This list is for you or for people on your shopping list: whoever is funnest.
Ain’t Got Time to Bleed, by Andrew Shaffer and Steven Lefcourt, collects all our brutalized movie heroes and assesses their medical condition after said brutalizations. How long until Batman could actually fight after Bane broke his back? Or is he just dead? Could Beatrix Kiddo really survive a gunshot to the head and then a sword fight against a billion ninja-types? Katniss? Bond? Indy? Bruce Lee? I was actually surprised at how many of these guys could actually live through their impossible adventures. Yippee kai-yay, motherf*ckers.
For anyone into both humor and horror, Crap Taxidermy is a miracle. Kat Su collects the best/worst examples of what is already a pretty awful “art”. Some are obviously deliberate: like, you don’t accidentally turn a dead squirrel into a beer cozy. That’s where the horror comes in. On the humor side are all the apparently earnest attempts at making a dead animal look like a live animal. Some amount of real self-deception would have to be necessary to display these publicly, but here’s a book full of them.
We love The Devastator and head honchos Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden. The Best American Emails is Meadows’ latest, and is, precisely as advertised, representative masterpieces from every email genre. For instance, there is that classic “MAN SAMPLES” spam you got from firstname.lastname@example.org: “GET YOUR ELONGATING MAGIC DONE FAST FAST FAST?” or that awesome CHRISTmas update email you got from your relatives (“the ones who still believe in God” and let you know it at every opportunity). You will recognize most of these, but you probably deleted them(!) No worries – here they are, in print.
My fave of Geoffrey Golden’s is Dream It! Screw It! (review), the story of Walt Disney’s alcoholic (but still genius) cousin and his many, many brilliant designs for Disney park attractions, every one of which languishes in some dusty imagineering file box, like fabled dragon treasure. It’s funny for anyone, but scratches particular itches for imagineering fans.
Ah, actually, there’s another Devastator book I love: A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek: The Next Generation (review) edited by Zachary Auburn. It’s hilarious and heartwrenching.
Are you one of those folks who walks through our wee shoppe and thinks, “Wow, I would love to work here”? Jen Campbell’s Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores will give you a pretty decent idea of what it’s like. (That and moving boxes of books ad nauseum, re Sisyphus.) We didn’t write this book, but we could have (if we were any good at writing). Questions people ask: “Do you sell Sea Monkey food?” No, we’re a bookstore. Sometimes we help folks get books their kid needs for school: “Do you have Tequila Mockingbird?” Or one of my faves from when I worked at a B&N in college: “I was in here a month ago, and there was a book on that table over there, it was blue – do you still have it?” True confessions, though. I walked into my local library a month or two ago and asked the librarian, “I get my Brontës mixed up- which one wrote Jane Austen?” So, okay – it happens to everyone. Of course, I can never go back to that branch, but anyway – this book has it all.
For the restless, creative – but in a rut: It’s Great to Create from Jon Burgerman is “101 Fun Creative Exercises for Everyone”. These are just… so random. Rubberband 8 magic markers together and draw. Make an as-you-go Zine from pictures you draw, your observations, and the happenings of one day in your life. Use your dog to make a fashion show: either with actual clothes or with digital ones you create and add to photos. Draw something upside down (you or it). Do some grafiti in your hood with chalk. Have a conversation with someone using only drawings. This is the kind of stuff that starts out dumb and becomes legendary. Maybe. Can’t imagine kids not going nuts with these, those it’s def not only a kids book.
I have never seen a more complete menagerie of monsters, real and/or unreal. How to Keep a Werewolf is Fiona Bowron and Tom Jennings’ comprehensive guide to both common critters like elves and various dragons and really obscure beasts I’ve never heard of (and I’m a fan!). Kalanoro? Con Rit? Ebu Gogo? No idea. They’re all here, PLUS tips on how to care for them. Did you know that Sasquatches love Sigourney Weaver movies? Mamlambos are a good pet choice for those in middle management. There are handy tips for what to feed your vampire (very strict diet – make sure you can handle the responsibility). Like I said, comprehensive.
Do you or your fun people like America and weirdos? The United States of Absurdity is Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds’ parade of bizarre people and episodes from American history. For example, in the 70s a few highly technical idiots decided to turn a Ford Pinto into a flying car. For you youngsters, the Pinto was known for one thing: if it got rear-ended, there was a decent chance it would blow up. That’s not a joke, it’s what you call bad design. Anyway, guess what happens when you strap wings on a driveable bomb? Or this one from New Jersey: Action Park! This was a kind of x-games type park of extremely janky “rides” (think Jackass) that sent at least five people to the ER daily. They had their own ambulances. This book is nuts, and it is not for kids. (There are lots of bad words.)
Immersive adventures of various types are the rage right now, but, of course, existence itself is the ultimate immersive adventure. It’s hard to remember that, though, since we have necessary routines and many (MANY) of the things we have to do are anything but adventurous. Keri Smith (Wreck This Journal), riffing off Walt Whitman (among others) wants to crowbar us out of unexamined existence with The Wander Society. This secret society (I’m honestly not sure if it’s real or not, but if you want in, you’re in), trumpets and practices the art of wandering, both physically and creatively. It’s not about busyness or “extreme” experiences (see Action Park, above); it’s about discovering, noticing, roaming. If you want to.
Click on the title to buy any of these from us! That’s right, you can now support an indy bookstore from the comfort of your own home! Which is weird, right?