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Ant farm : and other desperate situations
Simon Rich
Adult Nonfiction PN6165 .R53 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A contributor to Mad, 22-year-old Rich is a Harvard senior, a former president of the Harvard Lampoon and the son of New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Half of the short humor pieces collected here previously appeared in the Harvard Lampoon, and Rich has taken his college collage and mixed it with new material for a satirical salmagundi that bites back. Since brevity is the soul of wit, the book has 57 varieties of playlets, essays and mirthful monologues, and most are only two pages long. Imaginative premises abound, such as X Files with dog characters. In the title piece, ants plot an escape: "We've been digging tunnels ever since we got here. We always end up hitting glass." Since a college-level audience is targeted, older readers might find some references puzzling. In his original proposal to Random House (a portion of which was printed in the New York Observer), he claimed that the "subject matter-horrible, inescapable doom-is well-suited for a younger audience.... I think kids will be attracted to the book's unpredictability. The tone remains constant throughout, but the topic changes every page with the abruptness of an iPod shuffle." True, these fragments are fun, and some are so abrupt they could have been iPhoned in. Others are as unpredictable as YouTube, as in your face as MySpace (which will both surely be used for online promotions). (Apr. 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This laugh-out-loud funny, oddball collection of 57 short sketches contains the observations and memories of Rich, a 22-year-old Harvard senior and former president of the Harvard Lampoon (also the son of New York Times columnist Frank Rich). Recollections of childhood pen pals, imagined notes from teachers, make-believe girlfriends, and other schoolboy tales make up most of the text, and many of the pieces are written as dialog between two characters. Rich parodies professional athletes who thank God for their victories and reflects on what happens when murderers accept religion to get into heaven. He explains how The X-Files would change were the protagonists dogs investigating what's missing after pets are neutered and considers what happens when the carnival "guess your weight" worker gets married. He finishes the collection with thoughts on government and war. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries where contemporary humor is popular.--Joyce Sparrow, JWB Children's Svcs. Council, Pinellas Park, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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