100 Grumpy Animals

Before jumping into a book, I have a mini-announcement! For some time now, I have been posting picture books to start the month, and then wrapping up the month with an update on the Unread Shelf project. Starting with June, I am going to flip that. I was having some issues with my reading total numbers, since my USP project posts where I update these did not actually fall on the last day of the month. Going forward, I will wrap up the month with a children’s book, and then post for the Unread Shelf Project in the first week of the following month.

Since I already posted for the Unread Shelf Project for May last week, and I am pushing the children’s book back to the end of the month, I have this week a transition book:

img_4488Book: 100 Grumpy Animals by BeastFlaps

www.grumpyanimals.com

I woke up one morning to find this book on my doorstep. It was unexpectedly gifted from a mystery friend, and came to me “hot off the presses” – about a week after its publication on May 10, 2020. Why am I calling this a transition book for this month? Well, it does follow my usual habit of posting picture books on the first week of the month, but unlike my usual picture books, this one is not quite intended for children.

This is a collection of single-panel style comics, many of which were originally featured on the BeastFlaps Instagram account (link above). Each page features a cartoon animal, with a reason that it is grumpy, ranging from a cheetah who can never prosper to a woodpecker who feels like he’s just banging his head against the wall. Along the way, there are a few mildly inappropriate inclusions—nothing I would call offensive, but enough to say that this is not a picture book intended for the kids. Of course, many are spot on: I have certainly encountered more than a couple geese that were saying “honk honk mothercluckers!”

It was definitely good for a few pun-ny laughs, as well as some clever comments based on each animal’s characteristics. At the end of the book, there is a list of notes for anyone who may not have “gotten” some of the cartoons. There’s a nice spot on my shelf for it to join its kindred spirits: All My Friends Are Dead and I Could Pee On This; among others, of course.

Minka’s Thoughts: “I was napping, you know. I am grumpy animal 101. 1 paw.”

Noir

img_4487Book: Noir by Christopher Moore

Date Read: May 1 to 16, 2020

Rating: 4 (of 5) stars

In May, the Unread Shelf Project challenged everyone to read a “backlist” title from their shelves. I had to put a little work into this one, because that is honestly not something that I usually track. I have some obvious new(er) release books, but often buy based on recommendations, so do not always end up with the latest that is out there. While I was debating the best way to choose a title, I received a notification that a book I had pre-ordered awhile back would be out this month—which reminded me that I had never gotten to this author’s previous release! Serendipity.

I am going to start out by admitting a slight bias: I really enjoy this author. His writing has a unique combination of humor, intelligence, and absurdity that I love. I was intrigued by the idea of a noir novel, although I confess that I only really have a general idea of what makes something “noir.” Throughout reading, I felt that this became clearer to me, and I think it was done well—although I’m not familiar with noir literature, this definitely had the feeling of film noir, and I could picture scenes on a movie screen in black and white.

Appropriately, it all begins when a dame walks into a bar. From there, we end up with a fair amount of scene setting: a slew of characters, and several possibilities of where the story many be going. Everyone seems to be “working an angle,” and although there was some general predictability, the pieces come together interestingly. We have the girl who we know is going to be trouble for the leading man Sammy, and then a mystery when she disappears. The story is told from a double perspective, sometimes first person by Sammy and sometimes from the perspective of an unknown narrator. Early on, the second narrator mentions that he is part of the story, but will not reveal himself yet.

The first two thirds or so of this novel were a nice set up to the main plot and problem of the narrative. There were several pieces included that seemed secondary to the plot, but were woven in nicely to the conclusion. It was a bit different from what I usually expect from Moore: while it was definitely his brand of humor, there was less outright absurdity than I have come to expect. Not a bad thing of course, just something a bit different. Of course, Moore came through with just the right touch of lunacy to round things out in the end, including the revelation of the secretive second narrator.

Boris’s Thoughts: “I do not approve of how this book talks about cats. 1 paw.”

Unread Shelf Progress for May

  • Books Read: 1
  • Books Acquired: 2
  • Total Unread Books: 253
  • Also: 1 book unshelved, removed 1 book double counted, 1 book started

I Could Pee On This

img_3692Book: I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano

Date Read: March 23, 2020

In honor of my first post for the month being on April Fools’ Day, I decided to mix things up a bit with a novelty book rather than a children’s book. For the remainder of the month I will be featuring a children’s series, so I thought it would be fitting to start a little differently.

This book of cat-penned poems was given to me by my Secret Santa, along with a pair of socks featuring Boris’s face. It’s so nice when your Secret Santa truly gets you.

As I said above, this is a novelty book. It is the kind of thing you keep around for a quick laugh, but generally would not plan to read straight through. The book is separated into a few sections, each with a different theme for the poems. This is not high quality poetry; after all, how much can you expect from a cat? Most of them are silly, with an appropriate amount of cat-attitude. A few are a little difficult to get through, despite being short in length. I can roll with stupid humor, but sometimes it just does not click for me. And then, of course, there are a few that are spot on hilarious and made the whole book worth reading.

I submit for your review, a selection from this collection:

I could lie by your side for the rest of our lives

I think I’ll walk away right now

I could let you pet me for a hundred years

I think we need some time apart

I could be kissed a thousand thousand times

I think I’m needed somewhere else

I could sit on your lap forever

I said I could sit on your lap forever

Don’t you even think about trying to get up

Well, you should have gone to the bathroom beforehand

Because forever is a very, very long time

Minka’s Thoughts: “I’m confused. Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?”