Today I Read…The League of Regrettable Superheroes

League of Regrettable SuperheroesToday I read The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris.

Batman. Captain America. Wonder Woman. Iron Man. Superman. Thor. Batgirl. Phoenix. Green Lantern. Spider-Man. These are the names of heroes, tales of their deeds told over and over again. Beloved and respected, they have stood the test of time. But what of their less famous brethren? What of Bozo the Iron Man, Pat Parker War Nurse, Ultra the Multi-Alien, Stardust the Super-Wizard, The Ferret, or Captain Tootsie? What of their…um, exploits?

Jon Morris has collected together some of the most obscure and possibly most ridiculous superheroes of the past 80 years in this high entertaining history. From a police commissioner who dresses like a clown, to a Nazi-fighting witch who speaks in rhyme, to a man who turns into a UFO to fight evildoers, to a superhero who fights shoe-themed bad guys with his shoes while making shoe puns, this book is a terrific resource for the comic history buff with an excellent sense of humour.

***************************************************************************************

This book was another one I won from a Goodreads First Reads contest. I thought it sounded like an interesting idea, but I wasn’t passionately interested like when I won Felicia Day’s memoir You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) or Anne Jamison’s fascinating study Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World. I was wrong–this book is terrific. The writing is highly informative and highly entertaining–Jon Morris clearly has a great deal of interest and affection for comic history, but he also recognizes how absurd and badly done some of it is.

The book is organized first by timeline, divided into the Golden Age, Silver Age, and Modern Age of Comics, with a summary of the sate of comics at the time, and then alphabetically by the superhero’s alias. Each hero has approximately a page’s description, accompanied by a full page of coloured imagery, either a cover of an interior page of story. Morris also includes the creator and first appearance of each hero, and another joking fact, such as Amazing-Man’s “Great act of bravery: Wearing shorts and suspenders as a superhero costume” or Doctor Hormone’s “Adherence to basic medical ethics: Spotty.” Many of the heroes chosen are quite obscure, making only or two appearances before hanging up their tights.

It’s hard to decide which is better, Morris’ skillful and delightful writing, or the engaging illustrations included with each entry. The art does a wonderful job of showing the development of comics over the years, how heroes have been portrayed visually, and the marketing of comics since many of the illustrations are of covers that would have been used to help sell the issues. The entries wouldn’t have been as effective without the large full-colour artwork, and it’s fortunate that Quirk Books was willing to include it–black and white art wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

Honestly, I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book is the dropcaps that start each page–sometimes the large shadows on the letters make them a little difficult to read, but that’s really quite minor.

The League of Regrettable Superheroes is an engaging read for superhero fans, especially those with a lively sense of humour about the heroes they love and respect but also understand possess many foibles, and not a regrettable book at all.

Advertisements

Today I Read…The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

Fangirl's Guide to the GalaxyToday I read The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs.

Are you a newcomer to the wide world of fandom? Are you not quite sure what an OTP is, even though you know that Dean and Cas belong together? Do you plan your Halloween costume months in advance and hand make each piece? Do you know why the cake is a lie, and the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything? And are you looking for someone just as passionately nerdy as you to talk to about your favourite nerdy things? Then, young fangirl padawan, you might need The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Chock full of interviews with prominent professional fangirls, invaluable tips for attending your first convention, a field guide to the more common geek groups, and much much more, this is a fantastic resource for those new to fandom, and a terrific refresher for the old hands.

**********************************************************************************
This was the book I wanted most for myself from the OLA Super conference this year, and I was so happy I got a copy. Sam Maggs is a fellow member of the Toronto fandom community, a former associate editor for fabulous nerd news site The Mary Sue, one of the outgoing Cineplex pre-show hosts, and generally, pretty cool. Plus, that title–how could I possibly resist?

Way back in the dim mists of history before the internet was a thing (okay, it was the 80s), I started my fangirl life, and I entered the world of fandom just at the start of web 2.0 and when interactivity was becoming the watchword. I would have LOVED to have a guide like this way back when I was convinced that I was the only person in my city who liked Star Trek, let alone the only person at my elementary school. It wasn’t until university that I met my first real fangirl, who became my best friend. One of the best parts of fandom is sharing what you love.

In a way, I suppose I’m lucky. I don’t think I’ve ever been personally challenged on my level of geek knowledge, just because I’m a girl. My experience of the Toronto fandom community has always had a strong mixture of boy, girl, and other nerds, with women making strong contributions to our community and with fan-run events. Girl geeks are pretty common, at least in the spaces I hang out in. But like all geek girls I’ve desperately searched for myself in the media I love–a heroine who doesn’t get fridged and isn’t there to be the token female, or worse, the one-dimensional love interest (or worst of all, all three). I’ve put up with the absurdly impractical and oversexualised superhero costumes, having to look in the boys’ rows of the toy store for action figures, and every bloody nerd girl shirt being pink. I ask you, when did Supergirl or Batgirl EVER wear a hot pink costume or a hot pink glittery shield? EVER? AND WHERE IS MY BLACK WIDOW MOVIE ALREADY??? Seriously, Marvel, *ten years* from the release of Iron Man it takes you to release a female-led movie, and it’s Captain Marvel instead of Black Widow, a character you’ve already used 4 times? /rant

Back on track, chapter 4 is about Geek Girl Feminism, looking for the best representations in media and pointing out that unlike the stereotyped antisocial teen nerd boy who lives in his parents’ basement and can’t talk to girls (and his awful, AWFUL counterpart the mythical Fake Geek Girl), women make up a large part of fandom and we have the right to love what we love and to know that we are the heroes every bit as much as the guys are. (See Sam’s awesome Geek Girl’s Litany for Feminism below.)

It can be intimidating to insert yourself into a tightly-knit yet wildly diverse community like fandom can be, especially when you get nonsense like GamerGate giving nerdiness and gamers a bad name in the media. (Yes, it was nonsense, if you feel the need to dox and threaten to injure, rape or kill ANYONE in the name of your argument you are an asshole and you lose any modicum of respect for your argument and for you personally). That said, fandom can be an amazing place and you can meet amazing people who not only love what you love, but can share with you other amazing things that you will love. Fandom can enrich your life, give you friends and interests and sometimes even a career. Fandom is filled with smart, creative, hardworking people, and they can be very welcoming to newbies. If you want to jump into the deep end and sally forth to your first convention all on your own, go ahead– it’s how we used to do it (it’s what I did). If you want some great tips, this book is a great guide for how to venture in, both in person at cons and good online spaces to introduce yourself.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Sam made some great recommendations and I think I need to go hunt them down (and rewatch/reread any old favourites she listed). Hey Sam, any time you want to trade kickass-chick book lists, let me know. I have a feeling you would LOVE Esther Friesner’s Chicks in Chainmail anthology series. Two words: Amazon Comedy.

**********************************************************************************
The Geek Girl’s Litany for Feminism
I am a geek girl and I am a feminist. I embrace the word “fangirl” with open arms. I don’t have to prove my nerd cred to anyone, ever. Whether I’m a comics noob, Or a fic writer typing up her next chapter, Or a hard-core gamer who sometimes forgets to sleep (Not that I ever do that), No one else gets to decide whether I do or do not belong. From SuperWhoLock to Shakarian I accept all fandom and ships As equally meaningful and important In our geek girl lives. Even if your OTP is my NOTP, I will still like you (Even if I have to unfollow your blog). I can wear makeup and R2D2 mini dresses, Or a Chewie T-shirt and ripped jeans, And the world has to deal with it; Because a geek feminist looks however she wants And doesn’t apologize. I will support empowering, lady-created media, And amazing female characters That make me feel like I could be Batgirl, If I just had some yellow Doc Martens And a vigilante complex. I’m the Doctor, not a companion; Buffy, not Bella; Nobody’s sidekick, love interest, or token female. I’m driving this ship. I’M A FANGIRL, A FEMINIST, AND A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

Fangirl's Litany

Today I Read…Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Cinderella Ate My DaughterToday I read Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein.

When Peggy Orenstein’s daughter was born, she was determined to raise her without falling into the princess trap. You know the one–the girl dressed in a hopelessly elaborate and glaringly pink gown, dreaming of the day her prince will come without actually getting up and seeing what’s taking him so darn long.

She began with the question of why girls love princesses so much, but quickly moved onto *do* all girls love everything princess, or are they trained to love princesses by the world around them? And where did this Princess Culture come from, and why? And is Princess Culture really a bad thing? What are the alternatives? And how can she save her daughter from the ravenous princess monsters?

*********************************************************************************

I found this one a while ago at my local Chapters, and I admit, it was the extremely pink glitter on the cover that drew my eye. Then the title, because I like fairy tales, especially the rewritten modern ones where princesses kick ass. I read the dust jacket and it sounded interesting (and it was $5), so I bought it and read it that night. So, kudos to the person who designed the cover, it worked.

I’m a little ambivalent about the Disney Princesses–I love the movies and the songs, but when I think about their storylines and characters critically…well, there are a lot of problems, as well as a lot of good things. Belle was (is) my favourite, because she had brown hair and brown eyes and liked blue and reading, just like me! But when I was eight I discovered Star Trek, at which point I was done with princesses and moved right into action figures. You can’t dress them up, but they move a lot more and phasers are way cooler than purses. And every last action figure was in the boys’ aisles of the toy stores.

Orenstein never quite comes to a definitive conclusion about what she thinks about Princess Culture. She clearly did a lot of research into a very complicated subject, but that complicated subject by its nature has no simple answer. Nothing but pink and princesses and stereotypically feminine and the drive to be blonde/blue-eyed/thin/pretty/nice/pretty/thin/perfect/pretty/thin is definitely bad for girls and the boys who have to interact with them, but is a little bit of princess okay? How much? Does the drive to get girls to like STEM subjects and playing with Lego and toy cars mean that we’re just stigmatizing those girls and later woman who do like cooking and cleaning and dollys and raising children? And what does that mean for boys who like traditionally feminine pastimes and toys?

Orenstein’s research included trips to Disneyland, the international Toy Fair in New York, American Girl Place, Pottery Barn Kids, and a child beauty pageant. She interviewed the man who came up with the idea to market the Disney Princesses together, the director of an eating disorder clinic, parents of pageant kids, and the parents of her daughter’s friends.She did research on media and marketing to children, the history of children’s toys and the gendering of those toys, child psychology and development, the origins of fairy tales, current toys for boys and girls, and what and how kids actually play. She talks a lot about how all of this research impacted how she was raising her daughter, some of her parenting decisions and what went into her thought process, discussing toys and stories with her daughter and trying to understand why she liked or didn’t like them. It’s not really intended to be a scholarly work–it’s an exploration of what princess culture means to her and for her family, and to what extent she wants to let her daughter participate and how she plans to subvert it and teach her daughter to think critically about consuming media.

This book really hit home for me in several ways. I have a little niece who’s just over a year old. Her mother loves everything pink and refuses to dress her in blue or even much green and yellow, because she thinks that adults will be confused and think that Niece is a boy if she’s wearing blue. Why the opinions of total strangers matter, I have no idea. So on one hand, FeministMe who took the women’s studies classes really wishes that Mother would lighten up a little, because green and yellow and blue and purple and red and black are all nice colours. On the other hand, AuntieMe sees all the pretty frilly dresses in the stores, and I only have so long to dress her up like a little doll before she learns to say no. Though incidentally, Niece doesn’t really like dolls–she keeps pushing them aside for her books and her car and her piano. (go niece go!)

To compound this, I worked in a children’s clothing store. The clothing was extremely gendered–all of the boys’ clothes were blue and red and sports and monsters, and all of the girls’ clothes were pink and glitter and princess and butterfly and shopping and hearts. There was very little gender-neutral stuff for infants (which is a problem for people when they need a gift and the parents have chosen not to find out the gender before the baby is born), and there was absolutely no gender neutral stuff for over the age of 18 months. Very rarely there would be an older girls’ shirt that mentioned sports or reading or math, but the majority were I’m Daddy’s Little Princess, I’m Mommy’s Favourite Shopping Buddy, I’m Cute, Sweet, and Pretty, etc. The boys’  shirts were just as bad, since there were no reading or cooking or shopping shirts, just skateboarding and basketball and ugly monsters and silly faces. But as someone working in the store, you have to play up the “oh look at how cute this is, I love it!” for the merchandise.

I liked this book. I don’t think it changed my mind on any important issues, but it did try to explore them in a thoughtful way, while still admitting to the writer’s bias–after all, the reason she did any of the research and writing was because she was against raising her daughter to be a princess. I guess the question that every parent, and adult who significantly interacts with a girl, has to ask themself is is their girl a princess and what does being a princess mean?

*BTW, Orenstein has a page on her website that lists modern princess books, movies and toys for different ages that teach girls about princesses with gumption, drive, and smarts. And I’d add to the list for YA Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, featuring Princess Cimorene who goes out looking for adventure because being a princess is boring; just about anything by Tamora Pierce, especially the Tortall series about a girl who wants to be a knight (ignoring how disappointed I was by Battle Magic because usually she’s really very good); and I’m really enjoying Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series (I’ve already reviewed Cinder and Scarlet and Cress is coming up on my to-read list).

****************************************************************************

Of course, girls are not buying the 24/7 princess culture all on their own. So the question is not only why they like it (which is fairly obvious) but what it offers their parents. Julie may have been onto something on that front: princesses are, by definition, special, elevated creatures. And don’t we all feel our girls are extraordinary, unique, and beautiful? Don’t we want them to share that belief for as long as possible, to think that—just by their existence, by birthright—they are the chosen ones? Wouldn’t we like their lives to be forever charmed, infused with magic and sparkle? I know I want that for my daughter.

Or do I? Among other things, princesses tend to be rather isolated in their singularity. Navigating the new world of friendships is what preschool is all about, yet the DPs, you will recall, won’t even look at one another. Daisy had only one fight with her best friend during their three years of preschool—a conflict so devastating that, at pickup time, I found the other girl sobbing in the hallway, barely able to breathe. The source of their disagreement? My darling daughter had insisted that there could be only one Cinderella in their games—only one girl who reigned supreme—and it was she. Several hours and a small tantrum later, she apologized to the girl, saying that from now on there could be two Cinderellas. But the truth was, Daisy had gotten it right the first time: there is only one princess in the Disney tales, one girl who gets to be exalted. Princesses may confide in a sympathetic mouse or teacup, but, at least among the best-known stories, they do not have girlfriends. God forbid Snow White should give Sleeping Beauty a little support.

Let’s review: princesses avoid female bonding. Their goals are to be saved by a prince, get married (among the DP picture books at Barnes & Noble: My Perfect Wedding and Happily Ever After Stories) and be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Their value derives largely from their appearance. They are rabid materialists. They might affect your daughter’s interest in math. And yet… parents cannot resist them. Princesses seem to have tapped into our unspoken, nonrational wishes. They may also assuage our fears: Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty may be sources of comfort, of stability in a rapidly changing world. Our daughters will shortly be tweeting and Facebooking and doing things that have yet to be invented, things that are beyond our ken. Princesses are uncomplicated, classic, something solid that we can understand and share with them, even if they are a bit problematic. They provide a way to play with our girls that is similar to how we played, a common language of childhood fun. That certainly fits into what Disney found in a survey of preschool girls’ mothers: rather than “beautiful,” the women more strongly associate princesses with “creating fantasy,” “inspiring,” “compassionate.”

And “safe.” That one piqued my interest. By “safe,” I would wager that they mean that being a Princess fends off premature sexualization, or what parents often refer to as the pressure “to grow up too soon.” There is that undeniable sweetness, that poignancy of seeing girls clomp off to the “ball” in their incongruous heels and gowns. They are so gleeful, so guileless, so delightfully delighted. The historian Gary Cross, who writes extensively on childhood and consumption, calls such parental response “wondrous innocence.” Children’s wide-eyed excitement over the products we buy them pierces through our own boredom as consumers and as adults, reconnecting us to our childhoods: it makes us feel again. The problem is that our very dependence on our children’s joy erodes it: over time, they become as jaded as we are by new purchases—perhaps more so. They rebel against the “cuteness” in which we’ve indulged them—and, if we’re honest, imposed upon them—by taking on the studied irony and indifferent affect of “cool.”

Though both boys and girls engage in that cute-to-cool trajectory, for girls specifically, being “cool” means looking hot. Given that, then, there may indeed be, or at least could be, a link between princess diadems and Lindsay Lohan’s panties (or lack thereof ). But in the short term, when you’re watching your preschooler earnestly waving her wand, it sure doesn’t feel that way. To the contrary: princess play feels like proof of our daughters’ innocence, protection against the sexualization it may actually be courting. It reassures us that, despite the pressure to be precocious, little girls are still—and ever will be—little girls. And that knowledge restores our faith not only in wonder but, quite possibly, in goodness itself. Recall that the current princess craze took off right around the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and continued its rise through the recession: maybe, as another cultural historian suggested to me, the desire to encourage our girls’ imperial fantasies is, at least in part, a reaction to a newly unstable world. We need their innocence not only for consumerist but for spiritual redemption.

What’s your favourite genre?

Let’s try some polls! What’s your favourite genre?

Today I Read…Sherlock: The Casebook

Sherlock CasebookToday I read Sherlock: The Casebook by Guy Adams. This is a guide to the first two series of the BBC show Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

My name is Dr. John Watson, and recently I have had the privilege of working with a truly remarkable man, with the most dizzying, gifted mind that I have ever come across. This is an attempt to put my notes together and help ordinary people (like myself, for one) to understand the genius of the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and what he has termed ‘the science of deduction.’ The first time I met Sherlock…no one cares John, this is boring. The case is what matters, not you nattering on about trifles like how we met. We both needed a flatmate, you weren’t completely stupid and occasionally somewhat useful, we started solving cases together. Also, can you hand me my phone?…Sherlock, I’m trying to write here. And your phone is, as usual, in your jacket pocket. The jacket you are wearing right now. And yes, people do care about the background, it’s interesting and it helps people understand why I haven’t strangled you in your sleep yet. Although Greg mentioned last week that the neighbours have just about stopped calling to complain about the noise whenever you get bored and shoot the walls, so if I happen to accidentally shoot you for being an impossible git I’d probably have plenty of time to get away…Greg? Who is Greg? And you’re much cleverer than those bumblers in the police, like Anderson, you could probably shoot me in front of the Eye with a dozen Japanese tourists taking photographs and he wouldn’t figure it out… Greg *Lestrade*, Sherlock, we’ve discussed this before, you really could make a slight effort to remember his first name, he’s a good friend and it’s not like it’s a hard name, and I’m still trying to write so would you please go away and get those eyeballs out of the fridge? You’ve finished with your experiment and I don’t like having them in the same fridge as the milk for the tea. Though we’re out of milk, seeing as when I asked you to bring some home last night you brought sixteen varieties of pesticides instead…I needed those for an experiment John, I wanted to see what trace amounts would look like dried under the fingernails…yes, and the severed fingers can be cleaned out too if you’re done. And don’t put them in the trash, it disturbs the garbagemen, put them in the biohazard bags I brought home and we’ll take them along back to St. Bart’s the next time we go…but John, I think one of the garbagemen might be a murderer, he does look so pleased whenever he comes across the organs in the trash. He may have a fetish…No, Sherlock, he’s a fan. He reads my blog, he comments as TrashIsTreasureAndIKnowWhatsInYours. He likes going through our trash because he thinks it gives him special insight into our cases, though I think you may be right about the fetish bit…oh course I’m right, I’m always right, or at least hardly ever wrong, and I’m still waiting for you to get my phone John…I’m taking back all the nice things I was writing about you Sherlock…no you’re not.

This entertaining book is half casebook with commentary, and half guide to the television show Sherlock, a 21st century reimagining of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion Dr. John Watson. John’s notes include his and Sherlock’s observations, news articles about their cases, photos, and lays out the case piece by piece, encouraging the reader to follow along as Sherlock observes and deduces the clues. Sherlock, always incapable of minding his tongue, makes his pointed comments about John’s ‘scrapbook’ via yellow sticky notes between the pages, while John is forced to defend his work via retaliatory green sticky notes. In between each of the six cases, representing the so-far six episodes of the show, are in-depth interviews with the cast, crew, and creators, articles about the episodes, and analyses of the connection between the original Conan Doyle stories and the modern BBC version, and all of the versions in between. This book is a great read for any fan of the consulting detective and the loyal doctor.

***************************************************************************************

I’ve mentioned before my love of snark and pop culture guides like this and this. I love Sherlock–they’ve done such a wonderful job of thinking about what he would be like in the 21st century, and what the modern equivalents are of the tools he used in the Doyle stories, eg. homeless people for street urchins, taxis for horse-drawn cabs, nicotine patches since smoking isn’t socially acceptable anymore. Sherlock has drawn intense devotion among its fanbase, since there have only been 6 episodes produced over the last three years (although series 3 is set to FINALLY begin airing in January).

The scrapbook part of the book is interesting, informative, and entertaining. In the episodes, they have to keep the story moving. Though John’s notes and the messages between Sherlock and John, the reader can see both their thought processes a little more and their relationship, which has always been a huge part of the Holmes mythos. You simply can’t have a Sherlock Holmes without a John Watson. He’s only part of a person like that. Of course, the contrary is true as well– a Watson without a Holmes is lost and directionless, and Sherlock does an excellent job of showing this to the audience. (You can find the essay I wrote on John Watson, “My Dear Watson is Elementary: The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” in my ebook I’m Not Watching TV, I’m Doing Homework!: Essays on Science Fiction here.)

As for the nonfiction side, it is equally as well done. Since this is an official tie-in published by BBC Books, Guy Adams was able to get access to the people who know Sherlock best–the ones who make it. He retells their stories and insights with wit and a genuine interest so it is never a dry interview with people about their jobs. He also did his homework with regards to Doyle, the original Holmes stories, and the various screen versions that have popped up over the years, while still staying focused on Sherlock. It comes across as an acknowledgement of the inspiration and what has gone before without becoming about the other versions.

Like most television guides, this will mainly appeal to fans of the show, the devoted ones who want to know all of the details of how the show is made, the in-jokes that the crew put in to amuse themselves, and the thought processes of the men and women who bring these beloved characters and their world to life. The other side is that these guides quickly become outdated as new episodes air (not that rapidly for Sherlock of course, since the book was published in 2012 and we won’t get the new episodes until 2014, instead of the more usual new season and new content per year). I’m sure that another book will be produced soon, possibly next year, to include the new cases. But even when we get the new episodes, this will remain a wonderful addition to the world of Sherlock.

Today I Read…The Brilliant Book 2012

Brilliant Book 2012Today I read Doctor Who: The Brilliant Book 2012, edited by Clayton Hickman.

Anything you want to know about Doctor Who series six? Anything at all? You, in the back–no, not you, you in the cool bow-tie–the time? Why it’s 5:02 of course. It’s always 5:02. And Richard Nixon would very much like it if you dropped by and did something about that impossible astronaut who’s been calling him. And would someone please take Hitler out of that cupboard, or at least get him to stop banging on the walls?

This official guide to the 2012 season of the hit show Doctor Who contains descriptions and fun facts for all 13 episodes and the Christmas special A Christmas Carol, in addition to interviews with actors and behind-the-scenes people, articles on making monsters and the Doctor’s various hats, Mels’ school reports and the Doctor waving at the Ponds through time, as well as Cleopatra’s Facebook page, fun facts about the Corsair, and the Doctor’s story of the Moon. A must-have for any devoted fan of the madman with the blue box.

******************************************************************************************

I like to collect guides to my favourite shows–sometimes they’ve got some fascinating extras and details about episodes, as well as interviews with the people behind the magic. The Brilliant Book 2012 is a good example of a guide, containing both the factual behind-the-scenes information and the whimsical extras such as the rewritten version of Humpty Dumpty where the Doctor reveals that Humpty is actually Strax the Sontaran, or the Teselecta User Guide. This book won’t appeal much to the casual fan, but to the one who likes to know absolutely everything about their beloved show, this book is a valuable and entertaining resource. The layout and pictures are lovely, and the extras are well thought-out and designed. They enhance the DW universe nicely and fill it with in-jokes and minor details that the truly obsessed fan will devour.

 

Today I Read…Eats, Shites & Leaves

Eats Shites & LeavesToday I read Eats, Shites & Leaves: Crap English and How To Use It by A. Parody.

Anyone who knows English knows that they know nothing at all, since English goes out of its way and back again to be as contrary as possible. Eats, Shites & Leaves points out exactly why nobody likes you English, you bloody annoying wanker.

***************************************************

Every English major will find this book hilarious. I once saw a shirt that said “English does not borrow from other languages. English waits in dark alleys and knocks other languages over the head and goes through their pockets looking for loose grammar.” Eats, Shites & Leaves is basically a collection of lists: poor grammar, strange quotes, odd words, uncommon euphemisms, illogical phrases, rare words, classic clichés, rude slang, and many more things that show the sheer insanity and inanity that we call the English language.

Funny as it is, it does get a bit boring just reading list after list, so I would read this book in chunks rather than straight through–as with any joke, timing is everything.