I’ll be honest. I don't buy a lot of books. Why should I? I work at a library, after all.
This book, A Dirty Job, I bought. I called a dozen book stores trying to hunt down a hardcover copy until I eventually just bought it on Amazon. And then, since I was in Germany when the author came to visit the area most recently, I sent my partner over the hill through the Highway 17 to get my book autographed. Moore signed, "Not in the butt!" because that was apparently a popular quote from the book.
Yes, I indeed enjoyed this book that much. Christopher Moore himself actually has a sort of cult following (his Facebook is very entertaining), and I immediately joined their rankings after a read of his A Dirty Job.
The book begins in a hospital where the quiet and paranoid Beta Male Charlie Asher (as opposed to the more common alpha male protagonists who charismatically storm the scene and sweep ladies off their feet to defeat dragons and things of that nature) is with his wife as she gives birth to their first child, a daughter. An example of his paranoia could be seen in his questions like, "What if she has a tail?"
Charlie's wife insists that he go home to let her rest after the delivery and he reluctantly agrees until he notices that they forgot her favorite CD in the car. He rushes back up to her hospital room up to deliver it, like he says a good husband should. Scenarios of all the different things she could say ran through his head, but by the time he opened the door, none of it plays as he would've expected. His wife was dead. (I was heartbroken when I got to this part. It was like that first part of Pixar’s Up all over again!)
When he gets home, he slowly starts to notice that things aren’t at all as they used to be. The people he encounters start dying around him. Ravens storm the sky. The sewers talk to him. If that were to happen to me, I would personally think I was going crazy. Instead, Charlie realizes he’s been chosen to be Death.
I know, I know. Another man becomes death book? This one’s different. This one’s been written by Christopher Moore and with his sword of wit and satire, A Dirty Job is a quick read that had me literally laughing out loud (but not too loud; it is still a library afterall).
Like many Thanksgiving travelers this week, I ended up spending a bigger portion of my holiday in the airport than I expected. My flight was delayed by 12 hours, so I was able to find a cozy spot and read the newest Scottoline book, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: the Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman. I was looking forward to this one because I had thoroughly enjoyed Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. Both of these books are a compilation of articles Lisa wrote that appeared in her weekly column “Chick Wit,” her witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective that appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the newest book, she focuses on enjoying life with her 5 pets, her octogenarian mother, and her college graduate daughter, and on being a writer and book tours. The article that brought back a flood of memories for me was entitled, “Library Slut.” Scottoline writes:
“I discovered my love of reading in my school library, where the notion of a whole room full of books seemed extraordinary …but my favorite thing about the library was my library card. It was the first piece of grown-up ID that I got, and it felt like a veritable ticket to adulthood. I carried it proudly in a padded Barbie wallet that otherwise held only a photo of Troy Donahue. …the Troy Donahue photo came with the wallet, from the days when wallets came with photos. Nowadays, you’re on your own. Your wallet has no friends…I will never forget my library card. It was small, stiff, and orange and it bore my name in full. Next to my name was a metal plate embossed with four numbers. I use to go home and press my fingers against the numbers on the metal plate, which were freshly inked from my library trip. Believe it or not, my numbers were 3937. How do I remember that, when I can’t remember where I put my car keys? Simple. Any memory lasts when it’s linked to an emotion. And the library card meant the world to me. Its message was clear: I read, therefore, I matter. It gave me an identity, as a reader. It told me that others valued what I valued. That I wasn’t alone, like some weirdo bookworm. It’s a powerful message, one that I got loud and clear. And it’s a message that librarians and libraries give every day, without knowing it, to children and to adults everywhere around the world.” In today’s busy world it’s good to know the message is still being received.
If you want to read her essays or any of Lisa Scottoline’s 17 mysteries for free, just open your wallet and find your faithful San Jose Public Library card. It’s probably placed right next to a photo of someone or something of meaning to you. Happy holidays!
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford will amuse teens with all of the normal pitfalls of high school life. Carter’s voice is genuine and hilarious. Teens will recognize themselves in some of Carter’s situations. This comedy will leave you in stitches!
I’m not thinking at all when I take the first step toward greatness.
I hit the air brakes. I press the chicken button as hard as I can. But gravity has my number and it’s calling. I flex every muscle in my body trying to stop. Pam’s squeal turns into a terrified scream.
A familiar voice yells, “Oh, God!”
The voice is my own, and this is going to be bad. I hear more screams from the onlookers, and then all sounds are downed out by the SSMMAAACKK!!!
My face hits the water the exact moment my chest, stomach, thighs, and feet smack down. Perfectly level. Arms out, legs spread like an inverted, retarded snow angel in the middle of summer.
Will Carter, aka Carter, humorously entertains with his adventures in freshman year of high school.
Despite being one of the most popular guys in school, Carter seems oblivious to his popularity; he thinks about his stuttering and ADD all the time. In order to fit in, he fills a beer bottle with Mountain Dew because he doesn’t care for the taste of beer. Finally, he tries out for the school play, where he finally seems to find his voice.
Thanksgiving is next week and my mind is on it. We've got some books that can help you prepare for the holiday whether you are cooking, decorating or traveling. We've even got some things on how to deal with your relatives!
I'll mention Paula Deen as someone who's cooking I am trying not to emulate. But if you are interested - we've got Paula Deen Celebrates!. Her cooking tends to use a lot of butter and is delicious but not necessarily healthy!
What I'm thinking more about is the Cooking Light Holiday Cookbook or Hungry Girl Happy Hour: 75 recipes for amazingly fantastic guilt-free cocktails and party foods.
I remember making a pinecone turkey for a Thanksgiving centerpiece as a kid. Kids crafts for Thanksgiving have gone way beyond that! Check out All New Crafts for Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day Crafts. For the grown-ups, check out Martha's Classic Thanksgiving on DVD.
Thanksgiving is based in the history of our country. I have always been moved by the story of Squanto. This is definitely one to share with your children, to give the holiday more perspective. Check out The Story of Squanto: first friend to the pilgrims. And your kids will love Two Bad Pilgrims - the story of John and Francis Billington who were two brothers who arrived on the Mayflower. They caused a lot of trouble back in the day and this book shares some of their hilarious exploits in a comic book format.
Deborah Tannen's I Only Say This Because I Love You may be an inroads to understanding some family relationship issues. Listen to David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim to gain some perspective, have a lot of belly laughs and feel better about your loved ones.
It may be a little late for major trips, but with a few days off, you might take a day trip with your family or friends. Fun with the Family in Northern California, Best Places in Northern California and Grassroutes Northern California Wine Country are just a few of the many books we have on travel in the area.
Whatever your plans are for next week - here's wishing you alll a Happy Thanksgiving!