Monday, November 3, 2008

A Book Review and a Contest

ANNOYING UPDATE: The contest is over. Click here for results.

Well This Is Irritating
For some reason, I’ve been asked to review a book called “is it just me or is everything shit?” subtitled, “insanely annoying modern things,” by Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur with Brandon Hay.
I wouldn’t be irritated about being chosen to review a compilation of annoyances except that my sister once gave me a book called, “The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation.” Am I so curmudgeonly that people think I am constantly jonesing for an annoyance fix? Or am I so laid back that people think I need a whole book of aggravating things to get me worked up to a mild lather?
“is it just me or is everything shit?” is an alphabetic list of those “insanely annoying modern things”. Some are longer pieces, such as “Xenu”, about what a scam Scientology is, or “Hitler, People Calling Each Other”, mainly about Bush calling people Hitler when perhaps he should be looking inward; these seem like a collection of essays the authors thought might go into some kind of book. Others are rather short such as “Toast, Overpriced”, which, in its entirety says, “There’s a lot of overpriced toast out there”, which are just there to fill out that book they wanted.
As you read it, you will recall Andy Rooney and “Didja ever notice….” Or Earl Pitts intoning, “You know what makes me sick? You know what makes me so angry…” except this is a whole book instead of one short bit.
Putting a bunch of annoying items together invites the reviewer to find the book itself annoying. I mean, if you read it for a while, you start to pick up on their vibe and think, “You know what’s insanely annoying: essays on insanely annoying stuff!” The list does not include “Blogs” specifically but does include “Self Examination columns”: any kind of writing in which the author observes him or herself doing something and writes about it as if everyone shared that interest. Yet that is the basis of this book, “Hey, we thought of some stuff we find annoying and you should too.”
If you are going to be out some evening with friends and you need something to pontificate about with a sense of superiority, read a few of these items and them bring them up over drinks. “Hey, what’s up with this people calling each other Hitler? And why is toast so pricey?”
In the end, though, these guys have identified a bunch of contemporary shit that does need to be called out (James Blunt, Botox, Dubai, Energy Drinks, among others) and they write about them in a humorous way that will make readers say, “Yeah, that’s what I would have written, if I was literate!” But you are not and you did not, so buy this book.
Or win a copy from me. In the comments, identify some modern thing that is truly annoying and write a brief description of why. The winner, as determine by the annoying panel of judges (me), gets a free copy of the book. The contest ends, not Sunday, November 9, but when I say it does. Then I will post the winner, who will need to send a mailing address to the publisher. Only residents of the US or Canada are eligible to win. You might find that annoying.


Jenny said...

Hm, I'll have to think about what's annoying. However, now that you've mentioned it (because they mentioned it), toast is really overpriced.

Susan said...

The very most annoying thing in the entire world is when someone has a contest and then never announces a winner!

Bill the Annoyer said...

I annoy myself when I make self-referential comments, especially annoying ones. Meta-annoyance is really annoying.

Susan said...

Also annoying: Authors who eschew capitalization but then conform by adding the question mark which, if the author was consistent, should be considered as unnecessary as the capitalization.

Gigi said...

I have four cats, one of whom is really annoying.

DVD movie trailers that won't let you skip to the main menu.

Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

Cell phone dead spots.

I guess that about covers it for me. Other than that I'm a pretty happy camper.

Jenny said...

Here's what's really annoying*: When someone leaves an asterisk without explaining below that it means.

darbyscloset said...

1. You order french fries and they are out of ketchup.
2. My Space tells you how to leave a link, the link doesn't show up and the help desk is out of town!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

scarletvirago said...

I am totally annoyed that I don't have anything really clever to say here, and will probably not win the contest.

ChristyJan said...

Commercials that are 10 times LOUDER than the program you are watching ... this annonys the heck out of me.


mypalmike said...

A black fly in your chardonnay.

not_on_display said...

I'm annoyed that the world doesn't owe me a living.

Cali said...

Protected-left-turn wasters are a PAIN IN THE FREAKING BUTT because then you have to wait through another red light!!!

Also- road-ragey people really suck too.

Steven at Book Dads said...

This does sound pretty funny.

We're hosting a contest for this same book at Book Dads.