Humour archive at Stray Talk
an archive of my forays into fact and fiction

Archive: Humour


18th May, 2008
Tjuvlyssnat; Damon Rasti & Gloria Hedman
— Love @ 18:34 Comments (1)
Filed under: B, Humour, Non-fiction, Swedish

Tjuvlyssnat; Damon Rasti & Gloria Hedman Tjuvlyssnat
by Damon Rasti and Gloria Hedman
Title translated to English: Eavesdropped
Swedish

Swedish
140 pages
Känguru
ISBN: 978-91-85476-61-9

First line: n/a

Back cover blurb:
Vi har alla gjort det: tjuvlyssnat på andras samtal.
På tunnelbanan, i kön i mataffären, på ett café—det går helt enkelt inte att låta bli. Att tjuvlyssna är mer än ett behov. Det är en livsstil, ett folknöje, en del av samtidskulturen. Men vad är det egentligen de säger?
Sedan ett år tillbaka finns några av de bästa tjuvlyssningarna publicerade på sajten tjuvlyssnat.se. Men de allra bästa är sparade till denna bok. Här blandas högt och lågt, humor och allvar, det personliga med det allmängiltiga.

Thoughts: Tjuvlyssnat.se is basically the Swedish version of Overheard in New York and similar sites. I read the site pretty much every day and today I ran out of reading material on the train and decided to buy the first book of collected Tjuvlyssnat gems to help pass the time.

It’s hilarious most of the time, which earns it a B grade, but it’s not exactly something that sticks in your mind.

Can I just say also that I will never again read fourteen books in a single week without writing reviews after each one? Because writing fourteen catch-up reviews in a single evening is hell, even if the reviews are short and utter crap like mine.


5th May, 2008
I Am America (And So Can You!); Stephen Colbert
— Love @ 21:17 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, B, English, Humour, Politics, Religion, Sex, sexuality & gender

I Am America (And So Can You!); Stephen Colbert I Am America (And So Can You!)
by Stephen Colbert
American

For the A-Z reading challenge.

English
iPod audiobook

First line: Hi, I’m Stephen Colbert and I am no fan of books.

Back cover blurb:
Realizing that it takes more than thirty minutes a night to fix everything that’s destroying America, Colbert bravely takes on the forces aligned to destroy our country — whether they be terrorists, environmentalists, or Kashi brand breakfast cereals. His various targets include nature (“I’ve never trusted the sea. What’s it hiding under there?”), the Hollywood Blacklist (“I would have named enough names to fill the Moscow phone book”), and atheists (“Imagine going through life completely duped into thinking that there’s no invisible, omniscient higher power guiding every action on Earth. It’s just so arbitrary!”). Colbert also provides helpful illustrations and charts (Things That Are Trying to Turn Me Gay) and a complete transcript of his infamous speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner all of which add up to a book that is sure to be a bestseller and match the success of Colbert’s former Daily Show boss Jon Stewart’s America (The Book).

Thoughts: I recently decided that I really need to get fitter and as a step in the right direction, I’ve started going for walks with audiobooks on my iPod. I can’t listen to them unless I’m out for a walk (or, as time goes by, a run), which I’m hoping will be a bit like killing two birds with one stone—I get fitter and I get some reading done, all at the same time!

Works great so far. I Am America (And So Can You!) was the first book I picked. It’s just over three and a half hours long and I finished listening to it in three walks. Or, in other words: the plan worked! I wanted to go out walking so I’d get to hear the next part of the book, which I found really amusing (worthy of a B rating, actually).

Exercise and audiobooks really are the ideal combination. My only problem is that I can’t figure out how to count these in my book stats, as page counts are a vital part of them, and that doesn’t quite work with the spoken word. I’m sure I’ll figure something out at some point, though.


24th February, 2008
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; Tom Stoppard
— Love @ 23:04 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, B, Decades '08, English, Humour, Plays

No cover image available Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
by Tom Stoppard
British

For the Decades ’08 (first performed in 1967) and the A-Z reading challenges.

English
77 pages
e-book

First line: “Heads.”

Back cover blurb: n/a

Thoughts: A couple of years ago I saw bits and pieces of the 1991 film adaption of this play. I don’t remember a lot of it, just that it seemed totally absurd and quite funny. Exactly what my thoughts on the play are, in fact. It’s so completely bizarre and absolutely hilarious — I loved it.

Rosencrantz: Shouldn’t we be doing something — constructive?
Guildenstern: What did you have in mind?… A short, blunt human pyramid…?

R: Would you like to play Questions?
G: How do you play?
R: You have to ask a question.
G: Statement! One – love.
R: Cheating!
G: How?
R: I hadn’t started yet.
G: Statement. Two – love.
R: Are you counting that?
G: What?
R: Are you counting that?
G: Foul! No repetitions. Three – love. First game to…

Reading the script was in other words a nice experience (one that warrants a B in my way of thinking), but my plan now is to hunt down the film once more and actually, properly watch it this time.

As a small morsel of trivia, I can tell you that the street I live on is named after Rosencrantz. In case anyone else thinks that’s as neat as I do.


23rd February, 2008
The World According to Clarkson: And Another Thing…; Jeremy Clarkson
— Love @ 13:28 Comments (1)
Filed under: D, English, Humour, Non-fiction

The World According to Clarkson: And Another Thing...; Jeremy Clarkson The World According to Clarkson: And Another Thing…
by Jeremy Clarkson
British

English
340 pages
Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-141-02860-6

First line: I suppose all of us were out and about before Christmas, pummelling our credit cards to within an inch of their lives.

Back cover blurb:
Jeremy Clarkson finds the world such a perplexing place that he wrote a bestselling book about it. Yet, despite the appearance of The World According to Clarkson, things — amazingly — haven’t improved. Not being someone to give up easily, however, he’s decided to have another go.

In And Another Thing… the king of exasperated quip discovers that:

  • bombing North Carolina is bad for Yorkshire
  • we can look forward to exploding at the age of 62
  • Russians look bad in Speedos. But not as bad as we do
  • wasps are the highest form of life.

Thoughts: I love Top Gear, which, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is an outrageous sort of motor programme that even such car un-enthusiasts as myself can thoroughly enjoy. As Clarkson is one of the three presenters on the show, I found it hard to resist when I saw a copy of one of his books in a bookstore. After reading it, I discovered that it had been better for me had I managed to resist the temptation. Simply put: he drives me up the wall and infuriates me with pretty much every little column he’s ever written. I have thus come to the conclusion that I will keep watching, and enjoying, Top Gear, but will keep as far away as possible from anything of Clarkson’s that is not directly related to the show. (I now have to figure out if I should give in to the temptation to read any of the books by James May and Richard Hammond (the two other presenters), or if it’s best to just stay away from those as well.)

As for the rating, a D will do.


15th January, 2008
Boy Meets Boy; David Levithan
— Love @ 21:00 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, GLBT interest, Humour, Romance, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

Boy Meets Boy Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
American

For the Young Adult and A-Z reading challenges.

English
185 pages
Random House
ISBN: 0-375-83299-8

First line: 9 P.M. on a November Saturday.

Back cover blurb:
Love is never easy. Especially if you’re Paul. He’s a sophomore at a high school like no other—and these are his friends:
Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback
Joni, Paul’s best friend who may not be his best friend anymore
Tony, his other best friend, who can’t leave the house unless his parents think he’s going on a date… with a girl
Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won’t go away
Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odds…
And Noah, The Boy. The one who changes everything.

Thoughts: I don’t quite know what to say about this book. I liked it well enough—it was short, sweet and quite funny—but I feel a complaint coming on, and one that’s going to make you roll your eyes at me. Remember how I often gripe about the bleak and depressing nature of a lot of gay-related stories? Well, I’m just about to take issue with one being too upbeat and positive. There seems to be no way to win!

The thing is, though, that while the town that Paul lives in is quite fun to read about and rather cute, it’s too perfect. It would be great if there were a town like his, but I think we’re a long way from that, still. Sadly enough.

Let’s face it, though: we don’t always ask for complete realism from short YA novels. In other words, I’m giving it a C rating, because it’s what I think it deserves. A little more realism (with the same basic plot/romance) and it’d have been a B or a C, depending on the language and characters. No one really clicked with me, like other literary characters have in the past, but if I had to pick one that moved me more than the others, I would pick Tony. He seemed the most realistic to me.


6th December, 2007
The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition; DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams & Lee Thompson)
— Love @ 11:08 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, Humour

The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition; DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams & Lee Thompson) The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition
by DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams and Lee Thompson)
British

English
128 pages
Bantam Press
ISBN: 9780593060209

First line: Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

Back cover blurb: n/a

Thoughts: I know you’re not supposed to take this book seriously, but it didn’t amuse me quite as much as I’d hoped it would either. However, I do love me some Gene Hunt and photos of the man himself is always a plus, so a C it is.


10th November, 2007
Bush-Whacked; Leland Gregory
— Love @ 17:50 Comments (0)
Filed under: English, F, Humour

Bush-Whacked; Leland Gregory Bush-Whacked
by Leland Gregory
American

English
248 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN: 0-7407-5471-8

Back cover blurb:
From the best-selling author of America’s Dumbest Criminals, What’s the Number for 911? and Hey, Idiot! comes a hysterical collection of perplexing quotes and wacky anecdotes devoted to the governmental goofs of the Bush administration.

With his expert nose for nuttiness, Leland Gregory has captured the Bush administration at its funniest, not its finest.

Thoughts: I was expecting to be very amused by this book, but that just didn’t happen. It’s true that it contains a few gems that made me giggle, but the author (or editor, if you will, since it’s a collection of quotes, basically) included a bunch of budget decisions that I couldn’t personally see anything wrong with. Since they were included, I assume they were meant to be funny, but I just didn’t see it. Maybe it’s because I’m not an American and I have another view, perhaps, on how tax money is meant to be spent.

Either way, in the end, I didn’t much care for this book and it gets an F, the first I’ve given out since this blog started.