So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Utterly Gross Jokes Volume III

Utterly Gross Jokes Volume III by Julius Alvin
This book is one in a series of collections of off-color and ethnically offensive jokes written under the name Julius Alvin, "America's favorite gross-out king." It was marketed as "These jokes are so sick... they're UTTERLY GROSS!" As such it appeals to a certain audience who will not be offended, in fact, who want to read offensive material. For that select group these jokes will please.

The others books in the series are all also written by "Julius Alvin". Here is a list compiled from WorldCat and Amazon:

Gross Gifts (1983)
Gross Limericks (1983)
Gross Jokes (1983)
Totally Gross Jokes, Volume II (1983)
Gross Jokers Box set (1983)
Utterly Gross Jokes, Volume III (1984)
Extremely Gross Jokes, Volume IV (1985)
Gross Limericks, Volume II (1985)
Doubly Gross Jokes, Volume V (1986)
Awesomely Gross Joke, Volume VI (1988)
Extremely Gross Jokes (1989)
Fresh Gross Jokes, Volume VII (1989)
Painfully Gross Jokes, Volume VIII (1989)
Agonizingly Gross Jokes, Volume IX (1990)
Excruciatingly Gross Jokes, Volume X (1990)
Astonishingly Gross Jokes (1990)
Painfully Gross Jokes, Volume VIII 2d ed. (1991)
Rude Gross Jokes, Volume XI (1991)
Totally Gross Jokes (1991)
Extremely Gross Jokes Volume IV 2nd ed (1991)
Relentlessly Gross Jokes, Volume XII (1992)
Disgustingly Gross Jokes, Volume XIV (1993)
Incredibly Gross Jokes, Volume XV (1993)
Intensely Gross Jokes (1993)
Repulsively Gross Jokes, Volume XVI (1994)
Hopelessly Gross Jokes, Volume XVII (1994)
Infinitely Gross Jokes, Volume XVIII (1994)
Terribly Gross Jokes, Volume XIX (1995)
Unspeakably Gross Jokes, Volume XX (1995)
Savagely Gross Jokes, Volume XXI (1995)
Unbearably Gross Jokes, Volume XXII (1996)
Wildly Gross Jokes, Volume XXIII (1996)
The Best Of Gross Jokes, Volume I (1996)
The Big Book Of Gross Jokes (1997)
Best Of Gross Jokes, Volume II (1997)
Insanely Gross Jokes, Volume XXV (1997)
Outrageously Gross Jokes Volume XXVI (1997)
Brutally Gross Jokes, Volume XXVI (1998)
Unbelievably Gross Jokes, Volume XXVII (1998)
Obnoxiously Gross Jokes, Volume XXVIII (1998)
The Bigger Book Of Gross Jokes (1998)
Hilariously Gross Jokes, Volume XXIX (1999)
Frightfully Gross Jokes, Volume XXX (1999)
Grossest Jokes of the Century (1999)
Fiendishly Gross Jokes, Volume XXXI (2000)
Offensively Gross Jokes, Volume XXXII (2000)
The Even Bigger Book Of Gross Jokes (2000)
Gross Baseball Jokes (2001)
Gross Football Jokes (2001)
Grossly Gross Jokes, Volume XXXIII (2001)
Twistedly Gross Jokes, Volume XXXIV (2001)
Ruthlessly Gross Jokes, Volume XXXV (2002)
A Treasury Of Gross Jokes (2003)
The New Treasury Of Gross Jokes (2004)

Lest one think these are a just the quirky output of a self-publishing eccentric, the series was published by Kensington Publishers under their Zebra Books imprint. Kensington's current website describes Zebra Books as their "flagship imprint [that] publishes nationally bestselling women's fiction, romantic suspense and bestselling historical, paranormal and contemporary romances." While no longer in print, the publisher characterized the jokes in this series as politically incorrect, raunchy jokes about ethnic groups, homosexuals, women, animals, politicians, celebrities and other unwitting targets."

The author has painstakingly collected thousands of such jokes and preserved them in print. While out of print, most are available used from Amazon resellers as $0.01 books. A valuable resource if one is studying such humor. I put the author's name in quotes because I believe it is a nom de plume for the person who holds the copyright for these books. Julius Alvin only appears on the Internet as the author of these works with no further biographical information.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
I first became interested and aware of Carol Shields' writing when I read and was enthralled with her last book Unless. Written while she was dying of breast cancer, Unless is a powerful novel that asks big questions and doesn't give easy answers. So I wanted to read Shields' earlier novel The Stone Diaries which was her most famous work, winning a Pulitzer Prize and numerous other honors.
I was not disappointed. This book is the life of a 20th century woman Daisy Goodwill Flett laid out chronologically in chapters named Birth 1905, Childhood 1916, Marriage 1927, Love 1936, Motherhood 1947, Work 1955-1964, Sorrow 1965, Ease 1977, Illness and Decline 1985, and Death. Shields brings each decade and location to life using a combination of Daisy's own perspective, that of those around her, bits of writing, and even photos. The characters are beautifully portrayed and complex, turning an ordinary life into rich reading.
I have become a fan and look forward to reading more from this talented author.