Endless Joke - kindle ebook by David Antrobus


As Henry Hill exclaims at the beginning of Goodfellas, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a book nerd." Well, no, he didn't say that, but if he had we would all have smiled knowing smiles of recognition (although the movie might have sucked, it has to be said). This book is written in a similar spirit of affection, nostalgia, populism, exhilaration, woe, and self-deprecating irony as Scorsese's classic film. Without the paranoid cocaine binges. 

But if it isn't a gangster film, what the hell is it? Well, it's a tribute to the world of writing. It's funny in the sense it takes its humour seriously. There's a good deal of snark involved but it's at the gentle end of the continuum and is very much rooted in a lifelong love of books, of both reading and writing them. 

In its celebration of the growing democratic movement within the publishing industry, it is deeply anti-elitist—yet it doesn't shy away from the highbrow (well, okay, the middlebrow). Within its pages, the mechanics of writing and editing are treated as seriously as the melodies, rhythms and cadence of the greatest prose. It pokes fun at the object of its affection and yet it can't hide the simple fact it's deliriously, hopelessly in love.

In other words, it's a walking contradiction. Except it doesn't walk. I mean, come on: it's a book, people.

Anyway, where else can you find, all together within one relatively short book, the following?

Sinking ships, musings on soccer, tributes to literary greats and not-so-greats, punk rock, literary mashups, wordplay, shin-kicking contests, seahorse roe, Jersey Shore, urban legends, lists (oh, so many lists), beginnings and endings, poetry, social media, Joe Konrath, Dan Mader, Atticus Finch, Holden Caulfield, Yngwie Malmsteen, horror, movie magic, drunk sportswriters, Valley Girls, tricks, sonnets, meanness, strangeness, kindness, sorrow, rabid baboon esophagi, sparkly vampires, soccer moms, R. Kelly, Stephen King, fantasy, Lester Bangs, light spankings, Smashwords, pitfalls and cautionary tales, handicapped badger spleens, Canada, Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Hannibal Lecter, Hunter S. Thompson, Shakespeare, zombies and Wu Tang Clan. Although, sadly, no nudity.

In a sense, it's a mashup of Bill Bryson and the uneasy babblings of a charismatic yet profoundly disturbed street person. And you will want to either protect it and find it a home or set fire to it in a moment of anguished pity.