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Oh hey I have internet. Don't know if it will last the whole trip, but here's yesterday's review.

I do sometimes read the little books that humor websites put out, mostly if I already read the website. This book was a book my relatives had lying about that could be read in between actually interacting with said relatives, so I decided it was a reasonable choice for a day of a great deal of travel that I slept through and a great deal of socialization I was trying not to sleep through. (Our plane left town at seven a.m., so we got up at five, so I did not bother going to bed.)

Now, there is such a thing as a good little-humor-website-book. I enjoyed both the Regretsy and the Cake Wrecks books, for example. I think the key to a good one of those is that it be an even mix of content that is famous and popular from the website and content that does not appear on the web, and that the introductory and captioning material really showcase the site's sense of humor. I don't think it's a coincidence that both Regretsy and Cake Wrecks have single editors with very strong personalities who write good essays, because one of the draws of those books is the good essays. (Based on this, I would also expect a Lovely Listings book to be genuinely entertaining, and have avoided those little books of cat macros like the plague.)

This is not a good book. Failblog does not have a strong editorial presence-- note there is no one person who gets author credit-- but I was hoping that the material would be interesting enough to make up for it. Not really. The book pretty much reads like an average day on the website, with a lot of dreck and a couple of moderately amusing things, and I had really been hoping for either a genuine best-of or a collection of material resembling the best of, because the reason I still read Failblog is that about every six months there is something on it that profoundly expands my understanding of what human beings are capable of. Not here. Also, the lack of editor means that they've had to come up with a conceit to organize the book in the absence of editorial essays, and they've decided to present the book as though it were a guidebook to an imaginary country. Unfortunately, they have done a half-assed job, and the frame material is pretty much a collection of random outdated memes, confusingness, and occasional forays into the annoyingly offensive.

So yeah, this is pretty much the textbook how-not-to-do-a-hardcopy-of-a-humor-website, meaning that it isn't funny. I realize I have now spent more time analyzing it than was really warranted by the ten minutes it took me to read the thing and the five minutes the book will spend in the brain of anyone who encounters it, but honestly, the chance to massively overanalyze things was one reason I started writing these reviews, and writing this up has now given me much more pleasure than the entire existence of the book in question. Which I think says something about the book.


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