Synopsis: an ancient subterranean worm and its human familiar terrorize the English countryside. For the authour of Dracula, this book isn’t very good. Besides being ploddingly slow, it teems with that ol’ fashioned racism early 20th century writers were so free with. Stoker refers to the novel’s lone black character Oolonga (that’s right; the black guy’s name is ‘Oolonga’) as a ‘nigger’ who is ‘a clever fellow – for a nigger’. This kind of rabid intolerance is hard to stomach in any forum, fictional or otherwise. Of course Stoker, being Irish, was too drunk and stupid to know better.

On a scale of stereotypes ranging from Sony to RCA, this book is Poopsounders (‘Poopsounders: When It Has To Sound Like Shit!’)

Don’t hate the lair, hate the worm.


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When Eddie Riceburger created Tarzan, he wanted nothing more than to couch the notion that blacks are cannibalistic savages and whites are the representatives of all things decent and humane in a simple story everyone could enjoy. Nearly a century later, we’re still witnessing the effects of the titular character’s popularity in everything from Ravi Shankar’s hilarious novelty song ‘Sitarzan’, to Tarzan brand nostril groomers (“Because It’s A Jungle In There!”). That being said, this book is boring as hell and hard to follow without a Phil Collins soundtrack.

On a scale of writers with three names ranging from Louisa May Alcott to Bret Easton Ellis, this book is: John Knowles.

Welcome to the jungle! (Seriously. There's vines and stuff.)

Billions of years from now the sun has died out and darkness covers the land. Monsters are everywhere and toe-stubbing is at an all-time high. In search of his lost love, a single adventurer sets out across the unknown blackness of The Night Lands where he has adventures out the wazoo. You can’t see his wazoo, of course, because it’s dark. All this could’ve been avoided if God had used a General Electric EnersaveTM Yellow Sun. They last up to 5,000,000 years longer than conventional suns and use a fraction of the nuclear fusion.

On a scale of dark things ranging from the Dark Knight to dark matter, this book is: Doctrine Dark.

Also, there are giant Pac-Mans.

The Earth drifts through a cloud of poisonous ether, kind of a galactic SBD, and the entire planet becomes a giant, stifling Dutch oven. And not the good kind that children from the Netherlands gather ‘round for fresh-baked stroopwafles, either. Beneath the pall of this worldwide air biscuit, a small group of survivours who have smelt it attempt to figure out who dealt it. Did God cut one? Did Fate have chilli for dinner and forget to crack a window? And will whatever malicious cosmic force supplied it ultimately deny it? A thought-provoking novella about life, humanity and really bad gas.

On a scale air quality index ratings ranging from Good to Hazardous, this book is: Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups.

Toxic trousers sold separately.

A prisoner in San Quentin escapes the monotony of solitary confinement and the physical agony of weeks in a straightjacket by putting himself into a trance and revisiting himself in past lives. Like they say: ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t transcend reality and travel back in time’. Ever the realist, London conducted interviews with actual convicts before writing this book to ensure the prison experiences he depicted were accurate. Hence The Star Rover’s initial title, Cornholed By The Aryans. Highly recommended.

On a scale of Jack London book titles that could double as prison nicknames ranging from White Fang to Lost Face, this book is: The Game.

'Do you like my star roving robe? I star rove in it.'

Guy goes to bed one night, wakes up as a giant cockroach. His family scorns, abuses and ostracizes him, and he eventually dies. Seems harsh, until you realize that waking up as a giant cockroach was, in Kafka’s day, the equivalent of telling your parents you were gay. Your dad would be all, like, ‘If only I’d taught my son to play baseball he wouldn’t have woken up as a giant cockroach!’ Eventually, your family would grudgingly accept your being a giant cockroach and you’d bring your cockroach friend and traveling companion David over for Thanksgiving, but it’d be tense. By the way: doesn’t this this photo of Kafka looks like Tony Soprano’s nephew?

On a scale of things you did this morning ranging from brushing your teeth to waking up as a giant cockroach, this book is: you got yourself a gun.

Riddle: How did Franz Kafka describe a Kafka-esque experience?

In this play by the authour of Peter Pan (the title of which he stole from a jar of peanut butter) a sorcerer gives five regretful characters the chance to relive their lives over again. A cosmic mulligan, if you will. They hope they will be able to avoid the mistakes that made them miserable in the first place, but, like the (insert currently underperforming sports franchise here), they’re destined to be losers forever. Just goes to show you that a tiger can’t change its stripes. I mean, even if it could get them to run horizontally instead of vertically, that would be a start. But it can’t.

On a scale of movies about repeating life over again ranging from The Butterfly Effect to Groundhog Day, this book is: Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas.

We can put a mirror into space but we can't cure cancer?