How to Be Perfect: An Illustrated Guide

Ron Padgett, illus. by Jason Novak. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-56689-455-5
Celebrated poet Padgett (Alone and Not Alone) teams up with cartoonist Novak to craft this delightful, moving assemblage of suggestions on how to get the most out of life and be a better human being. Padgett’s command of language, softhearted insight, sense of whimsy, and knack for distillation are on full display in this all-too-brief collection of 99 comments and observations (including the reminder “do not give advice”). His writing syncs up perfectly with Novak’s minimalistic slashes of black ink. The drawings add oomph to entries such as “Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly,” “Do not waste money you could be giving to those who need it,” and “Contemplate everything’s opposite,” as well as more playful tips such as “Visit foreign countries, except those whose inhabitants have expressed a desire to kill you,” “Use exact change,” and “Learn to whistle at earsplitting volume.” Despite his admonition against offering advice, Padgett’s entries are terrific examples of it, giving readers great ideas for managing fear, anger, and resentment as well as educating on basic manners and civility. This infinitely charming and unassuming book is perfect for gift-giving, coffee tables, and rereading. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 114 pages - 978-1-56689-203-2
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