Patrick Wensink – Black Hole Blues

If there was ever an author to combine physics and country music into one book, it’s Patrick Wensink.

In Black Hole Blues, Wensink ditches the short story in favor of a proper novel. The estranged Caruthurs brothers (hah) have surely made complete messes of their lives. J. Claude is a washed up, broken down country singer on a quest to write a ditty for every woman’s name on earth, including his (also estranged) sister, Zygmut. Have you ever tried to rhyme something with Zygmut? Well, it’s lead to a lot of sleepless nights and turkey clubs for the self-proclaimed “Nashville’s Shakespeare”. Ohhhh, almost forgot about the nasty rivalry with that pansy ass, Kenny Rogers. Jerk. Meanwhile, brother Lloyd is busy trying to stop the black hole that he created from slowly (and I mean slowly) enveloping the earth.

Remember that whole, “…I have a feeling that Wensink’s only going to get better from here” situation? Well, what can I say? I was right. Hilariously written, you get the story through a kaleidoscope of characters. From J. Claude’s trusty guitar, Rusty, to a smoker (like, the meat kind, not the cigarette kind), to a vulgar proton, to a sandwich, to a bus, to the chef, to all of the main characters and more. It adds a depth to the story and a humor otherwise unmatched.

While certainly preposterous, the book itself is easy to follow, considering that county music and physics are certainly not two of my strong points. It’s not that it’s “dumbed-down” either, though. It’s simply an engaging story. Underneath it all, it all comes down to goals, love, identity, and what we would all do if we knew if the end of the world was coming. Universal themes hidden beneath a Wentastic layer of absurdity.

It’s also a serious page turner. Between the Jasper Fforde books I’ve been reading and this one, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go back and re-read the last few pages because I get way too excited about what’s going to happen and just want to get there already! Trust me, though, whatever you think is going to happen next in a Patrick Wensink book, you’re going to have to guess again.

Check it out for yourself. You can pick up a copy for less than $11 over on Amazon. It gets a resounding A here on That Girl With A Blog (two for two!).

Also, in honor of the 4th of July, watch this classic video of Cox & Combes’ George Washington. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

George Washington

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Truth and Beauty Bombs

Dear Joey Comeau,
I think you’re awesome.
Sincerely,
That Girl With A Blog

Seriously, if you haven’t checked out A Softer World yet, do it. This is one of my particular favorites:

Ooooh, or this one:

Or this one:

Also, Joey Comeau is my hero. Check these out from the site:

“I think the best life would be one that’s lived off the grid. No bills, your name in no government databases. No real proof you’re even who you say you are, aside from, you know, being who you say you are. I don’t mean living in a mountain hut with solar power and drinking well water. I think nature’s beautiful and all, but I don’t have any desire to live in it. I need to live in a city. I need pay as you go cell phones in fake names, wireless access stolen or borrowed from coffee shops and people using old or no encryption on their home networks. Taking knife fighting classes on the weekend! Learning Cantonese and Hindi and how to pick locks. Getting all sorts of skills so that when your mind starts going, and you’re a crazy raving bum, at least you’re picking their pockets while raving in a foreign language at smug college kids on the street. At least you’re always gonna be able to eat.”

Also, he recently just got rid of all of his books and DVDs. If you know me, you know what a huge deal that is.

As Joey says:

“I am moving out, and I don’t want anything weighing me down! What if I want to get a job on an ocean liner? Or bare knuckle boxing in Hong Kong? Will my apartment really need all three Ocean’s Eleven moves? Will I really need two versions of Sleepaway Camp? I suspect not.”

I sigh and remember living out of a backpack. It was…fantastic. Plus, he’s Canadian. w00t w00t for Canada! Is Enid a Canadian thing (read his Live Journal)? Can you answer me this Joey Comeau? Or you, Barenaked Ladies? I love the name Enid. I want to be Canadian.

Besides the website, you can check him out on Myspace, Live Journal, and Twitter. Make sure to check out Overqualified, over on the Softer World site.

I don’t want to leave Emily Horne out either…the other half of A Softer World. She’s awesome, too. And she takes awesome pictures. You can check out her photoblog on the site, I Blame the Sea.

Ooooh, and check this out, too. I followed that story religiously, it kicked so much ass.

Patrick Wensink – Sex Dungeon For Sale

I have to come right out and say it: I love Patrick Wensink and I love his new book, Sex Dungeon For Sale. It’s like someone put all of my favorite authors into a meat grinder and fashioned this book out of it’s meaty goodness. That’s kinda fucked up, actually…but after reading this book, you’ll understand.

From six year old Frenchmen to Wensink’s own futuristic version of Typhoid Mary, this book is full of laughs and moments of sheer vulgarity, which elicits more laughs. Vulgar in the sense that Fool was vulgar. (Read: In the most enjoyable manner.)

Wensink’s debut of short stories is really one of the best books that I have read in a long time. Especially coming from a new author. It seems like the first book from a new author is either the absolute best, or the absolute worst, but I have a feeling that Wensink’s only going to get better from here. More of a Christopher Moore than a Chuck Palahniuk. (Sorry guys, I love Chuck as much as anyone, but the last few books…well, some things are better left unsaid.)

While reading this book I had the urge to yell, “Oh, the twist!” about 100 times. I did refrain, however…for the most part. “My Son Thinks He’s French” did actually actually evoke a grunt of…I don’t know what it was…a mixture of shock, enjoyment, and disgust? I read it the very first day I got it, made such a noise, and immediately handed it to my husband and told him that he had to read it. It’s like one of those, “This smells terrible, smell it!” moments. It’s fantastically disturbing.

“The Many Lives of James Brown’s Capes” is a silly good time. I have two words for you to sum up this story: Sex. Machine. If I had been drinking something while reading this book, this would have been the one to make liquid come shooting out of my nose. Then there’s “Johnny Appleseed’s Punchateria”. What I would give to have one of these actually exist… god, just read this damn book. Then convince all of your friends to buy it so you can understand how hilariously funny Johnny Appleseed becomes as an inside joke. You’ll see. Also hilarious is “Me and Gerardo, Down By the Schoolyard”. This one can also be summed up in two words: Biz. Markie.

Also, I do have to add this to the list of Favorite Moments of Blogging, and it explains why I love this guy so much…

So I get this book in the mail, rip open the packaging like a rabid badger and there it is in all of it’s shiny glory. Also included in the package was a coloring book and this:

Yes folks, you read that correctly. I AM a Wentastic Club Ranger AND I am very good looking. Take that. This seriously made my day and I have kept it in my wallet ever since.

Seriously you guys, go buy this book. It’s on Amazon right now for less than $10. Support new authors, the fantastic New Bizarro Author Series, and Eraserhead Press.

I addition to his website, you can catch Wensink on Facebook and Twitter. Go check him out! A!

Calling all Christopher Moore fans!

This just in!

A COLORING CONTEST!? Christopher Moore!?

Straight from the author of the newly released Sex Dungeon for Sale!:

Patrick Wensink recently decided there’s only one way to celebrate the release of his book, “Sex Dungeon for Sale!”. And that is by holding a coloring contest.

He had a series of illustrations created based on some of the book’s stories, including a Kindergartener who thinks he’s French, a puddle of ketchup shaped like Elvis and something called, “Chicken Soup for the Kidnapper’s Soul.”

While the coloring contest sounded like fun, Wensink added a little excitement by offering an autographed stack of his favorite books from 2009 to the winner.

Fool– By Christopher Moore

AM/PM – By Amelia Gray

Tales Designed to Thrizzle – by Michael Kupperman

Help! A Bear is Eating Me! – By Mykle Hansen

The contest ends December 14.

For all the details visit www.patrickwensink.com/

For serious! Get the hell on that, people! Christopher Moore, autographed free stuff, coloring, supporting a new writer.

You can get all the fantastic details at his website under the “Randomness” category. Also, check out his new book, available on Amazon now!

In the Tenth House – Laura Dietz

In The Tenth House - Laura DietzI loved and hated this book 100 times over while reading it.

Set in late 19th century London, Dietz weaves a story in and out of that fine line between spiritualism and medicine in that era. In a world of gutter, penny-cure doctors and half hack mediums, we meet Dr. Ambrose Gennett and Miss Lily Embly in the strangest of situations.

Dr. Gennett, a pioneer of new wave psychology and psychoanalysis, meets Miss Embly briefly during an encounter at a train station, before she abruptly flees. Having a doctor’s mind, Dr. Gennett finds her to be much troubled woman and well, there’s simply something about her. He pretty much stalks her until he find out where she lives. He shows up on her doorstep one evening during working hours to find that she is actually a medium. No proper lady at all. While Gennett is enraged and disappointed in his first impression, Lily sees this as a sign. Well, she is a medium, folks…

Lily works her way into Dr. Gennett’s private matters using her employment as a medium to fascinate the women of Gennett’s  life. Soon enough, she’s holding seances for his mother, sister, and aunt. Then the scandal begins. Seriously. I don’t even know what happens at this point. Everyone’s pointing fingers and placing the blame until it’s all one jumbled mass of lies and miscommunications. It’s a case of mistaken identity I suppose, but in the eye of the beholder. How can you be pissed off at someone for not being what you expected them to be?

The story quickly dives into childish bickering and behind-the-scenes secrets. By the end, you hate these people. They’re simply ridiculous. I have to admit that during these parts, it was pretty…uninteresting. At the point where Deitz should have been bringing everything together and explaining some of this mayhem, it’s just immature spats and no one bothers to actually listen to anything that someone else has to say.You will find no revelations here.

The last two pages make it all worth it though. It leaves with a serious feeling of, “What the fuck? Did that just happen? What the fuck is wrong with these people?”

If you can make it through the last half of the book, you’ll be amazed at the ending. There’s just a lot of drivel to get there. This is her first book though, and for that, I have to say that it’s damn good. I can’t wait to see her hone that skill into something wonderful.

Laura Dietz’s Site

One Dangerous Lady – Jane Stanton Hitchcock

One Dangerous Lady - Jane Stanton HitchcockI love books written by/for rich people. I know, I know. It’s like my own version of celebrity obsession, but chances are…much more deceased. Like in the 1800’s – early 1900’s when the only people who could afford to write books were rich and entitled. Oftentimes, (did I really just use that word?) it was little more than an account of daily life. What their meals were, what parties they attended, which servant they were banging, and dropping the “N” bomb a lot. Hey, it was the 1900’s.

This book kind of reminds me of that, but a modern tale of sordid romance and murder! Duh duh duhhhhhh!

One Dangerous Lady by Jane Stanton Hitchcock features New York socialite, Jo Slater, and her magnificent band of merry millionaires. Well, some not so merry, I suppose. Yacht-aficionado, art collector, and aristocrat, Russell Cole has mysteriously vanished and one sordid mystery after another unravels.

You know, it’s always so damn hard doing these book reviews. Where can you go without giving it all away?

This book’s really quite indulgent. Like when you’re done, all you want is some chocolate and a cigarette. All wrapped around an extravagant and suspenseful mystery. Mmmm.