Thursday, 3 December 2015

PROMOTION & REVIEW - SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT BY JEN MANN

Title: Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat
Byline: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and other Seasonal Scourgers.
Author: Jen Mann
Genre: Humor, Comedy, Memoir
Publisher: Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing Group
Release Date: 13th October 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
When it comes to time-honored holiday traditions, Jen Mann pulls no punchesIn this hilariously irreverent collection of essays, Jen Mann, nationally bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, turns her mordant wit on the holidays. On Mann’s naughty list: mothers who go way overboard with their Elf on the Shelf, overzealous carolers who can’t take a hint, and people who write their Christmas cards in the third person (“Joyce is enjoying Bunko. Yeah, Joyce, we know you wrote this letter.”). And on her nice list . . . well, she’s working on that one. Here, no celebration is off-limits. The essays include:

• You Can Keep Your Cookies, I’m Just Here for the Booze
• Nice Halloween Costume. Was Skank Sold Out?
• Why You Won’t Be Invited to Our Chinese New Year Party

 
From hosting an ill-fated Chinese New Year party, to receiving horrible gifts from her husband on Mother’s Day, to reluctantly telling her son the truth about the Easter Bunny, Mann knows the challenge of navigating the holidays while keeping her sanity intact. And even if she can’t get out of attending another Christmas cookie exchange, at least she can try again next year.


Goodreads Link


PURCHASE LINKS


10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS

by Jenn Mann

I am sure if you pressed me, I could come up with a few things I like about the holidays, but this book isn’t about what I like, now is it? Maybe that will be my next book. Ha! As if I could come up with that many pleasant things to say. Nah, I think I’ll just stick to what I do best: punch lists.

Pumpkin-flavor everything. Pumpkin lattes start showing up in August, and then it just snowballs from there. I don’t even like pumpkin in a pie, but no one wants to eat a pumpkin Popsicle

Douchey dads who can’t take their kids trick-or-treating without pulling a wagon of beer behind them. What is the deal? This is a pretty easy job and isn’t very stressful. It takes a couple of hours to walk through the neighborhood, wave to the person at the door, and yell something like, “Anything good for me? Yuk, yuk, yuk.” Why do these dads feel the need to be hammered before they take on this job?

Shopping for gifts. I am not a thoughtful shopper. I’d love to give everyone a gift card to Target or Amazon and call it a day, but I’ve been told that’s not really fun for people to open on Christmas morning. (Side note to my family: I think those are great gifts. Feel free to give me a gift card anytime you’d like.) Another problem is that everyone on my list already has everything they want and/or need, or I can’t afford what they really want. For instance, the Hubs would like a new watch. Easy, right? Not so much. A Timex will not do for this man. He would like a twothousand-dollar watch. Gomer would like a fourhundred-dollar Lego set, and Adolpha would appreciate half of the American Girl store. It’s not just them. I’ve got my eye on an eight-hundred-dollar Herman Miller Aeron chair that I’m pretty sure would help me write a Pulitzer Prize–winning novel.

The events. The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family. Everyone hosts a cookie exchange or a Christmas party or a special dinner, not to mention the winter parties and the concerts at school you’ve got to find time for. It’s funny, no one wants to hang out with me in June, but I’m booked from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. No wonder people are depressed when the holidays are over! You’re the belle of the ball all winter, but as soon as Valentine’s Day comes no one wants to see your face again until Halloween.

The food. I have a love/hate relationship with holiday fare. It’s so damn good, but it’s also so damn bad. I convince myself that eating twenty chocolate-covered peanut butter balls is perfectly fine because I only get them “once a year.” What other time of the year is it acceptable to sit down to a five-course meal and then eat the leftovers a couple of hours later with a piece of pie on the side? Every party has delicious food to stuff your face with. I’m sure there’s a veggie tray in the mix somewhere, but I never see it. Plus, who wants a celery stalk when you can have chocolate at every holiday celebration from Halloween to Easter?

Anyone who gets offended if they aren’t wished the proper holiday. “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Joyous Kwanzaa,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Wonderful Winter Solstice.” Whatever. At least someone took the time out of their day to say “Have a great holiday season” to you. There is no need to be a dick. You don’t have to get your hackles up because you don’t celebrate whatever holiday they’re wishing you. Just say thank you, asshole.

Christmas music everywhere. I’m certain there are more than fifteen Christmas songs, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you hear the same damn ones everywhere you go. It also annoys me that stores start playing them in October. I guess I kind of understand playing Christmas music in retail stores, because it’s a subliminal message to get people motivated to start their holiday shopping, but there are some places it really doesn’t make sense. For instance, I do not need, nor do I want, to hear “Away in a Manger” when I’m pumping gas. I have to fill up my tank regardless of the season. It’s not like listening to holiday music will make me say, “Ooh, it’s Christmastime, I think I need to upgrade to premium gas today. A little holiday splurge!”

Bell ringers who hound you. Hey, dipshit, I gave when I went into the store. Don’t look for me to give on the way out, too.

Kids home on winter break. This is another love/hate one. Each year, come December I have visions of the four of us decorating the house, baking cookies, and making homemade gifts for our friends, our family, and the neighbors. Then I wake up on the first day of winter break and the kids are fighting with each other and whining for television and food. We try to decorate the tree, but their “help” just creates more fighting and stress, because they’re moving so slowly and I just want it to be done already. We never bake, because none of us can make a cookie that anyone would want to eat. Adolpha and I can work in the craft room for hours, but Gomer always finishes his projects in fifteen minutes and then complains he’s bored. And the Hubs refuses to join in on any of the memory making, choosing instead to take a nap.


Moving the Elf on the Shelf. Obviously.


REVIEW
Title: Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat
Byline: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and other Seasonal Scourgers.
Author: Jen Mann
Genre: Humor, Comedy, Memoir
Publisher: Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing Group
Release Date: 13th October 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
When it comes to time-honored holiday traditions, Jen Mann pulls no punchesIn this hilariously irreverent collection of essays, Jen Mann, nationally bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, turns her mordant wit on the holidays. On Mann’s naughty list: mothers who go way overboard with their Elf on the Shelf, overzealous carolers who can’t take a hint, and people who write their Christmas cards in the third person (“Joyce is enjoying Bunko. Yeah, Joyce, we know you wrote this letter.”). And on her nice list . . . well, she’s working on that one. Here, no celebration is off-limits. The essays include:

• You Can Keep Your Cookies, I’m Just Here for the Booze
• Nice Halloween Costume. Was Skank Sold Out?
• Why You Won’t Be Invited to Our Chinese New Year Party

 
From hosting an ill-fated Chinese New Year party, to receiving horrible gifts from her husband on Mother’s Day, to reluctantly telling her son the truth about the Easter Bunny, Mann knows the challenge of navigating the holidays while keeping her sanity intact. And even if she can’t get out of attending another Christmas cookie exchange, at least she can try again next year.

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I was feeling like I needed a funny, maybe even laugh out loud book. When it feels like everything is going wrong I look for a "cheerful" read and this one sounds like it may fit the bill. 

MY REVIEW
I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. The cover is dominated by the title which is a long one! The other item on the cover is a gingerbread man. . with a shocked face and one leg bitten/broken off! I also love what for this review I will call the byline, maybe some will see it as a title extension, any how its the "Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and other Seasonal Scourgers." part I love it, as it hints at the funny stories to come within the book! There is also a recommendation from another Author/Reviewer Jen Lancaster who wrote No Regrets . . .another book I think I may need to check out soon.
Would the cover make me pick this one up from a book shelf? Being totally honest. . YES! It has an amusing cover and a punchy title (pardon the pun! lol) so it would attract my eye on a bookshelf amongst seasonal titles on a shelf, or amid the humor section in a bookstore. I'd definitely pick up this title for a flick through and probably purchase at least one copy as a fun gift for Christmas.
This book has a great mixture of fun stories, comedy, and diary/memoir all rolled into one.
Though the cover suggests this book to be about the season of Christmas, which it does cover but there are also other holidays and traditions included. 
One of the first things covered in the book is how many Christmas Tree's do you put up? Well Jen following the tradition of her own mother has more than one tree. Then there's type of decorations you put on them, the "posh" "do not touch" tree, a "snowman" tree, and a "decorations made by the children" tree. Of course there is also the Santa ornaments to be put out, and don't forget the children's tree's (yes Jen's daughter has more than one tree in her room, as Jen say's she is continuing the "tree obsession" tradition!).
Jen covers the photograph with Santa, a tradition her mum began with her and her brother. Her mum of course always took them to the upmarket superstore Santa even though they maybe had to queue for a few hours!
Jen in later years was trying to recapture the sentiment of the whole Santa photograph with herself and her brother as a gift to her mum. The only problem was neither Jen nor her brother had a lot of time, so obviously they didn't want to queue for hours and they had left having the photograph done until the last minute and ended up going to have their photograph taken with a rather tacky Santa who wanted Jen to sit on his knee, when she declined the offer and sort of perched in mid air, the cheeky Santa pinched her bottom!
Another great story how Jen and her parents end up spending Christmas with her partners parents, and they have the "Christmas Dinner" her partners family have at a Chinese restaurant!
Jen also recounts one of the Christmas Eve traditions her family do which is all visit her Uncle Olaf and Aunt Ruby. Uncle Olaf makes up a "new family trivia game" every year, the questions usually based around the family. Which means anyone new to the family obviously doesn't have a hope of winning! but the eldest member of the family, Grandmother who knows and can remember everything ends up the winner almost every year! The "prizes" on this particular year are Grandmothers old Christmas Tree decorations. As grandmother is going into a home and does not have room for so many trees etc. Jen's kids love the fact that the ornaments were grandmothers and take time to look through the whole box. Jen is trying to guide them into picking "more quality items" rather than what she may call "tat" when she see's two snowflake ornaments her children had lovingly made when they were toddlers, yes admittedly they aren't as pretty as they could of been but her children had made them with love. So Jen is understandably upset that these little treasures have been put in the "reject bin". Jen cannot hide how upset she is and confronts her grandmother who immediately blames Aunt Ruby as she was the one who helped sort out the best decorations for Grandmother to take with her to the home. Aunt Ruby obviously doesn't want to take the blame either so in the end Grandmother and Aunt Ruby put the blame on an Uncle that is not at the gathering! How convenient!
I also adored the whole scene described by Jen of her children sorting out the Nativity Scenes they each have for their bedrooms. Jen's son insists "the baby in the basket" is Moses! and Jen just manages to sort out her sons confusion when her daughter enters the discussion holding the Joseph figure from her Nativity Set and she is persisting in calling that figure Jesus! 
So did I enjoy the book? Absolutely adored it! Great to know that other people also have cringeworthy holiday traditions! Would I recommend the book? Oh yes, if you are feeling bogged down by tradition or just need a funny uplifting book, then this is for you!
Would I want to read another book about Christmas Traditions? I have to admit I love reading about Christmas Traditions so yes I guess I would love to read even more. Would I want to read another book by Jen Mann? I've taken a look at some of the other titles by Jen Mann and I think I'll be putting some of them on my Want To Read list for sure.

FINAL THOUGHTS
An amusing light read. Brilliant to dip in and out of perhaps on a bus journey or on your tea/lunch break at work. Makes you laugh out loud!

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