Posts tagged with "humor"

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/16/11
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Croatian author, Drakulic, gives a first-hand perspective on Communism through Eastern European style fables. The author assures us in the introduction that even though the stories are told from the perspective of animals, these are based on actual events that occurred to real people living in Eastern Bloc countries.

Posted by jmurrow on 10/20/14
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Branching out from his usual jokes about manatees and hot pockets, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat is a smart, heartwarming, and side-splittingly funny book that details all the joys and horrors of life with five young children.  Written with his usual wit, Gaffigan covers everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids"), the horrific realities of vacationing at Disneyworld, and the bond that comes from reading The Giving Tree with his young son (as well as his children’s insightful comments on their father’s weight, hence the title of the book). The inclusion of dozens of photographs featuring Gaffigan's adorable family only serves to make this book an all the more enjoyable read.
 
For parents and non-parents alike, such as myself, Dad is Fat is a hilarious, heartwarming cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 01/11/11
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Friesner was called the "First Lady of Funny Fantasy" by Booklist, and although there is quite a bit of humor here, I also found these stories to be rather touching. Two of the stories in this collection are Nebula Award winners. I liked that they are very traditional fantasy stories set in contemporary times.

Posted by dnapravn on 06/10/14
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In honor of Father's Day this coming weekend, I thought I'd share a book that I listened to on a recent road trip.
 
Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees and Other Conversations We Forgot to Have is by author and CBS news correspondent, Bill Geist, and his son, Willie Geist, also an author and NBC news anchor. In it the duo discusses those "mandatory" father and son talks they never got around to having, as well as reminisce about Geist family history. The book is told in a back and forth style and is mostly comical in nature. From sports and holidays, summer camp, taste in music, and a favorite family car, Bill and Willie Geist are naturals at sharing memories of what seems to be a wonderful and sometimes weird family life. The pair provides plenty of laughs but get serious as well, especially as they discuss Bill's seldom mentioned time spent in Vietnam, as well as his struggle with Parkinson's Disease.
 
Good Talk, Dad was an enjoyable audio book and a funny and poignant look at this father-son relationship.

Posted by lsears on 07/27/14
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Fans of Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella may enjoy listening to Have a Nice Guilt Trip on audiobook, as I did, especially because it is read by the authors themselves. Who better knows where to place the right inflection and emphasis on words than the person(s) who wrote the book? 
 
This mother and daughter team takes turns narrating essays they have penned; each one is on a different topic.  Lisa has more chapters, of course, because she has lived longer and has more to say. Their musings are about the mundane and the profound and are a little Andy Rooney-esque but uniquely told from their perspective.  Women will know what the authors are talking about and men, well, they can listen in and enjoy the writing style. Lisa does not disparage feeling guilty but embraces it.  Francesca marvels at some of her good fortune, which prompts her to feel guilty – proving she is her mother’s daughter.
 
Humorous, poignant, big-hearted, self-critical and honest; each chapter is a look at life, odd situations, living near a nuclear power plant, the call of jury duty, trying to trim your dog’s toenails, new beginnings in New York City, vitamins, politics, puppies, auditioning swimsuits to take on vacation, celebrating friendships and relationships, and how we get through some of our ordinary and not-so-ordinary days.  This is what our lives are full of, the big and the little, the mix of it all.  I recognize myself in some of the stories, can relate to others, wish I could write a fraction as well as they do, and can feel the love in Francesca’s essay about her crusty but beloved grandmother, Mother Mary, who taught her that family is the heart of everything.
 
This title is available as a print book and an audiobook.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/19/11
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Strange and lovely, as it is quirky and bizarre. This book layers metaphors and meanings in such a way that it all comes together in the end. Makes you laugh and think.

Posted by cclapper on 04/25/11
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Cornford, Buckinghamshire, England -- 1940: Norman Huntley (you know, son of the master and proprietor of Huntley's Bookshop) and his friend Henry Beddow have fertile imaginations.  Fertile and productive.  In fact, quite too fertile and productive. 
 
Spinning one of their frequent fabrications from the whole cloth, they devise Miss Hargreaves: poet, cockatoo-owner and octogenarian, niece to the Duke of Grosvenor and on and on... she seems so jolly Norman fires off a letter to her and chortles up his sleeve.
 
As Norman's father has warned him, "Always be careful, my boy, what you make up."  
 
Far too fertile and productive, as I've said.  For the incredible Mss Hargreaves appears at their door.  Exactly as they have projected her.  And life slips sideways.
 
This is Historical Fiction because it is set in 1940's England.  In fact, Frank Baker published it in 1940, and it has now been re-published as part of The Bloomsbury Group, "a new library of books from the early twentieth century chosen by readers for readers."
 
If you've run out of Wodehouse and completely exhausted Sedaris, give this a try. 

Posted by lsears on 08/20/14
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“What do you seek in these shelves?” This is the question asked of Clay Jannon when he first enters Mr. Penumbra’s 24–Hour Bookstore looking for a job. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines penumbra (noun) as a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light. By giving the proprietor this name, Robin Sloan gives us a hint as to the impending mystery surrounding this character.
 
Hired to work the night shift, Clay quickly begins to wonder how the bookstore makes enough money to stay in business.  Most of the customers he sees come not to buy books but to borrow them from a vast special collection. Curiosity leads him to try to understand the meaning these books may contain, these manuscripts of one’s life, these Codex Vitae. Not above using his friends at Google and Apple to pursue an answer he finds himself delving into in a cult-like fellowship called the Unbroken Spine. 
 
There is a playfulness and a humorous quality to this book that I enjoyed; even the book jacket glows with an eerie light in the dark. It doesn’t take itself too seriously even though it covers topics of old knowledge versus new technology, friendship and disappointment, adapting and rising to the occasion when warranted. These are subjects anyone can write about in their own Codex Vitae.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/08/11
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This little gem of a book could be read cover to cover or you could just open to any random page during a free minute. Brief history of modern thought interspersed with jokes, anecdotes and cartoons. This would make a great conversation starter at one of your more intellectual cocktail parties.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/06/12
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For about three years people I respect have been telling me that I have got to read Christopher Moore, yet whenever I would read the synopsis of one of his books, I was left uninspired. The other day as I walked past the New Fiction display, I was caught by a dazzling blue cover with Christopher Moore's name on it and an image of Toulouse-Lautrec and and a mysterious woman. I snatched it up and read what it was about and I was hooked. I have barely put it down since.
 
It is a love story and a thriller that mixes a supernatural element with the story of the impressionist painters, Whistler, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and others. I was particulary taken with the way that Moore can write rather irreverent, even bawdy humor and balance it with tender, honest emotion. The characters are intense and very real. If Moore isn't a painter himself, he must have done a lot of research to gain such insight into the relationship a painter has with paint and color.
 
Although they couldn't be more different in tone, I think this book would be a great companion to Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party about Renoir, and Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay.
 
Christopher Moore has won yet another new fan. I will certainly be reading more of him in the future. Leave me a comment if you have a favorite book by him to recommend to me.