How to Read… the Internet

The internet has become a source for numerous forms of great content, at least 15% of which are not pornographic in nature.

The internet has become a source for numerous forms of great content, at least 15% of which are not pornographic in nature. Whether hailed simply as the “World Wide Web,” “information superhighway” or as a “series of tubes,” the Internet is supposedly heralding the death of print media.

Not completely. In fact, a new genre of books based on websites has spawned. Comedic sites are usually the ones ending up with all the book deals, so we wonder, does Internet-based comedy always translate into literary gold? For the following books, the answer is yes:

Ian Spector, The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human
3 Stars out of 5

In wake of the 2005 family-friendly flop The Pacifier, writer Ian Spector created a website devoted to odd, far-out facts about Vin Diesel. Though the Vin Diesel “facts” were popular, his Chuck Norris “facts” site would soon eclipse it. The Truth About Chuck Norris collects 400 of the best Chuck Norris facts from the website — for example, "Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried," (Norris has filed a lawsuit against Penguin Books, the book's publisher, claiming exploitation and defamation) — but there is little more to the book. It is quite literally 400 facts and a very quick read. But if you are a fan of the facts, this book is perfect for you; it collects the best and doesn’t get boring. The introduction is worthwhile as it offers some interesting insights into the birth of the website and the hype surrounding this unusual online meme.

Tucker Max, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
3.5 Stars out of 5

As the reigning champ of debauchery and fornication, it is via his website that Tucker Max first brought his funny/morally reprehensible life stories to the world. And it is those stories that birthed the book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, something he would quickly acknowledge may be a concern for him in the future. This collection of short stories may not be for everyone but Max is brutally honest about his life and holds nothing back. His stories focus on his drunken, womanizing ways and would definitely put a lot of people off of him, but underneath the filth, Max does have a genuine gift for storytelling.

Christian Lander, The Definitive Guide to Stuff White People Like
3 Stars out of 5

Shockingly accurate and mildly offensive, the website Stuff White People Like quickly became an internet juggernaut, spawning several clones, as is often the case with successful internet properties. Following that success came "The Definitive Guide”, a 200 page book outlining the top 150 things that white people like, such as film festivals and organic food. Is it funny? Yes, but much like the website it does come to a point where there are just too many things that white people seem to like to carry on the premise effectively. There are some damn funny cultural observations, though, which make it more than worth checking out. It is important to note that the creator and author asserts that the loves of white people he lists are not aimed at the general population but at that subset known as hipsters. You know the type: artsy liberals who write for websites and really love books in an almost creepy fashion. Wait a second…

Robert Hamburger, Real Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book
4.5 Stars out of 5

This book reigns supreme as one of the most insane ever written. “Young” Robert Hamburger’s ninja fan website Real Ultimate Power quickly gained notoriety, and garnered hate mail from people who actually consider themselves ninjas due to his complete lack of knowledge regarding first and only love. Hamburger firmly believes that ninjas fight pirates using rock guitars and were given dominion over everything awesome by God — is he wrong? Does it matter? The book is one of the funniest in recent history, filled with untruths and random insanity regarding ninjas. At several points during the course of book, Robert grossly misuses footnotes to have conversations at the bottom of the page with a rotating cast of characters including his mother, his babysitter/mentor and his dog Francine. The dog is, not shockingly, the worst influence on him.

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