Book Reviews: Bad Jobs, Erotic Wonderland, and Online Dating

There are only 10 kinds of people: those who can read binary and those who can’t.

You Had One Job!
A few days ago a friend posted a photo on Facebook of a row of bottles of vinegar with the labels upside down, of course captioning it with this title. Timing being everything, here’s a whole book on it.
It’s wonderful to see something that’s exactly as described: a collection of photos showing work failures that never should have happened. You could scour the internet for days and possibly see all these, but it would take a lot of work and time, so it’s much better having it in this convenient package, especially since they come with captions, mostly unnecessary but sometimes elevating the photo. And when the author says exactly what I would have, there’s a partly creepy, partly triumphant sensation running through me. Case in point: “Pay your parking fee before existing.” I went existential too.
The forward contains this gem: “We’re not judging; we’re just laughing at how hard you failed at doing your job. Okay, maybe we’re judging you a little, but you still got paid, right?”
Star Warts? Really?
Best one: A Halloween costume of Spock with Kirk’s face on the package. (The fact the author was able to knowingly joke about both Star Wars and Star Trek means she’s part of my tribe.)

Girls on Campus
Lesbian erotica in a college setting, of varying degrees of well-written-ness. Some were usual—sorority pledge, library—others pretty inventive—swimming pool, garden in the rain.
Really nothing more I can say.

The Circlet Treasury of Erotic Wonderland
An erotic version of Alice In Wonderland? That would have been great, but unfortunately that’s not what happens here. Instead there’s short stories, some of which take place in that universe, but too many don’t. And while there are some that are pretty good, the majority fell flat. Worse than anything, too many of them weren’t erotic at all.
I suppose that in a story about Wonderland, things will get weird, but unlike Lewis Carroll, some of these were too far out to understand. It says a lot when the hottest scene features Alice with a wasp.
Can’t help but feel a bit disappointed.

ONLINE DATING: The Good, The Bad, and the Hopeless
Well, at least it’s short. . .
There was very little good here, but definitely plenty of bad and hopeless. Out of the first twenty chapters, there was at most three dates that might qualify as good, so technically the title didn’t lie. But those bad ones weren’t bad enough to be funny, mostly cringeworthy. Even worse was the writing; the casual style feels forced, the attempts at humor fall flat. Writing “just kidding!” right after the attempted joke belongs in a text or tweet, not a book. And I try not to harp on grammar, knowing a lot of what I’m reading is not the final copy, but there’s simply too many misused commas, typos, unclosed quotations, etc. Schakowsky’s 1812 Overture—seriously?
More than anything, I found this author thoroughly unlikable. He stereotypes women—the Ph.D., the Indian princess—then tries to sound so lofty for overcoming his perceptions. Maybe next time don’t make judgements beforehand.
Here’s a perfect example: “This meeting / date did not proceed as expected. Usually the dominant party (almost always the male… at least on my dates) sets the stage for the beginning, the middle, and the end of this initial encounter. The female by nature is considered the gentle gender and politely cooperates with the self-appointed take-charge male. Exceptions to this routine are rare, but when they do occur . . . they can be devastating to the supposedly dominant gender. Totally unexpected, the male finds himself in a subordinate position and cannot function in his usual dominant manner.”
Maybe it’s just because he’s of an older generation, but he’s not that much older than me.
I’m surprised I made it to the end; usually when a book is this bad I give up on it. That’s why I rarely give bad reviews.


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