Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wherein I Read Many Humorous Books by Women

Kyle bought me two books for Christmas. My Secret Santa bought me a book. And I bought myself a book. All four of them were humorous. All four of them purported to be autobiographical...of sorts.

Book 1 was Olivia Munn's suck it, wonder woman.  First in the list, but perhaps the least of the four books, which is difficult to say because I really like Olivia and enjoyed her immensely on G4TV's Attack of the Show, at least whenever my cable channel would allow me to keep it instead of taking it away at random.  Perhaps some of it wasn't as interesting as I'd already read bits of it in her magazine (which Kyle also got me).  But aside from a few introspective moments at the beginning, including where her grandmother dies while she's around, it just doesn't go very deep and focuses on high school friendships (and lack thereof) and aspects of her relationship with her fans.  In summation, I'd say it came across more like a light blog than like a book (now she'll never go on RAGBRAI with me to eat pie).

Book 2 was Sarah Silverman's The Bedwetter (stories of courage, redemption, and pee), also a Christmas present from Kyle.  This was a much better book.  Sarah's got a good writing style and she doesn't cut too many corners talking about herself.  While the end of The Bedwetter also slides a bit into some commentary for fans (e.g. The Sarah Silverman Program), it does go behind the scenes and offers a glimpse of a workplace that explains much about the tone of her show.  There are obviously personal facets she leaves out: boyfriends are referred to generally and in passing, but without much depth, and her reasons for moving from relationship to relationship (and getting around, as she admits to at one point) aren't explored.  But she does dig deeper than Olivia, and her stories about her childhood bedwetting and inappropriate joke about the death of her baby brother (despite having not known him) give you a sense of where some of her darker and more inappropriate humor originates.  I did feel horrible when she talked about her father would try to wake her up when she was taken to the toilet in the middle of the night, yelling for her to wake up so she'd know she was using the toilet, hopefully spurring her to wake up and go herself at future points.  This struck a little close to home, as I used to yell at Eryn, "Eryn, wake up! Wake up!" as she'd pass out on the toilet when we were training. It never worked, and it just made both of us feel bad.  I read The Bedwetter several years too late.  There's also a nice story about her friend picking her up and giving her a kiss that made me laugh out loud.  Her voice really comes through and you get a feel for why she can pull off some of her humor.

Book 3, The Guild, by Felicia Day (and Jim Rugg).  While it might not seem like it belongs in the same category as the other two books, this graphic novel, a prequel to The Guild, deals with Cyd's (Felicia's character in The Guild) life before MMPORGs.    Like Felicia, Cyd is a violinist, which leads you to wonder how much of the rest of Cyd's story about heartache and finding a home in gaming and generally geekery mirrors Felicia's own.  Apparently, not all of it, "I probably know other characters' origin stories better than Cyd's, because Cyd is me in a sense," she said. "But I didn't want her journey into video games to be anything like my personal journey into video games." (MTV).  Definitely enjoyable, although not as much as the web series.

And finally, my Secret Santa bought me World Champion Judah Friedlander's An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book: How to Beat Up Anybody.  By far the best of the four.  Absolutely hilarious.  It purports to be autobiographical, but unless Judah really owns a time traveling spaceship, the accuracy is in doubt.

It's worth a quote or two to capture the spirit of the book. "...I've included a lot of photos in this book.  They say 'a picture is worth a thousand words.'  So I'd say this book has a billion words in it."

"When I was 6, I ate the playground jungle gym, then shit ninja stars out of my asshole for 5 hours straight."

"225 pounds is the perfect fighting weight, no matter how tall you are.  Always weigh 225 pounds."

"Ninjas are masters of hiding.  Ninjaism is a hidden art.  Now that you know how to beat up a ninja, you can make him stay hidden forever."

Believe me, it's funnier after you've been subjected to over 200 pages of it, even with a few weaker bits mixed in.  You'll learn to fight one armed men.  Three armed men.  Men dressed as one armed men.  Dinosaurs.  Gangs.  Bigfoot.  Ninjas.  Unicyclists.  And the Duke of China.

The fact that two of the last four books I've read have flipbooks for animation in the corner, and two have pictures of body parts (one dingle, several breasts), probably gives you an idea of my state of mind as of late, but next up I should be finishing Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and a book on iPad development, so I do move beyond this phase.

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