Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.
WRY TOAST: The perfect books for nonreaders
IF EVERYONE on your holiday gift list already has everything from the “i” catalog—iPhone, iPad, iPod, iCarly, iReallyDon’tCare—perhaps something a little more old-school is in order.
Like a book. Made of paper.
Well, as luck would have it, I’ve got a desk full of titles that arrived unbidden and need good homes.
As usual, if you’d like one of these, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know your top choice and maybe a backup in case that one has already been claimed.
‘BUDDY: HOW A ROOSTER MADE ME A FAMILY MAN’ BY BRIAN McGRORY
The one thing you cock-a-doodle-don’t want to do at the start of a new marriage is tangle with a beloved, yet mentally deranged, family member who wields a beak like a machete.Enter Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory, who apparently didn’t get the memo. While his new wife and her two kids seem to like him well enough, their rooster isn’t so sure about the new guy—and the feeling is mutual.
This appears to be a classic tale of man vs. diabolical rooster (I’ve got 20 bucks that says the rooster makes him beg for mercy).
‘BAD GLASS’ BY RICHARD E. GROPP
Inevitably, this will be a horror movie that I’ll avoid. For now, it’s a book about some mysterious, apocalyptic misfortune that befalls Spokane, Wash. Twinkie shortage maybe?
The city, evacuated and locked down by the military, starts to teem with strange creatures and disturbing events, whereupon our protagonists are exposed to the requisite “web of secrets” leading to a “shocking destiny.”
I’m guessing somewhere in here, someone gets served a bad glass of milk, hence the title.
‘BORED OF THE RINGS, A PARODY’ BY THE HARVARD LAMPOON
Frito Bugger and his pals, Spam Gangree and Moxie and Pepsi Dingleberry, set off on an epic journey to toss a shiny piece of jewelry into the Zazu Pits and thereby save Lower Middle Earth, probably from a greedy developer or something like that.
While J.R.R. Tolkien’s original spanned three volumes, this one’s a mere 160 pages. So if it’s poorly written, the pain is finite.
‘THE CASE OF THE UNWANTED POUNDS: A WEIGHT-LOSS & FITNESS MYSTERY’
BY DR. FRED A. STUTMAN
I think this is a diet and fitness book masquerading as something interesting. The fat and fiber counter at the back of the book sort of gives it away.
‘PSYCHO USA: FAMOUS AMERICAN KILLERS YOU NEVER HEARD OF’
BY HAROLD SCHECHTER
For every Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer who gets his name in a 70-point headline, there are apparently dozens of less-celebrated serial killers who toil in obscurity.
Covering nearly 200 years of American serial-killer history, the book is Schechter’s attempt to give some of our lesser-known ax murderers their due.
‘DOG HAIR: THE BEST DOGGY HAIR-DOS FOR FASHION-CONSCIOUS HOUNDS’
No author has taken credit for writing this book, put out by Octopus Publishing, so when it wins a Pulitzer, I’m not sure who will collect the prize.
It’s mostly a picture book, with about 75 dogs modeling hairstyles ranging from perms and beehives to pigtails and mohawks. Every now and then, a two-page spread pairs a dog with a similarly coiffed celebrity: an Afghan hound that looks like Cher, a poodle that’s a dead ringer for Tina Turner and a Pomeranian that bears a striking resemblance to David Bowie.
I’ll even throw in a copy of “I am Maru,” a picture book about an excruciatingly adorable Japanese cat that I found while cleaning out my desk last month. The author of that book is someone named Mugumogu, which I’m pretty sure was the original pen name for one of the Brontë sisters.
‘LYON’S BRIDE’ AND ‘THE SCOTTISH WITCH’
BY CATHY MAXWELL
Both of these novels, the first and second in a romance trilogy, feature shirtless men on the cover. So they are probably about man’s desperate search for practical, yet comfortable, pullovers.
‘KEPT’ BY SHAWNTELLE MADISON AND ‘TRAPPED’ BY KEVIN HEARNE
The first book involves the Russian werewolf mafia, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
The second one, part of something called the Iron Druid Chronicles, includes a vampire, some elves and a bunch of characters with names like Granuaile, Jörmungandr and Ragnarok. There’s even a pronunciation guide at the front of the book.
The books aren’t related, but each one has virtually the same cover: A backlit woman with tousled hair staring longingly at the reader, while her man scans the ground, perhaps looking for a misplaced umlaut.
‘I WANT YOU TO SHUT THE F#CK UP: HOW THE AUDACITY OF DOPES IS RUINING AMERICA’ BY D.L. HUGHLEY
This appears to be part-comedy routine, part-cautionary tale about the direction this country is heading. Among the topics covered by Hughley, a popular comedian: what Republicans need to do to appeal to black voters, the similarities between “America the superpower” and the drunk jerk at the bar, and why everybody loved Bernie Mac.
The cover is disappointing. No shirtless men. No backlit women. No umlauts.
But it’s a sturdy hardback, so worse comes to worst, you could use it as a weapon against a member of the Russian werewolf mafia or an aggressive, unhinged rooster.
Edie Gross: 540/374-5428