Know What I Meme? by Marc Richard answered a lot of my questions about what a meme is. “Meme” is a trendy word. It is used by lots of folks and I don’t care because I am a contrarian as far as trends go. I know one when I see it and I refused to look the “word?” up. I could never vocalize the sound, so I made up my own pronunciation. If others around me pronounced the four-letter slippery character in a way different from me, I felt sorry for their ignorance. It was easy for me to capture the moral high ground if I simply bombarded others with questions about what, exactly, this abomination was. And how does one pronounce it? Since I never found anyone who could give me a clear explanation, I maintained that my ignorance was superior to their ignorance. And then along came Marc Richard to give me many examples ending with the question, Know What I Meme? I felt sheepish as I answered in the affirmative. (I lied).
Queen of Klutz by Samantha Garman is Book One of a “Sibby Series.” Not a novel to provoke deep and serious thought, it is a pleasant, humorous, witty look at one woman’s attempt to make lemonade with the abundance of lemons showering her life. The “Klutz” of the title refers to the idea that if anything can go wrong in one person’s life, it will go wrong for Sibby. From what looks happenstance and accidental such as dropping a pen only to trip and fall a few minutes later in a public display of embarrassment, to the more awkward meeting Sibby had with her boyfriend when she stumbled upon him in bed with another man, everything that can possibly go wrong happens to Sibby.
Three Maids in a Tub by Nathan Burrows is a short story about a bunch of underperformers, a group of people who probably couldn’t figure out their potential let alone live up to it. They don’t seem to have any expectations other than getting through the day. The main objective of each day for most characters is to find enough alcohol of any kind to make themselves numb to all that might happen in the passing day.
Managed Care by Joe Barrett might be considered a call to action against incompetent bureaucracy. Franklin Johnson loved his grandfather and had enough extra money to pay one year in advance for his grandfather’s stay in an assisted care facility. But granddad died just days before he was scheduled to move in. Franklin tried to get a refund from manager Ed Hardy but Hardy used lawyers to prop up his claim that he didn’t have to refund any money; the death was not Hardy’s fault. Franklin Johnson’s grandfather was named Franklin Johnson, the same as the grandson. If he could not get a refund, Franklin Johnson the grandson would move into the senior care facility and dedicate one year of his life to making the life of manager Hardy a living hell. Frank (the grandson) moved into the facility and demanded all services, such as the changing of his adult diapers. Frank’s job as a software developer could be done from anywhere. Frank worked from the Hardy Managed Care Facility at night as a software developer and spent his days thinking up situations that would annoy and irritate Ed Hardy. The idea was to annoy Hardy so bad that Hardy would refund his money.
Scoundrels was so hilariously unique and funny, I looked at the Amazon page to see what the advance reviews were. I don’t read the reviews of other readers until I write mine. Sometimes it is interesting to see how other reader reviews refute or support the early or promotional reviews. Because I looked at the Amazon page after reading 50% of the novel, I had a good idea of what I would agree with. There were some descriptions so accurate I wanted to note them in my post. Not a fan of posts that only copy other posts, I will confine my copying only to the following comment from the novel’s Amazon page.
“Historically accurate, morally questionable and absolutely true, SCOUNDRELS is one part Flashman to two parts Mordecai Trilogy stirred vigorously and dashed in the face of Ian Fleming. It will leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth, and horribly hungover.”
Eats, Shites, and Leaves by Michael O’Mara is a parody about the way English is used and misused. A subtitle of Crap English and How to Use It assures me that I will have fun reading it. This can’t be reviewed as I do many novels because it more resembles a collection of lists. A trendy modern term which some online publications and blogs use is “listicle.” I actively avoid listicles. It is as if authors of listicles are publishing their mind maps and it is the reader (me) who must connect the dots. This parody is not a collection of mind maps. O’Mara provides short introductions to sections and explains the origins of words and phrases in the section while adding personal observations.
Filling a long-standing blank space in literature, Book Simulator by Chris Yee has finally landed. At long last Faux readers will be able to follow a well-crafted training plan that will allow them to fake out their more erudite well-read brethren. BookSi gives the impression that Faux readers are reading when in fact they are visualizing cashews on trolleys (Kindle location 118). This book has already made an impact at the highest levels of government. It is a coffee table book in most apartments at Swamp Towers.
If asked, R. Scott Murphy would describe his collection titled Fun Stories Greatest Hits as fitting in the following genres: Humor and Entertainment, Parenting and Family Humor, Happiness, Romantic Comedy, Feel Good Essays, Parodies, and Word Play & Satire. The description covers a lot of territories, but Murphy uses forty stories to do it. The humor is self-deprecating, but also inclusive as Murphy posits the existence of communities such as Fun Stories Nation and MentalKickBall which include the readers and the author as the combination attempts to make sense of the ridiculousness we see around us every day.
I will always pick novels to read that have provocative titles such as The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro. I am sure that the author intended to punch the reading audience with such a wake-up title and then, to make sure they paid attention, Notaro followed with an explanation of what the novel is about: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal. The novel is listed as non-fiction which I can accept as far as the situations written about. The humorous asides and comparisons in description border on the absurd and take the reader into the world of fiction. Most of the novel is laugh-out-loud humor but there are segments, such as in the life of blind dog Bella, that will be emotional for readers.
Because this is non-fiction, we can know many things about the author from her Amazon Author page. Reading this novel, I can guess that she is a mature woman (not old) who continues to look forward to life’s adventures. Not afraid of trying new things, she is also (cliché alert) the hero of her own story. Reading of her colorful younger years in the several community colleges she attended will make parents of daughters shudder with the thought “I hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like that.” From this account, I believe that is what Laurie’s mother says frequently.
Ultimate Brainbusters Part I by Jonathan Smith has this intriguing blurb on its cover. “Twenty-one short stories within 250 words with incredible plot twists.” I was alerted to the existence of this publication by an email from the author. On Amazon, it sells for USD 0.99 and I bought it with the original intention of reading for entertainment. Then I decided to make it a something-to-do project. My challenge to myself was to read each story and come up with a first impression takeaway line. The emphasis is on “first impression,” something like a reaction word or phrase on a Rorschach inkblot test. The further challenge is: The instant impression cannot be a spoiler, retaining the “incredible” in the plot twist for other readers.