I finished The Hunger Games. *SPOILERS BEHIND THE CUT*
I just wrapped up Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt, and hoo boy it was one of the better reads I’ve encountered this year. It was kind of jarring reading something that hits rather close to home— the feeling of semi-kinship crept over me that always pops up when I meet someone else who’s an escapee of the burbs.
I think my favorite thing about this book isn’t just Oswalt’s trademark biting wit. I expected the story to be pretty linear: childhood, adolescence, college, stand-up, etc etc. But happily, this text zigs and zags in awesome ways. Chapters are told in forms like a diary account, a documentation of growing up written as a wine list, and a straight-up delightfully explained example of contributing to a screenplay. At least that’s how I interpreted it, I could be totally off the mark.
There’s a lot of books out there by comedians that have a strict agenda solely made of laughs. (Judah Friedlander’s How to Beat Up Anybody is a good example and always makes me spit my midday wine break everywhere) A bunch of them are great. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland isn’t one of those. Trust me, there are tons of funny moments but I think what Oswalt is trying to get across is how his intense love of film, books, music and an incredible depth of pop culture wisdom has made him who he is as a person and a comedian.
I remember how I felt this first time I read Harlan Ellison—Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Mispelled, which if I remember correctly, kicks off with a short story about all-American teenagers and abortions in Tijuana. Or cracking open Phillip K. Dick or Thomas Pynchon. Or the first time I saw Divine declaring that she better get them cha-cha heels for Christmas in Female Trouble. Fierce images and stories that made me want to say YES, this is what I need to absorb to make the banality of the cracked sidewalks and strip malls of my hometown bearable. And Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is a testament to all that good stuff.
So whether you’re a comedy fan or not, check it out. Plus there’s a handy dandy three-part personality portion, where you can figure out what Oswaltian category you happen to fall into. Turns out I’m a Zombie who’s growing up to be a Wasteland.
I completely forgot this book existed. Need to read it.
Things I got at work today: last edition.
I got all these amazing art books for $.50 each. Yep. Most of them are marked as costing $75 and one is $150. I am awesome at thrifting.
I remember this book from childhood! And we also get it semi-regularly at my job. It is awesome.
23 out of 24! Hot damn, bookselling is good for something!
21/24 and I haven’t worked in a bookstore since I was 19!
I got 20. I’m pretty proud of that, considering.
18, three that I’m totally ashamed that I didn’t get.
The magnificent Swedish Harry Potter covers.
These are beautiful! Wanttt. Look how beautiful Buckbeak is!
Lookie what I got at work for $.40. :D
The question is, if we don’t say no to this, what do we say no to? If we don’t say no to something that systematically abuses 50 billion animals, if we don’t say no to the number one cause of global warming, and not by a little bit, but by a lot, if we don’t say no to what the UN has said is one of the top two or three causes of every significant environmental problem in the world, locally and globally, if we don’t say no to something that is clearly—not clear to me, but clear to the World Health Organization—a prime factor in the generation of avian and swine flus, if we don’t say no to something that’s making our antibiotics less effective and ineffective, if we don’t say no to something that causes 76 million cases of food-bourne illness every year, just what do we say no to? This is not a case where we need to go to war with another country or spend a trillion dollars or elect a new government. We just need to say no to it.
Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals