Liars, Drinkers And Eternal Optimists: Books I Read In April

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Oh, hello.

I didn’t see you come in.

Intellectual Dachshund and I were just about to review some of the books I read in April. Won’t you stay and join us?

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You will? Fantastic! Isn’t that right Intellectual Dachshund?

Reading nurtures the soul, and an enlightened friend brings it solace.
Reading nurtures the soul, and an enlightened friend brings it solace.

Aah my erudite little creature. So pithy! So delightful! Now, let’s get started, shall we?

Everything Is Perfect When You’re A Liar

by Kelly Oxford

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Only two years ago, Kelly Oxford was an unknown, Canadian stay-at-home mom with a dream of becoming a writer. Now, she has a best-selling book, a  sold screenplay and a TV pilot. 

How did she do it? She be tweetin’ y’all.

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Her hilarious tweets caught the attention of comedians and Hollywood celebs, and soon she amassed over 500,000 followers.  Can you say ca-ching in 140 characters or less?

Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar  is Oxford’s collection of personal essays that cover everything from her awkward childhood, to her brief teenage modeling career, to being David Copperfield’s private guest in Las Vegas. 

Each story is engaging, well-written and hilarious. You never feel like she’s reaching for her jokes, or trying too hard. It’s almost like the funny just comes out of her naturally, an unintended side effect of her storytelling.

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This is exactly the type of book I would like to write someday;  and for that I give it:

4/5 Intellectual Dachshunds

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

The Rum Diary

by Hunter S. Thompson

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The Rum Diary tells the story of Paul Kemp, a 30-year-old journalist who moves to San Juan, Puerto Rico in the late 1950’s to work for an English language newspaper. When Paul is introduced to rest of the newspaper staff – a veritable motley crew of has-beens, misanthropes and never-weres-  he quickly gets swept into a world of hard-drinking, girlfriend-stealing, bar brawling, and of course, the occasional news story.

(You might also be familiar with the 2011 movie based on the book starring Johnny Depp)

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If it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a plotline involved here, that’s because there isn’t. It’s really just some drunk-ass dudes wandering around a tropical paradise, eating hamburgers and causing disturbances. It’s awesome.

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. With it’s crisp prose and quoteable one-liners, I had a hard time putting it down. It reminded me of On the Road, but with more paragraphs, and punctuation.

Even though I’m not a wayward journalist with a drinking problem (officially), I found I could really identify with Paul and his feelings of aimlessness in Puerto Rico. I feel like that here in Toronto sometimes. I have no real roots here, no family, and sometimes I feel like I’m just wandering from place to place like some tiny, insignificant tumbleweed.

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Anyhoo, since this is a book review and not a junior high journal entry, let’s get to the ratings shall we?

I give it: 4/5 Intellectual Dachshunds 

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

Favourite Line: “It gave me a strange feeling, and the rest of that night I didn’t say much, but merely sat there and drank, trying to decide if I was getting older and wiser, or just plain old.”

Candide

by Voltaire 

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What the whaaaaat? BreezyK reading Voltaire? Don’t worry-  there is a reasonable explanation for all of this. Back in the fall when I took my Humor writing course, the instructor recommended this book as being one of the best humor pieces ever written. I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago, and I’m glad I did.

The book centers around Candide, an enthusiastic young man brought up in the home of a wealthy Baron. Candide was taught by his tutor Pangloss to believe that no matter what happens ‘all is for the best’. Things, however, take a turn for the worse when the Baron throws Candide out after discovering his love for the Baron’s daughter, Cundegonde. Candide then sets out on a series of misadventures all across Europe, Asia and South America, experiencing one unfortunate series of events after another: earthquakes, syphilis, robberies, knaves, you name it – all the while testing Candide’s eternal optimism.

I found this book refreshing and hilarious – it satirizes everything from love, to money, to religion. It’s also a complete seminar in pithiness. Despite the fact that each chapter is about 3 pages long, so much happens in each one of them. This is a great read if you get bored easily and like short books (it’s only about 90 pages, which actually makes it a novella, but who’s counting). Then, when you’re done, you can feel superior to other people by saying you’ve read Voltaire. Win Win!

I give it (you guessed it) 4/5 Intellectual Dachshunds:

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

 

Question of the Day: What book or movie do you quote constantly?

For me, it’s Zoolander. I’m hoping to change that.

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19 thoughts on “Liars, Drinkers And Eternal Optimists: Books I Read In April

Add yours

  1. I’ll have to check out Oxford’s book. It had caught my eye, but I wasn’t ready to shell out the money for something that could be total crap. Oh, and Candide, I’ll add that to my list, too. BreezyK, you are the best.

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  2. I loved Candide. Someone recommended it to me years ago and unlike most recommendations I ignore, I did read it and I loved it. I constantly quote Mean Girls. Or lines from Dane Cook comedy routines.

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  3. You would think a story like Kelly Oxford’s might be more popular. Maybe she’s bigger in Canada? I never heard of her. I also have never heard of kindness. I think that’s another Canadian thing.

    I used to know probably the first 45 minutes of Die Hard word-for-word. I memorized the Braveheart freedom speech which actually isn’t very long. I quote the TV show Oz a lot with one of my friends. I’m kidding. I quote it with my only friend.

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    1. I think she’s pretty big in the U.S. I saw her doing a tour of all the talk shows a few weeks back… is it possible you live under a rock perhaps? Just saying 😉
      You should post a youtube vid of you reciting the Braveheart speech

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  4. I’ll have to check out Candide, thanks. As for the quote, Kung Foo Panda – “noodle, don’t noodle” and my sister quotes Encino Man – “dont tax my gig so hard-core cruster.”

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  5. Oxford is great, I just hope she doesn’t develop an ego as big as the new land of dreams she’s taken off for. Why is it every Canadian artist’s dream to ditch the Great White North for the USA?
    Great post, by the way – and that’s no lie!

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