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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

Satire

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Author: Douglas Adams

The first book in Douglas Adams' five-book "trilogy" is a delight to read for anyone who appreciates satire and intricately crafted absurdist science fiction.  This introduction to the series begins the space-crossing adventures of Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian Astra, and Marvin the [chronically depressed] Android.

The thought-provoking hilarity of this novel is apparent from the beginning.  Arthur Dent of England awakes to find bulldozers about to demolish his house to make way for a highway bypass.  Minutes later, Arthur is rescued from a different calamity by his friend Ford Prefect, who reveals himself to be from a different planet.  As a journalist for an intergalactic travel guide, Ford knows how to hitch rides on spaceships, and does so seconds before Earth is vaporized to make way for a hyperspace bypass.  From there we meet the remaining cast of characters and follow them on a series of strange and silly adventures.

For me, this book was a quick read with an exciting page-turner ending.  Comical asides abound throughout the book, but most are not the "throwaway jokes" they first appear to be.  When reading Douglas Adams' works it is safe to assume that there are no coincidences, and what seems like an unimportant detail may be the punchline of a major plot line later.  There's no need to try making predictions, though... part of the fun is allowing the humor to "sneak up on you."

If you like to laugh and appreciate satire, then I recommend this particular escape from reality.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Stupidest Angel

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Author: Christopher Moore

Are you weary of all the tireless holiday cheer? Does the thought of one more caroler have you reaching for the Pepto? If you answered yes to either of these questions then The Stupidest Angel might be the story for you.

Pine Cove is a small California town filled with eccentricity, and those eccentricities certainly do shine during the holidays. The story is impossible to sum up but let’s just shoot through the highlights. Santa is nearly decapitated by a shovel. A stoner constable tries to find the killer while keeping tabs on his B-movie actress wife who has taken to thinking she is an Amazonian warrior goddess. The dead are rising from the grave and the stupidest angel is going about trying to find the right child to grant a Christmas miracle to.

If you can suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride The Stupidest Angel is a lot of fun. It starts off fast and absurd and neither the pace nor the absurdity let up through the book. I would highly recommend this “holiday” read to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, or anyone who enjoys a dose of the absurd in their reading.

Bad Book Affair

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Author: Ian Sansom

Israel Armstrong is a mobile librarian in a remote area of Ireland in a town called Tumdrum. This was not an occupation he actively pursued. He Lives in a chicken coop and is getting over a failed love from his time in London. The book is random happenings in his life. The mystery is when a local politician's daughter disappears. Israel solves the case to avoid the blackmail threat by an aggressive reporter. There are a few funny situations such as when he's asked for the De Saurus and it's Roget's Thesaurus he's after.

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Author: Mark Twain

The title says it all. Captain Stormfield tells his version of what heaven is really like. This humorous account covers everything from angel wings that are really just for show (angels actually get around by wishing) and allowing people the choice to travel back to a younger age but mostly returning to their current status. Twain

24 Karat Kids

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Author: Judy Goldstein

Dr. Shelley Green loathes the Upper East Side of New York. Imagaine her conflict when Madison Pediatrics offers her a job. Not only does she accept the position, but before long she is living and loving the East Side life. There are many humorous situations with her young patients and with her personal life. If you enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada or The Nanny Diaries this book is right up your alley.

Making Money

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Author: Terry Pratchett

This is the story of con artist Moist Von Lipwig, who revamped the Ankh-Morpork Post Office in Going Postal. Now that the Post Office is flourishing, Moist is so bored that he has begun breaking into his own office. Benevolent tyrant Lord Vetinari asks him to revamp the Royal Mint, where bizarre traditions mean it costs more to make some of the coins than they are worth ; many of the coins are made in cottages on the honor system; and people of the city have begun to use his postage stamps as currency. When the chairwoman Topsy Lavish dies, she leaves 50% of the shares to Mr. Fusspot--her dog--who already owns 1%, making him chairman of the bank.

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Boomsday

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Title: Boomsday
Author: Christopher Buckley

When Cassandra Devine’s father spends her Yale tuition on his failing dot-com startup, Cassandra ends up in the military. Before long, a reckless congressman and a mine explosion hurl her into a scandal that ends her military career, and Cass’s consolation prize is a lousy job as a political aide in Washington D.C.

A decade later, the Baby Boomers are about to retire en masse, bringing the Social Security system and indeed the whole economy crashing down on the backs of younger Americans. By day, Cass is a skilled spin doctor for the slimiest characters in business and politics. By night, she is a populist blogger and revolutionary calling on the under-30’s to vandalize Boomer’s gated communities and golf courses.

In one caffeine-fueled rant, Cass presents her “modest proposal” to solve the social security crisis by providing tax breaks for Boomers who agree to voluntary transitioning (in other words, suicide) at age 65.

Surprisingly, the idea takes off and becomes a major issue in the presidential election. Cynical and funny; there are no good guys in this book.

Book Features:

The Ask

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Title: The Ask
Author: Sam Lipsyte

How often do you see the subject heading "College administrators -- fiction"? A subject search in InfoSoup turned up only one title. Milo is a frustrated artist and an ineffective development officer for an unexceptional university. Failure is stalking him on every front from career to marriage and parenting when an old friend resurfaces looking to make the largest 'give' in the university's history, and he only wants to work with Milo. The humor is dark; the language is coarse; and the themes are mature. This book is both laugh-out-loud funny and bleak.