I received a digital copy of Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole for review.

About the Book:

Another Bad Dog Book by Joni B. Cole (cover)Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, this book isn’t actually about dogs. The dog (he’s very cute, by the way) makes a couple of appearances, but he isn’t the main attraction. Instead, Another Bad-Dog Book contains essays on a huge range of topics: parenting, writing, public speaking, living in Vermont, marriage, Facebook, beauty, New Year’s resolutions, American Idol, family, pets, growing up, and more. In essays that range from humorous to reflective to sarcastic, Joni B. Cole skillfully renders snippets of her life, from ordinary to bizarre, for readers to enjoy.

My Thoughts:

My first thought as I began reading Another Bad-Dog Book was, “Hey, Joni B. Cole reminds me of Jen Lancaster.” I’ve only read one of Lancaster’s books, but I enjoyed it well enough, so the comparison was a positive one. But as I read further, I began to realize that, while Cole can be scathingly, snarkily funny like Lancaster, Another Bad-Dog Book also contains a wide variety of other styles. Most pieces have at least a bit of humor — scathing, yes, or situational, or ironical — but several had a very different tone, serious and touching. I’d be smiling one moment and contemplative the next. Throughout the collection, Cole displays her talent for capturing moments both small and large and turning them into captivating pieces of writing.

I had a couple of minor quibbles with Another Bad-Dog Book which arose solely from my own preferences. First, I did sort of miss having a unifying theme to the book. The essays were enjoyable to read and well written, but there were moments when I wanted some overarching story to tie them together. Second, there were a couple of of essays (just a couple!) that came across as a bit grating. These were usually the snarkiest pieces, the ones that seemed a bit insensitive, and I must admit they rubbed me the wrong way. Overall, though, I had no problems with the essays’ content and enjoyed reading about the mix of topics Cole chose to explore and seeing Cole’s different approach to each.

If you enjoy essays, humorous and otherwise, about ordinary life, I would suggest you give Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole a try. While every piece in the collection may not be your favorite, there is bound to be something in such a diverse collection for everyone.

Those are my thoughts. Check out Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole on Goodreads or LibraryThing, or read other bloggers’ reviews:

Did I miss your review? Please let me know and I’ll add it.

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    1. Hey all, thanks for commenting on Erin’s post about my book. I’m flattered by the comparison to Jen Lancaster. It seems I remind readers of her, but also David Sedaris (hear that a lot), Dave Barry (absolutely no way!), and sometimes Sloane Crosely. It’s funny how folks have different takes. I think Erin captured the book really well. Hope you give it a read. If you do, let me know what you think.

      1. I haven’t read Sloane Crosely yet, so I can’t speak to that comparison, but I can definitely see elements of the others here and there in your essays. I got stuck in a Lancaster frame of mind because the first essay reminded me of something she might write. What I particularly enjoyed about the collection is the range — of topics, yes, but also of styles. But I don’t want readers to think you’re just a Lancaster/Sedaris/Barry/Crosely clone/hybrid — that’s definitely not the case 🙂

    2. For the most part, this one was right where I like my essays, showcasing a really wide range. I definitely don’t think it crossed everyone’s snark threshold, or even most people’s! I did enjoy the collection.

  1. I really like the sound of this book. Even the snarky bits seem like something that I would enjoy, and I am glad that you mostly liked this one. I don’t think I would be bothered by the fact that there is not an overarching theme, but I can understand that some readers prefer that,and that absence does make the book a little harder to review. Very nice post today! I want to check this one out!

    1. This sounds like a book you’d really enjoy, then! It definitely contains a really nice variety of essays. If the snark and the lack of theme don’t bother you, I say go for it!

  2. Interesting — totally new to me author/book — not normally my kind of read but it sounds interesting. I’m more intrigued by Lancaster tho — I’ll have to look for her!

    1. She was a new author to me, too, and I’d pick up others by her based on this one. I don’t read a ton of this sort of book and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Jenn Lancaster is has a really biting, sarcastic sort of humor and can come across as a little shallow, which certainly isn’t a bad thing! I was just happy this collection had a wider range and a little more depth than I’d initially expected.

  3. I’m of two minds about snark. I get the odd giggle from it, but then I feel bad for perpetuating that sort of thing.

    I have a series of essays to review shortly, and I’m not quite sure how to go about it–I’m worried that they’ll suffer from the lack of a unifying theme you mention here.

    Thanks for the review 🙂

    1. Yes. I’m with you. I can handle mild snark, if it’s not being too mean to anyone. It’s the mean snark that makes me prickle. As for the lack of central theme, I found that reading a couple of essays here and there between bits of other books made them feel more like essays and less like a book, if you know what I mean, which I think was a good thing.

  4. I personally love books of essay … and snarky essays are even better. I just read a review of this book on another blog, and the author contacted me hoping that I would read and review it. Now I’m moving closer and closer to doing so after reading your review.

    1. I thought it was a really nice collection. There’s snark, but there’s also a really nice range of other approaches, and I liked moving through all of them instead of getting stuck in one register. I think you’d like this one! Plus, the author is super nice, which always makes reviewing more pleasant 🙂

  5. Great dialogue you started Erin. I find it really interesting as a writer to hear readers impressions/opinions about snarkiness. The tone was something I was really careful of when I wrote the book. I wanted to be absolutely candid, in terms of reflecting that internal commentary that runs through my head and that I suspect we all have. But at the same time, I wanted to make it clear that if I portrayed someone as annoying or whatever, this was more about my own limitations, impatience, bad attitude, etc. (Except for that friggin’ idiot I write about in “Criminal Minds.” I feel I’m learning a lot from these comments. So please, keep em coming. And I hope you give the book a try. It is funny, of that I feel confident

    1. Thanks, Joni. I think everyone has a different snark threshold, which can be a general level and/or a particular type of snark. I do think you did an excellent job making it clear that the reactions in the book were just that — your own momentary feelings, attitudes, and so forth! For me, the snark grates when it’s turned too harshly against other people, especially for things they can’t help. (Unless they really, really deserve it, of course… 🙂 ) I have an e-copy of the book, which is hard to thumb through, or I’d tell you exactly which spots bugged me. I think it was only maybe two, and I don’t think others would necessarily be bothered in the same way. I definitely found most of the humor really entertaining!

  6. How can I pass up trying to win a book with dog in the title even if it really isn’t all about a dog! I would like to enter your contest please. Thank you.

  7. Well, I was totally expecting a fun book about dogs. It is interesting what the essays actually cover… It sounds like it could still be a worthwhile read, though.

    1. I know, right? Me too! Though I was quite happy (maybe even happier) by what the book was actually about.

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