Archive for the ‘Humorous’ Category

Review of Library Mascot Cage Match, by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

library_mascot_cage_match_largeLibrary Mascot Cage Match

An Unshelved Collection

by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum

Overdue Media, Seattle, 2005. 120 pages.
Starred Review

We recently had a Library Staff Day, and Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum spoke, and we each received a copy of one of their books. I have seen Unshelved online, but I had forgotten just how funny their cartoons are.

Unshelved is set in Mallville Public Library. The comic is written so that even non-librarians will find it funny. However, we librarians? We think it’s hilarious. At last the world is having some of their misperceptions about libraries cleared up!

My favorite strip from this book is one they highlighted in their session. You see people running around the library, and a customer saying “I thought libraries were supposed to be quiet!” Dewey (the teen librarian) says, “You have what we call ‘The Misperception.’”

Another good series is where a customer is advocating for a vote to close the library to “save” taxpayer money. The librarians help him prepare his case and his materials. At the end, he asks, “What is this, the Twilight Zone???” Dewey says, “No, a library. We don’t have to like you to help you.”

This book also includes, in the center, a full-color graphic novelette, “Empire County Strikes Back,” when a high-tech bookmobile from a neighboring county tries to take over their customers and close their library. There’s a lovely scene at the end where Dewey explains all that librarians do for their community, which technology can never replace.

It’s time to take sides. Are you going to be seduced by the lure of high technology or are you going to support your local public library the way we support you?

I need to take another look at this webcomic. Time to sign up for those daily emails – and order more of the books.

unshelved.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/library_mascot_cage_match.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Ring for Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

ring_for_jeeves_largeRing for Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse
narrated by Nigel Lambert

AudioGO, 2011. First published in the United Kingdom in 1953. 6 hours, 50 minutes on 6 compact discs.

A Jeeves book without Wooster! I have stooped to checking out any P. G. Wodehouse book our library has in audio form, without trying to read them in order. This one was written in the 1950s when the British aristocracy was in trouble. Sir Rochester, Rory, works at “Harridge’s” to make ends meet, and Bill, the ninth Earl of Rowcester (pronounced “Roaster”) has been working as a bookie, with Jeeves as his clerk.

Jeeves? Why is Jeeves there without Bertie Wooster? Well, Bertie is going to a school where he’s learning to get along without servants, doing things like darning his own socks. And gentlemen’s personal gentlemen are not allowed.

Meanwhile, Bill’s bookmaking activities get him into a grand mesh of trouble after an unlikely bet pays off – or should pay off. He was operating his business in disguise and trying to keep it secret from his fiancée, Jill Wyvern, a veterinarian.

Meanwhile, Bill’s sister, Rory’s wife, has met a rich American widow who would love to buy Rowcester Abbey, especially if she can find evidence of any ghosts. But her friend happens to be the man who won the bet that Bill didn’t pay. Can Bill keep his secret? Can he sell the old house? And can Rory keep from telling the American everything that’s wrong with it?

This book is the usual good fun of a P. G. Wodehouse tale. I didn’t enjoy this narrator as much as the ones I’ve heard narrating the other books. Although he has a lovely English accent, his voice of Rory – or anyone getting very excited – was quite annoying to listen to. But that was minor enough to not diminish my overall enjoyment of the yarn. I always say there’s nothing like a good laugh on my way to work.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/ring_for_jeeves.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Jeeves: Joy in the Morning, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

jeeves_joy_in_the_morning_largeJeeves: Joy in the Morning

by P. G. Wodehouse

starring Michael Hordern and Richard Briers

A BBC Radio Full Cast Production, 3 hours on 3 compact discs.

I’m trying to listen to all the P. G. Wodehouse audiobooks the library owns, since they are simply so much fun. There’s nothing quite like laughing while you drive.

This one is a full cast radio production, with Bertie embroiled in more romantic entanglements and trying to straighten out friends’ romantic entanglements, while all the while trying to stay on the good side of the husband of his fearful Aunt Agatha, while visiting her home in Steeple Bumpleigh.

Unfortunately, I was a bit spoiled by the BBC video production of Jeeves and Wooster, and I prefer the voices of the actors they used for that production, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, over the voices of the actors in this one. However, it’s still Jeeves and Wooster and still British accents and still tremendous fun. This one, besides fearsome engagements, includes a meddlesome boy scout, whose attempts to do people a good turn every day never fail to go disastrously wrong.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/jeeves_joy_in_the_morning.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Code of the Woosters, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

code_of_the_woosters_largeThe Code of the Woosters

by P. G. Wodehouse
performed by Alexander Spencer

Recorded Books, 1989. First published in 1938. 8 hours on 7 compact discs.
Starred Review

I’m trying to listen to all the P. G. Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster books, since there is nothing better for putting me in a good mood while riding in the car.

The Code of the Woosters is one that was used for the marvelous BBC series Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, so I was very familiar with the plot – but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment in the slightest. It perhaps helped me follow the convoluted plot all the better. It did have a slightly different resolution than is dramatized in the series, but mostly the series follows the book closely.

If you’ve seen the series, all I have to say is that this is the one with the imbroglio involving the Cow Creamer.

The book itself uses the word “imbroglio” to describe the situation we find here, and the description is apt. You couldn’t hope to come up with a more convoluted set of people hoping to marry other people and threatening to marry others and needing approval and blackmailing innocents into nefarious deeds and being in danger of disaster of all different kinds. And it’s all done with a proper British accent and Bertie’s jovial way of talking.

Entirely too much fun.

recordedbooks.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/code_of_the_woosters.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Ukridge, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

ukridge_largeUkridge

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

BBC Audiobooks America, 2006. 6 CDs, 7 hours, 29 minutes. Originally written in 1960.

I’m running out of Jeeves and Wooster CDs to listen to, so I’ve turned to some of P. G. Wodehouse’s other characters, and I’m not sorry.

Ukridge is a series of short stories narrated by a writer, Reggie Corcoran, about his old friend Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge.

Jonathan Cecil, as usual, does a magnificent job of reading the books, though the character of Ukridge is one I start to get tired of. When I found myself almost calling someone “Old Horse,” I thought I should give these CDs a rest for a bit!

But I’ve always said that laughing while driving is one of the very best ways to stay awake, so P. G. Wodehouse CDs are some of the best possible listening material. Ukridge is the sort of person who never pays for anything and always has a scheme going to make his fortune for all time. Something invariably goes wrong – and hilarity ensues.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/ukridge.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Love Among the Chickens, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

love_among_the_chickens_largeLove Among the Chickens

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

BBC Audiobooks, Limited, 2005.
Starred Review

Listening to Jonathan Cecil read P. G. Wodehouse is getting to be my standard entertainment when driving. I will be devastated when I run out of library audiobooks. As it is, this was my first book, not about Jeeves and Wooster, but about Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge and his friend, the narrator, Jeremy Garnet.

The book starts when newly married Ukridge talks Jeremy, a novelist, into joining him in the countryside as he starts a chicken farm. Ukridge is sure chicken farming is the road to riches, so he feels free to buy all their supplies on credit. As Jeremy travels to the farm, he sees a young lady on the train whom he will never forget.

Well, the road to true love does not run smoothly. The young lady, Phyllis, and her father do end up being neighbors, but when they come to dinner at the farm, Ukridge manages to alienate the father, which he holds against Garnet as well. When Garnet hatches a plan to restore himself to good favor, it works for awhile, all the more disastrously to fail in the end.

And meanwhile, Ukridge’s adventures in chicken farming are nothing if not entertaining. Even without Jeeves and Wooster, this is a typical Wodehousian farce, with larger-than-life characters and tangled schemes, which generally work out in precisely the worst way, but also the funniest way.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/love_among_the_chickens.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of A Damsel in Distress, by P. G. Wodehouse

Monday, January 26th, 2015

damsel_in_distress_largeA Damsel in Distress

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

AudioGO, 2013. Originally published in 1919.
Starred Review

I love listening to P. G. Wodehouse books. There’s no better way to stay awake while driving than to laugh, and his books guarantee a laugh every time. Normally, I listen to his Jeeves and Wooster books, but A Damsel in Distress is standalone about an American composer for musical theater, George Bevan.

George is feeling bored with his successful life, when a beautiful woman dashes into his cab in the middle of Piccadilly in London and asks him to hide her. He does, despite a fat gentleman coming after her. It turns out that the young lady is the daughter of Lord Marshmorton and lives in a castle in the country. Her family is trying to keep her at home because she has fallen in love with an unsuitable man.

Well, George finds out who she is and where she lives and rents a cottage near the castle, hoping he can be of service to her. What follows is a grand mess of plotting and mistaken identities and cross-purposes, described with P. G. Wodehouse’s quirky and apt similes and distinctive characters.

Jonathan Cecil, as always, does a wonderful job giving all the characters distinctive voices and even manages a decent American accent for George Bevan. There are numerous marriages and minimal broken hearts, and the whole thing is tremendously fun.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/damsel_in_distress.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of My Man Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

my_man_jeeves_largeMy Man Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

The Overlook Press, Woodstock & New York, 2006. First published in 1919. 185 pages.

According to Novelist, My Man Jeeves is one of the first books P. G. Wodehouse wrote that includes Jeeves and Wooster. The library doesn’t have it in audio form, so I settled in to reading one story per day – a lovely way to add a smile to my days.

This is a collection of short stories, not all of them about Jeeves, and the author hadn’t gotten quite as fully into the form yet. I love his book-length stories, because in those he can develop an incredibly tangled imbroglio for Jeeves to solve.

However, these were delightfully fun, and were sure to add a smile to my day every time I fit one in. Some of my favorites were actually the ones not about Jeeves, since although similar, they were a little more unexpected. In “Absent Treatment,” Reggie Pepper has to figure out how to save the marriage of a frightfully forgetful friend. (He can’t remember the date of his wife’s birthday.) And in “Helping Freddie” he helps a friend get back with the girl he was engaged to by means of a scheme that goes hilariously wrong. And there’s a similar theme in “Rallying Around Old George,” though a very different scheme that goes wrong.

P. G. Wodehouse is in top form, as always, with regard to expressions and turns of phrase that evoke a feckless young man of the twenties. Here’s Bertie when he has to spend a night in a hotel because a friend’s aunt thinks Bertie’s home belongs to the friend:

As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I’d always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves, and haven’t got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don’t you know. I mean to say, ever since then I’ve been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.

overlookpress.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/my_man_jeeves.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Verily, a New Hope, by Ian Doescher

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

verily_a_new_hope_largeWilliam Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Verily, a New Hope

By Ian Doescher

Quirk Books, Philadelphia, 2013. 174 pages.
Starred Review
2013 Cybils Finalist

I’m going to list this on the Teens page – but this is truly a book that spans all ages. I brought it to a party of adults playing Eurogames, and they were all delighted and spontaneously read bits aloud. One of them was a homeschooler, and we agreed that it would be perfect for a group of middle school students getting ready to tackle Shakespeare.

What is it? The complete story of the first Star Wars movie, told in iambic pentameter, as Shakespeare would surely have written it, had he ever heard of space ships. This isn’t a straight translation. The author also used Shakespearean devices such as a Chorus to describe action and multiple uses of soliloquies to tell what the characters are thinking and planning.

This book truly begs to be read aloud or, better yet, performed. And, since everyone knows the story of Star Wars so well, any Shakespearean language the reader doesn’t understand will be readily made clear.

Here’s the scene where Luke has just met Obi Wan Kenobi:

CHORUS Now holdeth Luke the weapon in his hand,
And with a switch the flame explodes in blue.
The noble light Luke’s rev’rence doth command:
That instant was a Jedi born anew.

OBI-WAN [aside:] Now doth the Force begin to work in him.
[To Luke:] For many generations Jedi were
The guarantors of justice, peace, and good
Within the Old Republic. Ere the dark
Times came and ere the Empire ‘gan to reign.

LUKE How hath my father died?

OBI-WAN [aside:] –O question apt!
The story whole I’ll not reveal to him,
Yet may he one day understand my drift:
That from a certain point of view it may
Be said my answer is the honest truth.
[To Luke:] A Jedi nam’d Darth Vader – aye, a lad
Whom I had taught until he evil turn’d –
Did help the Empire hunt and then destroy
The Jedi. [Aside:] Now, the hardest words of all
I’ll utter here unto this innocent,
With hope that one day he shall comprehend.
[To Luke:] He hath thy Father murder’d and betray’d,
And now are Jedi nearly all extinct.
Young Vader was seduc’d and taken by
The dark side of the Force.

Ian Doescher includes a note at the end of the book as to why Shakespeare and Star Wars make a natural pairing. I’m happy to report that the trilogy continues in The Empire Striketh Back.

quirkbooks.com/shakespearestarwars
IanDoescher.com
starwars.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/verily_a_new_hope.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of The Inimitable Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

inimitable_jeeves_largeThe Inimitable Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

narrated by Jonathan Cecil

AudioGO, 2009. First published in 1923. 6 hours, 18 minutes on 6 compact discs.
Starred Review

Since I was having such fun listening to Jeeves and Wooster stories, and since the library seems to have new copies of several of the books, I decided to try to listen to them more or less in order. NoveList tells me that The Inimitable Jeeves is the third book, coming after The Man with Two Left Feet, and Other Stories, which only has one Jeeves and Wooster story, and My Man Jeeves, which the library only has in a print edition.

I do know I’ve read The Inimitable Jeeves before, sometime or other, and the events related here were also reproduced in the brilliant BBC miniseries which I have on DVD. But that didn’t keep me from enjoying Jonathan Cecil’s performance tremendously. And I enjoyed the characters and situations all the more, because I know how they will continue to haunt Bertie’s life.

Indeed, this is the volume where Bertie first gets engaged to Honoria Glossop. It happens because, while having a disagreement with Jeeves, Bertie thought he could get his pal Bingo Little (who was then in love with Honoria) out of a scrape using his own brain power. How foolish, Bertie! I found myself trying to warn him the whole time, and shaking my head with great delight as his scheme went wrong.

Of course, Jonathan Cecil adds so much. This one involves several romantic trials which only Jeeves can solve, including one involving Jeeves himself (which I hadn’t remembered). I listened to this while driving my son back to Williamsburg after Spring Break, and there’s nothing better at making the road seem short than hearty laughter, don’t you know.

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/inimitable_jeeves.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!