Bumperboy and his dog bumper pup lose their marbles before a big marble tournament! He has to go through borp holes with bumper pup. They land in different place and asking friends if they have his marbles. Most say, “Yes,” but they don’t have grandma’s shooter. So he has to go to the tournament without it! He figures out who stole it.
Why I picked it up: On the cover he’s surprised with marbles and stars going around his head.
Why I finished it: I wanted to see who stole the marbles and if he actually won the tournament. I liked the borp holes, too. He landed in random places!
I'd give it to: Jess, because she likes books with games in them. And my dad because there’s a banana and a squirrel that play marbles.
Coolio, more known for his mid-90s rap hits “Fantastic Voyage” and “Gangsta's Paradise” cooks, caters, and shows you how to be a Kitchen Pimp. ("Here's a little salad that's man enough to feed the beast in you but healthy enough to get her to spend some time with your beast. Shaka to the Zulu, biyatchezes."). Assistant Kitchen Pimp Jarez adds health and safety tips. ("Make sure you stir occasionally. How occasionally? As occasionally as needed to keep that shit from sticking to your skillet.")
Why I picked it up: Recipes that call for a dime-bag of pepper and have cool names like Karate Meat!
Why I finished it: It's a cookbook you'll actually use, even if you wouldn't loan it to your mom. It’s super-accessible to new cooks and really emphasizes WHY you would want to cook (seducing ladies, treating yourself right, bringing your family and homies together, feeding good stuff to your hungry kids, saving money when you're broke) that had me thinking about teens who will be on their own soon or who need to cook when mom's working the night shift. Coolio knows that the recipes have to compete with ramen and drive-through. I also thought, "Hey, I could make that really easily!" far more often than when reading books by more famous chefs. (I'm going to make the Heavenly Ghettalian Garlic Bread tonight!)
I'd give it to: My friend The Professor who can use it to impress the ladies and grad students, and maybe even the lady grad students. Kim from Idaho Falls who will be pleased to see both cream of mushroom soup and balsamic vinegar in the recipes.
9 short stories about men and boys at low points in their lives. Their marriages have failed, their families are difficult to deal with, or they’re going on a viking raid because they have no choice in the matter.
Why I picked it up: It was recommended by Kevin and Lance of Powell’s as their number one pick for 2009.
Why I finished it: On the first page of the first story, Bob Monroe wakes on the floor with cracker bits “lodged deep into his buttock crack, like a flint arrowhead somebody had shot there. Yet Bob found that the could not fetch out the crumb. He had slept wrong on his arms, and they’d gone numb.” Towers language is precise, fresh, and compelling and made me reread passages that bring characters to life whom, if they’d been described at the outset, I would not have been interested in.
Fifty-two real-life role models, mostly from this century. Each gets a two-page spread - a photo or portrait on the left, and a brief, inspiring essay on the right, sometimes as short as a few sentences. The list includes Annie Sullivan, Norman Borlaug, Mr. Rogers, and Meltzer's grandfather, every one an example of overcoming adversity to make the world a better place.
Why I picked it up: Meltzer is a bestselling novelist, but I know him better as a comic book writer. I was curious (and skeptical) about who he'd choose. The cover photo of him holding his son in an adorable Superman-flying pose didn't hurt either.
Why I finished it: If you can read any three of these without shedding a tear, you are severely dehydrated.
I'd give it to: My son, Theo, who is my hero. (Read this book cover to cover and you'll be saying schmaltzy things like that too.)
1938. A top secret rocket pack falls into Cliff Secord’s hands. His friend makes him a super cool helmet to go with it. His plans to use it to make money fall apart as US and German agents try to take it from him.
Why I picked it up: We got some weird Canadian cable TV stations when I was a kid. King of the Rocket Men was among the serials I watched. (The Rocketeer’s helmet is cooler.) And I still remember Jennifer Connelly from the 1991 Rocketeer movie.
Why I finished it: The illustrations of the Rocketeer flying through the sky really kept me reading. The images of Cliff’s girlfriend Betty (inspired by Betty Page) posing for “art photos” will cause a lot of page turning as well.
I'd give it to: People who love Raiders of the Lost Ark because of Indy’s jacket and hat, and anyone who enjoyed Howard Waldrop’s story about Jetboy, “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway,” in the first Wildcards anthology.
Elissa Wall was born into the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a church that promotes polygamy as the only way to get into the highest heaven. She looked forward to a plural marriage and obeying her Priesthood Head (her husband). But when she was fourteen, FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs promised her to her first cousin. She balked and was forced into marrying him. Her husband abused her. The prophet’s behavior became increasingly erratic. Finally, Alissa was the chief witness against the Jeffs at his criminal trial for accessory to rape.
Why I picked it up: I had read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer about the FLDS church and wanted to hear from a survivor of this secretive cult.
Why I finished it: It is difficult to believe that 10,000 American women are trapped in a belief system that gives 100% of the decision-making power in their lives to a single man, who clearly does not always have their best interests in mind. As Elissa grows as a person, it’s satisfying to see that she also wants to be free of the strictures of the church. And I really wanted to see her stick it to Jeffs in court!
I'd give it to: Anyone who wants to know more about the lives of the 416 kids that were separated from their mothers when the FLDS ranch in Texas was investigated a few years ago. And Ben, who slows to gawk at traffic accidents, because lives are being destroyed within the church.
The writers from Esquire magazine teamed up for this throwaway little book that nevertheless hits the mark for which it is intended: Cheap laughs based on somewhat raunchy humor. There is no doubt that the average 30+ year old will chuckle when told they should never “Display posters of Pamela Anderson” anymore, or “Name pets after Middle-Earth creatures.” Perhaps those 30 year olds tempted to refer to their biceps as “guns” or “pythons” need to read this book, as well as those who use a “crunk” ring for their cell phone.
Why I picked it up: I am a few years past 30 (still in my 30’s, if barely). Wanted to see if I still had it goin’ on!
Why I finished it: Honest to God, I just transgressed one of the prohibitions in this book within the past few days! It made me laugh and I had to check if there were any others I was in flagrant violation of.
I'd give it to: Other similarly aged men who would catch all the social references like the ones about David Spade movies and O-town boy bands. My friend Derek who is in danger of breaking 1 or 2 or 12 of these. Posers trying to hang on to their youth who still use Axe.