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Terrible Book Club

Author: Chris & Paris

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Join Chris & Paris every other Tuesday to discover if you really can judge a book by its hideous cover, bad title, or weird synopsis.



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49 Episodes
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This time, we figured we’d try to help you understand and - more importantly - laugh with us at The Mueller Report. It's a 448 page U.S. government report with over 1,000 footnotes that few people were really going to read the entirety of, so we figured we'd help you all out and read this for you. We’ve never read a report before on the show, so this is a first. Aside from our usual barnyard language, I think we only have one real moment of a sensitive nature (CW: urine) which might also be a first for TBC.
Our Patron Signe chose this book as her once-per-year reward! Check out our Patreon here to get this and other rewards for yourself. In addition to our usual barnyard language, Content Warnings this week include: abuse/assault, captivity, cannibalism, murder, and generalized violence. At long last, we've read another book that we actually didn't hate! I think we're at a rate of liking a book approximately every 18 months or so. The stream-of-consciousness style of writing throughout much of the story could definitely turn people away from the book in addition to the many puzzle pieces it leaves for the reader to assemble themselves. It's honestly a refreshing take on the whole "New-England-Puritan-witches-in-the-woods" concept that's been really overdone. Hunt managed to make something interesting AND didn't spoon-feed the reader, which Paris really appreciates. Chris wanted more clarity from the author, but we would both still recommend it to anyone who is looking for a dark fairy tale that you have to work a little bit for.
Our Patron Greg chose this book as his once-per-year reward! Check out our Patreon here to get this and other rewards for yourself. In addition to our usual barnyard language, Content Warnings abound this week: abuse/assault, murder, racism, rape, sex/pornography, sexism, and violence. Our patron Greg really made us work for our Patreon dollars this week. Bruce Dickinson sings for Iron Maiden but is also a pilot, professional fencer, and even rescues sea turtles occasionally - a true renaissance man. In 1991, he decided to add "author" to his already impressive resume with ... mixed results. This book is intentionally farcical, so the situations are intended to be shocking and graphic in an effort to critique the rich and powerful in Britain in the 1990s. The writing itself is actually fairly decent, but conceptually it just ends up being tone-deaf finger-pointing.
This week we learn how to (not) defend ourselves with objects through a book infamous for its imagery! Thanks to our friend Chris H. for posting some images from this book on Facebook, which inspired Paris to do a reverse image search and discover this lost treasure from 1991. We're joined by special guest Paul Lowe to guide us through the world of martial arts. Paul has studied Muay Thai and MMA for most of his life and now works at Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy, a world renowned fight sport gym that has produced many successful MMA and Muay Thai fighters. Whoops! The book does actually recommend you put analgesic ointment primarily into the eyes and then maybe the genitals if you have the opportunity. Links! Images from the book Sityodtong What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation Art Exhibit Powerfully Answers The Question ‘What Were You Wearing?’ RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
April Fool's! Tomorrow you'll get your regularly scheduled TBC episode, but for today we're switching episodes with The Short Stories of Augie Peterson as a fun April Fool's Day exercise to expose our respective listeners to something new. Augie's playing one of our episodes on her feed today while we bring you Augie's review of the social media horror movie Friend Request. We recommend you also check out her Choose Your Own Adventure episode where you can play along with the adventure by jumping to certain timestamps in the episode.  If you're curious about Augie's other work, want to check out her podcast or writing, or become a patron of hers, head over to her website: The Short Stories of Augie Peterson. You can also find her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Lastly, thanks to Moxie LaBouche of the Your Brain on Facts podcast for pairing us up with Augie and orchestrating the great April Fool's Day switcheroo of 2019!
Somehow we're reading another Christian-leaning, dog related book with strange authorship. We really don't know how this happened again. Thanks to longtime friend of the show Elisa for recommending this one! Content Warning: In addition to our usual barnyard language, we've got: inter-species breastfeeding and menstruation (brief mention). Apparently we were wrong about inter-species breastfeeding and it turns out it's actually fine for mammals to just do that for each other. Uh, neat? The person listed as the author isn’t actually the author, but a compiler/editor of sorts. Yet, there's also an additional person credited as his editor AND the actual author was also assisted by one of his children, so we’ve got about 4 people responsible for this thing: 1. BG Michael “Runt” Makepeace: Man who wrote memoirs and also took notes and pieced together what he believes was an encounter with an immortal dog breeder who has an immortal dog best friend. 2. Raymond N. Dombkiewicz: Listed as the author, but actually a friend of Michael Makepeace who re-wrote the original stories/notes from Makepeace into a larger "epic." 3. Sheron Mariah Steele, PhD: Copy editor, also possibly a bond villain. 4. Abigail Rebecca Makepeace Chafee: Michael Makepeace’s daughter who added to his notes and interviewed people about the potentially immortal dog breeder and immortal dog. The authorship question and inter-species breastfeeding is just the beginning. It gets even wackier.
Our Patron Lynn chose this book as their once-per-year reward! Check out our Patreon here to get this and other rewards for yourself. No substantial Content Warnings this week - brief mentions of death and terrorist attacks/shootings, and discussion of an infamous scene from the movie Blue Velvet but otherwise you’ve got nothing but our usual barnyard language to be concerned about. Armed with our own childhood experiences of playing Nintendo games and Super Mario, we felt plenty prepared to dive into Bob Chipman's Super Mario Bros 3: Brick by Brick. Part text walk-through, part memoir, and part video game history retrospective, this book tried to do too much in its 208 pages. The author should've committed to one of these paths in a shorter form or found a better way to weave all three into a much longer, much more detailed narrative. Chipman misses the opportunity to connect with his audience by avoiding deeper discussions of his own life and feelings. Strangely, the few times he does get more personal, he directs that emotion towards Mario and Shigeru Miyamoto and the unrefined phrasing of these moments is often uncomfortable. Like many books we've read, this book is in desperate need of an editor who would likely have caught these things and prevented them (along with some other inappropriate comparisons, spelling, and formatting mistakes) from making it to print. 
This week, we're simultaneously in both the years 1953 and 1692. Luckily our friends D & Ken from the Antiques Freaks podcast have arrived to help us interpret The Crucible. Ken has more sticky notes than pages inside his copy of the play, D teaches us about the House Un-American Activities Committee, Paris is perfectly sober unlike the last time the Antiques Freaks were guests on the show, and Chris is possessed by the ghost of Arthur Miller and reveals his plans to hunt witches with his arsenal of ... water. Many thanks to the following podcasts and books that helped us understand the political and cultural climate of Salem Village (Danvers) and Salem Town in 1692 and just how inaccurate Miller's play was: Podcasts: The History of Witchcraft Iconography Unobscured Books: A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker P.S. Listen to the album of the same name by the band Malleus if you're into black metal The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England by Carol F. Karlsen The Devil in Boston: A Play about the Salem Witchcraft Trials in Three Acts by Lion Feuchtwanger (the actual OG play about the HUAC and the Salem Witchcraft Trials) Under Household Government: Sex and Family in Puritan Massachusetts by M. Michelle Jarrett Morris The Witches by Stacy Schiff
We received an anonymous recommendation to read this book. It is easily one of the most concentrated forms of delirium ever put to text. The Sunny Films website: https://sites.google.com/site/sunnyproductionfilms/ The interactive flash 'game' linked on the Sunny Films site that Paris found and got way too into later in the episode: http://htwins.net/scale2/ GIF of Paris trying to read the sentence around 15:15: https://i.imgur.com/BSzD6vz.gif This book is supposedly written as a screenplay since the author wants this to be made into a film. This screenplay/book suffers intensely from never being spell-checked or edited for content, style, or even basic English grammar and syntax. Additionally, the descriptions of rather basic things are just incredibly bizarre (e.g. a factory called Society Office Supply somehow produces electric chairs, hypodermic needles, AND nuclear weapons). A short sample of what this book contains includes: eternal life batteries; scene shifts so abrupt that they induce motion sickness; a man riding an ostrich; universe bisecting infinity lasers; the worst Saturday morning superhero team ever; and of course - a random breast popping out of a blouse. Overall it's simply unreadable and should be taken off the market until it is re-written and edited by a professional.  
This time, we’re dead and trying to figure out just what to do with these incorporeal forms of ours. Luckily, a copy of David Straume’s Beginner’s Guide to Sex in the Afterlife was waiting here for us when we arrived in Purgatory.  This book certainly seemed like it was going to teach us about having sex in the afterlife. It did no such thing. Instead, the author just told us a whole lot of things that he thinks are true - namely, that everything in life is sexual. Painting? Sex. Playing music? Sex. Hydroelectricity? Sex. Atoms? Sex. Computer coding? Definitely sex. Masturbating? Sex that produces astral babies. Oh, and you better develop a positive relationship with the sun because it's the source of all sexual energy and you should maybe tan a lot (or something). Mostly, we felt like this book was a slurry of very surface-level ideas from a guy who maybe took Philosophy 101 and got really into the concept of chakras. Plus, it seems to really push the masculine/feminine binary, "find-your-other-half-and-attain-wholeness", and western/christian concepts of monogamy and marriage while paying a whole 2-3 sentences of lip service to the idea that it's not really doing that.  At one point, Staume recommends that we send the, "dead or useless parts of us" to the sun, to be burned and turned into fuel. He should follow his own advice here and throw this book directly into the sun. Many thanks to @tasteless.psd / @pencilmancer for making our in-episode revelation a reality for the episode art.
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