Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Book Review: December 1, 2013: This Is Improbable (And Dave Barry)

This is the funniest book Madame L has read in a long time (other than a collection of Dave Barry's columns, which Madame L recommends even more highly for pure laughs [see below]).

Madame L found this in Powell's at the Portland International Airport for less than five dollars, and it is well worth every penny. You can also get it at or ask Madame L to loan you her copy. Warning: She'll want it returned because there are so many stories in it about just so many incredible, crazy, and, yes, IMPROBABLE research projects.

There's the research on woodpeckers (how can they keep pecking and knocking on hard wood without damaging their brains?---and, no, it isn't because their brains aren't any good anyway); mites and other critters that are sharing your bed with you; the toothless rule of Louis XIV; dream telepathy (Oh! Oh! Madame L wants to be in that experiment! Please!); memory-enhancing strategies of waiters in Buenos Aires; "Do Dogs Do Calculus?"; hexameter verse recitation; a longitudinal self-study of fingernail growth; and, well, you get the picture.

People have been writing proposals for, receiving funding for, and then performing the most amazing research projects. And, to be selected for inclusion in this book, apparently your amazing research project also has to be of no apparent value, or at least not to approach the value you originally hoped to attach to it.

Back to Dave Barry: He is even funnier. Get this book --- or any book of Dave Barry's columns --- if you can. Madame L found her copy in a Goodwill store in Portland. She doesn't even see it listed on But that doesn't matter, because you can get ANY book of columns by Dave Barry, including on, and laugh your way through the gloomy and stress-filled days of December. You can also get some of Dave Barry's fiction on, and Madame L will be reviewing some of that soon. (Or asking some of her readers to review any or all of those books. Takers? Anyone?)

1 comment:

LFP said...

I've read Peter and the Starcatchers, which I've forgotten about, until Linda told me she's taking me to see the play for my birthday. I didn't even know they made a play out of it! I'm seeing that this week and will let you know how it is.