Despite title, entertaining book won’t change your life

Emma Hanke

Next to the Oprah’s Book Club selections, coffee-table books are easily the genre snobs like myself most love to deride. No trendy boutique is complete without a raunchy coffee-table book section. Favorite themes include sex, drinking games, love/personality quizzes and, unavoidably, books dedicated to Sex and the City.

But for those looking for a little originality – and a lot of laughs – there is another option. Benrik, the author team behind the cult bestseller, This Book Will Change Your Life, is back with their next installment: This Book Will Change Your Life, Again! 365 More Daily Instructions For Hysterical Living.

Right from the start I had good vibes about this book. The caustic irony of the title tells one that, in contrast to traditional coffee table books, This Book Will Change Your Life, Again! knows the real function of its genre. If you’re in the market for a life-changing read, you pick up Nietzsche. If you find yourself bored enough to reach for a coffee-table book, at most you’d like an entertaining distraction.

This Book Will Change Your Life, Again! is just that. The book is full of 365 pointless, but amusing, things you can do that won’t change your life. They will, however, provide some amusing suggestions, ranging from Start Your Own Religion Day to Add the German “von” to Your Surname Day.

Many suggestions are predictable, but Benrik also pulls off a lot of subtle (and not-so-subtle) social and historical commentary. For example, Moral Majority Day: Enforce Morality Today, or Give Your Cell Phone to a Tramp Day. My personal favorite would have to be either Purge Day or Propaganda Day, both part of Revolution Week.

This Book Will Change Your Life, Again! is about all you can ask from a coffee-table book. Amusing, concise, testimonial-free and, unless you count Darwin Day: Mutate to Keep Ahead, no mention of self-improvement.

– Emma Hanke