Book Review: Uniquely Minnesotan humor and attitude compiled into ‘Almanac’Sometimes when you sit down to read a book, you know that you shouldn’t be doing so in public. Peter Smith’s “A Porch Sofa Almanac” is one of those books.
By: Elizabeth Reichert, Budgeteer News
Sometimes when you sit down to read a book, you know that you shouldn’t be doing so in public. Peter Smith’s “A Porch Sofa Almanac” is one of those books.
Not because of potentially blushing scenes or an inappropriate cover, but because of the sheer humorousness of some of the chapters.
A collection of short essays written for Minnesota Public Radio, “A Porch Sofa Almanac” contains musings, rants and ponderings on the life of a Minnesotan. Some are serious, some are sweet and others … others are filled with wit.
While some of these amusing essays I’ll leave for you to find and enjoy, here are a couple that forced me to stifle a guffaw or two:
Smith aptly describes the first day of school with recalcitrant children and prolonged bathroom occupation before discussing the household pets. “Across the state right now thousands of family dogs and cats are looking on,” he writes. “They’re aware something is up and yet oddly at ease. They know all this doesn’t pertain to them. They sense they can relax. This isn’t a trip to the vet.”
Now comes November, and it’s time for Thanksgiving. Smith relates the pitfalls and anxieties of being the company for a Thanksgiving dinner — something most people have had to endure.
“Is it bad form to push away from the table, wander over to someone else’s couch, and pass out? It seems awkward at the very least,” he writes. “Even if I manage to stay awake, I won’t be comfortable. There’s a good chance I’ll be sitting in my host’s favorite football-watching spot. I hate sitting in another guy’s spot. All those semi-close male friends and relatives will be sitting there too — guys who will want to talk politics or, worse yet, root for the Cowboys.”
When summer has finally returned to Minnesota, Smith looks out at his and his neighbors’ lawns to compare the flora.
“Unlike the Joneses,” he says, “we don’t tear everything out and start new whenever tastes change. This is Minnesota, gosh darn it. Planting a perennial is a commitment. Once it’s in the earth, you’re in for the long haul. It’s ’til death do you part, not ’til something trendier comes along.”
Smith’s wit, which is liberally sprinkled throughout his book, interplays wonderfully with the sweeter and more reflective chapters. With all of this, “A Porch Sofa Almanac” will make the perfect gift for a family member or friend or even as just a personal indulgence. No matter the reason, picking up this book is a must.
Just remember that those odd looks you’re getting aren’t because of your new hairstyle.
Twin Ports book reviewer Elizabeth Reichert can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.