I found this book to be absolutely delightful. It was a great pick-up-put-down-pick-back-up kind of book. Hopping up in a few minutes to do laundry? Have a little time in your minivan while the kids finish up at practice? Find yourself in the waiting room at the dentist? Then you have time to read a few pages of this book and brighten your day simultaneously. Two birds!
Osgood collected a whole bunch of witty missives from a variety of people and—this is the best part—edited out most of the boring stuff, providing just the humorous gems for our enjoyment. Many of the excerpts are less than a page long, some only a few lines. He sets them up with background info when necessary, but mostly stays out of the way and lets the writers’ work shine. And adult ADD sufferers the world over said in unison, “Finally, a book that even we can read!”
In reading reviews of this book, it seemed the most common complaint was that it “wasn’t that funny.” I suspect the people who felt this way went in expecting to laugh out loud, possibly shoot milk out their noses. This isn’t that kind of book, and it’s not that kind of humor. If you want fart jokes and toilet humor, well, Mark Twain and JFK will probably feel like a letdown. Instead, I recommend you read this book expecting to occasionally smile or quietly chuckle. (I was going to say titter, because I think that’s the best description of what I did while reading it, but after making a big self-righteous stink about how I’m above juvenile humor, I thought it might smack of hypocrisy.)
Ultimately, this book made me nostalgic for a day when people actually took the time to write more than 140 characters meant for the eyes of only one person. Compared to the Twitter feeds of today’s celebrities, these off-the-cuff notes read like Shakespearean sonnets. The elaborate syntax! The flowery diction! Yes, it suffices to say that as a culture, we’re definitely getting stupider. Do your part to prevent intellectual erosion by reading this book today.