OAKLAND -- New York Times best-selling author and humorist Dave Barry has done it again.
No, he hasn't won a second Pulitzer Prize (the first was in 1988), or had another municipal sewage pumping station named after him (the first was in Grand Forks, N.D.) or been revealed as the real rocker behind Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk (never gonna' happen, sorry Dave). Instead, he's written another book, "You Can Date Boys When You're Forty" (Putnam Adult, 2014), a collection of essays purporting to be about parenting and "other topics he knows very little about."
The 65-year-old writer will read from his new book at the Montclair Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m. March 13. Presented by the church and A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair Village, copies of his new and previous books ("Insane City," "I'll Mature When I'm Dead," and more) will be available. Perhaps, even though it will not be Sept. 19, Barry will even "Talk Like a Pirate," in homage to the international, 24-hour phenomenon one of his syndicated columns is credited with initiating.
Of course, Barry talking -- or, rather, not talking -- led him to parenting. And parenting led him to the subject of his children dating (in the Barry family, this doesn't start until his daughter, now a teenager, is age 40). Other kinds of misery followed, like shopping for enough menorahs to light the world until the end of time, attending Justin Bieber concerts, and handling lethal matters like ABC's. The alphabet doesn't usually represent peril, except when it is emergency first aid shorthand for "A bone coming out through the skin is very bad."
Happily, everything bad is good, when Barry applies the same humor that caused his longtime column to be carried by more than 500 newspapers. Examples? The annoying slosh of a pretentious wine sipper is splash landed by Barry's "In an hour it will be urine, same as Bud Light" reminder. Seeking to understand "What Women Want" in the pages "Fifty Shades of Grey," the steam-emitting novel by British author "E. L. James," Barry zeroes in on characters who "muse" words "matter-of-factly," rather than saying them. These muse masters have knitted brows that "knit further," causing Barry to write, "If Jane Austen (another best-selling female British author) came back to life and read this book, she would kill herself."
Barry's tips for becoming a professional author include frequent, varietal snacking (which includes peanut butter on potholders), wearing a penguin suit (Ernest Hemingway was thusly costumed while penning "The Sun Also Rises"), writing your book yourself -- to prevent foreign-hired laborers from changing your book's premise ("The Hunger Games" was originally "a three-book series on the historical impact of salad dressing") and starting your career with a children's book, because authors of a genre aimed at children ("not the sharpest quills in the porcupine") only work two hours per year.
When he's not doing death math (he'll be 93 when his daughter begins dating) or listening to the nuclear reactor that is Radio Michelle (his verbally accomplished personal radio station and wife), Barry is indulging his habit: making people laugh at things that aren't often funny. Arriving in Montclair midway through an 18-stop book tour, expect gaiety, goofiness, grousing about grammar -- and please, as a special favor to Barry, come dressed in your best, officially licensed Justin Bieber merchandise.
What: Author and humorist Dave Barry will read from his new book, "You Can Date Boys When You're Forty"
When: 7 p.m. March 13
Where: Montclair Presbyterian Church, 5701 Thornhill Drive, Oakland
Information: Contact A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair Village at www.ggpbooks.com or 510-339-8210 or Montclair Presbyterian Church at www.mpcfamily.org or 510-339-1131.