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Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists Paperback – September 12, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–This collection of lists takes on advertisements, unicorns, grocery items, German tourism advice, and much more in a witty and irreverent satire on our obsession with popular culture. The many lists include Rides Found at a Psychiatry-themed Amusement Park (guilt-a-whirl), Signs Your Unicorn Is Cheating on You, and Anecdotal Leads for News Stories Reporting the End of the World. Droll, ironic, and often laugh-out-loud funny, McSweeney's offers a hilarious odyssey-by-lists through books, movies, TV, politics, celebrities, and other aspects of modern life. Teens will appreciate the wide-ranging social satire and find the lists entertaining and often quotable.–Susanne Bardelson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
McSweeney's is a small group that sells taxidermy equipment and also produces books, a literary quarterly, and The Believer, a monthly review. Based in San Francisco, McSweeney's is also home to 826 Valencia, a nonprofit educational center for Bay Area youth.
Top customer reviews
2. Many of the lists are very, very funny in a strange sort of way, like "Eight Reasons Why a Tyrannosaur Caught in a Tornado is a Funny Thing to Think About" (No. 1: "The tiny, flailing arms.")
3. Some of the lists are quirky and almost zen-like, such as "Clocks Ranked According to the Ease with Which One Can Tell Time From Them (Easiest to Hardest): "1. Digital; 2. Not Digital."
4. Many of the lists are about unicorns, some of which are funny, like "Signs Your Unicorn is Cheating on You."
5. Some of the unicorn lists are kind of strange. But in a good way.
6. If you think "Monty Python" is the apotheosis of modern humor, you will probably like this book.
7. If you think "Mayberry RFD" is the apotheosis of modern humor, you will not like this book.
8. You will probably like "Mountain Man Dance Moves" if you find the following lightbulb joke inexplicably amusing: "Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: To get to the other side." (Bonus points if you also like the alternate answer: "Two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to put the clocks in the bathtub.")
9. If you have ever laughed uncontrollably at a Henny Youngman joke, this may not be the book for you.
10. I liked this book a lot, but then I have a kind of strange sense of humor.
The lists cover a variety of topics, and contain some surprising information. For your book evaluation convenience I have listed some of the most useful data below.
In the list "Actual English Names Chosen by our Korean ESL Students in Suzhou, China," the names chosen included Napoleon, Whiskey, Virus, and Bob Shop.
The literate list of "Least Onomatopoetic Verbs" includes Profiteer, Cavort, Hyperextend, Expectorate, and Calcify.
People concerned with personal image may find the list "Errors in Communication Between My Hairdresser and Me in the Form of What I Said and What He Heard" useful. Heed these valuable examples: "Said: Just a little off the length, and a little thinned out? Heard: Could you make me look like a clown's apprentice?"; "Said: A little shorter, thanks. Heard: I want the style that would emerge if you combined all three of Charlie's Angels."
For the music fan, the list "Comments Overheard at a Brainstorming Meeting Between Ted Nugent and the Editors of 'Gourmet' Magazine Where They Were Discussing The Upcoming Book 'Gourmet Magazine's Vegan Cooking With Ted Nugent'" will prove enlightening. One overheard comment was "That's where you're wrong, chief. Plenty of people eat badger." Insightful.
Expectant parents should especially note "Things You Don't Expect to See on a Baby Shower Announcement," to wit: Clothing optional, Baby Wendy Carlyle 19 inches, 84 pounds, Don't forget your towel, The more sausage the better, Seahawks game to follow, or Theme: Dirt Bikes.
For the unemployed philosophy majors, the most useful list is doubtlessly "Few People Know That Martin Heidegger Who Created a Philosophy From Man's Terrifying Inability to Comprehend the Essence of His Own Being, Also Produced These Loving Works in Decoupage." Some of the works of artistic genius listed include: "Small kitten entangled in, and perplexed by, unspooled ball of yarn," and, of course, "Hausfrau triumphantly whisking fresh-baked muffins from glowing oven (beaming son in background)."
For the avant garde musicologist, the list "Professional Wrestler? Or Song By Captain Beefheart?" is a difficult quiz. (I knew the answers without the list, of course, but include it here as an example of the enlightenment this book can produce.) 25th Century Quaker, Abba Zabba, Amish Roadkill, Big Eyed Beans, and Dirty Blue Gene. This exposes the one factual error I noticed in the book, and at the risk of giving away one of the answers, the actual name of the song is "Big Eyed Beans From Venus." It pays to be exact about such things.
Finally on page 215 the book provides the most useful of all the lists, "Methods Other Than Song By Which One Can Be Killed Softly." Some of the eye opening entries are Chinchilla attack, Asphyxiation by pound cake, Egyptian tomb booby-trapped with goose down, Poison meringue, Allergic reaction to cashmere, and Stuffed-animal avalanche. Remember, forewarned is forearmed, and with this list and others like it, you too can survive to live another day!
It really is a book of lists. They're so hilarious that I wish they were longer. The titles of the lists are even funnier than the lists themselves as many are quite brief. I would love to see another edition of this book come out. The writers of these lists, including Dan Kennedy and Bob Shea, among others, do this comedy writing right. They take their topic completely seriously. Their lists are presented as serious lists. Therein is the magic of written humor. Not unlike on-stage humor. Play it straight, and trust the audience/reader to get the joke and respond accordingly.
Most recent customer reviews
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