The Girl Who Was, Like, Whatever
By Kelly O’Nelly
This literary tour de force from the acclaimed young author of Rockabye Rat Trap tells the story of Kenmore Levinson, a girl so neglected that her mother named her after a refrigerator. Touching on child abuse, drug abuse and Gary Busey abuse, the novel follows Kenmore through her childhood and teen years, piling degradation on top of misery on top of hepatitis, but all of this written in a tone similar to a hastily cobbled Facebook post about poor service at a nail salon. Kenmore’s journey of redemption begins when her bored English teacher offhandedly suggests she is “quite clever,” and Kenmore believes it and keeps believing it against all evidence to the contrary. Eventually, Kenmore becomes a celebrated copywriter of teeth whitener ads. It’s a celebration of the spirit, low standards and high cheekbones!
By Orin LeGrangé
Who says you can’t take crime lying down? No one, actually. That’s not an expression. But that doesn’t stop Dashiell Bloom, the world’s most horizontal private eye. Following a freak Father’s Day accident involving a soldering gun and tree sap, former marine/cop/carpet salesman Bloom finds himself medically confined to a back yard tree hammock. But when a neighbourly dispute over a survey marker leads to murder, Bloom finds himself in the right place at the right time at the right angle at the right to remain silent! Aided by his trusty sidekick Moe the gardener and a possibly-hallucinated squirrel named Coolio, Bloom (gently) swings into action, risking life and tree limb to solve the case. Look out crime, it’s nap time! This is the first in the series of Dashiell Bloom mysteries, followed by Hammocks Amok, Hammocks Ahoy!, I Am Hammock, To Hammock And To Hold, and Green Eggs And Hammock.
My Lederhosen My Love
By Framka Futschkieieieien (translated from the Bavarian by Ned Todd)
Emotionally stunted by her husband, who is a man, a lonely housewife develops a profound sexual relationship with her laundry. What starts out as a flirtation with fabric softener soon deepens into a debauchery of bleach and hot-water washing. Overcome by guilt, desire and fresh springtime scent, the unnamed protagonist marvels at how something so clean can feel so dirty. And yet she can’t stop emptying her lint trap three, sometimes five times a day. Soon her sexual awakening finds her drawn to other household chores. (The chapter on descaling the shower is especially steamy!) But what happens when she finds her laundry becoming too clingy? Will she hang up laundry for good? Or will they stay hot and heavy between the dryer sheets? And what will happen when her husband discovers she is no longer separating colours? He won’t. Because he’s a man.
Asia or Asia Ain’t My Baby
By Jen Huang
Meet the Wongs, an eccentric Chinese family recently arrived in America who have already achieved the American dream of living in the suburbs and owning a mid-size Dalmatian. Thanks to a lucrative chain of Chinese restaurants serving Mexican food (“Bamboo Tree Amigos”), the Wongs find themselves rubbing elbows with white upperclass society, who keep referring to the Wongs as “the Orientals” and asking them to pronounce “Beverly Hillbillies.” (“What, you think we Japanese?” Mr. Wong exclaims.) But the future of their food empire appears to be in jeopardy when, to his great shame, Mr. Wong discovers that all his children are bad at math. The book is full of Asian stereotypes like this but written by a Chinese author from the Chinese perspective, so enjoy guilt-free, white folks!
Follicles of Jupiter
By Chester Chemtov
Written with the same dash of zaniness as Atlas Shrugged and the same 10-point Times Roman as Anna Karenina, Follicles of Jupiter is a semi-autobiographical sci-fi road pic whodunnit with a touch of Bollywood musical. In a not-too-distant-but-not-especially-close future, miming has become illegal. But it’s not all good news. Without an outlet for their walking against the wind or being crushed by imaginary heavy objects, would-be mimes roam the streets, terrorizing the public with unicycling and aerial silk acrobatics. Enter Zedex, part man, part philosophy major. Hired by a mysterious talking steam kettle to round up the notorious Mime Nine, Zedex becomes entangled in a web of deceit, lies and dental floss. Before long but certainly long enough, he finds himself held captive in Jupiter’s miming colonies, all the while carrying with him a powerful spigot that guarantees its holder luxurious 70s-style hair: the Farrah Faucet. But all is not as it seems, or as Medor, leader of the Mime Nine says, “ !”
always great to have your reviews ahead of planning my summer reads. i’ve also heard a rumor that liam neeson may be starring in the upcoming hallmark tv movie version of ‘my lederhosen my love.’ i’m already beyond the moon with excitement.
“I will look for you, I will find you, and I will fluff you.” – Liam Neeson in MLML
These are great picks! Especially the “Cry Hammock & Let Sleep The Dogs of Warmth”
But “Lint trap”? “Dryer sheets”? I don’t like recitations of sexual debauchery where I have to look up the terms. And if Framka is using hot water on the lederhosen, no wonder her husband is stunted and yodeling all the time.
I really should call you up before I publish and just go, “Soooo… I need some better puns… Whatcha got?”
Lint trap? Really? You need to get out more.
I’m using an organic, non-Google search engine, and it told me that Lint Trap, or Linzertorte in German, is a fancy almond cake from Austria with redcurrant jam in the middle? Nothing about the steamy laundry angle. You’re right, I need to get out more.
I LOVE the Hammock series, especially Green Eggs and Hammock. I take it here and there. I take it to the fair. I take it, take it, everywhere! But the new one is called Bullock and Hammock. I can’t wait to see how Dashiell handles some cattle hustlers!
Very funny post Ross – thanks for the laughs.
You know, it’s so crazy it might just work.
Another translation from Ned Todd!!! OMG thank you for the heads up.
Thanks for the brilliant reviews. It will be a fun summer reading season! More please.
Ha. Thanks for calling out Ned Todd. I was looking for the most boring name I could find. (With apologies to my friend Ned.)
“Life” by Keef Richards, at the ‘Haskell’ Read it with my feet in the sand at ‘Gull Island’… great anecdotes! Fun Stone’s history??
Real books not aloud in this thread! (Hi Toto.)
“Cry Hammock!” and Let Skip the Squirrels of War. That’s gotta be coming soon…
You and another commenter are on the same wavelength. I can’t decide which is better.
I think the mysterious talking steam kettle once starred in a vintage cartoon. Must have been just a newborn because all it did was whine.
The Brave Little Toaster.
I think there is a much older one I saw once but it’s not out there that I can find. I’m so old…
Not old, vintage.
Ha! Thanks. I’ll try to remember that.
Gad dang it, Ross, where do you get this stuff from? It’s great.
What about the cooking tome Ham Hocks and Hammocks?
Asia or Asia Ain’t My Baby reminds me of Elementary starring Lucy Liu. What a tongue twister!
“Is You Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” is probably one of those songs that no one remembers, rendering the joke amusing pretty much only to me, which sort of answers your first question. It’s special alone time with my head.
Not to brag but I know it well. You left out an “Is” in the title. “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby.” It was covered by Joe Jackson on his Jumpin’ Jive album, which is fantastic.
Ha! You’re right. I ruined the gag! (Except for me, which, again, is what’s important…)
Don’t kid yourself. It’s a killer post.
Don’t mean to interrupt your Walter Mitty Special Time, but it’s still a pretty
sorry, meant to say, still a pretty hipster tune. For some reason Louis Jordan is kind of a popular influence, and it’s in circulation on RadioParadise, my favorite internet station, don’t remember which singer.
Radio Paradise sounds wonderful!
It’s really great. The DJ’s name is also Bill, he is a zen master of segue. sometimes the listener comments are really fun, sometimes intensely annoying, but seriously a fantastic “station”.