Good Reading : February 2011
20 goodreading ı FEBRUARY 2011 exasperation and humour. 'It's amazing how as things get worse, you begin to require less and less. We have a saying for that in Iraq: "If you see death, you settle for a fever". We've given up on democracy, security and even electricity. Just bring back the water.' Baghdad Bur ning II picks up the story in October 2004, as Riverbend starts to lose her trademark humour while struggling with further deprivation, escalating violence in the city and the growing restrictions on her freedom. Although the diarised blog is the more likely candidate for publication as a book, projects such as 52suburbs and PostSecret show the market is also open to an assortment of weird and wonderful blogs. Kerry Miller posted her collection of notes left by her housemates about doing the dishes, changing the toilet roll and other share-house issues. Your Mother Doesn't Work Here: Painfully polite and hilariously hostile notes was born after notes poured in from aggrieved flatmates and workers around the world. On the cover is a misspelled Post-it note left on a work fridge: 'Dear Milk-theif, that was breast milk'. Inside are hundreds of letters from family ('Hey Sweetie-Pie, Let's go out to dinner tomorrow. We miss you! We don't have to ... if it's too much trouble. No, never mind. Mom'), notes taped on microwaves ('Please clear any unused time off the microwave when you are finished. Some of us have OCD and leftover time drives us crazy. Thanks!') and simple messages spelled out in children's magnet letters ('Touch my subway you die'). Justin Halper n's book, Sh*t My Dad Says, is a collection of his father's pithy and profane aphorisms that he started posting on Twitter (the microblogging site that limits posts to just 140 characters). 'Pick your furniture like you pick a wife; it should make you feel comfortable and look nice, but not so nice that if someone walks past it they want to steal it.' The book contains many of the blog favourites but it's also a hilarious and touching memoir of the father--son relationship categorical 1 CHECK OUT THESE OTHER BLOG BOOKS: Need a laugh? Tr y The Joys of Engrish by Steven Caires (Tarcher) or Awkward Family Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack (Hodder, $22.99) Need a sea change? Try Wife in the North by Judith O’Reilly (Penguin, $24.95) or Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson (Penguin, $22.95) Need literary guidance? Try Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log by Mark Liberman & Geoffrey K Pullum (William, James & Co.) Need a good knitting yarn? Try Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair: The true-life misadventures of a 30-something who learned to knit after he split , by Laurie Perry (Health Communication International, $39.00) Need something more risqué? Try Straight Up and Dirty: A memoir by Stephanie Klein or Belle’s Best Bits: A London call girl reveals her favourite adventures by Belle de Jour (Ebury Press, $23.95) that intensified when 28-year-old Justin found himself living at home with 73-year-old Sam, a man his son describes as 'like Socrates, but angrier and with worse hair'. 'You know, sometimes it's nice having you around. But now ain't one of those times. Now gimme the remote, we're not watching this bullsh*t.' Christian Lander started his blog (stuffwhitepeoplelike.com) after being teased by a friend for liking the TV show The Wire. The jokey conversation soon morphed into a tongue-in-cheek manual for socialising with people of the 'Caucasian persuasion'. Stuff White People Like: A definitive guide to the unique taste of millions is a list of 150 white-folk favourites with coffee in the #1 spot. 'White people are given extra points for buying fair trade coffee, because paying the extra $2 means they are making a difference while their peers are drinking liquid oppression.' Lander admits the list, which covers raising awareness (#18), having two last names (#22), expensive sandwiches (#63) and adopting foreign children (#133), is more about class (middle) and politics (fir mly to the left) than race. Instead, he has modernised the concept of the 80s yuppie, as his blog book satirises the new consumer culture obsession with authenticity rather than greed. As well as offering laughs, new insights or even just the comfort of knowing there is someone out there who thinks like you, blog books come with the added benefit that you can try them before you buy them. The best part, though, is that the story hardly ever ends with the last page.The next blog post is just one click away.
December January 2011