Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

[Review] Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari: Digital Age and Dating

In MODERN ROMANCE Comedian Aziz Ansari explores the peculiarities of dating in the age of technology.

What intrigued me: I was in the mood for some Non-Fiction.

More academic than funny

MODERN ROMANCE reads more like a sociological study than a humorous little book peaking fun at dating habits in the 2010s. Undeniably a lot of work went into this as most chapters contain the outcomes of multiple surveys and interviews with people from different age groups. While that is quite the interesting premise, I feel like MODERN ROMANCE would have benefitted more from mixing humor with anecdotes exlusively. Aziz is incredibly funny and MODERN ROMANCE just doesn't embrace that.

Knowing Ansari's stand-up I was hoping for basically a novelized version of one of his performances. Lots of stories, lots of fun things to laugh about. This absolutely isn't what MODERN ROMANCE is, it's an academic study in my opinion that doesn't quite committ. 

Decent Bedside Table Read

It's half anecdotes half academic text and this is just not a flattering combination. I ended up skimming many passages simply because I wasn't interested. It truly does read like a lecture, which isn't surprising since this book has been co-written with a sociology professor. 

Initially MODERN ROMANCE lures you in with pretending to focus primarly on the digital age- which is why I picked it up - but essentially it compares generations. I'm not quite sure what MODERN ROMANCE is trying to do, it certainly doesn't deliver any new revelations that you didn't know if you grew up in the last 20th century. Ultimately I do think aside from a bedside table read that you can skim through whenever you're feeling like you need a light distraction, it's probably just a pick for people who really love Aziz Ansari.


Rating:

★★½

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

MODERN ROMANCE is a well-researched book and has its fun moments, but ultimately wasn't quite what I expected and disappointed me through being more academic than funny. If you don't mind that, MODERN ROMANCE still makes for a nice bedside table read.



Additional Info

Published: 19th September 2016
Pages: 352
Publisher: Goldmann
Genre: Adult / Non-Fiction / Sociology
ISBN: 978-3-442-17619-9

Synopsis:
"At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?” 

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before."(Source: Goodreads)


Do you know Aziz Ansari?

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

[Review] Can You Keep A Secret? - Sophie Kinsella: Why You Should Never Spill Your Secrets to a Stranger


When Emma Corrigan experiences major turbulences on her flight, she's convinces she's going to die. So she confides all her secrets, things she has never told anyone, in her seat neighbor. But it turns out he isn't just a perfect stranger she'll never see again.
What intrigued me: Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author. She's the queen of chick-lit. She could write something in lipstick on a napkin and I'd pay $9,99 for it. Jokes aside, this one is apparently the best Kinsella novel according to a couple of my friends. I had to check it out.



Hilarious, But Not For Long...

Kinsella definitely has a success formula. Take a dorky heroine in a dead end relationship, her dorkiness leading to meeting the Super Serious Businessman Guy™, and then throw in some complications and hilarious secondhand embarrassing scenes before they finally get together and realize they were made for each other.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? has a very similar premise to I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Kinsella, but comes nowhere near the hilariousness and solid plot. Kinsella does have a way of making you laugh out loud with almost every single sentence. Her character voices are always on point. But the biggest flaw of this novel is that it starts with the premise and then just tries to keep up the narrative with tons of filler content. The secrets are spilled by page 20 and then it's just an annoying tug war between the protagonist Emma and her love interest Jack until they get together. It's still funny, but it just couldn't keep my attention and make me read this all in one go as other Kinsella books usually do.


Brilliant Character Building

What I've definitely missed with other novels by her are the side characters. In this one, the side characters are developed to perfection and it just seems effortless. She manages to introduce a new character and instantly make you sympathize with them/hate them. Usually Kinsella novels focus solely on the heroine, but in CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? everyone gets their little story and I love that. I loved to hate Emma's cousin Kerry and to sympathize with her sweet co-worker Katie. It's just perfect character building and you feel like the people you're reading about are real.

But then again, it all feels like filler. None of the side characters get a satisfying ending to their little quests and the whole novel just seems very unstructured. The idea absolutely can't carry an entire book. It should have ended somewhere halfway in, because the rest was just a torture to read for me. I wasn't invested in Emma, merely annoyed by her over the top dorkiness and naivete.



Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

No, not really. The first half is brilliant, but the rest is just boring. I stand by my favorites REMEMBER ME and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER if you want to read a Kinsella novel.




Additional Info

Published: December 27th 2005
Pages: 218
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN: 9780440241904

Synopsis:
"Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her..."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read a Sophie Kinsella book before?

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Review] The Second Coming - John Niven: What Happens When Jesus Comes Back to Earth



In "The Second Coming" by John Niven, God returns from His 400-year vacation and is insanely displeased with the development of humanity in the 21st century.

Consequentially, He decides to send down his son Jesus a second time to preach His one and only rule to humanity: "Be Nice".

Strong beginning and premise!

This obviously not a read for people who easily get offended. I remember reading an excerpt of this a while ago and absolutely falling in love with the funny, witty, and super entertaining way Niven decides to tackle this topic. From everyone smoking pot in heaven to gay assistant angels and a quick visit to the ten circles of hell. However, I think a whole book on this is definitely too much. 

Throughout the course of the novel. Jesus gets sent down to Earth and decides to participate in a talent show, because that seems to be the only way to get the attention of 21st century humans. Until then, there is a lot of filler describing Jesus' new life on earth as a struggling musician. I noticed how I zoned out after a while. The beginning, set in heaven, is flat-out hilarious, but Niven is unable to keep up the pace and humor for the rest of the book.

Not for the highly sensitive

While I like Niven's humorist approach, he definitely overdoes it in some parts. Every time Jesus encounters another human that doesn't belong to his new-found group of apostles, they're portrayed as vicious and mean.
When writing parodies and social critique it's easy to overdo it, losing the entire message and just turning the whole thing into a joke. I'm definitely not someone that gets offended by religious critique very easily, but "The Second Coming" is walking on a tightrope. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's just flat out insulting and overdone. You can just tell that there is hardly any effort put in character development, but every single chapter is just part of some elaborate joke or pun. There is no way you can connect to the characters at all, so reading a whole book on this is very difficult.

Rating:

☆☆

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I absolutely loved the first 50 pages but quickly lost interest after 150 pages. This would have worked better as a short story.


Additional Info

Published: 7th April 2011
Pages: 376
Publisher: William Heinemann
Genre: Adult / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9780434019564

Synopsis:
"GOD'S COMING - LOOK BUSY!

God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed. Having left his son in charge, God treated himself to a well-earned break around the height of the Renaissance. A good time to go fishing. He returns in 2011 to find things on earth haven't gone quite to plan...

The world has been rendered a human toilet: genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture; 'and,' God points out, 'there are fucking Christians everywhere.' God hates Christians. There's only one thing for it. They're sending the kid back.

JC, reborn, is a struggling musician in New York City helping people as best as he can. Gathering disciples along the way - a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics - he realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest. American Pop Star is the number one show in America, the unholy creation of English record executive Steven Stelfox... a man who's more than a match for the Son of God.
 "(Source: Goodreads)
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