Dear Committee Members (book review)

Another book review from The Movie Snob.

Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher (2014).  I had a heck of a time getting a copy of this comic novel after reading a good review of it long, long ago.  First I prowled the used bookstores for months and never found it.  Eventually I gave up and ordered it on Amazon.  Doh!  The package never arrived.  More months passed.  I discovered the Amazon locker service and ordered it again.  Finally, I had it!  Amazingly enough, it was worth the wait.  The entire book consists of letters, emails, and the like written by a fellow named Jason Fitger over the course of a year.  He’s an English professor at a second-tier liberal-arts college, and after publishing one very successful novel many years ago he pretty much fizzled out as an author.  He vents his frustration (both professional and personal) in his letters, many of which are letters of recommendation for students.  I laughed out loud more than once at his splenetic utterances.  And I gave it to my sister and then my best friend from college, who are both college professors, and they both liked it.  Highly recommended.

Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays, by Joseph Epstein (2016).  I’ve sung Epstein’s praises in this blog enough before.  I just really like his writing style and observations about life, literature, and everything.  The pieces in this collection, with only a couple of exceptions, are extremely short—like two pages long.  Many of them, I believe, came from Epstein’s contributions to the “Casual” feature in The Weekly Standard magazine, so I had probably read many of them before.  Still, it was a pleasure to read them again.  If you enjoy good writing, you owe it to yourself to give Epstein a try.

The Rosie Project (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (2013).  A blurb on the cover calls this novel “a smart love story that will make anyone, man or woman, laugh out loud.”  Well, I don’t know if I would go that far.  It’s not bad, but it’s not as good as, say, Bridget Jones’s Diary.  It’s a first-person narrative by a middle-aged Australian genetics professor named Don Tillman.  Within a page or two, it is apparent to the reader (if not to Don) that he has Asperger’s.  Nevertheless, he decides that he should get married, and the novel is about the seriocomic events that follow.  You can probably decide from this description whether the book is likely to be your cup of tea.  I got a little tired of experiencing Don’s overly literal and analytical thought processes on almost every page of the book.  And I’m dubious about stories like this and Silver Linings Playbook (the movie) that suggest that love may be able to overcome or break through mental disorders.  But on the whole, I thought it was an enjoyable enough read.

Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer, by Una LaMarche (2015).  This is a collection of short humorous essays by a gal who was born in 1980.  There are stories about her upbringing by hippie parents, her awkwardness in childhood, and her later adventures in driving, drinking, and having a baby.  And yes, as a child, she had a unibrow, displayed in its full glory in the cover photo showing the author as an extremely happy-looking child.  The author uses way too much vulgar language, but I must admit that I laughed out loud a few times while reading this book, so that makes up for a lot as far as I’m concerned.