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Thursday, January 30, 2014

WARNING: This blog's title is not as long as the book being reviewed's title.

Here’s the dilemma. Do I address the fact that I haven’t written on this blog in however months it’s been? Or do I just act like it’s business as usual. Actually, at this point isn’t sporadic blogging business as usual? Just go ahead and nod.

So I’ve read a lot of books. Luckily for you I’ve been keeping track. And by keeping track I mean writing down the titles and rating them based on the standard 5-star scale. It’s possible that the only thing I remember about some of these is how many stars I gave it. We’ll see.

Hey, I’ll just start from first book I read after my last blog and go from there. Awesome!

Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures From the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out.

That is, indeed, the title of a lovely book of short stories. It’s especially nice to start out with since I get paid by the word and that title has a lot of words (disclaimer, I do NOT get paid by the word). Right off the bat you’re either charmed by that title or annoyed.

That’s a pretty good indicator about whether you’ll like this book or not. It’s weird and clever and pretty self-aware about how weird and clever it is. If I were forced to sum it up in one sentence (because maybe I’m paid by how few words I use? Is that a thing? The internet could be running out of storage space so it might be a thing.) (Disclaimer: as far as I know, the internet is not running out of storage space, also, I am not paid by how few words I use) I would say that it’s an introduction to literary short stories for young adults.

Let me drop a couple author’s names on you. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, nod wisely and everyone around you will assume that you’re very well read. Neil Gaiman? Jon Scieszka? One Lemony Snicket? Jonathan Safron Foer? A guy named George Saunders who I admit I am not familiar with but is considered one of the great modern short story writers? There you go, just nod. Good job. Now say, “Wow, this sounds like I book I would like to read!”

Here’s a secret: it is.

Another brief description I could come up with in this hypothetical world in which this blog makes money and said remuneration coming from brevity is this: have you ever seen the crazy adventure story advertisements in old magazines for boys? Imagine if those stories had been written by people who write good stories. Then imagine if all of these stories had been compiled into a book and that book was introduced by Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket and the introduction made fun of all the hacky children’s books that you read in elementary school.

My favorite story was about a monster who terrorizes a summer camp and has a very thoughtful conversation with the scout troop’s outcast. Yours might be the story of the child growing up in the smallest kingdom on earth. What do I care?

And that’s my review of Noisy outlaws, unfriendly blobs, and some other things that aren’t as scary, maybe, depending on how you feel about lost lands, stray cellphones, creatures from the sky, parents who disappear in Peru, a man named Lars Farf, and one other story [...].