I don't even know where to start with The Book of Awesome. I guess the best place to start is how I acquired this book. My friend Mary sent it to me in the mail last week, thinking I might like it. This isn't the first time that Mary has recommended a book to me, but it is the first time she's ever given me the book she was recommending, with the instructions to pass it on to someone else that might enjoy it when I was done with it.
I can see why you'd want to pass it on after reading it. It's not really rereadable - once you've read through Neil Pasricha's list of awesome things, you really don't need to go back and read them again. My understanding of how this book came to be is that it grew out of the blog 1000 Awesome Things which Pasricha started in order to chronicle the little awesome things in life that often get taken for granted but are, nonetheless, pretty fantastic. When I started the book, I rolled with it and enjoyed it, but he started to lose me about 20 pages in when I realized that every single entry is going to end with the the one word sentence (in all caps, no less) - AWESOME!! And it wasn't long before his writing style started to irritate the hell out of me. You can tell that these things are lifted from a blog as you can pretty much hear Pasricha talking when you read the various items. It was as if the words just poured out of him without so much as a second read through to make sure that his writing didn't sound douchey. Actually, I take that back because he must have gone through it a second time so that he could put in random bold face type that made little to no sense.
I think that's my biggest trouble with this book. Even though I have never met the author and who knows, if we did meet or we had a history together or something, I might feel differently, but this book made me feel like there's no way on God's green Earth I could handle being in his presence. I got this image of him sitting at his computer, rubbing his hands together and laughing uproariously at his latest play on words, made up word (gasholenorememberitis is one that springs to mind), or appropriating of dude culture in his writing. By the end, I was seriously skimming because I just couldn't handle him being not as funny nor as clever as he thought he was being.
*sigh* I kind of feel like an asshole for not liking a book that is all about celebrating the little things in life that are great. There's no doubt that many of the things he mentioned are awesome. I love the cool side of the pillow, finding old mix tapes and let me tell you how I watched The Price Is Right religiously every time I was home sick. However, to be frank, if I hear anyone use the word "awesome" for a while, I may start twitching. I stand behind my assertion that it's the writing style of the author that turned me off to the book. That, and the fact that all these entries are still posted on his blog so you could read them for free on the internet and not content with 36 million blog hits, he cashed in on his free material by putting it in book form. I can't say that I blame him, but it still kind of pisses me off.
Maybe I'm just being cranky. I have to admit that I'm mildly intrigued by the parody The Book of Awful, but even I'm not that cynical. Plus it might be written in a style to approximate his and really, I can't handle that!
(Sorry Mary - if it hadn't been for his writing style, I would have totally eaten this book up!)