While my book shelves are gorgeous, perfectly cascading like stairs down the length of my bedroom wall, and the initial focus of conversation after one stands atop my matted carpet for the first time, any praise I’ve received over my library has been completely undeserved. I stopped reading two years ago.
While I should blame myself for this lost interest, I’ve found it much easier to blame my English degree. After declaring my major and being suddenly rocked over the head with a convoy of “required reading”, I lost a lot of the pleasure I once received from leisurely afternoons with a novel in hand. With graduation I found that though I was no longer scored on the novels I consumed, I still wasn’t able to differentiate reading from the feelings I associated with obligatory work, and so I stopped. Compare the present to a time when I used to electively read a book a week and you can understand the tragedy of my situation.
But, I still love the idea of reading and I’ve continued to collect novels, self-help books, memoirs and the like without ever moving my gaze past their attractive covers. I feel like a hypocrite and am tired of avoiding the eyes of those fawning over my collection, not to mention my creativity and brain development haven’t soared much, so I’ve decided to read all of the bound pages adorning my bedroom walls. Or at least the majority of them. A third, perhaps.
I’ve started with, and am halfway through, Robert Brockway’s Everything is Going to Kill Everybody.
I became acquainted with Brockway, the webmaster of iFightRobots, from his work on Cracked. I enjoyed his comedy there and fell hard for the marketing campaign Cracked ran right before the book’s release.
Everything is Going to Kill Everybody consists of well researched articles all focused on one theme; it’s a miracle our race still exists but we’re constantly seconds away from extinction. The book is roughly broken up by three sections; real ways the world almost ended, real aspects of present day life that are killing us and real ways future developments will end the world. It’s basically a terrifying account of how, say, science has proven that what we eat is leading the men of our generation to infertility. Or, did you know we were once seconds away from poisoning all of the plant life on Earth? Basically, Brockway points out that the human race is nothing more than a drunken toddler teetering on the edge of a busy highway. It’s a miracle we’ve lasted this long, but it’s only a matter of time…
While the articles are well researched and filled with scientific and historical facts, they are also riddled with curse words and dick jokes. The tone is what I would call “Dude Humor”. Think almost out of college, or just recently out of college, early to mid-twenties male humor. While I don’t mind cursing and am always up for a good penis riff, Brockway often comes off as trying too hard. I think any Cracked fanboy would be thrilled with Brockway’s delivery, but once you get past the excitement of reading a book by your favorite web writer, you may realize that a good chunk of the humor falls flat. For instance, Brockway aligns one or two sidebar boxes containing “humorous” “facts” with each article. They’re as funny as Snapple’s “Real” Facts, which I doubt have ever left you rolling in your kitchen. Unfortunately, I can’t help but to read them, just as you will always follow a foot note to its margin. Since some of the humor is delivered with mediocre timing and halfway decent wit, I have at times had to fight to keep from scanning past those bits.
However, not all of the humor is a bust and on occasion I’ve laughed out loud to Brockway’s inflated descriptions and colloquial speak. Regardless, the articles themselves are addictive in that they’re packed with horrifyingly factual terror. I’m a fan of strange history, which Brockway delivers, as well as the truth behind conspiracy theories. The only difference here is that the conspiracy theories are less crazed ramblings and more science-pack inevitabilities (save for human intervention).
If you’re looking for an easy read that will keep you hooked (amidst some flat humor) by detailing the impending doom of humanity, you have really dark taste, and you’ll probably enjoy Brockway’s first attempt as an author.