Posts Tagged ‘hilarious books’

Book #105: The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul

One of my favorite things about reading Douglas Adams is trying to explain it to other people. One night my dad and I were both reading and, probably inspired by my giggling over The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul from the love seat, he asked what my book was about.

“Thor is taking this girl to Valhalla to challenge Odin to a fight, because Odin made him count all the rocks in Scotland.”

“…that’s probably a metaphor for some deep thought, though, right?” he asked.

“Nope,” I said gleefully, and returned to the book.

It’s hilarious to think about the different things you can try to explain to people. Throughout the evening I’d occasionally say stuff like, “Oh my god, the guy got turned into a Coke machine!” or, “He turned the fighter pilot into an eagle!” or “The sofa can’t exist in that space because of time travel!” It sounds insane, because it is.

Another thing I love about Adams is the way he plays with language and turns sentences on their head. Dirk views the world in such a unique way, and you can tell by the way he thinks of things and says things. Immediately upon hearing about an “act of god” that destroyed an airport, Dirk wonders which god is responsible for this “act of god.” Things like that make me giddy.

I also appreciated this quote, which is a good example of how Adams can play with language in such a fun way:

“Let us think the unthinkable. Let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable, and see if we might eff it after all!”

Hilarious.

As a whole I didn’t enjoy The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul quite as much as Dirk Gently, however. It’s still Douglas Adams, so it’s still a zany romp through time, space, and dimensions. The pacing was just a bit off in this one, however. The crazy plots built and built, and then they were resolved a bit too quickly, which left me a tad unsatisfied. I was left happy, but also wanting more.

Douglas Adams is still Douglas Adams, however, and I still adored this book.

Rating: *****
Up Next: The Girls of Slender Means

Book #104: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I. Love. Douglas Adams.

I first encountered Adams in high school when I went to see the movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” with my friends. It was silly and ridiculous and the humor was just my style. I fell in love with it and immediately read all the books in the series. They were awesome. I even named my car Marvin, after Marvin the Paranoid Android.

I read Dirk Gently in college, and it was such a pleasure. It was clever and fun, and I especially liked how well Adams worked in all the stuff with Coleridge and “Kubla Khan.” This was also about the time that I was into old-school Doctor Who, and when I figured out that Douglas Adams wrote the serial “City of Death” for the Fourth Doctor, I was surprised at how similar the plot of Dirk Gently was to it.

I enjoyed Dirk Gently just as much this time around. I still thought it was fun and clever, and I was still absolutely tickled with the connection to Coleridge and how Adams managed to tie up the threads of several seemingly unconnected and equally ridiculous plots.

It really is about the fundamental interconnectedness of all things

For me, I think, reading Douglas Adams is always going to be a sheer pleasure. He’s always zany, clever, witty, and hilarious. So much so that I read Dirk Gently’s sequel immediately after this one.

Rating: *****
Up Next: The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

The Smartass Gospel: Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

What if Jesus and his best buddy had been smartasses?

God wants us to laugh, right?

Christopher Moore certainly thinks so. His book Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal is a hilarious, slightly blasphemous and probably offensive to super religious and hardcore Christians, account of the Jesus’s life, as told by his best friend Biff. We owe Biff the invention of cafe lattes, matches and, most importantly, sarcasm.

In the book, Biff has been brought back by the sloppy blonde angel Raziel – he was supposed to announce Joshua’s (Jesus’ Hebrew name was Joshua, apparently) birth to the shepherds but got distracted playing cards and showed up ten years late – to write HIS account of Jesus’s life. It differs drastically from the other Gospels.

Moore’s book is DEFINITELY tongue-in-cheek and not for people who are easily offended or touchy about religion. But the book is still touching in its own way. I was raised Christian, so Jesus is a guy I’ve “known” for quite awhile. It’s easy, when someone’s, you know, the reason for your religion, to put them on this huge pedestal. It was nice to see an account (even though it’s fiction) of Jesus that reminds us that he was a pretty neat guy. Even if sometimes he “loses it” and wants to give something to the “fuckheads” in the Beatitudes. Also, you get to see him as the typical smartass teenager, screwing with adults, and being a fan of irony (when he sees “Untouchables,” he pokes them).

This part might be a bit spoilery, but everybody knows how the Jesus story ends, so.

I almost cried when Jesus died. I mean, it’s sad and touching anyway, especially if you’re a Christian. But reading it from Biff’s perspective REALLY got me. I have best friends. I love them. I don’t even want to THINK about them dying. But to have been through everything Biff and Josh went through together and then to think about the fact that Biff is WATCHING his best friend die in the worst most painful way…MAN.

Anyway, Lamb is awesome. You should definitely read it. It’s a cool reminder that Jesus was a pretty cool guy and it connects Christianity with eastern religions in a neat way. Also, there are phrases like “the barfing Messiah” and “Torah! Torah! Torah! – War Cry of the Kamikaze Rabbis” in it.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend Lamb. If you’re easily offended by religion, you might not like it. But Moore writes in the afterword: This story is not and never was meant to challenge anyone’s faith; however, if one’s faith can be shaken by stories in a humorous novel, one may have a bit more praying to do.

Rating: *****

I’ll be back soon with the next book on the list, Life of Pi.

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