Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

A punny poem

I was quite impressed

by all the puns Pollack made.

He could fillet book!

Oh, looks like he already has. 😁 This was a re-read for me, but I read it so long ago that I wanted to go through it again. It’s pretty expansive in how much it covers, and I knew I would have forgotten a lot of it. What a delight to revisit this one!

(I tried REALLY hard to think of a Pollack-fish pun 😂)

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: I Left the House Today by Cassandra Calin!

Reminder that I Left The House Today!: Comics by Cassandra Calin by Cassandra Calin (⭐⭐⭐⭐) released today! Check out the review here or grab your own copy on Book Depository!

Recommended: yes
for people who have enjoyed her comics on social, for women who enjoy short comics that are #relatable, for anyone looking for a little smile

Summary:
Cassandra Calin’s ability to document the hilarity of relatable everyday events in a series of webcomics has generated a huge following on social media. This beautifully illustrated compendium of first-person comics about the trials of the single life, school, stress, junk food, shaving, and maintaining a healthy self-image. Cassandra Calin’s comics frequently highlight the humorous gap between expectations and reality, especially when it comes to appearance and how much she can accomplish in one day. This book is funny, lighthearted, introspective, and artistically stunning—the perfect gift for young women, recent graduates, and anyone who might need a little comedic incentive to leave the house today.

Posted in Reviews

Review: I Left The House Today! by Cassandra Calin

I Left The House Today!: Comics by Cassandra Calin by Cassandra Calin – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected release date: June 2, 2020

Recommended: yes
for people who have enjoyed her comics on social, for women who enjoy short comics that are #relatable, for anyone looking for a little smile

Summary:
Cassandra Calin’s ability to document the hilarity of relatable everyday events in a series of webcomics has generated a huge following on social media. This beautifully illustrated compendium of first-person comics about the trials of the single life, school, stress, junk food, shaving, and maintaining a healthy self-image. Cassandra Calin’s comics frequently highlight the humorous gap between expectations and reality, especially when it comes to appearance and how much she can accomplish in one day. This book is funny, lighthearted, introspective, and artistically stunning—the perfect gift for young women, recent graduates, and anyone who might need a little comedic incentive to leave the house today.

Thoughts:
If you follow her on Instagram or have otherwise seen her comics, then you can expect more of the same art style and humour. For those new to Cassandra Calin, YOU’RE IN FOR A FUN TIME! Mostly short 4-panel comics or expectations vs reality side by side comparisons, these are everyday issues most people run into. Her comics probably do appeal to women more since she writes about her experiences like menstruating, trying to find comfortable clothes, and attempts at hair styling. Men will probably get a laugh too, but honestly I could also see a lot of them scratching their heads or cringing in horror as they learn things they never knew about the female mind and body. 😂

For new content, there are definitely comics from her social sharings in here that I recognized. I’m not sure if any are exclusive to the book, but it was about half ones I’d seen and half ones that were new to me. The arc follows roughly a year in her life, with some seasonal and school based comics.

Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Book Talk

Books to make you laugh

One of my reading goals this year was to seek out books that would make me laugh. Not just a smile, or a flash of amusement, but an actual out-loud guffaw, chuckle, giggle, or other form of chortling. Even if this isn’t one of your goals, everyone could use some laughter in their day! Especially with the given state of the world at the moment. (If you’ve got any books that have made you laugh, please let me know so I can add it to my TBR!)

So I can’t promise that you’ll also find these books funny, because maybe we have different senses of humor. For example I dislike Will Ferrel and Tina Fey, so if those are your go-to’s, we may be at opposite ends. Nonetheless, I’ve grabbed a relatively wide range of books for you here, from fiction to nonfiction, from middle grade to adult, and from parody to memoir. Which means there should hopefully be something you’ll enjoy. 😁


Nonfiction

I typically laugh most at nonfiction works, probably because due to their very nature the authors are more able to make jokes and write conversationally. Humor lends itself to nonfiction. Here are some of my favorites!

A Lawson two-fer

Ok, so if you follow this blog there’s a high chance you’ve seen me talk about at least one of these books before, but there’s a reason for it. The reason is that they absolutely make me cackle. These are the books I read when I feel the worst, for any reason. They’re completely absurd and hilarious and I greatly enjoy Lawson’s voice. Note however that they do also address mental illness like depression, so they’re not 100% lighthearted.

Type of funny:
Unexpected situations, familial banter, thought trails that wander off as you might when you’re falling asleep, questions you never thought to ask

A drunken bet, a fridge, and Irish folks

Please note that this is not written by Tony Hawk, the professional skateboarder, but by Tony Hawks, a British Comedian. The premise of this is probably pretty clear from the title, but it’s the story of him hitchhiking all the way around the coast of Ireland, with a minifridge. I feel like the humor writes itself. Besides the laughs, I also loved the people he meets during the journey, and they were so many kinds of wonderful. This is also very feel-good to read.

Type of funny:
situational humor, misunderstandings, interpersonal moments, observational humor

Stories from humans

People are funny. Probably every person, even if they don’t realize it. Some people just need some help shaping their humour, and the crafters at The Moth are professionals at doing just that. The result is genuine stories from people who just learn how to tell it exactly right. I do recommend listening to the original recordings of any that you particularly enjoy, because the voice aspects can really enhance a story. Still, this will be filled with stories of many kinds and many emotions, but plenty to make you laugh.

Type of funny:
varies by story/person but generally relatable humour, a warm interpersonal humour like laughing with friends about something silly that happened

Take her advice, just… later

This one relays a woman’s journey to push herself to be more than her job (or jobless) self. To RSVP yes to friends and actually follow through, to face all her fears, and to figure out how to make friends as an adult. Personally, I saw so much of myself reflected in her, and I think most people would. How DO you make friends as an adult?? I admired her bravery and candor and, okay, I admit it: I also felt somewhat inspired. Maybe not ready to do standup comedy yet, but improv classes perhaps!

Type of funny:
watching someone try doing things they’re bad at/ new at, situational humor, laughing at actual jokes (as she does stand up routines), trying to find answers to awkward questions


Fiction

While I don’t get guffaws from fiction quite as often, there are certainly some that are written just right to coerce a cackle from me!

The pre-teen awkwardness

Chances are high that if you’re reading this, you’ve been through puberty or are currently going through puberty. And that can be hella awkward at the time, and hella funny looking back. This graphic novel about a mean girl who only just realized she was a mean girl takes an unusual look behind the curtain of popularity and cliques to a perspective not often given. The artistic delivery is absolutely perfect, too, and captures the mind and tone of a middle school girl very well.

Type of funny:
relatable, artistic punctuation of moments, situational

Culture clash is a beautiful thing

Okay, admittedly, this one has some extra impact for me since I lived in Korea for a while and absolutely fell in love with the country and people and culture and FOOD. 🤤 But with that said, I’m confident that this story will be funny to people without that experience too, maybe even more so since the confusion the reader has will mirror the confusion Merri feels.

Type of funny:
cultural miscommunications, Korean cliches that look wildly out of place in U.S. high schools

Meta-art and character humour

While this overall address racism and stigma and the micro-aggressions that can be so common, it’s done in a remarkably light yet accurate way. This is another graphic novel, and Craft makes use of the character’s artistic ability by including some of Jordan’s drawings and interpretations of events in the story. Combined with the way Jordan and others use humor to cope, there ends up being a lot of moments that make you laugh out loud even as you’re rooting for the good guys to come out on top. Pop culture parodies are sprinkled in to give this a very modern feel, as well.

Type of funny:
humor from reactions, witty comebacks, wry artistic wit

A surprise gem

This one I found completely by accident and ended up loving its elements of parody and warping of the traditional epic-adventure genre. This one could admittedly read as lazy orr tiring to some people, as it’s very similar to so many other plot lines we see. The key difference is in the skewing of the values of the world, the authority of the authority figures, and the truth behind “the chosen ones.” Imagine a caricature of Lord of the Rings combined with The Hobbit and you’ve just about got it.

Type of funny:
parody, extreme exaggeration, slapstick-esque, absurdity, twisting of tropes

Sweet and sour laughter

This is a manga that will crack you up and warm your heart. The part with the frog? I laughed very hard. And re-read it multiple times immediately. It’s not all fun and games, as there are certainly some dark moments in here, but there’s a lot of comic relief. Based on the Japanese stories of animals with special spirit powers and duties to the gods, this is a classic story of a villain who is forced to change his ways, whether he wants to or not.

Type of funny:
events that don’t end as expected, characters that contrast with each other, a general playful art and story style


What books have made you laugh?

Please, help me with my goal for the year! If you have any books that have made you laugh, let me know what it was in the comments so I can add it to my list. 😁

Alliterative ways to say “it made me laugh:”

  • charmed a chuckle
  • elicited a laugh
  • got a guffaw
  • coerced a cackle
  • gave a giggle
  • choked a chortle
  • triggered a titter
  • set up a snigger
  • beget busting a gut
  • kindled a crack-up
  • manifested much mirth
Posted in Book Talk

My favorite non-fiction – part 2

Hello again! As promised, here’s part 2 of my favorite nonfiction reads. The first batch was so fun, and I love reflecting on these unique reads. Nonfiction reading seems to be far less common in my usual reading circles. Any chance I get to share them is lovely. 😊


I originally read the first volume of this, so when I heard there was a second coming out I was absolutely delighted. I have a special hatred of moths, so this was honestly kind of a struggle for me to embrace, name-wise. I first heard the stories on The Moth hour on NPR. Man, are they fantastic. A whole range of stories and emotions, and I love their focus on maintaining it as a well-told story. The books lose the character of spoken word, but some of the stories told in this one were destroyed or lost as audio, so the fact that we can still get them in written form is a treasure. These collections are perfect for whatever kind of day you’re having: laughter, tears of joy, empathy, gratitude, inspiration, pride… you’ll get a bit of everything in this. PS – here’s one of my favorite stories, featuring Blue Man Group!

Ah, man. If I hadn’t become a teacher and then accidentally fallen into a tech career, I would definitely have been a chemist or something else lab-related. God, I love chemistry and stuff. And learning about stuff. The cool reactions and precision also appeal to me, like “if you add 2mL it’ll turn into rainbow colors but if you do 2.1mL it’ll BURN THROUGH YOUR HAND.” I’m not much of one for danger, but damn does that get me. Point being I can live vicariously in my Other Life through books like this. Plus they are just fascinating. Everything is incredible if you think about it enough.

The extent of my religious knowledge stems from trailing along with friends when I was growing up to churches, synagogues, temples, and whatever Mormons call theirs (I think it’s still just a church?). My biblical knowledge is approximately nil. So this sounded like a pretty fascinating story, and a way I could learn little tidbits and debates about the Bible without, you know… reading it (though I’ve tried multiple times). It was hilarious and enlightening and honest and cemented him as one of my favorite non-fic writers. I’m currently about to read what I see as the female counterpart, too!

This might be familiar to some people, as it definitely started from the online comic xkcd.com which I admit I only sometimes understand. This book, however, is as close to a spirit-animal-book as I might ever get. I’m always the one asking the apparently bizarre questions to my friends, who then just laugh and add it to my quirks. I genuinely want to know the answers though, and this book is filled with them. Scientifically accurate and completely fascinating. 😍

This one comes down to cleverness and humor and admiration. Boiling yourself down to 6 words is difficult at best, but to do it in a smart and entertaining way doubles that effort. These people, all young, did such a remarkable job. As I often get with my nonfic loves, it contains all the feels. Based on that famous Hemingway trope of the dare, they make you laugh and cry and relate and overall leave you very impressed and ready to boil your own elements down to 6 words. My attempt: Mostly optimistic, but still working hard.


Any familiar titles?

So that’s my list! For now. I certainly plan to continue with these, and hope to find some more gems this year. Honestly there are still so many I could include, but I wanted to highlight some from my range within nonfic.

Let me know what your favorite nonfiction read is in a comment! I’m always looking for more, and it’s generally harder to get recommendations on this genre than, say, young adult fantasy. I’m pretty open to any genre, but especially love stories that make you feel things and investigations into specific events, people, items, etc.

PS again – here’s another Moth story I absolutely love. It never fails to crack me up!

Posted in Book Talk

My favorite non-fiction – part 1

As I’ve gotten older I’ve had the delight of falling into the varied world of nonfiction. I am a forever-curious person (did you know that “flops” and “nines” and “banana dosage” are all units of measurement?), which means that nonfiction will always have something to interest and entertain me.

There are books written about pretty much anything, like this one about salt. As a firm believe that every little thing is surprisingly awesome, I adore deep explorations into what seemed simple or mundane but is actually incredible. It’s much the same how I feel about people. (….usually.)

Often times, nonfiction also makes me a laugh a lot, because the authors can write the way they might talk and take a conversational tone. This includes jokes, and who doesn’t love jokes?

Here’s a range of some of my favorite nonfiction, some of which really changed my life. I can track important events in my life through my nonfiction reading, but some of it is also just really fun and cool. Why not have both? 😊


This is a recent re-read that rather inspired this post. I’ve had some crazy life decision being thrown at me and with that comes all the requisite fear of making said decision plus then living with that decision. Anyway – this book is my master guide to dealing with bad days. It makes me laugh, cry, and feel better. There are the deep talks about how to handle your own depression and bad days, how to help others through theirs, what hers are like, and tales of how she lives aggressively full throttle on the good days. It’s everything I need when I’m starting to feel terrifyingly overwhelmed.

This was my first “sit at a coffee shop and read a book” book. And my god, was it a good choice. It’s a perfect example of a nonfiction topic I love because I know just about nothing about morgue-life (or morgue-death?). Having taken a forensics class, I know enough about other death-stuff to be really interested and not grossed out. Again, this was also hilarious. I love that all the questions were from kids, because I still have a lot of those same questions too.

I lived in Korea for a while, and I absolutely fell in love with it. To be honest, it kills me daily that I’m not there now. And yes, I do mean literally now, even though I lived in Daegu which is currently a quarantine zone for Covid-19. This book is primarily in Korea’s northern c ounterpart, but realistically these are the same people. Yet with drastically different lives. I’ve read a lot of nonfiction about North Korea, but this was by far my favorite because it’s handled with thorough interviews of people from various walks of life and reads almost like a novel through the recreations of scenes and included emotion. It’s absolutely stunning, and humanizing to a place that needs it. The amount of general ignorance I encountered when telling Americans I was going to live / had lived in Korea was painfully revealing.

Ahhhh, WoW Classic. You triggered this all over again. World of Warcraft is (if you’re somehow unfamiliar) an online roleplaying game where you collect stuff, kill stuff, and do stuff. It’s amazing. And last year the company re-released the game as it was when it originally released YEARS ago. There was a huge resurgence of players and excitement, and part of my own excitement was to finally track down Felicia Day’s memoir. She had issues with addiction to the game in some depressive times, but there’s more to her book than that. Ultimately for my life, this means I was playing the video game, reading about someone who played the video game, listening to other people play the video game, and watching a show about people who played the video game. ….It’s a good game. (Though not so much at the moment…)


I have more I want to highlight, but also want to do them justice, so they’ll be in the second part of this post!

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Snug – A Collection of Comics about Dating Your Best Friend by Catana Chetwynd

Reminder that Snug: A Collection of Comics about Dating Your Best Friend by Catana Chetwynd (⭐⭐⭐⭐) released today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own at Barnes & Noble!

Recommended: Yes!
For fans of her comic series, for anyone who’s been in a relationship (though maybe more of the younger generation for some), for a heartwarming read that will make you smile and happily sigh

Summary:
Why bother getting out of bed when you could stay bundled up with that special someone and a book of cozy, cute comics. From the author of the bestselling Little Moments of Love comes Snug, a collection of comics that perfectly captures the honest, playful, and relatable snapshots of romantic life. Chetwynd’s second book has the same charming and inviting style as her first and includes 50 percent new, never-before-shared comics. Snug is a celebration of the quirks and peculiarities of every one of us—and the magic that happens when we find our matching puzzle piece.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham

Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I’m definitely bias, and I will not apologize, I will only shove this to everyone and shout “REEEADDDD IIIIITTT!!!!” 🥰 And this was deliberately my last read of the year, of the DECADE, and there’s a strong reason for that. More gushing later.

Recommended: YESSSSS
For accurate and hilarious cultural misunderstandings, for anyone who loves Korean entertainment (kpop, k dramas…), for a lighthearted and entertaining read!

Summary:
Merilee Hart has been doing her best to keep things together since her mother left, her art a welcome escape from her depressing new reality. But things seem to go even more awry the moment her next door neighbor’s enigmatic and mysterious nephew arrives from South Korea. Lee is moody, cocky, and utterly infuriating. But when Merri’s closest friends betray her and her father crushes her dream of going to art school, Merri finds herself drawn to Lee, who seems to live within even greater shadows than her own. And just when she thought things couldn’t get crazier, Merri’s world is upended when she discovers Lee’s bizarre secret…he is none other than a runaway member of the K-pop mega-group Thunder. It’s not long before Thunder’s fans, the Storm Chasers, begin to close in on Lee, ready to do whatever it takes to return their favorite idol to his rightful place in the band. Faced with the prospect of even more heartbreak and caught up in an international whirlwind that has a life of its own, Merri realizes that she must find a way to mend herself, gain control of her life, and pursue her dreams—her heart and soul depend on it.

Thoughts:
Oh my GOD, was this just a fangirl’s heaven. It’s a lot more than that, too, but man if you like Korean entertainment and young adult novels, this is the book you never knew you were missing. And if you’re not? Well you’ll be delighted too, because it’s completely hilarious either way.

Continue reading “Review: Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham”
Posted in Reviews

Review: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy

That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I laughed out loud several times, learned some things, and wished I could meet her because she sounds dope.

Recommended: Yes!
For insight into what it’s like to have a modern-day arranged marriage (note it’s not a FORCED marriage), for a funny story about finding yourself and finding love

Summary:
Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren’t only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They’re just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I’m Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century.

Thoughts:
This was like having a friend you can ask questions about without worrying you’ll accidentally be offensive. Like the answer to the questions you want to ask but aren’t sure you’re allowed to. It was also HILARIOUS! And so, so sweet. I can never turn down a cute little love story!

Continue reading “Review: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy”