How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe, 5/5
This book does not disappoint! It is filled with hilarious, ridiculous, scientifically strenuous “solutions” to problems ranging from “how to jump really high” to “how to change a light bulb.” As a piano teacher, I found the chapter on how to play the piano particularly hilarious and thought-provoking. I’ve never thought to ask questions like “how many keys would need to be added to the piano keyboard to make music for whales?” (spoiler: it’s not as many as you’d think!).
Herding Cats: A “Sarah’s Scribbles” Collection by Sarah Andersen, 5/5
Just as funny and disturbingly relatable as Andersen’s webcomic and other books.
Why I read it: I saw it advertised on the Sarah’s Scribbles website.
Big Mushy Happy Lump: A “Sarah’s Scribbles” Collection by Sarah Andersen, 5/5
I love the Sarah’s Scribbles webcomic and this book is more of the same laughs. My boyfriend looked at the first illustration, of a small girl with big eyes cozied up in a comically huge hoodie, and was like “This is written about you?” Then he turned to the first comic, about procrastination, and was like “This is written about you!”
Why I read it: saw it advertised on the webcomic site.
Recklessly funny, Inman doesn’t hold back at all in this collection of comics which tackles topics from commuting via polar bear to eating Play-Doh. This book is definitely not for the sensitive soul–while he considerately pixelates most of the cartoon privates, the author does somehow manage to invent euphemisms that are more offensive than the real thing.
[Why I read it: I’m on an Inman binge.]
This book contains only one comic, so it is more of a novelty than anything. However, it is still pretty cute and I recognise his cartoon dog’s infectious enthusiasm in my own mutt (though mine certainly uses fewer swearwords).
[Why I read it: ordered all of Inman’s stuff from the library at once, then read it in one sitting.]
A laugh-out-loud-funny collection of cat-themed comics from The Oatmeal.
[Why I read it: Reading Inman’s The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances reminded me that he has other hilarious books out there that I hadn’t read yet.]
Inman’s reasons for running may be much more terrible and wonderful than my own (just as his conception of “long distances” is much longer), but a lot of this hilarious book resonated with me. On a side note: I’ve never read a collection of comics containing more illustrations of Nutella.
[Why I read it: I enjoy Inman’s webcomic, The Oatmeal, and this book came up in conversation with one of Dad’s coworkers. I’d actually almost bought it in a store just a few days previous before remembering that 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth was collecting dust on my shelf after being read just once. I hit the library up instead, which I guess makes me a bad fan.]
What would happen if everyone on Earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant? Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?
With his trademark wit, scientific know-how, and ability to draw strangely hilarious stick figures, Randall Munroe answers some of the vital questions that have been asked by readers of his webcomic, xkcd. I expected this book to be underwhelming and a bit of a chore to read (à la almost all the other books based on webcomics I’ve encountered), but it was hilarious and accessible–my teenaged brother got his hands on it before me and read the whole thing in short order. The content seems well-suited to book format and, surprisingly, I found it to be even funnier and more readable than the What If? blog that inspired its creation.
[Why I read it: I’ve been a fan of xkcd for several years now.]
Brosh’s blog is without doubt one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, but the book format didn’t really work for me. I feel that her hilarious stories are meant to be scrolled through, not read at the rate of two panels and a paragraph per page, and her weirdly expressive artwork suits the computer screen best, in my opinion. Also, there is soooo much swearing. Usually, I’m a fan of expletives used for comedic purposes, but I guess I don’t like seeing them in print. In action movies: great. TV shows: fine, if it’s clever. Online content: ditto. Books: no thank you I can’t believe they typed that my eyes are burning.
[Why I read it: I love the blog.]