Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tremain's Book Corner: "Earth (The Book)" by Jon Stewart

Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Galaxy
Click to Place Hold
Editor: Jon Stewart
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: The eagerly awaited new book from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily show-anchoring Jon Stewart - the man behind the megaseller America (The Book).

Where do we come from?  Who created us?  Why are we here?  These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture - all in a tome of approximately 256 pages.

After two weeks of hard work, they had their book.  This book is the definitive guide to our species.  With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.

Personal Review: Well, I've always thought Jone Stewart was (and is) funny, so I finally decided to pick up this book and read it.  After the synopsis, I already it was going to be more humorous than factual, so that left me a bit confused as to what to think when I was going into reading it.

If you're looking for something 100% factual, you shouldn't read this book, but if you're looking for humor, you may find it worth the read.  The premise of the book is that it's written for aliens who might come to earth and act as archaeologists, exploring earth and what's left of its previous inhabitants who no longer exist.  It basically pokes fun of everyone and everything that is and was on earth.
Often a bit crass, this book is filled with Stewart's classic wit and dark humor, as many may remember from The Daily Show he hosted...just without restrictions.  There's great sarcasm and irony provided throughout, but for as much as it states it's not being completely accurate, the book does give you some areas where you do stop and think for a while on some of the commentary.  Such includes how the book states that we are the only animals aware of our own mortality, yet we don't deal with the knowledge very well.  I think that's true, and I thought about it for a while.

Everything is addressed in this book to serve as a guide to tell the aliens what happened on earth, since no one would be left to tell the story.  From the earth's geology and weather to topics like commerce, culture, religion and science, they're all covered here in order to explain our planet.  The book does rely a bit on gags from pictures, fake news clippings, photographs, and other visual aids throughout, but each page is filled with irony, sarcasm, and humorous self-deprecation that seems to work well...considering the group who created it.

The graphic heavy nature of the pages made it a bit hard to sit and read for long settings, and the jokes fell a little flat (and repetitive), but overall there were enough redeemable qualities to make this book something fun to pick up from time to time and read.  Please note that you'll need to be a fan of Stewart's comedy to be able to enjoy it, but if you are, it may be worth a shot.  You'll also need to be somewhat knowledgeable about various facts to also be able to tell the difference between what's really true in the book and what's being fabricated for fun.

Although it wasn't the best book I've ever read, or even on that I felt I could put down, as an off-and-on-again book to read over the three weeks I had it checked out, it was a great diversion from other books I was currently invested in.

So look for it at your Abilene Public Library and get a laugh out of what the aliens in their post-apocalyptic earth would find if they visited us after we were gone.  Much in the vein of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but I prefer that series over this book.

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