Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Only Milo

June was a busy month for me. To kick it off, I attended BEA. It was awesome but it could also be compared to running a marathon in a chicken costume while hawking books at everyone you pass.

As you may or may not know, one of the best parts of BEA is the free books. I was one of the people standing outside a booth and essentially begging and cajoling people into taking *free*, signed copies. "Why wouldn't they want one?" you ask. Well, because there are so many to choose from and book loving people aren't usually the strong, strapping type.

We can only carry so much at one time.

So I was intrigued when someone at one booth handed me a razor thin book called Only Milo by Barry Smith. It was a mere 143 pages. It was lightweight and would not contribute to my aforementioned back issues.

The humor evident on the cover convinced me to read the first page. Not only does the cover art show a voodoo doll made of post-it notes, it also says "Advance Bleeding Copy." How could I resist? I got home on Sunday and started reading. Once I started, I couldn't stop. It took me no more than a couple hours and it was completely hilarious.

**This Just In** this book even has an Only Milo Web site!

The book pokes fun at the publishing industry as well as writers. You can read more about the plot on the Web site. What I loved in addition to the humor was the concise writing style. Oftentimes one page is a self contained chapter. It reminded me of The World's Shortest Stories of Love and Death, a compilation of stories told in 55 words or less. It's as if Smith, a professor at Emporia State University, took that concept and applied it to a novel, with genius results.

By the way, Smith is no creative writing or lit prof. He's a professor in the Department of Business Administration and Education. Take that anyone who thinks that just because you're good at business or numbers that you can't write a novel.

(Daggers, does this mean I no longer have an excuse for not being good with numbers??)

Chapter 24, aka page 46 made me literally laugh out loud because of three words. You'll have to read the book to find out why. I started quoting it out loud and giggling to myself. I ended up reading pretty much the entire book out loud to my husband. It went something like this, "Wait, okay, let me just read you one more page..."

For the record, he was laughing too.

As a writer, this book is not just therapeutic, it's also educational. Sometimes I read a few pages just to remind myself of how Smith uses short sentences and dialogue to ramp up the tension and humor.

I strongly recommend this book. Buy a copy for yourself and your writer friends. It's also a fantastic stocking stuffer for anyone who has an unfinished novel lurking on their hard drive.

There. That's my plug for a small book from Inkwater Press that deserves to be read.


  1. Great review! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and write about this book! It is definitely unique and deserves to get noticed.

  2. Thanks, Nicole! And thanks for stopping by : )

  3. I got this one too I think? I think i got it when we were doing our walk-around, right? This one moved right up on my TBR list. I just have to wiggle it out from the pile... Thanks Jennifer! Brittany

  4. Yes, that's exactly right. I meant to tell you to read it right away but I think I forgot in my post BEA brain fog. Hope you like it!

  5. I liked it. It was a short read but was jam packed with story.

  6. I'm glad you liked it! I didn't realize the ARC was shorter than the book so it'll be interesting to read the full length, final version.