by Len Lear
The beginning of the year is the traditional time when newspapers run lists of last year’s 10 best movies, record albums, TV shows, memorable events, recipes, etc. Since most Local readers have probably seen these lists in the daily newspapers, I have decided to compile a list which you will see in no other paper but this one.
I’m perfectly willing to let the New York Times have its list of “Ten Best-Selling Books of 2014.” I would much rather give a lift to those forlorn authors whose failure has turned them into psychological minefields. Here, then, for your perusal is my exclusive list of “The 10 Worst-Selling Books of 2014.”
• 1. “Outstanding, Incorruptible Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges and members of City Council with Integrity” — This is the shortest book released in 2014. You can read it from beginning to end while brushing your teeth.
• 2. “Bloated Contracts,” by Ann Arbor — This is an exhaustive survey of the inflated contracts signed by professional athletes in recent years, even those who were not superstars. For example, in the chapter entitled “There’s No Business Like Snow Business,” there is the anecdote about Ernie “Fingers” Earwax, of Lower Chester County Community College. In 2011 Ernie signed a $10 million contract with the St. Louis Rams on the basis of placekicking tryouts. And Ernie was only the holder.
• 3. “Amadeus,” by Marshall Arts — A “quickie” biography of Wolfie Amadeus Mosshart, a musical genius who was an accordion player in a punk rock band. Mosshart (or “Mossy,” as he was known by friends) never achieved fame in his home town of Lower Darby, but many world-famous performers, such as Zubin Mehta, Andre Watts and Van Cliburn, allegedly were ready to sell their souls in a straight trade for Mosshart’s musical genius. Unfortunately, Amadeus died in October of last year at age 37 when a granola bar got stuck in his throat in a health food restaurant on Spruce Street. An attempted Heimlich Maneuver by a waitress was unsuccessful. (Amadeus’ parents have initiated a $300 lawsuit against the restaurant.)
• 4. “Cooper’s Complaint,” by Anna Baptist — This is the provocative tale of the difficulties of growing up with misinformed parents. In this story, Stanley Cooper had been told by his mother that all intimate physical relations were immoral except when performed on top of a horse. As a result, every time a girl would tell Stanley to “get off your high horse,” he would have a nervous breakdown.
• 5. “You, Too, Can be a Doctor,” by A. Strep Throat — This informative little volume is a short course on how to treat patients without ever having to set foot inside a real medical school. “A Short Cut to Brain Surgery” is the most exciting chapter, and “Just Tell Them It’s Nerves” is the funniest. If you can’t get into an actual medical college, this book is a steal for $15.95. But keep your bags packed, just in case.
• 6. “Nothing You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex and How Not to Find Out About it,” by Ginger Bread, M.D. — The noted proctologist explores the theory that screaming in time with certain types of music produces the most explosive orgasms. There are fascinating discussions of Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Elton John and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
• 7. “Thursday the Rabbi Pickled His Herring,” by Warner Brothers — This is another in the long series of detective stories involving Rabbi Eva Destruction. In this one the resourceful rabbi investigates a rash of burglaries at a herring factory only to discover that she’s been making a mountain out of a molehill.
• 8. “A Candid Presidential Biography,” by Kitty Litter — Ms. Litter wrote this tome about Richard Nixon, and it is most unflattering. For example, in chapter one she writes, “There are two things I disliked about Mr. Nixon – his face.” In chapter 12 the author says, “Mr. Nixon was a self-made man. After all, who else would help?”
• 9. “A Compilation of Military Recruiting Posters Throughout History” — Collected by Benny Diction, the Trivial Pursuits’ champion of Ardleigh Street, these remarkable posters indicate that war has been glorified by military recruiters for centuries. A few of the more rare posters unearthed by Benny include: “Join the Phoenician Navy and See the Edge of the Known World;” “Go West, Young Man, with General George Custer’s 7th Cavalry. See the Entire Wild West, Including Four Weeks a Year at Lake Tahoe,” and “Re-enlist Again and Again in the Hundred Years’ War. Fight Till Your Heart Gives Out.”
• 10. “The Woodstuck Music Fiasco,” by Sherman Tank — This is the story of a group of music lovers who rented the entire state of Arizona for a weekend rock festival. As a part of the preparations, the Grand Canyon was transformed into a giant amplifier, and the Third Division of the U.S. Marine Corps was hired as a security force for the three-day event. The most popular bands performing were Crosby, Stills, Nash, Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Young. The only problem with the festival was that during the entire weekend it rained buckets — not water, just real buckets.
Local Life editor Len Lear is a voracious reader whose reading material consists mostly of the labels on cans and bottles on the shelves at ShopRite.