The Last Testament: a Memoir by God (with David Javerbaum). This book is hilarious; I highly recommend it if you have a sense of humor and/or love to laugh and/or don't take religion too seriously. Mostly because I don't really know who David Javerbaum is, and a little bit because I'm not really religious, and a lot because I have a wild imagination and prefer being silly to being serious, but it was easy to hear God dictating this book. It doesn't help that the cover and author photo were hilarious enough to make me laugh out loud in the library. Thankfully, God understood and prevented me from being shushed.
I kept a pen and piece of paper with me while reading this book; notes needed to be made on the best quotes. Problem is, there are way too many "best quotes."
- Facts, chapter 3, verses 18-19: Their demise was a boon for civilization, but it is with cities as it is with people: dying young and mysteriously can turn any idiot into a legend. (Yea, it was the only half-intelligent thing Jim Morrison ever did in his life.)
- The Gospel According to Dad, chapter 11, verses 22-24: Yea, there is only one widely held belief about the devil that is a misconception; and even that only partially so. The number of the devil is not 666. That is only his area code; his full number is unlisted.
- The Gospel According to Dad, chapter 15 (The Sayings of Jesus), verse 7: Man shall not live by bread alone. Yet at restaurants it is easy to forget this and end up full before the appetizer.
- Effusions, chapter 3, verse 11: Second-favorite painting: Campbell's Soup Cans, by Andy Warhol. So much soup!
Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate. An interesting story about an old white man who had been involved in the space race and a young mixed girl having trouble fitting in to her new school. They meet by chance and become something resembling both friends and family as they embark on an adventure to uncover their separately mysterious pasts. The concept was interesting and the writing was well-done, but the story ran a little long and fell apart in the last few chapters.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I love Egan's writing style. It's easy to read and a joy to do so. The sections of this book almost functioned as separate pieces, though the characters were all related somehow. There was no chronological order; some were told, introducing characters, then the characters were younger in the next scene, or there were flash forwards to the characters' children's future. It was all well-done and not as confusing as I'm making it sound. It's definitely worth a read, and a re-read, and I'm eager to check out more from Egan.
The Book of Jokes: A Novel by Momus. Each chapter of this book has an overarching joke which is hit home by the last line being the punchline. This IS a novel, so there's a story about a family living in a glass house that alternates between being told by the father and the son…as far as I can tell. A lot of the book is very twisted - and I mean that both in terms of the chronology and the jokes - they're filthy. There's a major punchline at the end of the book too, but I'll be honest - I'm not sure I got it. I'll be very selective in recommending this book to others, as in I can only think of two friends I'll pass it along to.
The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine. I wasn't sure I'd like this book because the way it started: "We'll begin our story with Jody." I usually don't like books that stress you're reading, as this one does at the beginning of almost every chapter. There are also occurrences of statements like "As the reader may have noticed, …" appearing mid-paragraph. It really took me out of it when that happened. For some reason, I stuck with it and found the overall story pretty compelling. Set in a New York City neighborhood, the characters and their dogs all run into each other often, and their lives become tangled together. Once you're a few chapters in, complex and honest relationships are explored - and that is the best part of the book.
Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress. Reviewed here.
The Minefields by Steven C. Eisner. Reviewed here along with a Q&A with the author.
Company by Max Barry. A re-read, because this book is too damn hilarious. Barry mocks large corporations, how they function, and how they treat their employees. I can't say too much about the plot because the main idea is a big twist that is too fun to discover as you go. If you've ever worked in an office, you must read this one and feel better about your job. Or read it if you want to laugh. Or just read it.