BOOK REVIEW: Quirky Essays For Quirky People – Barbara Venkataraman

Title: Quirky Essays For Quirky People
Author: Barbara Venkataraman

Genre: Non Fiction, Humor, Essays
First published: May 13th 2014
Finished reading: June 28th 2017
Pages: 71


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Last year the author pointed out her collection of essays was available for free on Amazon I decided to add it to my collection, especially since I enjoyed her writing style in her cozy mystery series. The title and cover spoke to me and it sounded like a fun read, and Quirky Essays For Quirky People was just that. This bundle is packed with short humorous essays about quirky situations that will make you smile. They are very easy to read and perfect for whenever you feel like a light read. As always with short stories (even though I don’t read/review a lot of them), my review is different than usual. Below you can find a list of the 24 stories included in Quirky Essays For Quirky People in chronological order with a quote and short description:

1. A Trip To The Hardstore
“Failure was not an option in his mind, but it had become an expectation in ours. We braced ourselves for the worst and, sure enough, one day it arrived…”
A fun story about her dad not being all that handy and the family not wanting him to repair anything… But one day they had no other chance and let him. With the proper funny situation afterwards. I could just picture the ending perfectly!
2. Dinner Is Served
“I figured that after we polished off a few bottles of wine and a gourmet dinner, new friendships were practically guaranteed.”
A story about inviting all her friends and having to deal with a bunch of allergies and food preferences that is making it almost impossible to create a menu… Not my favorite, but I would probably have done the same in the end.
3. Lazy Bones
“Only a master procrastinator can leap from the precipice of putting things off into the whitewater of wasted time to swim in the sea of snide remarks without drowning.”
This one is about procrastination, something I am very very familiar with myself haha.
4. Your Account Is Past Due
“The strangest part of my job is that I never meet these people. We talk and correspond, sometimes for years, but I can’t put a face with a voice, or picture the guy with the funky handwriting.”
This one is about the job of bill-collecting and a few anecdotes of the clients. I quite liked this one!
5. Gadget Girl
“I’d like to create a garlic perfume called “Delicioso.” A light spritz would make you smell like a world-class chef and, in the event of a culinary crisis, you could also spray it on your food.”
About kitchen gadgets… Warning, this essay might make you want to either cook or eat something!
6. Where Did The Time Go?
“Tuesdays, let me assure you, yours are perfectly safe. Mine was an inside job, and I know the thief all too well. In fact, I’ve known him all my life. The worst part is that he’s not sorry at all.”
Interesting essay about her father starting to forget things and how it affects her life. One of my favorites of the bunch!
7. Beyond Belief
“While I was definitely an outsider, it wasn’t because they were speaking Chinese, no, it was because they were speaking SPANISH and Chinese. If you think “Spanglish” is hard to understand, try “Span-ese.”
Probably my favorite essay of the bunch! About various experiences working in restaurants and a lot of quirky and funny moments.
8. High Finance
“Our system is so complicated, so convoluted, that it would make a seasoned accountant switch careers-but only after he drank himself into a stupor.”
Quite interesting essay about how to make the whole remembering important events/giving gifts situation more easy… One of the more serious ones despite the humor.
9. I’m Not Talking About You, Of Course
“My Dad was so proud of that dog house that he actually took people outside to take a tour.”
A funny story about pet owners. My dog did the exact same thing as was described in the story!
10. Irrational Fears
“Somewhere buried deep in your psyche lives an annoying little kid who looks a lot like you and has an irrational fear of….something.”
A story about different types of fear… Quite liked this one.
11. It All Started With A Loud Sneeze
“After a month of my new routine, I was so sleep-deprived that I started combining things so I could stay in bed longer.”
About getting older and the things they try to sell you to keep fit and stay healthy… Not every advice is good advice!
12. Jolt Of Electricity
“Like most Americans, I am so addicted to electricity that I would need a twelve-step program to wean myself off of it.”
Another of my favorites and very true! A story about how used we are to having electricity in our lives and that it makes us stay inside…
13. Crazy Hobbies
“The truth is that each family enjoys its own special brand of kookiness, including yours.”
A funny story about her dad and his many hobbies. This one is especially entertaining to read!
14. Ask Me No Questions
“Ads of all kinds pop up at every website I visit, all trying to sell me something. George Orwell predicted, in his prescient book 1984, that our very pillows would be flashing ads for us to buy toothpaste.”
Another very interesting topic! This one is about having too many choices and this actually making life more difficult.
15. Friends In Low Places
“I’m not fond of frogs. I think they’re kind of ugly, although I try not to judge.”
Not one of my favorites, but it’s about how something small can have big effects.
16. Martha, I Let You Down
“Although my last name is “Venkataraman,” you shouldn’t assume that I’m Indian. The name came with the guy. And, while I have visited India, I didn’t go there to take cooking lessons.”
A very funny one about a kitchen disaster!
17. No Right Answer
“What’s the problem now? I asked. “Isn’t it obvious? You think I’m too boring to write about.”
About people being offended when you write about them… Or when you don’t. I can imagine this happening!
18. Words Of Wisdom
“My Nana was telling me: stay busy, finish what you start, do nice things for other people and ask for help when you need it. And, now that I’ve told you, it’s not a family secret anymore.”
Very sweet story about her nana with a very true life lesson.
19. The Sweet Life
“My mom used to say I had “candy radar.” She was right, of course, I do, but I can’t take credit for it. I was born this way, it’s my unique superpower.”
A funny story about having a candy radar and being able to find hidden candy everywhere. I wish I would have a chocolate radar like that!
20. If I Had To Choose…
“That would be like me lifting 7.500 pounds! My friends at the gym would be so impressed (if I actually went to the gym)”
Funny essay about what insect the author would be.
21. You Think You Know A Person…
“Did you know that bacteria living in our bodies outnumber human cells 10 to 1?”
A story about how our body has more bacteria than human cells… Funny and true final line!
22. A Case Of Age Discrimination
“I explained that age isn’t important at all, it’s wisdom, knowledge and experience that matter.”
About aging and people desperate to stop this… Again funny final line.
23. Bittersweet
“The flavors were so rich and complex that no scientist ever managed to synthesize it in the lab. Believe me, they tried.”
This one feels a bit dystopian, but I liked the ending.
24. Nightmare At The Sleep Clinic
“I have never been experimented upon by aliens, but it can’t be too different from a trip to the sleep clinic.”
A funny story about her experiences having to go to a sleep clinic. I realy enjoyed this one!


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7 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Quirky Essays For Quirky People – Barbara Venkataraman

  1. This collection sounds pretty neat and I love most of these quotes!
    I love that format you used to give an overview of all these essays… I have a short story collection to be read soonish as well, and I was thinking of using same format to review… the best quote, a couple of thoughts, etc… short stories can be so diffuclt to review… not much you can say without ruining the surprise element (if applicable) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I completely agree! I always struggle reviewing short stories and this collection was particularly hard because each one was so short… I couldn’t even give a proper summary without giving too much away, so I decided to go for a quote and a few lines instead.

      Liked by 1 person

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