mermaids out of sand.”
The rest of the pirates, spread out on the deck of the pirate boat for their afternoon nap, soon joined in.
“It’s the rock pools!”
“It’s the saucy postcards!”
“It’s the creeping sense of despair!”

“All the best people aren’t appreciated in their lifetimes,” Scurvy Jake continued. “Look at Baby Jesus — nobody took him seriously. They thought he was a tramp!”

“Listen, do you know what I’d be doing if I was still a Victorian lady instead of a pirate?” Jennifer persisted.
The pirates didn’t have a clue, but the pirate with long legs tried a guess. “Having a shower?”

“Well, I think it’s very exciting to have Mister Napoleon as a neighbour,” said the albino pirate. “I mean to say, he almost conquered the whole of Europe.”
“And I ate the whole of that mixed grill that time. Not ‘almost ate,’ you’ll notice. I finished the job,” said the Captain with a scowl, moodily buttering his Weetabix.

“It’s not the same on dry land,” muttered the pirate with a nut allergy. “Without the romance of the sea, pirating just seems like quite antisocial behaviour.”

And then of course, there’s the Pirate Captain and his impeccable logic:

“Baby kissing is a tried and tested way of getting votes, Captain.”
The Captain didn’t look convinced. “Thing is, number two, what’s the voting age nowadays?”
“It’s eighteen, sir.”
“Exactly!” The Pirate Captain waggled an informative finger. “So there’s not much point lavishing all this attention on babies when they can’t even vote for me, is there? I should be concentrating on the eighteen-year-olds. And you know which other bit of the electorate is overlooked? Women. So really it makes a lot more sense for me to spend the morning kissing eighteen-year-old women.”

Napoleon is pretty great, too. At one point he writes this fake suicide letter in an effort to discredit the Pirate Captain, after a giant squid washes up on the beach:

To Whom It May Concern,

I cannot go on any longer. I know people think us giant squid are just unfathomable monsters of the deep, but we have feelings, too. And it is time the world learned the terrible truth. For several years now the Pirate Captain and I have been carrying on an illicit affair. Many times I have asked the Pirate Captain to do right by me, but he refuses, always telling me that he cannot be seen having a relationship with a giant squid because of the harm it would do to his public image. Also, sometimes he hits me. Anyhow, just yesterday I discovered I was pregnant with the Pirate Captain’s secret love child! I told the Pirate Captain about this and he flew into a rage and said he would never help support his half-squid/half-pirate progeny and then he hit me some more. So now I am going to commit suicide by beaching myself.

Goodbye, cruel world
The Giant Squid

Really, that’s all I have to say about this book.