Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Mini reviews - Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby by Matthew Inman, Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle, Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Time for mini reviews! Most of what I currently have left to review is from my home library, so I'm going to shift to mini reviews to get some of them knocked out. 

Alyce of At Home With Books (a dormant blog since 2016) very kindly sent me a copy of Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby (an Oatmeal book) by Matthew Inman and a gift card to buy more books when I was in desperate need of cheering up. I can't even begin to tell you what a huge upper that was. I am still so grateful for the laughs in a week that was mostly about crying and anxiety.

Why My Cat Is More Impressive Than Your Baby is equal parts gross and hilarious. I was familiar with The Oatmeal comics but I guess I'd never really paid much attention to them. The gross ones involve a lot of illustrations of baby vomit and poop; they were not my favorites. But, there were plenty of comics that lacked the yuck factor and made me laugh, especially the ones specifically about cats. I shared my absolute favorites with the Spousal Unit and he enjoyed them, too.

Recommended but may require a strong stomach - I have a pretty strong stomach, I guess. I did have babies, after all, and the gross part goes with the territory. If you love The Oatmeal, you'll love this book.

I used part of the Amazon card Alyce sent me to buy a copy of Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle, a book that's been on my wish list, for a while. I absolutely love Strange Planet comics, little 4-box comics in which aliens make sense of life on Earth.

Deb Nance of Readerbuzz put it this way: "What if we could look at our world through fresh, if alien, eyes?" That's what Nathan Pyle does in Strange Planet. I'll share the comic that first caught my attention, below. I love the way Pyle examines humanity through slightly different viewpoint, the language making a lot of the strangeness of our lives clear. On the lower left cover of the book, an alien proudly shows off his sunburn saying, "It's the star damage." In one comic I read off Pyle's Instagram, a few days ago, the aliens were ordering pizza (I forget their name for pizza) and I laughed at one of them shouting out, "More fungus slices!"

Here's the comic that made me fall in love with Strange Planet:

Highly recommended - Loads of laughs and a huge upper. I will read this many times, in the future, I'm sure. So grateful to have a copy in my home library.

I love Connie Willis but I'd never heard of Crosstalk till recently. It sounded like my kind of book so I bought a copy.

When Briddey Flannigan and her boyfriend, Trent, get a procedure that's supposed to help them connect emotionally, it has a shocking side effect. Briddey (short for Bridget) becomes telepathic. At first, she can only hear one other voice. But, eventually, her telepathy becomes stronger and the thoughts coming from other people's heads overwhelm her. With the help of C.B., the first man she heard upon coming telepathic and a co-worker of hers, she learns to block the chaos. C.B. is weird. He's brilliant but he works in the basement and stays away from people. And, Briddey is in love with Trent. So, why is she finding herself so drawn to C.B.?

When Trent begins to show signs of telepathy and Briddey finds out his real reason for wanting to get the procedure, things go haywire.

Recommended to sci-fi fans - Not Willis's best but a fun read. In comparison to past works by Connie Willis, Crosstalk comes closest to Bellwether. Both are light, funny, romantic, and silly, even a little slapstick. Both have sci-fi attributes but Crosstalk didn't entirely make sense to me. I got the telepathy but not the idea of harnessing it via technology. I just couldn't buy into that concept. And, it was a bit too long, but I enjoyed Crosstalk enough to keep going and I have no regrets.

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  1. You cat's expression, in the background of that first picture, seems appropriate! I get what you mean about the gross factor of Oatmeal. I can't stand that people in those drawings look like shapeless blobs, actually. My favorite Connie Willis so far has been Doomsday Book, although admittedly I haven't read enough of her. I didn't get To Say Nothing of the Dog at all, for instance.

    1. I thought Fiona's expression was hilarious. Yeah, I didn't know The Oatmeal had such a high gross factor. I enjoyed the non-gross comics in that book and did a lot of laughing, so it served the purpose - it really cheered me up. I agree with you on the weird shape of the people.

      I don't know what my favorite by Connie Willis is! I've liked everything I've read by her, though. Bellwether is outdated but delightful. And, I loved all of the time travel books I've read (3 of them, I think). I need to read the WWII books. I've got Blackout but I don't know where I put it! Ugh. I don't have a copy of All Clear. I may just buy the two in paperback and get rid of the HB copy of Blackout when I find it. I prefer paperback, anyway, and I really want to read them both.

  2. Bellwether is definitely one on my list! It's just so loooong, urgh.

    1. You must mean Crosstalk, since Bellwether is the short one of the two. Yep, it's long. I think it could have been edited down by at least 100 pages. But, that's just my personal opinion. I'm glad I read it, in spite of that.


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