4Play: Good Reads 2010

Since it’s part of the Blogger Terms of Service that, if you have a blog, you have to post lists in the last three weeks of every year, I’m legally obliged to write about some of the things I’ve enjoyed since the clock turned 2010. To do so, I’m bringing back the long-dormant feature 4Play to Are You Gene Hackman? Lists of four, you see, are easier than lists of ten, or fifty, or whatever. Let’s get started!

4Play: Books I liked.
(I wish I could think of a better title than that. I'm not creative.)

I’m not as well-read as I’d like to be. What with jobs, families, planning a wedding (oh, I got engaged), Angry Birds and comedy podcasts, who has the time? But I did read and enjoy these worthy tomes. They all came out in 2010, although Mark Watson’s only came out in the UK, and won’t be available in the States ‘til the Spring. Oh, and please excuse my formatting with the pictures. Blogger is not an easy mistress at times.

Mark Watson – Eleven
Watson is a British stand-up, TV personality and Bristol City supporter. Once, I was watching ‘Have I Got News For You’ with my parents, and he was on it, and my mum said “Hey, he looks like you and is funny like you.” He also wears sweaters and glasses, so I took that as a compliment. His novel is about a group of people who don’t know each other, but become connected as a result of each other’s actions. What a horrible description I just gave it. It’s a great novel – not “brilliantly hilarious and hilariously brilliant” as Stephen Fry’s blurb suggests – but well-observed, occasionally poignant, and very fun. Look out for it next year.

D.C. Pierson – The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To
I just finished this one today, which was awfully convenient as regards making this list. D.C. Pierson is a Napoleon Dynamite-lookin’ dude whose comedy troupe Derrick Comedy made last year’s terrific movie Mystery Team. He’s younger than me and I hate him for that. His debut novel showed a great understanding of both high-school outsiders, and giant monsters that smash things. I liked it a lot.

Julie Klausner – I Don’t Care About Your Band
In which Julie Klausner hilariously illustrates that type-A jock/frat apes don’t have a monopoly on being insensitive, oblivious, horrendous boyfriends. That’s right, even turtleneck-wearing The Sea and Cake fans can be awful. Klausner’s compilation of bad partners is impressive as well as troubling, and her narratives are a joy to behold. I wrote about this book months ago – what are you waiting for?

Nathan Rabin – My Year of Flops

I love minutiae, and Rabin’s second book is packed with details about films both bad and awful, plus a few diamonds in the rough. As with Klausner, I really dig Rabin’s voice in the book, it’s funny and pop-cultured just to the degree that’s not over the top. And I appreciated that he gave every movie in the book a chance, keeping an open mind and never just dumping on a film. Even the ones that deserved it. Here’s a more full review I wrote of the book for another site.


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