How can you not love a book about a giant named Mr. Awesome whose pet robot builds a larger replica of Mr. Awesome that destroys the world? A dreamy, surrealistic quick read with the right mixture of punk and sass and playful language.

The giant poops ambrosia and falls into three month hibernation, waking up covered in sequins. After rejection on his wedding day by Glorious Jones, the giant goes on a scavenger hunt, finding a needle in a haystack, a 4 leaf clover, the meaning of life, a maraca.

Finder of lost kittens, fixer of potholes, I stride the sidewalks. I am a white American male of Scandinavian descent. I try to be a good citizen… I can lift an automobile if I have to. I can run fast. I am at ease with the lingo of the common folk, explaining complex truths in a down-to-earth slang accessible to all. I can leap one hundred yards from a standstill, if necessary. I have the skills to build a robot. Deep down I am just a regular guy.
I am a giant. My name is AWESOME.

Whenever people want an inspirational quote about marriage, I always fish this out:

I remember once when I rubbed pumpkin pie filling all over my face and nobody laughed, said Pendleton Potts. A few years later I said to Glorious Jones, Remember when I rubbed pumpkin pie filling all over my face and nobody laughed? And she said yes. I don’t know, I think that really sums up marriage.

A Happy Marriage

A deliriously good book, stellar writing of a tale of enduring love between Margaret and Enrique. Told between present and past, the story of Enrique’s falling madly in love at first sight with Margaret (after prompting his friend Bernard to produce her or admit that she is a figment of his imagination) and the story of Margaret’s declining health in a failed battle with bladder cancer.

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A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain

Someone recommended this book to me as “the best book of short stories, period.” Well, ok then, I had to check it out with such a bold declaration behind it. And I’m just confused by the boldness of said declaration; this is simply a good book, nothing great, surely not the greatest collection of short stories ever. More confusing is that this is a collection of stories from the Vietnamese-American perspective, written by an American author. After searching a bit, I found that Butler served in ‘Nam, which might account for some of his fascination with Vietnamese culture. But it lacks authenticity.
The only story I felt remotely captivated by was The American Couple, told from the perspective of a Vietnamese American woman settled in Louisiana, who won a trip to Puerta Vallarta on a game show and who drug her husband Vinh along with her unwillingly. They pair up with another couple who won their trip on another game show and explore the old movie set ruins of Night of the Iguana.
Reco’d by Eileen

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Apathy and Other Small Victories

One of those delightful minty books that melts in your mouth and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. I wouldn’t call it great literature, but it caused a few smiles during the quick perusal.
Shane becomes a temp at an insurance company where he spends most of his time avoiding work (alphabetizing files) by sleeping on the toilet, drunk. He’s in love with his landlord’s wife, having been asked to have sex with her in exchange for a $200 reduction in rent (the sex is characterized at first as “like two dead fish being slapped together by an off duty clown.”) He’s in a “relationship” with Gwen, who lectures him about becoming a better corporate citizen. He has a friendship with the deaf receptionist at his dentist’s office, who turns up dead. The cops beat down his door and find him sleeping one off in a pile of salt.
First line goodness: “I was stealing saltshakers again.”
“She’d given up on me ever playing witty sitcom couple with her, so she’d started taking on both parts herself, feeding herself lines and then driving them home for canned laughs. Watching someone banter with themselves is fucking creepy. I felt like Howdy Doody.”

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The Last Good Kiss

My expectations might have been too high for this book. I like my noir books well written, not packed to the gills with adjectives falling all over each other. Crumley would have benefited from an editor, to be sure. Detective sent to find a wandering husband, following in his wake for bar after bar across the West and finally catching up to him in Sonoma, CA, where a famous beer-drinking dog holds forth. The detective finds the famous poet three sheets to the wind, gets into a bar fight that leaves the writer with a bullet in his arse, and befriends him. A convoluted tale then unfolds, trying to track down the missing daughter of the bar owner, who’s been gone for 10 years.
Nothing good here, move along.

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Escape from Cubicle Nation

Surprisingly easy to read, great practical advice for getting off your arse and trying your hand at entrepreneurship. Fail quickly and move on to the next idea. Perfection is a waste of time. A financial cushion is nice, but without one you have a fire lit under you to get moving. Have an advisory team of lawyer/accountant/banker/insurance specialist.

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