Book picks similar to
Carp Fishing on Valium by Graham Parker
The Alternative Hero
Tim Thornton - 2009
What do you do if you’re a failed music fanzine writer in your early thirties with a dead-end job, and the best moment of your life occurred when you went to your first Thieving Magpies gig as a teenager and suddenly you belonged in a way you never had before, and the worst moment of your life occurred about six years later when Lance Webster, the Magpies’ lead singer, self-destructed on stage before your eyes—basically taking you with him—and just today you’ve discovered that Lance lives down the street from you?If you’re Clive Beresford—the haplessly obsessed guy at the center of Tim Thornton’s wildly comic and energetic debut novel—you get remarkably drunk and write and deliver a note to your idol (the contents of which you can’t remember the next morning), which causes two very large bouncer types to appear at your door warning you to back off, which, in turn, causes you to hide your true identity when you do finally meet Lance, totally by accident (he’s come a long way since the Magpies, but he is still LANCE F**CKING WEBSTER!)…none of which deters you from believing—really believing—that he could still save your life if only you could get that “earth-shattering exclusive” interview with him.With the story shifting between Clive’s life-changing Magpies past and his frantic present, we get a headlong, boisterous coming-of-age (if-not-quite-growing-up) romp and a warmhearted, hilarious view of friendship, hero worship, and the full-blast power of music to help us become, at the very least, who we would like to think we are.
Sam Clemens - 2020
Amidst a lifetime of rudderless drifting, he has lucked into a job at the most prestigious content creation company in the world, ContentRanch.com. The work may be lowbrow—and frankly, often brain-dead—but the role has perks, and Tim is primed to enjoy them. He notices an immediate boost in social status from his new job title, and dives headfirst into the electric nightlife offered to Content Ranch employees, which includes a weekly, booze-soaked party funded by the company’s eccentric boss.But throughout the fast work and faster living, something Timothy Dent never expected starts to happen: he succeeds. Despite his average talent and questionable commitment to the job, Tim’s content does outstanding numbers, and the higher-ups begin to notice. Initially thwarted by jealous middle management, Tim nevertheless rises through the ranks. Soon he lands a coveted invite to CEO Barry Corn’s penthouse suite, and comes to a pivotal crossroads: will Tim be exposed for the fraud that he is, or will he win over the boss and be vaulted into the stratosphere of the content world?Join Timothy Dent on an unforgettable and rambunctious comedy ride through a world in which content really is king.
Ginger, You're Barmy
David Lodge - 1962
But reckless, impulsive Mike and pragmatic Jonathan adopt radically different attitudes to this. Then one day Mike goes too far, with consequences that threaten to overturn Jonathan's cultivated detachment from the idiocies of military life.
Joe Barrett - 2020
The only problem is, he doesn't want any of it. And the endless distractions of digitized society give him no head space to figure out what he does want.So, Dan unplugs. He abandons all things digital technology, effectively retreating from society to live an analog lifestyle geared at perfecting the art of avoidance. When a case of mistaken identity launches Dan into a series of bizarro relationships and absurd events, it represents an unexpected path to reconnect him with a world he never knew existed.Dark, offbeat and laugh-out-loud funny, Unplugged is a coming of middle-age story about finding authentic connections and meaning in today's hyper-digitized society.
Mrs. Ted Bliss
Stanley Elkin - 1995
Ted Bliss tells the story of an eighty-two-year-old widow starting life anew after the death of her husband. As Dorothy Bliss learns to cope with the mundane rituals of life in a Florida retirement community, she inadvertently becomes involved with a drug kingpin trying to use her as a front for his operations. Combining a comic plot with a deep concern for character, Elkin ends his career with a vivid portrait of a woman overcoming loss, a woman who is both recognizable and as unique as Elkin's other famous characters.
The Last Days of My Mother
Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson - 2009
Now, his mother, who is rambunctious, rapier-tongued, frequently intoxicated and, until now impervious to change, has cancer. The doctor's prognosis sounds pretty final, but after a bit of online research, Hermann decides to accompany his mother to an unconventional treatment center in the Netherlands. Mother and son set out on their trip to Amsterdam, embarking on a schnapps-and-pint-fuelled picaresque that is by turns wickedly funny, tragic, and profound. Although the mother's final destination is never really in doubt, the trip presents the duo with a chance to reevaluate life—beginning, middle and end. Although the trip is lively and entertaining, it will also put severe strain on the bond between mother and son, not to mention their mutual capacity for alcohol.
Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages: A Novel
Sara Lindsay Rath - 2005
Her relationship with her college-aged daughter is strained yet candid, and a long-standing affair with a married professor has its own peculiar ups and downs. When Hannah unexpectedly inherits her uncle's rundown resort, she must head to the northwoods to close up and sell the business. But the only interested buyer is Ingold, an international mining company, and Hannah finds herself reluctantly operating the resort while trapped in the midst of a treacherous dispute between Ingold and Uncle Hal's activist friends. From safeguarding the wilderness to pursuing elusive new love interests, Hannah has plenty to engage her imagination at Star Lake. A new aspect of her personality emerges, one that is surprisingly courageous and compassionate. Throughout this humorous, elegantly plotted adventure with its appealing characters and lyrical depictions of nature, Hannah encounters the inevitability of change--in herself and in the nostalgic landscape of the deep North.
The Festival of Earthly Delights
Matt Dojny - 2012
It's the one day of the year when everyone has a shot at finding true love—even a rapacious, over-sexed turtle god. It's a celebration of hobos and heartbreak, Lionel Richie impersonators and banana-brandy-flavored rice wine. It's The Festival of Earthly Delights.Boyd Darrow is a young American living in Puchai, a tiny Southeast Asian country that tourist brochures refer to as "The Kingdom of Winks." In a series of letters written to a mysterious recipient, Boyd tells of the delights, humiliations and brain-bending misadventures he experiences while adjusting to life in the small college town of Mai Mor. He and his somewhat less-than-faithful girlfriend, Ulla, were hoping to start their lives over in Puchai, but Puchai has an agenda all its own.Ulla's been hired to organize the talent show at the town's annual "Festival of Taang," but she seems more interested in the possibilities of cultural exchange with a local revolutionary. Meanwhile, Boyd grapples with a culture in which baby owls are considered a delicacy, turtles are worshipped as deities, and a wink can have one of 379 possible meanings (including "You're fired," "There's something in my eye," and "I want to kiss your lips!"). He's also falling for his boss's daughter, a half-Puchanese girl with a black eye and a troubling past. Lines are crossed, secrets are revealed, and, as Boyd's life inevitably spins out of control, the Festival draws closer with each day...Hilarious and wise and fiercely original, The Festival of Earthly Delights is a no-holds-barred celebration of love, cultural differences, and one man's reluctant embrace of the sensual pleasures of this world, in all their awkward, enigmatic glory.ADVANCE PRAISE"If Puchai were a real country, I'd be a citizen by now, or at least an illegal alien. What a glorious novel!" —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story"Matt Dojny's novel is a true delight. I can't think of any writer since Kingsley Amis who's been able to write high-minded comedy that packs such a punch. I've never enjoyed a comic novel more." —John Wray, author of Lowboy"Matt Dojny's narrator Boyd Darrow is as poetically drawn as J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, and as intimately hilarious as C.D. Payne's Nick Twisp. Dojny has created an entire country filled with characters that are so fresh and endearing, you'll find yourself wishing Puchai were a real place. I love this book." —Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords, The Daily Show)"Comic novels can be whimsical, or clever, or delightful, or witty, or canny, or powerful. Rarely are they all of those things. Matt Dojny's large-hearted, bright-minded novel has drawings and letters and love and loss, and now you do, too." —Ben Greenman, author of What He's Poised to Do and Superbad
Terry Pratchett Discworld Collection 7 Books Set (Unseen Academicals, the Colour ofMagic, GoingPostal, Making Money, the Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort)
Terry Pratchett - 2005
Worldwide sales of his books are 60 million, and they have been translated into 37 languages. Terry Pratchett was knighted for services to literature in 2009. Titles Included in this set : 1. Unseen Academicals 2. The Colour Of Magic 3. Going Postal 4. Making Money 5. The Light Fantastic 6. Equal Rites 7. Mort
Robert Chalmers - 2004
He wears his temper like a badge of honor, would rather step over a homeless beggar than walk around him, and engages in petty warfare with his staff over expense receipts. He's also never been much bothered with monogamy, but when one morning he spontaneously seduces his temp in an office storeroom, he's definitely crossed a line in blatancy. Miller has made few friends and many enemies—not to mention the fact that the storeroom is a notorious trysting place and he and the temp both emerge covered in dust and airmail stickers—so the news doesn’t take long to reach his cold, beautiful wife. Conveniently, it just happens to be their anniversary. Imagine the celebratory dinner, capped by her returning her house keys and consummating her desire to sleep with the neighbor.Not a man to suffer rejection well, Miller heads for a London media hangout, where two employees introduce him to cocaine. By morning, his exploits are public (a photographer captured him snorting the cocaine in public), his career is over (thanks to a damning interview he gave a journalist from a rival paper), he's not only painted the word 'WANKER' on the cuckolding neighbor's car, but misspelled it, and his house is on fire (never leave a goodbye bonfire of wedding photos unattended). . . . Clearly, it’s time to leave town. Miller has an engagement to speak to the boys at his old prep school, but he can't seem to stop pouring gasoline on the fire that his life has become, showing up hungover after a night partying with an old school friend and a gaggle of Spanish flight attendants, and calling the headmaster by his behind-the-back nickname of "Stiffo" to the students, for a start. After the speech, he speaks with his doctor and learns that his father-in-law plans to kill him.Leigh, the old school friend, works for an English language school in Barcelona, and Miller wrangles its address out of him, for he clearly can't go home. He gets the job and adapts surprisingly well to a life of an underpaid teacher, despite the fact that some of his students will clearly never learn the language (there are hilarious scenes of their attempts in this section) and even starts up a romance with a tough-talking English girl who's one of his fellow teachers—but he doesn't tell her who he really is when he has the opportunity, and when she figures it out on her own she is livid and that bridge is burnt. To make matters worse, his father-in-law's goons have tracked him down.Miller flees again, winding up in Florida, in a town populated by ex-circus freaks and presided over by the Half Man, a criminal and sadist with no legs who welcomes Miller to town by shoving a gun barrel in his mouth and breaking his teeth. But ironically, it seems that despite the fleas in his trailer, the one-eyed albino hit man who seems to overhear every compromising conversation between Miller and the Half Man’s beautiful wife the Lizard Woman, and the fact that the Half Man’s stranglehold on the local police mean that Miller isn’t actually free to leave, it seems that Miller somehow belongs among the freaks. These misfits—among them a black dwarf, a gay clown with a penchant for altar boys, a heroin addict who is their unlicensed doctor, a biker hit man named Hollis after Grove’s erstwhile publicist, and the Lizard Woman’s wonderful eight-year-old daughter—unwittingly teach Miller what normal life never could—how to love, and how to stand up for something he truly believes in. When Miller's wife tracks him down and has him sign over the spoils of his old life to her, he gets enough money out of her to hire the albino to hit the Half Man. And though all certainly does not go smoothly with the hit—someone as vicious as the Half Man is unlikely to go quietly—Miller and the Lizard Woman are able to close that chapter and start a new life together.
Tim Sandlin - 1989
When Loren Paul spends too much time contemplating the meaning of life, his gorgeous, headstrong wife Lana Sue drives South to meet some cowboys. While Lana Sue drinks and flirts in country bars, Loren soul searches and starves in the Wyoming mountains. Loren and Lana Sue couldn't be on more different paths, but they're both steering toward the same surprising truth: maybe they deserve each other.
The King Is Dead
Jim Lewis - 2003
But in a few brief moments, Walter sees his life and his world fracture and split apart, driving him to commit a terrible crime. Many years later, Frank Cartwright ponders his next move. His film career has left him wealthy but incomplete. When a director approaches him with a script that has a riddle for a plot Frank is intrigued by its resonance. In his search for an answer to the riddle, Frank embarks on a journey that will lead him into a past he doesn’t remember.Jim Lewis, acclaimed author of Why the Tree Loves the Ax, returns with a novel stunning in its originality and scope. And as he tells the stories of two men and the conflicts that shape them, he delivers a powerful portrait of America and the treacherous currents that run through it.