The Ridiculous Race
by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran (Holt, $15)
This split-screen memoir about a race around the world is “one of the funniest books I’ve read in years,” said Anne Stephenson in The Arizona Republic. On a drunken bet, its TV-writer authors set off in separate directions from Los Angeles, trying to circumnavigate the globe without using airplanes. One boarded a cargo ship for Shanghai; the other drove to Mexico to try to buy a jet pack. “The hilarity lasts” to the last page.
by Noah Hawley (Chronicle Books, $24)
Noah Hawley’s “provocative” new novel features two brothers who accompany their exasperating mother on a chaotic cross-country quest to scatter their deceased father’s ashes in Maine, said Karen Campbell in The Boston Globe. Hawley “seeds the book with fascinating tangential musings” about religion, time, and memory, and he “has a wonderful way with irony.” The book is rich in “dryly comic vignettes,” but what you will remember most are its many “surprisingly moving” moments.
The Cactus Eaters
by Dan White (Harper Perennial, $15)
More than half the hikers who try to walk the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada give up before they finish, said Susan Salter Reynolds in the Los Angeles Times. When writer Dan White and his girlfriend quit their East Coast jobs to make the trek, they were woefully ill-prepared for the challenge. But “there’s great joy to be had” in reading about their brief escape from the rat race, and White delivers his account in a wry voice “you will grow to love.”
Just Do It
by Douglas Brown (Crown, $22)
You can’t blame Denver Post writer Douglas Brown for jumping at the chance when his wife of 11 years suggested they try having sex for 101 consecutive days, said Patti Thorn in the Denver Rocky Mountain News. It’s also not surprising that the experiment drew them closer and gained national media attention. But “the dramas are little” and the repetition numbing in Brown’s account. “By Day 35, I would have rather watched depilatory infomercials” than “spend another night” with this diligent pair.