Please let me preface this by saying that I don’t know beans about Bristol Palin’s life, but I would not want to slam anybody who is a single mom. Single momming is all kinds of hard work.
That said, people who write jacket copy for the memoirs of single mothers are fair game. So from the front flap of B. Palin’s new book, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, I give you:
“…Through all of these ups and downs, Bristol learned how to face her challenges head-on with courage and grace, [WAIT FOR IT!] traits she put to good use as a contestant and finalist on Dancing with the Stars.”
People are generally said (if they emerge from such horrors not actually having descended into a permanent state of jibbering idiocy) to have faced things like life-threatening disease, natural disasters or hostage situations with courage and grace. Dancing with the Stars? Really?
I would prefer to face Dancing with the Stars with gin and tonic.
Other things that make me giggle, but in more of a laughing-with-you kind of way:
The Practical Napper: Tips, Facts, and Quotes for the Avidly Recumbent, by Jennifer Eyre White.
Napping is good for world peace. When you’re napping, you’re not:
- Behaving like imperialist swine.
- Trying to convert other countries to your religion and/or political system and/or fashion sense.
- Calling other countries mean names.
The Ralph Steadman Book of Dogs
Every once in a while, somebody will bring up that old hypothetical question, “If you could have a dinner party and invite anybody you wanted, living or dead, who would you ask?” People generally get all earnest about this one and come up with a guest list that includes Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Personally, I think having Ralph Steadman, Rabelais and Christopher Moore over for pizza and booze would be a laugh riot. Ooh — and Django Reinhardt. Maybe he’d jam. I’d ask Hunter S. too, but he might wander off with a bottle of drugged wine and a shotgun to lie in wait for the delivery guy.
Steadman’s latest goofy collection of canine drawings is a hoot.
I first discovered Thirkell during a dark, scary, I-can’t-read-anything-distressing-my-life-is-distressing-enough-what-if-I’m-doing-everything-all-wrong-probably-it-would-be-better-for-everyone-if-I-just-hid-here-under-the-couch-wow-I-should-really-vacuum . . . time in my life. She seemed the perfect antidote to my then-reality: a sort of buttoned-up, post WWI Jane Austen knock-off.
Thirkell is a gentle and forgiving observer of every-day people doing every-day things in an English village. She’s also got an out-of-nowhere-surprise hit of snark when you least expect it. Literary quotes from Dickens and Thakeray sneak up and bite you when you’re not looking. She wrote for money, starting in the 1920’s and continuing into the 50s. She didn’t expect most of her “society” friends to like, or even read, her novels. She’s classist and sexist and funny and kind — sometimes, upsettingly, all at once. I like her Barsetshire books the best. If you’re a guy, you will very likely hate them (I didn’t say in what way she was sexist). If you’re not, or you’re up for something different, give them a try.