“Worst Places to Die: On a toilet in a Barnes and Noble, reading this book.” – Thoughts on Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason by Mike Sacks
There’s something about reading award-winning books and novels on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list that makes me want to read really loony books in-between. Well, not really – maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to pick up and read Mike Sacks’ Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason.
A collection of short stories, lists, and illustrations spanning both ends of the oddball spectrum, Your Wildest Dreams is the treasure book of ludicrous (and sometimes bawdy) humor your mother tried to keep away from you. From the love-notes-exchange-turned-sour in “Saw You on the Q Train,” the groom’s wedding day tweets in “George Sarkin is Using Twitter!” to the clueless psychologist aboard the sloop Winslow in “From the Sea Journal of the Esteemed Dr. Ridley L. Honeycomb,” Sacks must have one hell of an imagination to have thought up these stories – they’re so darn absurd, he must either be crazy or a genius, or both.
He reinvents popular jokes by adding somber endings in “FW: Loved the Following Jokes and Thought You’d Love Them as Well!!!”; in “Arse Poetica,” he pitches script ideas to a hardcore porn producer… in the middle of an orgy. One of my favorites is without a doubt “The Rejection of Anne Frank” – where an editor turns down her biography (“a memoir from a 15-year-old is a bit much”) and offers some pretty comical criticism:
“Fantasy always works, especially with your tween demographic. Come up with something totally original – for instance, is there any ambiguous historical evidence for the presence, in Nazi Germany, of hot teenage vampires?”
But nothing – nothing – beats the letters of Rhon Penny (silent h), a writer trying to get published by thinking up all sorts of gimmicks and pitching them to various authors such as Don DeLillo, Salman Rushdie, Thomas Pynchon and the family of John Updike.
If you’re not prudish about a bit of crass humor and appreciate intelligent comedy bordering on the ridiculous, then Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason is a definite must-read. Indulge yourself – but don’t tell your mother.
PS. See page 206.