Saturday, December 14, 2013

Using the Best Medicine, Part II

Whether you have fibromyalgia, chronic pain, mitochondrial fatigue or some other exhausting and painful long-term health condition, the doctors agree on this: laughter is important.  Keeping your sense of humor exercised is as important as keeping your body exercised.  Here are some of the books I've been reading lately to keep my laugh muscles limber.  (Slightly longer reviews are linked, if they exist.)

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: This one's cheating because it's not really a book.  I mean, it is.  It started out as a comic in Japan, but what I saw was the first two seasons of the animated cartoon.  I cannot recommend it blanketly because if you try to watch it unprepared, you will stop speaking to me.  Random, tasteless ultraviolence collides with unlikely poses, highly questionable costume choices, and 500% teenage testosterone SHONEN SHOUTING!!!!  It's loud, dumb, definitely bizarre, and sometimes it makes me laugh so hard I can't even figure out how to respond.  It is somehow both incredibly predictable and highly dependent on non-sequiter at the same time.  The mind boggles.  At least the anime is slightly less over-the-top with the nipples than the manga.  In fact, one traumatized friend pointed out that this was one of a handful of fighting anime where the females wear way more clothing than the males.  For whatever that's worth.

Confessions of a Teen Sleuth: I had to ban this one from the gym (where I read while exercising) because it kept making me fold up in helpless laughter in the middle of stair climbing, and I was afraid I would 1) hurt myself or 2) be kicked out of the gym for extremely weird behavior. If you love and adore Nancy Drew (or Hardy Boys) books and think they are the finest literature ever, you will not like this book.  If you enjoyed your time with Nancy, the boys, Tom, Trixie, the Bobbsey Twins, etc.--but you are aware they were not exactly high art--and you have a sense of humor and a tolerance for sensationalist confessional novels or parodies of these things, you may need to ban it from the gym, too.

Hyperbole and a Half: I kind of want to teach a writing class based on this book: a hilarious, profanity-laced, essay-writing class perhaps.  If you don't "get" Allie Brosch's style of crude and ugly illustrations combined with sharp wit, dumb physical comedy, self-deprecating insight, and superb story telling, you will not like this book any more than you like her blog.  If you don't mind the way she can go from incredible comedy to serious tragedy, and if you don't mind longer-form essays, you may have to join me by rationing your consumption of this book to avoid reading too much, laughing too much, and having trouble with your asthma.

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