Posts tagged with "humor"
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Fans of Carl Hiaasen will enjoy this witty and humorous novel. Star Island takes a satyrical look at celebrity and pop culture in typical Hiaasen style!
Annie and Buster Fang are the children of notorious performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang. Caleb and Camille like to create small public performance art that can sometimes lead to arrests and hopefully, a mention in a local newspaper. At the beginning of the book every other chapter is a recounting of an artistic piece. Annie accusing her mother (who she pretends is a stranger) of stuffing her coat with jelly beans. As their mother then opens her coat and the jelly beans fall out, Buster enjoins all the kids to stuff their mouths with jelly beans causing a small melee in the shop. Meanwhile their father is outside of the shop filming with a hidden camera. Even if there is no mention of the event, the senior Fangs like to think about the stories all of the people at the shop will talk about with their families. Many times it is art for art's sake.
Both Annie and Buster can't wait to leave home as they grow older. They tire of the performances. Annie goes to Los Angeles to become an actor, and Buster writes stories and novels. But events in their lives force both of them to come back home to live. Buster gets into a fight and has to recuperate at their parents house. While Annie, becomes tabloid fodder and needs to disappear for a while since no one will hire her. Their parents are thrilled as the old performance art gang is back together and they can have the performance pieces of their lives.
Part of the problem for Annie and Buster is that any choice they make is perceived as performance art because of their parents. This dismays Annie because she realizes that everything she does will be perceived through this filter of art. All of her good and bad decisions will be art. One of the comments Buster makes near the end is that their parents prepared them for bad choices because all of the art that their parents were creating was people making bad choices. And therefore, their parents gave them a gift in not fearing bad choices. Annie is not so sure.
This novel really makes you think about what is art? Can a life be art? Are all lives performance pieces? Is art the act of creating the piece? Or is everyone who has to respond a part of it, and are they also artists? This novel has some very funny moments in it as Annie and Buster try to escape their upbringing. But as Buster points out, they were also given some very important skills for navigating through life. A very readable book.
461 B.C. - Athens: Murder...with a little humor. A change of pace. This new book, from a new author, starting a new series, sounds intriguing. Have you heard that pop song "It's Raining Men!"? Well, it's raining politicians... dead ones. Or, one anyway. Ephialtes has just introduced democracy to Athens... and all of Western Civilization. And suddenly, he's dead and falling out of the sky. Is someone trying to shoot down democracy already?
This novel gets a good review from Steven Saylor, whose Gordianus The Finder series I really enjoy. (Saylor covers Ancient Rome-)
This murder may be worth investigating...
Christopher Buckley's universe seems to be populated pretty much by conniving insiders with not much of a moral compass--which makes them very entertaining. In 2012's "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?," we meet Walter "Bird" McIntyre, a lobbyist (with a secret yearning to be a Tom Clancy-like novelist) who's been tasked by his defense contractor employers to create a U.S.-China conflict in order to justify the mind-boggling cost of a super-secret weapons project. He works with ultra-neocon Angel Templeton (of the Institute for Continuing Conflict) to start a rumor that Chinese agents are trying to assassinate the Dalai Lama. Pretty soon, US and Chinese officials are scrambling to get ahead of the story, and things start to spiral out of control. McIntyre's personal situation is complicated by the fact that his wife, Myndi, has just been made a member of the US Equestrian team--after great financial investment on Bird's part--and is looking forward to a major competition in China, the kind of thing that gets canceled when two nations ramp up the military rhetoric. The characters are colorful, the dialog snappy. It's a quick, entertaining read, and reminds me a bit of the work of Carl Hiaasen.