Fiction, Finding Your Self, Grabenstein-Chris, humor, Patterson-James, Young Adult

#920 I Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

I Funny by James Patterson and Chris GrabensteinI Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jaime’s uncle has told him about a comedy contest for young people and Jaime has decided that he needs to enter the contest. He practices his jokes out on the people who come to his uncle’s diner and on his uncle’s family. Jaime lives with his uncle ever since the thing that happened that put him in a wheelchair.

That’s what makes Jaime different from other kids; he’s in a wheelchair. None of his friends know why yet. They don’t know why he lives with his uncle and his family instead of his parents.

Some people really like Jaime’s jokes, while others might groan. Jaime looks for everyday events to tell jokes about. At the content, things go well. Some people say it’s because he’s in a wheelchair and people felt sorry for him, but others tell Jaime that it’s because he’s truly funny. He begins to open up to his new friend about his life and about the thing that happened. The thing that happened was actually pretty awful and it took a long time for Jaime to get over it, physically. It’s still hard to get over it mentally, but with the help of his uncle’s family and his friends, Jaime’s doing ok and he is funny.

What I liked

I actually liked this James Patterson book. Granted, he did not write it himself, it’s still the best James Patterson book I’ve read. I think this book does a good job of being comedic, but having a reason for someone wanting to be funny. Jaime wants to be funny to help get over a tragedy that occurred in his life. His life got completely turned upside down, but this stand-up competition, or sit down competition in his case, is an effort on his part to move on with his life. Moving on from something awful is an important part of life. How we move on from things can make or break some other things in the rest of our lives. We have to choose to get up and keep moving, just as Jaime has in this story. It’s quite admirable.

What I didn’t like

The thing that happens to Jaime is a little harsh. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a lot to think about. It could be a little much for some younger people.


Sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh about something.

Weigh In

If some terrible catastrophe happened in your life, how long would it take for you to laugh?

What do you think about people who are always telling jokes?

#920 I Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Geist-Bill, Geist-Willie, humor, Memoir, Non-Fiction

#809 Good Talk, Dad by Bill & Willie Geist

Good Talk, Dad by Bill & Willie GeistGood Talk Dad by Bill & Willie Geist

Bill and Willie Geist have both been in television for years, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re a normal father and son, or as normal as any father and son can be. Bill talks about his life with Willie and Willie talks about his life with his father. Their life together wasn’t always easy. Bill went to war to become a photographer and didn’t make a whole lot of money when he came back, but ultimately, he got into television.

Bill became a normal voice on TVs everywhere and Willie watched, despite the fact that Willie never got an official birds and the bees talk.

Willie played a whole lot of sports, a whole darn lot. He got hired by CNN and later got hired to do a sports show. He talked about sports and more sports. People started asking him to host other shows.

Meanwhile, Bill had something to reveal with his fans. He had been living with Parkinson’s disease for sometime. He decided to share with the whole world. Despite what should have happened, Willie and Bill ended up alright.

What I liked

It’s nice to put a voice to a name. I’m familiar with both Willie and Bill’s voices, bit didn’t know who they were.

I also felt it was rather novel for a father and son to write a book together. It really seems like something a mother and daughter would do. I think this must have been a nice bonding experience for them.

I loved the part where Willie takes his son to the NYPD, where the police officer on duty admonishes Georgie, Willie’s son, to eat his vegetables or not to hit his sister. Hilarious.

What I didn’t like

I don’t give one flying flip about sports and this is unfortunate because Willie talks about them a lot. I don’t care about football, baseball, handball, soccer, hockey, basketball, trash ball, tennis ball, spoon ball, or any other sort of ball that someone plays with someone else. I just don’t care.

In fact, about as far as I go as far as caring about sports is that I tend to think individual sports are way more impressive than team sports. Football is an excuse for men to try to touch each other’s butts, but some guy practicing for years to be able to do all that cool stuff on a gymnastics horse/vault/whatever they call that thing is pretty impressive.

Bill and Willie are interesting guys, but so much of their lives revolve around sports that I just don’t care. They’re nice guys, but they’re not from my tribe.


Good game *smacks butt* *guy blushes* *other guy makes “call me” sign*

Weigh in

Would you go into the same field as your father?

If you’re from a family that centered their lives around sports, was it enjoyable to your growing up experience or was it a burden?

#809 Good Talk, Dad by Bill & Willie Geist was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Fiction, humor, Sedaris-David

#739 Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

If you know David, you’ll know that these stories are hilarious. By these stories, I mean the several stories in this book. There’s the story about being an elf at Macy’s in New York City during the Christmas season. I found this story rather humorous. I can imagine that the world of Santa Land in Macy’s is rife with interesting things.

There’s a story, a Christmas letter really, about a family experiencing a somewhat funny, but dark, Christmas season and tragedy.

There’s the story about the whore who comes to Christmas at David’s, when he is young. David’s family is hilarious, you’ll enjoy this one.

David also speaks of nativity plays and how bad they usually are.

What I liked

David is hilarious, so I will pretty much read anything he writes. I still want to hang out with him sometime. I think he’d be great fun to hang out with and just listen to him talk about his family. Christmas can be hilarious, and tragic, which David has really covered with these stories.

What I didn’t like

I would have liked more stories about David, but overall it’s a great little collection of stories by David.


David, you’re right, nativity plays usually aren’t great.

Weigh in

Has your Christmas ever been tragically funny?

Thinking back, what is your most humorous holiday story?

Books Set in the South, Family dynamics, Feel-Good, Fiction, Flagg-Fannie, humor, what if

#733 The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

 The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

Elmwood Springs started out as a small town settled by a few immigrants from Sweden. The land was cheap. It all started with Lordor Nordstrom. He had his farm and there were a few other people around, but he also wanted a wife. Some of the people talked him into trying for a mail-order wife and Lordor did just that. He ended up with Katrina. It took a while for the two to get to know each other, but soon they did and they married. Lordor started a dairy farm, that later became a huge business.

The town began to grow. Babies were born. More and more people showed up. The town got electricity. The town started to have cars. Downtown grew. Families grew and branched out.

When Lordor died, he was surprised to find that he was still conscious. He was just up on the hill at the cemetery. He was able to think and talk, although there wasn’t really anyone to talk to, except that one guy. As time passed, more people came to join Lordor at the cemetery. They could all talk to one another and it was almost like being alive except for there were no bodies involved. The strange thing was that every once in a while, someone would just disappear and they didn’t come back.

A newspaper was started in Elmwood Springs and the notorious Ida Jenkins decided that she needed to write a society column for the paper. She called it The Whole Town’s Talking. She would write about what was going on in town, perhaps with a little bias, we all know Ida after all. The paper went on, and Ida eventually went on.

Lordor’s granddaughter now owned the dairy, but her husband was a good-for-nothing. When She died, it was made known that the husband had inherited everything, which was strange because Lordor’s granddaughter had originally intended to leave a lot of money to charities. Lordor also wrote a clause into the dairy stating that it could never be sold to a non-family member. The people up in the cemetery knew there was foul play afoot, but how could they do anything about it as dead people? Eleanor, whom we’ve met before, was quite upset about it, but what could she do?

What I liked

I love Fannie Flagg books. I love how she encompasses an entire town in her books. I’ve read other books about Elmwood Springs, which I highly enjoyed. Eleanor is such an interesting character. I love how she feeds every animal around. It’s just so neat to read all the ins and outs of a whole town. I also love how Fannie follows generations from several families. We don’t just find out about the grandparents; we find out about the grandparents, the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren…maybe even the pets too. It’s great.

Fannie is also funny. She has a knack for creating real-life scenarios, that are humorous. Fannie is a good people-watcher. Some of these people in this book could be people who I know. Tott Wooten reminds me of more people than I can count.

I also love how Fannie can combine woo-woo and real life and make it sound plausible. I can’t imagine that a bunch of dead people sit around in a cemetery and talk, but maybe it happens.

What I didn’t like

Some of Fannie’s philosophy in this book makes me a little sad. I believe in the idea that you can stay connected to your family members after death and Fannie’s philosophy in this book makes that impossible, at least in Fannie’s philosophy.


The whole town is talking about how great this book is.

Weigh In

Would you want to talk to the people you were buried next to?

If you wrote a society column in a newspaper, what would you highlight?

Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Gaiman-Neil, humor, Young Adult

#684 Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil GaimanFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mom is gone and dad is left to care for the children and the house. He remembers about violin practice. He remembers about orchestra practice. He remembers about the frozen meals in the freezer, not before burning one and going out for curry though. He remembers everything, except the milk. There’s nothing to put on the cereal and there’s nothing to put in the tea, so Dad goes out to the nearby shop for milk.

Dad is gone a long time. The two children ponder that Dad might have met somebody he knew and started talking. Dad finally comes back and he has the milk. The children figured Dad had talked to someone, which Dad had, but Dad also had a story for why he was so late getting back with the milk.

You see, Dad got abducted by aliens. Dad did not want to be abducted by aliens and pushed the button that opened the time-space continuum. He then found himself on a pirate ship, where the pirates were more than happy to make him walk the plank, but Dad knew that if you walked the plank, you always got rescued at the last-minute. Dad was rescued by a scientist stegosaurus in a hot air balloon, that also happened to be a time machine. He tells Dad that all the dinosaurs left Earth for the far reaches of the universe.

The two soon end up in a bit of trouble with a native island tribe. The tribe was told to let the people take a big green stone thing from the volcano god, but when they do, bad things happen, but this means that Dr. Steg can fix his time machine, which he does, but he also ends up near some vampires, who are more than happy to munch on Dad. Ultimately, everyone ends up back on the alien ship. Which is ultimately where they find out whether touching the same object from the past to the same object in the future destroys the universe or causes dwarfs with flowerpots on their heads to appear and dance.

What I liked

This is funny, Neil. Dad’s full of crap, obviously, but Dad sure has an imagination. I love all the absurdity of this book. Why wouldn’t there be a time-traveling stegosaurus in a hot air balloon? Why not? It’s great.

What I didn’t like

Besides Dad being full of crap in the way that all dads are full of crap, this book is pretty great. Your kids know when you’re full of crap by the way, they just humor you.


Why did it take you so long to get the milk?

Weigh In

Could you have made up a story anywhere near this if it took you a long time to get the milk?

Do you think the children would have been less irritated because of this story.

Fantasy, Fiction, humor, Social Commentary, Wager-Walter

#678 My Side: by King Kong by Walter Wager

My Side: by King Kong by Walter WagerMy Side: by King Kong by Walter Wager

King Kong wasn’t that nasty gorilla everyone had always envisioned, nope. He was civilized and educated. He was clean. The whole building thing was just a misunderstanding, and of course, there were grave misrepresentations in the movie.

King Kong’s real name is Stanley. His mother was a woman and his father was an ape. They fell in love, she got pregnant, and then left the country. Somehow the whole ship ended up way off course and ended up on a small island called Zumdum, not Skull Island.

Stanley’s mother tried her best to make life on the island a little better. She tried starting up welfare and school. Stanley did not lack for friends. He was friends with various pterodactyls, some dinosaurs, and some quicksand. The quicksand was easy though.

When he was grown up some men came to the island. Maybe they were spies. Maybe they were looking for Russians. The cast of Porgy and Bess was not impressed.

Stanley ended up in New York somehow. He just wanted his car keys back. Fay Ray had taken them. Of course, the movie didn’t depict things this way.

After the whole ordeal, Stanley made a regular life for himself, which include several wives and lots of children. He just wanted to get his story out there.

What I liked

This book is absurd, nothing makes sense, nothing at all. The text is full of contradictions and random words, seemingly strung together. The randomness is nice, if you’re a fan of the random, but if you’re not a fan of the random, you’ll get put off this book.

I like having an alternate look at something that happened in history. This book is a parody of a movie. That’s always fun.

What I didn’t like

This book was difficult to follow at times because of all the random. Random this and random that. It was just all over the place. The story progressed forwards, of course, but half of the words made no sense in the context of the story. It’s funny in a way, but it gets old. I go to be glad that Stanley finally stopped telling his story. It was all absurd, and I love absurd, but this was a lot of absurd.

I think it would have been better as a paperback. There are neat little footnotes/end notes in it, but if you’re reading a digital version, they just don’t work out as well and I think that takes away from part of the story.


Kong, Stanley, whoever you are…

Weigh In

Do you think parodies make the real life thing better?

Is absurd good all the time or is it good in doses?

Books Based off of other Books, Books set in Europe, Fantasy, Fiction, humor, Mystery, Ware-MJ, Young Adult

#675 Harry Plotter and the Chamber of Serpents by MJ Ware

 Harry Plotter and the Chamber of Serpents by MJ Ware Harry Plotter and the Chamber of Serpents by MJ Ware

Austin Winters has just arrived in England where his father works at the embassy. There isn’t a lot to do at the embassy, but an owl drops a strange letter for him there. He is accepted into the Hogworts School of Mysteries and Magic. His father wants to send him to an expensive boarding school, but Austin suggest Hogworts, so off he goes. He doesn’t have any of the supplies and the whole thing is kind of weird.

He gets to school and he’s sorted into the Slipperin House. There is some surprise there, because Austin is considered a Muddle, a non-magical person, but he’s in Slipperin anyway. At first, Austin doesn’t think he has the knack for magic, but with the tutoring of Hermione Danger, he starts to get along pretty well. He even doesn’t do so badly in Smape’s potions class.

Austin hears a wear voice that says it wants to kill and this concerns Austin. He finds a weird door with snakes on it in the dungeon and the voice that says it wants to kill. The door is opened. People start getting petrified in the hallways. The Weaseley twins play pranks on everyone; the turn the Slipperin common rooms into a swamp. Austin begins to make friends though, but not with Drano Malfoy, because no one is really friends with him.

Dumblesnore entrusts Austin with some important tasks along the way.

In the end, Harry Plotter, Ron Weaseley and Hermione Danger aren’t the bad people everyone in Slipperin says they are. Austin finds good friends and hopes he gets to come back the next year, without all the giant snakes though. Austin does not like snakes.

What I liked

This book wasn’t roll on the floor funny, but it was humorous. I liked the parody of the whole story. Everyone has a different name, or at least part of it. This story supposes that there were other alternate people helping Ron, Hermione, and Harry defeat the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, or Serpents rather. I think it’s interesting to think about the fact that there may have been a more concerted effort in this whole thing rather than just three kids trying to defeat an evil monster.

I liked that I got an American’s take on Hogworts/Hogwarts. This is a loving parody and in no way trying to demean the Harry Potter series. It’s really flattery at its best. The author knows his stuff about Harry Potter.

What I didn’t like

Nothing really, this was a pretty good book, especially for free.


I wonder if Austin will be around the help Harry Plotter next year?

Weigh In

If you were in Hogwarts, what house would you be sorted into?

Do you think the rest of the world of Hogwarts would be interesting to find out? For example, would it be interesting to find out what a day in the life of Filch is like?