Sunday, September 30, 2012

History of the Millennium (So Far): Review

I picked up Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far) at the local Friends of the Library Bookstore in a moment of nostalgia.  I remember looking forward to his year-end wrap-up column in the Sunday paper each year.  His take on the year that was always had me laughing out loud.  So how was it all tidily compacted into a book?  So-so.

There were still moments of laugh-out-loud humor.  I particularly enjoyed his take on history pre-2000.  As the Goodreads synopsis says: "Crusaders! Vikings! Peter Minuit's purchase of Manhattan for $24, plus $167,000 a month in maintenance fees! The invention of pizza by Leonardo da Vinci and of the computer by Charles Babbage (who died in 1871 still waiting to talk to somebody from Technical Support)!" It was all good.  Reading the more recent years one right after the other (rather than waiting a whole year--as one had to when Barry was writing his column), I realized how formulaic his humor was...from beginning each year with a similar phrase ("Let us take one last look back at 'Year X,' which began, as so many years seem to, with....January") to rearranging people's names to say silly things to finding one incident each year to repeat over and over (example: one year it was Tiger Woods winning everything from golf championships [real] to Academy awards).   It was kind of like watching a whole season of some of the TV shows I loved as a kid.  I enjoyed them much better when a whole week had gone by rather than just five minutes. I think that sort of thing goes over much better in small doses. 

Over all, a fun, three-star read--but not an out-of-the-park funny book like some of his others (Dave Barry's Guide to Guys, for instance).

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