Weirdly, I’ve been on quite a few Acknowledgment pages so far. It comes with having talented, writerly friends. Up to now I felt like it was a conflict of interest to review those books (I’m IN them, darn it!) so I’d abstained, but I’ve decided to come around on that policy. After all, I read books, I review books, someone thought kindly enough of me to put me in there – why not talk about the books?
Why not blurb?
I mean, you DO realize that all those lines of praise snaking around the front and back of books were written by the author’s buddies? That most of them didn’t even read the book before pronouncing it “a rip-roaring roller-coaster thrill-ride! A sensational tsunami of suspense! A violent burst of volcanic vocabulary power!”
But you blurb, because you do want to get the word out about the friend’s efforts. But then you’re caught in the trap.What if the book sucks? If you give the book a positive review, you look like a fraud, flattering your friend. If you give the book a negative review, then that friend ain’t gonna be so friendly anymore.
It’s a lot of pressure!
Luckily, my friend, by the pseudonym of Phony McFakename, has written two really funny books in a row and neither sucks. I read “Fast Breaks” and “Best Sellers” on my iPhone while taking long walks and I must have looked all sorts of idiotic as I cracked up continuously, and if I did not literally roll on the floor laughing, that’s because I was outside, and the “floor” was the sidewalk, and the sidewalk was not very attractive from a hygienic point of view.
Literary humor is such a rare elusive beast. Honestly, once you tick off your Mark Twains, your P. G. Wodehouses, your Robert Benchleys, suddenly you’re down to Dave Barrys. Who’s the humor writer of the 2010s? We do have Christopher Moore. But it feels like fewer and fewer writers set out to create laughs on the page (humor is doing just fine in other media.) This is partly why “Fast Breaks” is such a joy; it doesn’t hurt that McFakename and I share similar senses of humor, so I was very much the demographic. The book compiles McFakename’s humorous flash fiction, and includes a series of light-hearted, surreal vignettes, as well as longer pieces – and even a zombie love story (zombies seem to be McFakename’s metier.)
“Best Sellers,” an even more accomplished piece, uses a hilariously deranged narrative framework to skewer and parody pretty much every literary “phenomenon” that has plagued the New York Times best-seller list within recent memory. What I’m gonna do is let you glimpse the table of contents, and let me assure you, McFakename delivers in every instance:
(I laughed particularly hard at “Important Literary Fiction Story,” which knocks good old targets like Jonathan Franzen down a peg or two.)
In any case, I thought I would make things easy by coming up with two blurbs, so that no one has to scramble through the post to gather one of those crudely assembled Frankenstein quotes that go like:
“I laughed…(this is an) important literary…story. Good… like Johathan Franzen.”– The Pageaholic.
So here they are:
“‘Fast Breaks’ is a fast read that goes right for your funny bone and isn’t afraid to break it.”
“‘Best Sellers’ reads like a tornado passed through your local Barnes and Noble, except that tornadoes aren’t this quotable, and aren’t likely to cause howls of laughter.”
“Fast Breaks” can be purchased at Amazon.com, and “Best Sellers” is on its way.