BookStackWe’re still three months away from Summer Beach Reading Season, but you don’t have to wait that long to read the books that everyone else is reading because other people told them to read them and you should too. That’s because it’s Spring Snow Bank Reading Season!

Here’s a list of must-read books perfect for perusing in partially melted back yard snow drifts while obstinately wearing shorts and sandals because it’s spring, dammit! And by “must-read,” I mean go now. Right now. Don’t even finish this article; take it with you. No! Stop ordering online! Too slow. Go get these books this instant. Get the hell out! Git! And thank you for supporting your independent book store.

The Burghermeister’s Burger by Isabelllllll Plechette

The fourth in her Possessives series (The Baker’s Forklift, The Alchemist’s Bassoon, The Crossing Guard’s Gelato), Plechette expands her exploration of people who own things, what they own, the relationships between the owner and the thing owned, the byzantine nature of small claims courts and the inherently awkward nature of literary sex scenes. Set against the backdrop of the Great Salmonella Scare of 1974, Plechette asks whether love, like hamburger, can simply be too rare.

The Intransigents by Jonathan Jonathanson

A group of friends reunite for their 20-year college reunion only to discover that they have not changed even the tiniest bit, not their political views, not their taste in music, not even their willful preference for the original “Star Trek” over “Star Trek: TNG.” Jonathanson bravely breaks new ground by writing a 400-page book with zero character arc and no letter L, leading to a last chapter that [SPOILER ALERT] transforms into a pop-up book. [BIGGER SPOILER ALERT] Everyone dies quietly in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning. But in a good way.

The Layer Effect by Mitchell Goodbetter (non-fiction)

In this treatise on the psychology of hair care, journalist Goodbetter introduces the notion that a haircut is like lasagna: always better the next day. He then goes on to belabour this point for 220 more pages.

In the Pagoda With Your Lips on My Skin and A Dog Lying Nearby in February by Mirakowa Hibachi

The Japanese master of alienation and super-long titles returns with his 640-page masterpiece that critics are calling “obliquely beautiful” and “really heavy.” Alternating between post-apocalyptic Tokyo and Brooklyn’s largest broom closet circa 1937, Hibachi tells the tale of Riku, a lightly bearded haberdasher who becomes lost in a labyrinth of sea urchins, eventually leading to a vast hill, which turns out to be a giant tongue that talks/imparts wisdom/sings the blues before sending Riku on a quest for a cat that doesn’t kick litter all over the damn place. Hibachi uses the technique of defenestration to explore what it means to wear hats in the 21st century.

Is Your Basement Wet Or Are You Just Glad to See Me? By O.O. Beedoe

Self-published, then unpublished, then self-published again, selfishly published shortly thereafter, then shelved indefinitely until a major publisher shelled out for the rights after it was banned in Dublin for being “too moist,” IYBWOAYJGTSM (as it’s known for short) combines the sub-genres of soft-core S&M erotica and DIY plumbing. Will our frigid heroine Justine finally tap into her steamy source? Will she be showered with pleasure? Or will she flush true love goodbye? And what’s he going to do with that hose clamp? Voted “Best Use of the Term ‘Drain Snake’” by the Naughty Writers Association of America.

The Needy Book of Celebrities Who Are Canadian (non-fiction)

This winner of the 2013 Canada Skims competition is a compendium of biographies of actors, musicians, directors and other artists who work in the United States but were born in Canada. The book goes out of its way to identify each one of them as “the Canadian actress” or “Canadian-born choreographer,” just like Canada’s self-esteem-starved media does. Every. Single. Time.

Romaine Hearts by Marj Onovairer

A chef, a delivery girl, a distraction, a severed limb, a plot to kill the president, a shipment of walnuts, a dyslexic poet, a nation divided, an epic journey, a new beginning, a love betrayed, a dinner invitation, a health inspector, a game of Yahtzee, Dom DeLuise. Romaine Hearts will touch you. And if so, you should probably call the cops.




About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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43 Responses to Not-So-Goodreads

  1. markbialczak says:

    Twitter campaign for ‘Romaine Hearts’ just popped up on my tweet sheet:
    Lettuce entertain you.
    Off to read U.S. book on American natives playing hockey in Canada, Ross.

  2. Very funny, Ross! I’m going to add this post to my soon-to-be-released “Compendium of Blog Posts I Decided to Comment on Before My 2nd Cup of Coffee: Always Funnier in My Head”. Summer reading well worth using as a coaster for suntan lotion and sweaty glasses of lemonade.

  3. List of X says:

    That Romaine Hearts book like it may have stole its plot from Random Search Terms, by G. Oogle (Random House, 2013)

  4. I’m really Marj Onovairer….and I sit on the committee of the Naughty Writers of America Association. I like to sit on each and every one of them…snark, snark.

  5. I don’t know, Ross. I think you’ve outdone yourself. This might be the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Especially your take on 1Q84.

    I’ve permanently exited the must-read business. About a year ago I read Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. The New York Times said it was one of the 10 best books of 2012. A! MUST! READ! I couldn’t stand it and couldn’t wait for it to end. I didn’t care about any of those characters. They couldn’t all been eaten by crocodiles for all I care. So no more MUST READS. Except maybe The Intransigents. Your description is intriguing.

    • O.O. Beedoe! My God! How do you come up with this stuff?!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Is that close to the plot of IQ84? I was definitely going for a Murakami vibe so glad you caught it. (Not that it was subtle…) And thanks.
      I have Swamplandia! on a to-read list somewhere; thanks for the warning.
      I much prefer personalized references from people I trust. Speaking of which, whipped through A Clockwork Orange this week. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to read that in 1962. Ironic that we’ve become so desensitized to violence that it hardly shocks. Still, quite audacious. Pure exuberance.

      • I have no idea if that’s close to the plot of 1Q84 because there’s no way in hell I would ever touch that book, although I’ve enjoyed a few of his titles in the past. Norwegian Wood is pretty good.

        Go right ahead and read Swamplandia! I’d like your honest opinion. I can take it. I’m the odd one.

        As I mentioned earlier, I love Clockwork. The language takes a bit of getting used to but it’s worth the effort. Funny in all the wrong places, like Lolita. A MUST READ!

  6. ksbeth says:

    i cannot wait until each of these is made into a feature film. (perhaps even a series?)

  7. Paul says:

    Very humoUrous Ross! At first I thought perhaps I was missing a literary or pop cutural reference as I spent a good number of my younger years beating around North America in an old truck and missed a lot of pop experiences (but I can sure tell you where to get the best club sandwich!). Sooo, I googled each and every title to find the hidden meaning – and there isn’t one! Ha! You have single handedly, Ross, generated no less than 7 titles that, when googled, produce only one result -“Drinking Tips for Teens”. Absolutely astounding – I don’t think I’ve ever googled anything and gotten less than 35 million hits. This achievement shows an underlying grasp of google and all the information in the known universe that is unparalleled in my experience. Truly, there must be an award for such an accomplishment and, if not, we need to create one. Oddly, given how you say you wrote this missive, googling “Is Your Basement Wet Or Are You Just Glad to See Me? By O.O. Beedoe” also produces 6 ads for companies who would like to fix your leaky basement. Perhaps they can help?

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I am a master of SEO — which isn’t saying much, in my experience.
      And, Paul, never take me seriously unless I tell you to in advance. And even then, maybe not.

      • Paul says:

        I did get the “not for serious consumption” content warning, however, I suspected they might be parodies – I thought I recognized “The Intransigents ” as a parody of an old movie called “The Big Chill”. But it was a false lead – there is no hidden meaning! Truly a glorious achievement. Or as Freud so aptly pointed out; “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

  8. You say these are the best books… But these are not famous at all…. I haven’t ever heard of them… Did you want to suggest the not so famous yet very good books?

  9. Somehow I feel like I’ve already read most of these. Maybe it’s the universal themes…

    Thanks for making me spew coffee all over my monitor!

  10. XD More please. These were hilarious. Your review reminded me of the back of every Series of Unfortunate Events book…and I loved your HIbachi review. Especially because you said haberdasher. I friggun love that word.

  11. Amanda Fox says:

    I agree with Exile on Pain Street. You’ve outdone yourself with this blog post. I think you just get funnier every time you write something. That must be the Canadian in you. We are born funny and then get incrementally funnier over time until we are so unfathomably funny that no one even understands us.

    Canadian author, Ross Murray – rolls nicely off the tongue, doesn’t it? You had me at Jonathan Jonathanson LOL.

  12. What titles! Looking for a publicist?!

  13. Trent Lewin says:

    Ross, where on earth do you find the time to READ? I am humbled by this list, which contains nothing I’ve read before… well, I know they’re not real, but I think you should smush these ideas together and release a single volume that contains all these elements blended seamlessly to allow me the honour of not having to read too much but still reading well. I would appreciate it.

  14. cat9984 says:

    Gee – wish I’d have read this list before I went out and spent my entire book budget. Maybe I’ll be able to find them in a bargain bin somewhere in Canada. Especially the first one. It sounds like it was inspired by the character in the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” cartoon. Notice you couldn’t resist one dig at the cats (pun intended).

  15. benzeknees says:

    I’m so glad you warned me – I was about to go out & buy one of these! 🙂

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