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.
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.
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.
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.