Malin’s #CBR5 Review #140: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

I knew I was going to love this book when I pre-ordered it several months ago. There was absolutely no question about it. There is barely a single thing Allie Brosh has ever posted on her website that I haven’t absolutely adored (oh, the hours of my life that site stole when I first discovered it, thanks to a colleague telling me about the Alot.) Even when Allie didn’t update as often any more, it was always a delight when there was something new. So many of the things she wrote about made it feel like she saw the world in exactly the same way I do. We both fear spiders, we both love procrastination on the internet, we both have a mentally challenged animal (one of my cats is a very dim light bulb indeed). Then she wrote about her depression, and it became clear why she wasn’t updating her blog very often.

Her two blog entries about depression (both shared in this book as well as on her website) are among the truest and most recognisable things I have ever read. I was depressed during my final year of university, but after years of medication, seem to have had the luck of getting well again. I’ve experienced some of the things she shares in her stories. I can now show other people what it’s like to live with my husband when he’s having one of his rough spells, which he will keep having on and off for the rest of our lives, because he’s never going to not be depressed, he’s just going to be able to cope with it better during the stable periods. I’ve never met Allie, but I love her for this.

About half of the stuff in the book has already been on Allie’s blog. I love her writing, so this was not a problem for me at all. There is also half a book full of new and amazing material, like her letters to her past selves, that had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt and I had trouble breathing. I have ordered the book as a Christmas present for several of my friends, and I wish I knew more people, just so I could gift them this book. It’s a hilarious and wonderful book, which you will enjoy if you’ve enjoyed the stuff on her site. Just buy it already, to make sure she writes a follow-up. After all, I want the Alot in book form too.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #95: How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal

Everyone who’s ever owned a cat, or who knows someone who owns a cat, knows that cats are, deep down, pure evil. They’re beautiful animals, but they are selfish, cruel and, if it weren’t for the fact that you are the one providing their food, they would totally kill you in a heartbeat.

Matthew Inman is the creator of The Oatmeal, a wonderful website with web comics/blog updates. In this book, he collects a number of his most popular comics about the joys and challenges of cat ownership, which reads as both hilarious and deeply recognisable to anyone who’s shared their home with one or more cats.

As I am not a regular reader of the web comic, many of these strips and stories were new to me. If you read the Oatmeal as a devoted fan, then it’s probably quite disappointing to get the same comics you’ve already read, reprinted in a book with just a minimal amount of additional new stuff. If you’ve not read a lot of The Oatmeal before though, and especially if you love (or fear) cats, this is a very good and really very funny introduction to Inman’s work.

Cross-posted to my blog.