Genre: Humour

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Posted May 26, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary, Humour, Russian Lit Project / 2 Comments

Death and the Penguin by Andrey KurkovTitle: Death and the Penguin (Goodreads)
Series: The Penguin Novels #1
, 1996
Pages: 228
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Viktor Alekseyevich Zolotaryov is an unemployed aspiring writer struggling to live in a post-soviet society. He has aspirations to write novels but a job writing obituaries conveniently fell into his lap. Viktor’s job is to prepare obituaries for notable Ukrainian figures. However he quickly found out he was being assigned to write obituaries of the enemies of an unknown organisation, using the newspaper as a front. He is now trapped in a situation and there appears to be no escape.

The title of this book refers to Viktor’s job and his pet king penguin, Misha. The Kiev zoo had run out of money and could no long afford to support or feed the animals. Their solution was to give the pets to any citizen able to feed them in the hope they will care for the animals. Andrey Kurkov uses Misha to mirror Viktor Zolotaryov. An existential look into life imitating art and the balance between life and death.

Death and the Penguin is a dark comedy and political satire that portrays a bleak post-Soviet Ukraine to the reader. Kurkov takes a pragmatic approach with exploring morality. The idea of writing a mournful article in case a politician or socialite dies suddenly in exchange for money offers a morbid look at mortality but that is not enough for Andrey Kurkov and he wants to talk about politics and corruption. “People have got used to the corruption. People here are flexible and they accept the new rules and don’t dwell on moral questions. They just watch what everyone else is doing and try to find their own ways of deceiving others to make money for themselves to survive”

The Kiev Kurkov portrays is one driven by greed and corruption. A place where bribes have to be handed out before an ambulance will come and take a dying man to hospital. However, once at the hospital the staff can offer no medicines to ease the pain, let alone a cure. A place where money rules and the gangster underworld are offering a practical solution into solving corruption. Turning this society into a place where organised crime and political corruption seem to be ruling in tandem.

What really stuck with me was the parallels between Viktor and Misha’s life. Starting from struggling to feeling trapped, Misha’s life mimicked Viktor’s own life. Also Misha helped provide a contrast with Victor’s plot; exploring ideas of life and death simultaneously. While people are dying due to the hit list, Viktor struggles to keep Misha alive in an environment that is not suitable for a king penguin. These parallels and contrast make up the back-bone of the book and what really cemented my love for this novel.

Death and the Penguin is a wonderful satire that combines elements of the surreal and existential. I really enjoyed the dark comedy and the themes Andrey Kurkov explored within this novel. There is a sequel to the book called Penguin Lost which I plan to read but I have no idea how this story could continue. As part of my Russian lit project, I plan to explore a lot more post-Soviet literature and if this is anything to go by, I know I will discover some great novels.

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks

Posted December 11, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour, Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony HawksTitle: Round Ireland with a Fridge (Goodreads)
, 1997
Pages: 248
Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

What happens when you make a stupid bet while drunk at a bar? If you are anything like Tony Hawks, you actually try to win the bet. With £100 at stake, Tony Hawks decides to hitchhike around Ireland with a fridge (even though buying the fridge cost him £130). Round Ireland with a Fridge is a travel memoir about the adventures Tony Hawks had with his fridge.

First of all, it is important to point out that Tony Hawks is a British comedian and is not to be confused with the skateboarder. While he is best known for his travel memoirs, Hawks first claim to fame was as the lead of the comedy band Morris Minor and the Majors, which had a hit with a Beastie Boys parody in 1988.  He is also a voice actor, most notable for voicing a vending machine and a suitcase in Red Dwarf.

This book starts off with Tony Hawks talking about how he doesn’t spend much time drinking or going to bars. Then for the entire novel he drinks in bars as he hitchhikes around Ireland. Putting aside this huge contradiction this book is actually very entertaining and manages to captivate the audience for its 246 pages. Travelling from Dublin to Donegal, from Sligo through Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Wexford, Wicklow–and back again to Dublin this a story of the people he meets along the way.

The fridge actually become more of an asset that Tony Hawks originally expected, helping him get rides, free accommodation and even pick up woman. Even the fridge had its own adventures; it was christened by a nun and even went surfing. While this may seem like a gimmick you will find some interesting philosophical thoughts on people and life as Tony Hawks reflects on all the experiences he had with his fridge.

I had a lot of fun with this book and I am so glad to have read it. There were so many laugh out loud moments (I especially enjoyed Hawks views on marathons) and still offered plenty to think about. As a travel memoir I expected something like Bill Bryson and while the comedy is there I think there was more opportunity to teach people about Ireland and its culture. Highly recommend this book and I plan to seek out Playing the Moldovans at Tennis so I can dip back into Tony Hawks writing again.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Posted December 6, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour, Non-Fiction / 4 Comments

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerTitle: Yes Please (Goodreads)
, 2014
Pages: 400
Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

For those who don’t know Amy Poehler, then let me clear this part up first. Poehler is a comedian/actor who studied improv before working for Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008. In 2009 a spin-off from the American version of The Office was created and Poehler took the lead role in this show called Parks and Recreation. The character Leslie Knope is a perky, mid-level bureaucrat with big hopes and dreams in the small fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Parks and Rec follows this government department in a single-camera, mockumentary style as they try to jump through all the hoops to do something as simple as fill in the construction pit in an abandoned lot and create a park. The seventh and final season of Parks and Recreation is set to begin during the mid-season of the 2014–15 season.

Author photo

Amy Poehler is not the first Parks and Rec star to release a memoir; Nick Offerman’s (who plays Ron Swanson) book Paddle Your Own Canoe finds him musing about life, manliness, wood work and how to best grill meat. However Poehler’s book was marketed as companion to Saturday Night Live co-star and friend Tina Fey’s Bossypants, rather than Offerman’s memoir. This is possibly due to the huge success of Fey’s memoir and the fact the two often work as a comedy duo.

I picked up Paddle Your Own Canoe as an audiobook because I liked the idea of Ron Swanson narrating and I decided to do the same with Yes Please. Amy Poehler made the audiobook a unique event, with guest stars and banter that I don’t expect appeared in the book. This allowed the listeners to enjoy a different experience to that of reading the book which I know has some pictures to look through instead. I have stopped listening to fiction in audio form because of personal preferences, which has allowed for more podcasts and non-fiction audiobooks. I feel like non-fiction and memoirs seem to work really well as audiobooks; I am not sure why but it just works really well.

What I found interesting about Yes Please was the memoir style; this wasn’t told in a linear format, rather a collection of essays that went back and forward depending on the topic. I really liked this style it allowed more focus on particular topics and allowed Amy Poehler to explore things in her own way. I was also impressed with how strong and confident she comes across in the book; when it came to talking about her divorce with Will Arnett she just simply stated it wasn’t a topic she wanted to go into and then moved on. I think people expect all the juicy and dark details on someone’s life in a memoir and I liked how she just brushed it off, proclaiming “This isn’t a topic I wish to share”. She does share some darker moments but for the most part she wants to come across as a positive and happy person.

Amy Poehler has a strong and passionate attitude towards life and in the end Yes Please really wants people to know that it is okay to be yourself. There were tender moments throughout the book and if you are a fan of Parks and Recreation, you might tear up when she shares her love towards every star within the show. She also spends a lot of time talking about her improv days and trying to make it into show business, reminding people persistence and passion is needed; if you love what you do, then why do anything else.

I really enjoyed reading Yes Please, maybe not as much as Paddle Your Own Canoe but it was still interesting to learn about someone’s life. While some may think that Amy Poehler has let the reader down by refusing to share some parts of her life, I think it really showed integrity. Just because she is an actor doesn’t mean her life is an open book. Parks and Rec fans should pick up this book, but also anyone interested in reading a memoir about someone passionate about life and their job will find Yes Please a great book.

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

Posted November 20, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 4 Comments

Look Who’s Back by Timur VermesTitle: Look Who’s Back (Goodreads)
Author: Timur Vermes
Translator: Jamie Bulloch
Published: MacLehose Press, 2012
Pages: 375
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Library Book

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Adolf Hitler wakes up in the summer of 2011, lying on a patch of open ground in Berlin. However this isn’t the Germany he remembers; he calls over a nearby group of Hitler Youth but they appear to be unhelpful. He quickly discovers he is no longer the chancellor of the German Reich, in fact Angela Merkel held that role. The Kanzlei des Führers was no more and his home, The Reich Chancellery was no longer liveable. For the rest of Germany, Hitler was just a method actor who refused to break character.

Er ist wieder da (English title Look Who’s Back) is Timur Vermes first novel after working as a ghostwriter. The book is a biting satire of what might happen if Adolf Hitler was alive in the 21st Century. Of course, if he we was alive today he would be on television, spitting his ideology to the influential masses. While many thought of him as a method actor and a comedian, the novel centres on a return to power and politics with his lack of political correctness.

Interestingly enough Look Who’s Back plays on the ideas around satire; while most people within the novel believe Adolf Hitler is just a satirist, the whole notion is that there is a fine line between satire and venomous ideology. One thing I found particularly interesting within the novel is the way Timur Vermes plays with the idea that satire is meant to be funny and I want to stop and give these people a lesson on the differences between Horatian and Juvenalian satire. There are a lot of comedic values within Look Who’s Back (Horatian satire) however the satire within the novel was Juvenalian.

The way Hitler was portrayed within the book, kept reminding me of Bruno Ganz’s performance in Downfall for some weird reason.  While Vermes put a lot of effort and thought into how Hitler would react to a modern Germany, this book soon became a one trick pony. The different scenarios Hitler found himself in started off as humorous but soon the jokes got a little old. Despite this fact, I have to be impressed with the amount of thought that went into the ideas Hitler would have towards Germany today.

I do however suspect there is something lost on a reader who doesn’t live within Germany. While there is a lot of entertainment to be had with the novel the subject matter wouldn’t have the same effect. The fact remains that Adolf Hitler was very damaging to Germany and the subject matter would remain a controversial topic. While Timur Vermes depicted Hitler as a man (rather than a monster) in an effort to examine how National Socialism rose to power, Germany remains wary of the effects of this ideology. Hitler’s ideas towards Judaism and immigration have left a bad taste in the mouth of every German person and the results have led to an overly politically correct society. The damage is still visible, but despite the controversial nature of Look Who’s Back, the book sold over 1.4 million copies within Germany and has been translated into twenty eight languages (Jamie Bulloch being the English translator).

I found myself getting a little bored by the jokes within this novel and the moral message was easily recognisable half way through. While there is plenty of interesting ideas within Look Who’s Back, I believe this book might have been more enjoyable if it was cut down about half its size. Hitler comes across as an uncompromising, charismatic but deeply flawed human and while this is needed for this story, it is hard not to see him as anything but a monster.


I read this book for German Literature Month

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Posted September 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary, Humour / 0 Comments

Straight Man by Richard RussoTitle: Straight Man (Goodreads)
Author: Richard Russo
Narrator: Sam Freed
Published: Vintage, 1997
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary, Humour
My Copy: Audiobook

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I must admit, I do enjoy a good campus novel and when I heard about Straight Man by Richard Russo I knew I had to read it as soon as I could. The story spouted from a real life situation Richard Russo had teaching at a small State University. Having made friends with the Dean of the university he found himself in a conversation about the budget. Year after year, the same thing happened and while walking past a duck pond the Dean jokingly complained that he would have to threaten to kill a duck a day until he got his budget. This ended up being the basis of not only the main character from Straight Man but the birth of the novel.

The novel tells the story of an English professor, William Henry Devereaux, Jr. at a fictional Pennsylvania University. He has been appointed as the interim chairman of the English department and once again the administration of the university has not provided a budget yet. William is also enjoying a midlife crisis and the complacency of being a tenure professor which gives us a sharp, witty and satirical look at college life.

You know what they say; ‘Everyone has a book in them’, and an English professor is more likely to know the pains of writing. For William, he has already enjoyed a brief brush with success when he released his fast forgotten novel. Despite his abilities, he will always remain in the shadows of his father; a far more popular and successful writer and professor. This creates a volatile mix of emotions and frustration for this character and the results play out wonderfully with Straight Man.

I was pleasantly surprised just how satirical this novel turned out, often humour was delivered in a number of different ways. From the outlandish situation, to dry deadpan deliveries and self-deprecation; these combinations worked well with the character and the novel itself. However behind the humour is the brutal truth of the bureaucratically nightmare an academic department faces year after year.

Ultimately what impressed me the most with this novel was the way Richard Russo managed to balance everything perfectly. He had a good sense of comedic timing and knows when to hold back or push forward. Yet he also knew how to sneak in some heavy themes without destroying the light hearted manner of the delivery. Above all, he has able to write great prose that showed beauty and tenderness as well as bitterness and comedy. It must have been difficult to balance everything but the execution made it look easy.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich

Posted February 14, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour, Short Stories / 0 Comments

The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon RichTitle: The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories (Goodreads)
Author: Simon Rich
Published: Serpent's Tail, 2013
Pages: 224
Genres: Humour, Short Stories
My Copy: Library Book

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The Last Girlfriend on Earth is a collection of skits (no quite short stories) about love and matters of the heart. Simon Rich was one of the youngest writers to work on Saturday Night Live, which explains the short bizarre stories. For a man only just 30, Rich has had an impressive career already, receiving a two-book contract with Random House prior to graduating from Harvard University. The Last Girlfriend on Earth is his fifth book, but it is the first one I’ve had the opportunity to read.

These skits/stories are a lot of fun, and I was entertained from start to finish. Highlights include, ‘Unprotected’ the story told entirely from the perspective of a condom, ‘Magical Mr. Goat’ tells the story of a girl’s imaginary friend stuck in the ‘friend-zone’, and there is even one about a dog’s missed connections. There are some stories that are just so bizarre that you wonder how he thought them up, like dating Mother Teresa (she is practically a saint of a woman) or finding out that your ex is dating Hitler. There was even one where a guy wins the MacArthur Fellowship ‘Genius award for having a one night stand.

Simon Rich clearly likes to play with stereotypes and inject some absurdity into his stories, yet they all seem to have something familiar about them. The ideas portrays in this book are that of love and even heartbreak; while expressed in a humorous way, I really enjoyed how there was an element to truth behind them. For example, what happens when the invisible man gets dumped? Naturally he would use his abilities to spy on his ex-girlfriends’ date.  How about when Cupid becomes a teenager and rebels? What kind of game of Jeopardy! would it be if Alex Trebek’s ex-wife was a contestant. All the scenarios are unusual but relatable.

I always find it hard to write a review about a collection of short stories. With The Last Girlfriend on Earth, you’ll be definitely be entertained, think of it as an episode of Saturday Night Live on the topic of love. The humour of Simon Rich was razor shape and just twisted, but that is the kind of thing I enjoy. I’m not sure what his other books are like, but I’m curious to find out.

Books by Charlie Hill

Posted February 3, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 6 Comments

Books by Charlie HillTitle: Books (Goodreads)
Author: Charlie Hill
Published: Tinder Press, 2013
Pages: 242
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Library Book

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When two tourists drop dead, it peaks neurologist Lauren Furrow’s interest and seeks out indie bookseller Richard Anger to help her uncover this mystery. What they find is something unexpected. Have you ever read a book so mediocre that your brain stops working? Best-selling author Gary Sayles’s books are doing just that. Charlie Hill’s Books will take a satirical look at the state of our book industry today.

This novel starts out with Richard Anger, an angry book seller with the best bookshop ever mentioned in a novel. “A bookshop full of long-forgotten noir fiction, modernist classics, chapbooks, transgressive experimentation, translated erotica, minimalism, short stories, satires, samizdat, surrealist poetry and smut.” This is the kind of book shop I would love to spend my time in, it’s the type of store I would love to own; it just sounds amazing. Is it bad that I identified and really enjoyed the character of Richard Anger? I just thought his whole attitude and personality really tied the book together, offsetting the humour with some bitterness.

As this is a satire, I paid closed attention at what Hill was parodying. A particular favourite of mine was the literary critic, who was a blogger. As a book blogger I’ve heard it so many times, people calling blog reviews into question and while running a blog gives you more freedom to explore your own style and voice but that doesn’t mean what we say is less relevant. This tiny dig at literary criticism amused me greatly but then again I enjoyed the many little pokes being made at the book industry.

As an overview of this novel, Books is satire on the sheer amount of books that are extremely similar being published. You know the styles, I won’t point out books but there are heaps of examples of books that feel very much like a carbon copy of a similar book that was popular. There are genres out there that have the same thing being published over and over again because they sell. Books takes a look at this practise and just made fun of it.

People are devouring these books that are so similar that they all die from SNAPS (Spontaneous Neural Atrophy Syndrome).  Books reads similar to a thriller but there are so many laugh out loud moments. I love how on the surface this novel seems like a genre-based novel but if you explore it a little deeper you see so much. You can spend a lot of time trying to dissect Books and seeing everything Charlie Hill is doing here.

If you are a fan of books and want a good laugh at the expense of the book industry, then Books is for you. I had so much fun reading this book and equally as much fun thinking about what is written. I picked up this book because I love books about books and satire and I was not disappointed. This could be on my best of 2014 list but it is way too early to tell. Highly recommend Books, it is fun to read and you’ll enjoy the fun it made at the book industry.

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman

Posted November 7, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour, Non-Fiction / 3 Comments

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick OffermanTitle: Paddle Your Own Canoe (Goodreads)
Author: Nick Offerman
Narrator: Nick Offerman
Published: Penguin, 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Humour, Non-Fiction
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Nick Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. This is his first memoir where he muses about life, manliness, wood work and how to best grill meat. Find out about Offerman’s childhood in small town Minooka, Illinois, his love of the theatre, his love of wood work, his wife Megan Mullally and the deadpan comedic style that made him a star.

If you are a Parks and Recreation fan, and in particular a Ron Swanson fan, then this is the book for you. Just to be clear my favourite character is April. Most of Ron Swanson’s quirks and history are taken right out of Nick Offerman’s life so it is almost like learning about the history of the Pawnee Parks Department director.

I got the audiobook of this and I highly recommend you do the same as Offerman narrates this himself. So it feels like Ron Swanson is narrating the book and then you get that Swansonesque chuckle when he tells a joke or a funny story. Listening to Ron Swanson was the best part of the book and I was actually interested in Offerman’s life.

Paddle Your Own Canoe goes further than just talking about Offerman’s life; he also talks about his personal philosophies and what he considers to be the real makings of a man. There is a lot of talk about equality, treating everyone equal, no matter religion, sexuality and so on. It was really interesting to listen to him talk about respect and not being an asshole. I was really impressed with his views on life. not all of them, but he seemed like a really down to earth and stable guy.

When he talks about Megan Mullally is one of my favourite parts. The love he has for his wife and the respect he shows her is beautiful. He talks about their courtship and their marriage and it is all so wonderful I don’t think I could bare it if they ever separated. He is a little sleazy and even tells the reader to Google Megan Mullally’s breasts, but over all you can see how much he adores her.

I didn’t think I would enjoy reading a memoir of an actor, especially a comedian but I thought this was wonderful. I wonder if reading a memoir of a really amazing actor would be as good. This is light hearted, fascinating and surprising. I never thought Nick Offerman would have such a love for the theatre but now I want to see his deadpan style on the stage. Fans of the show or Offerman will love this; I’m not sure about everyone else.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

Posted July 26, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 0 Comments

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy WayneTitle: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (Goodreads)
Author: Teddy Wayne
Published: Free Press, 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Eleven year old pop sensation Jonny Valentine knows that people love him. The singer’s voice, hairdo and image, carefully packaged together by his LA label and manager/mother are what they really love. But within this mass marketing machine, the real Jonny is hidden somewhere. This is the story of Jonny Valentine, a vulnerable boy perplexed but his budding sexuality, his celebrity heartthrob status, the tight control his mother has over him and his absent father.

This book has been on my radar for a while now and I’m not really sure how it got there, I didn’t know many people who had read it. In fact I only discovered two people in my book blogger RSS that had read this book (Jennifer from The Relentless Reader & Kristin from My Little Heart Melodies) when I added the novel to Goodreads as ‘Currently Reading’. Having said I knew that this was a satirical look at Justin Beiber and that was enough to convince me to read it. While this is in fact true, I didn’t expect what I got; not only was it a humorous look at celebrity heartthrobs, it also has some really interesting things to say about growing up in that position.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine follows the pop star on a tour for his second album, everything part of his professional career has been carefully planned out by his label and his manager, Jane, who is also his mother. The label and his mother don’t often see eye to eye, most of the time you get the impression that Jane is looking out for her son but then you also think she is too controlling. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I wouldn’t want an eleven year old celebrity looking at what has been said about them on the internet. The label works to slowly push Jonny’s mother out and replace her with someone more experience (I say that loosely) in the hopes to have more control of his image and career. Sex sells, the label knows this but Jane does not want to resort to that method until Jonny has at least gone through puberty.

Then you have Jonny’s life outside of performing, his tutoring, vocal lessons, exercise and meal plans and video games. Constantly in a bus with other members of his crew (manager, vocal coach, tutor, bodyguard, and road crew) you get a sense of a lonely boy without any real friends his own age. His new support act are closer to his age and when he hangs out with them he soon finds himself getting into trouble. His hormones are starting to take over his body and this also leads him astray; since his mother is too busy being his manager he often spends his nights and afternoons alone playing video games and thinking about sex.

There is also the absent father, one night while sneaking some internet time, Jonny Valentine finds his father searching from him on a few of his fan forums. Feeling reluctant Jonny sets up a Gmail account and emails him asking for proof that he is really is his father. Without going into too much about what happens in the novel there are so many incredibly funny moments within this book. The fact that a newly setup Gmail account gets so much spam made me chuckle, since Google claim to have strong protection against spammers. This is one of many things that just tickled my fancy in the novel, it kind of reminds me of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk with the comedic look at celebrity life (again I say that loosely) and in the style.

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read so far this year, I’m surprised that this novel hasn’t received more coverage. The cover alone makes this book worth buying, look at it; it’s so shiny and distracting. Not only is this novel jammed with humour and entertainment, its thought provoking and will get you thinking about celebrities in ways you’ve never expected. I hope more people go out and read The Love Song of Jonny Valentine because it’s well worth it, I really need to find some more books like this, if you have any suggestions.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe

Posted March 16, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Childrens, Humour / 0 Comments

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon DefoeTitle: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Goodreads)
Author: Gideon Defoe
Series: The Pirates! #1
Published: Pantheon, 2004
Pages: 144
Genres: Childrens, Humour
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists follows the story of the Pirate captain and his unorthodox crew. On their adventures they meet Charles Darwin and his highly trained and sophisticated “man-panzee” Mister Bobo. Darwin has been banished from London by a rival scientist and manages to convince the Pirate captain to help defeat his enemies.

While this book and the rest of the series is not aimed at children, it comes as a real surprise that the stop animation movie adaption was. I’ve not seen the movie but I can’t imagine a cannon ball ripping through a woman’s head would make for good movie viewing. Having said that I wouldn’t mind seeing that, the humour would be well worth seeing. The humour really relies on clichés and irony, while will make for a very entertaining experience. While the book has the humour there is a visual aspect to some of the jokes that really would work better in a movie.

I think book really reads more like a script for a movie and while it isn’t laid out that way I can’t help but thing that a movie adaptation was the main goal of the author. I know of people who have seen the movie and then went on to enjoy the books and I think that might be the order required. I can’t help think the humour was a cross between Monty Python and Wallace and Gromit, yet again why I think the movie would work better.

While the rest of the book falls into the realms of cliché, this book is all about the humour and nothing else. I would have liked a better plot and better characters but clearly this wasn’t the focus at all. I’m really not sure if I want to continue with this series but for a bit of light reading I might return, but I have so many other books I want to read so I doubt I’ll be back anytime soon.