Book Reviews

Jughead, Vol. 2 by Chip Zdarsky & Ryan North, art by Derek Charm

Jughead, Vol. 2 (Jughead (2015) #2) by Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North (Goodreads Author), Derek Charm (Illustrations)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Jughead Volume 2 is even more absurd and funny than Volume 1!

This one adds Sabrina the Teenage Witch! She’s VERY different from the one in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina though. Super lighthearted and no sacrificing goats in the woods. Salem’s here too!

The first chapter sets up Jughead’s disinterest in girlfriends (he’s not girl-crazy like Archie), and in the following chapters, we see just how quickly this makes his friendship with Sabrina turn south.

Most pages also had meta, fourth-wall-breaking jokes in the margins. They are a huge part of why this volume was even more fun than the first one. (p.s. If you’re reading this on Comixology it’s a bit annoying because the Guided View skips them over.)

If you liked Jughead Volume 1, you’ll love this too!

I would recommend this to: people who want to read funny lighthearted comics with absurd humor.

Book Reviews

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

What If?- Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

You’ve probably seen tons of xkcd comics online throughout the years. This book was written by the same guy! And it’s just as funny, curious and entertaining as those comics, but super fleshed out. 

All of the questions were submitted through Randall Munroe’s website, and he of course includes his characteristic stick figures for more laughs. 

The questions aren’t ordered by any theme or anything, so you can just flip through and pick whatever catches your attention.

As a layperson, I can’t say I 100% understood every equation or calculation he uses, but he includes helpful comparisons to further clarify the answer in your mind. 

After every so many pages, there’s a single page of “Weird and Worrying Questions” that he doesn’t answer, but responds a funny reaction comic instead. 

My only qualm with this book is he sometimes veered away from answering the exact question. He made up for it by asking the question in a different way, or adding other, often more catastrophic variables. (This reminded me a lot of Adam from Myth Busters!) 

I would recommend this to: fans of xkcd, curious children who love asking questions in science class, and the adults who used to be those children. 

Book Reviews

Lady Cottington’s Fairy Album by Brian Froud

Lady Cottington's Fairy Album (Lady Cottington) by Brian FroudRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

THIS BOOK IS SO SCANDALOUS OMG!!! Hahaha this book came highly recommended because of the inventive illustrations of “pressed fairies”. These are colorful watercolors by Brian Froud that pretend as if fairies had been squished between the pages of the book, leaving an impression on both sides of the paper.

But there’s an actual story in here and at first glance you may find it kinda boring in a stiff-lipped Victorian way, but by the end it is super shocking and worth sticking to!

Without spoiling too much, this is a photo album/diary written by two sisters. The older one began taking pictures of “fairies”, which she also wrote about, but unfortunately died shortly after finishing the diary. Her younger sister finds the diary and begins reading it, adding notes of her own, and squishing fairies while she’s in the process. It sounds very dull and tidy that way but the ending is quite interesting!

By the way, in case you’re planning to read this in public or would like to gift this to a child and are sensitive about this kind of stuff, the fairies in the watercolors are mostly nude and in include the occasional fully-exposed rear-end or breast.

Loved it and highly recommend it!

Book Reviews

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden

stoned.jpgRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

This is one of the bestest books I’ve read this year!!! And I can think of tons of people who would love it!

Stoned isn’t really about the history of jewelry, as I first assumed. It really hinges on that “How Desire Shapes the World” and delves into this odd and embarrassing psychology of what makes something desirable, what we’ll do to obtain it, and how what we want says quite a lot about us as humans.

Some memorable examples: Queen Elizabeth I’s desire for a famed pearl (and what it represented) motivated her to move entire armies against Spain. A necklace that didn’t even have anything to do with Marie Antoinette was more fuel for the fire that eventually became the French Revolution. And lastly, before World War I, men would have “rather worn skirts” than wristwatches (which were seen as strictly feminine). After experiencing how useful they were for synchronized attacks during the war, they became the most desirable way to advertise one’s masculinity. (So dumb.)

There’s so so many interesting bits of world history in here that I never knew were so intertwined with gems, jewelry and ornamentation. It’s like the little hidden histories behind the summarized version you received in school.

Also, non-ficiton books with a sense of humor are just so much more engaging than those without. Aja Raden is hilarious and often makes ironic and cheeky connections that often made me chuckle. She also uses colloquial language to state universal truths, such as “Spain was up to its intolerant eyeballs in debt (…)” or when Louis XVI became king and said “Protect us, Lord, for we are too young to reign.” Aja says “No shit.” HAAAAAA!!! (Another funny non-fiction author is Mary Roach. If you’ve read and enjoyed her books, you’ll probably love this too, and vice versa.)

I’d recommend this book to ANYONE because it is very enlightening, quite fun, and it’s about world history (mostly western if I’m being honest, it includes: Spain, England, France, the Americas, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, and South Africa). It’s also very straightforward about the ugly historical truths that were sugarcoated for us in school, like with Columbus.

Book Reviews

Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale #1) by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor

nightvale 1

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

This book took me a long time to read because I didn’t want it to end!

Welcome to Night Vale is based on a podcast of the same name, which tells surrealistic stories about this lonely desert town known as Night Vale. The beauty of this world is the narration is fully self-aware and makes eyebrow-raising existential jokes constantly.

If you haven’t heard the podcast yet, it’s not a problem, you can definitely jump in and read this without knowing anything in advance. But if you’re iffy about reading this, listening to just 5-10 minutes of the podcast should be enough to win you over.

The book is just as crazy as the podcast, and it is highly likely that you’ve never read anything like it before. (The only book I’ve read that even remotely resembles this is John Dies at the End by David Wong, and I didn’t enjoy that one as much as this.)

The only thing I missed while reading was Cecil Palmer’s narration, which is a huge part of the charm of the podcast, but that could be remedied by getting the audiobook instead.

Highly recommended if you like weird shit and mysteries.

Book Reviews

Jughead, Vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson (Illustrations)

Jughead, Vol. 1 (Jughead (2015) #1) by Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson (Illustrations)

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

Jughead had always been a forgettable character for me, until I started watching Riverdale (and even then I only really gave a damn about him until season two). All I knew is in Archie comics there’s always this goofy dude in the background, wearing a grey crown.

Jughead isn’t only interesting enough to get his own comic, but he’s also funny as hell. This comic is just silly and goofy all-around and it’s quite entertaining.

The main story is there’s a draconian new principal at the school, who rubs Jughead the wrong way. The fun part is every chapter is peppered with Jughead’s daydreams, where he is always the hero in the story. In one of them he travels to the future, in another he’s a pirate, in another he’s a superhero, etc. The superhero is the only one I didn’t like, it just was too over-the-top silly and had that feeling of “I’ve seen this and parodies of this a million times before.”

If you’ve never ever read Archie comics, I wouldn’t start here, but if you’re familiar with the characters, go right ahead! It’s really fun. And if you’ve only watched Riverdale, just know that this isn’t the dark, broody Jughead you’re used to seeing, this is the goofy one; but he’s just as clever as the other one.