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Village Books Kindle Edition
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|Length: 325 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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It's hard to characterize this book. I'm a fan of a lot of different genres, many of which don't seem to go together well. I love sexy women's mysteries like those by Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton. I also like gritty police stories, like those by Joseph Wambaugh and Michael Connolly. I love Neil Gaiman and Robert Heinlein and Dean Koontz when he was in his prime. I love Coben's Myron Bolitar Series and Repairman Jack. This book isn't anything like any of those. It's sort of Donald Westlake and sort of Carl Hiaasen, and yet it's entirely new and different and funny and touching and captivating.
This is a book about smart, funny people. The characters have depth and interests. You feel like you could spend years with them and still not know them totally. It's about love and friendship and commercial globalization and quality alcohol and good books and great movies. It's about courage and striving to achieve things you barely thought were possible. It's about hope and humor in the modern dystopia that is retail. And since it's only about $3, why not try it and see if you like it?
If you think the social revolts of late 2017 sprang from nowhere, take a peek back into 2011 lit-bro culture with “Village Books.” It opens with a description of a local book shop as a sanctuary to read the Best Books Ever Written, demonstrated by a list of eight dead white male authors. Then the narrator disparages women for writing or reading chick lit books recommended by Oprah. This is page two.
The plot: two Soft Boy sad sacks want to date more women. Instead of shelving books, they organize the human women they encounter by ranking their attractiveness, their craziness, their status as married or engaged to other men, and did I mention their attractiveness? Our narrator claims to be a progressive thinker because women are so much gentler and more enlightened, and yet his best friend maintains a spreadsheet of all the women he has dated, to keep track of the stories and jokes he’s already told them. Pro tip: If your dude keeps an actual spreadsheet categorizing PEOPLE, he is an ax murderer, GET OUT!
Women come and go from employment at this indie bookstore, due to divorces, mental health crises and the awkwardness of having slept with their lit-bro coworkers. Isn’t it just so zany when women lose out on professional opportunities and income because their sex lives and health issues make them objects of derision and gossip? LOL!
I put this down for good 17% of the way through when our man-child “heroes” have to hole up in an apartment with takeout and movies because they have both slept with the same married woman, whose only descriptor is a series of the SSRIs she’s on. Crazy Married Plot Device’s husband is a veteran with PTSD who apparently has access to firearms, so the lit-bros are scared they will be gunned down in public. This was probably never entertaining to read about but we are FINALLY getting news coverage of the link between domestic violence and mass shooter incidents. There isn’t a punchline there. There also isn’t a punchline about veterans with PTSD. Never, nope, no way.
If you think mental illness, a lack of apparently viable healthcare options IN CANADA, veteran PTSD and potential mass shooter incidents make for great capers… you are a sociopath but also this book is for you! I got it for free so it likely won’t cost you anything!
Also, the sheer number of metaphors, similes and references to pop culture, icons and the obscure, borders on the ridiculous...and I drank it all up with glee. (To be completely honest, there were a few references that I didn't get, and was too lazy to google/wikipedia since the laughs were in abundance anyway.)
I liked the first 3/4 of the book more than the finish, but overall, taken in it's entirety, it's a good and worthwhile read. Don't look for dialog between characters that reads true, it doesn't. HOWEVER, it IS funny and manages to keep you in the story. The prose that communicates the main protagonist's thoughts DOES read true and therein lies the humor.
I liked this book very much and would recommend it to anyone needing a dose of laughter and diversion of the kind only novels can bring.
The last time I read a book this funny was late in the early part of the last century. I had graduated from short trousers and a ticket to the adult library had introduced me to the writings of P.G. Wodehouse.
In "Village Books" one does not browse, one delves. Each character has a non-stereotypical idiosyncrasy ranging from Sebastian's inventive urine samples for his bail to Willard's exotic product lines in receiving.
If I say too much there is a risk of spoilers. Unlike those who downloaded this book free of charge initially, I purchased my copy when a Facebook advertisement led me to the blurb. Do as I did. Buy this book. Read this book. But first, have you taken your cardiac medication? Are you at risk of a kidney leakage? Are you in the subway? Be warned - this book contains an incurable strain of laughtus hystericus and it is highly contagious.