Friday, November 4, 2011

Recommendations...light, short and funny

One of Therapist's co-workers is in a book group and asked for some recommendations. One of my favorite questions! Her parameters were that it be "light, fairly short, and FUNNY." Here's the list I sent...

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors for funny and light...A WALK IN THE WOODS is his chronicle of his attempt to hike the Appalachian trail (over 2000 miles) with his buddy, neither of whom have any business being out of doors. One of my other favorites of his is his collection of essays called I'M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF, his observations about the U.S. after living abroad for 20 years. Some of the essays are poignant, some are laugh out loud funny, some are insightful. (non-fiction)


Christopher Moore...I love him. Some of his books are really wacky and out there (Roberto the talking fruit bat is a recurring character in a lot of his books...and that's not one of the really wacky characters), and he also has books that are 'about' something...LAMB is about Christianity...A DIRTY JOB is about death...FLUKE has environmental themes. COYOTE BLUE is one of my favorites...and yes, he is funny. Warning, he can be raunchy. (fiction)


I recently read DOMESTIC VIOLETS by Matthew Norman. It is fairly new, and is only available in paperback. It's pretty funny and can read my blog post about it here... (fiction)


In that blog post I mention Jonathan Tropper...I really like him as well...his books can also be a little raunchy, so another warning. His main characters tend to get into bad situations and make bad choices...In THE BOOK OF JOE, his main character writes a best-selling novel based his people from his hometown. He did not paint the people in his novel in a very favorable light. He never intended to return to his hometown ever again. Then his father had a stroke and he had to go back. He was did not receive a very warm welcome home. Chaos (or close to it) ensues. (fiction)


Nora Ephron, I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman is one suggested by one of my co-workers. She said it might be funny if there are women in the book group of a certain age...or it might be funnier to woman of a certain age, as it's Ephron's reflections about aging. (non-fiction)


FUNNY IN FARSI by Firoozeh Dumas... This was also recommended by one of my co-workers who liked it. She said that the author says things like, "I'm the one they call to do an author event when they can't get that guy who wrote The Kite Runner." Funny in Farsi is the author's memoir about being Iranian in America. (non-fiction)


THE BRIEF AND FRIGHTENING REIGN OF PHIL by George Saunders was suggested by another co-worker. He said it was biting and funny. I've started to read it a couple of times (and it's really short!) and couldn't get into wasn't my cup of tea, but might be someone else's! (fiction)


You can't really go wrong with David Sedaris...he is often on NPR's This American Life, and hewrites about his life. One of his first was HOLIDAYS ON ICE, where he talks about one Christmas where he was a department store elf during the Christmas season. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY and WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES are two of my favorites of his...absolutely laugh out loud funny. In WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES, he talks about his quest to quit smoking. To do so, he moves to Japan for a few months, you know, to change his routine. (non-fiction)


Sarah Vowell, another NPR veteran, has several books. My favorite of hers is her first, TAKE THE CANNOLI. They are essays with her unique take on the world. Her more recent books are about history, she's definitely done her homework about the history, and makes it more accessible, but like I said, her first is my favorite of hers. (non-fiction)


Chuck Klosterman started out as a rock music reviewer. I first read his SEX, DRUGS AND COCOA PUFFS which are essays about all sorts of things. Music, pop culture, religion...he's great. (non-fiction)


Lots of people love THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams. It is the first in a series. I read this first one, and liked it all right. It's wacky (I don't always love wacky). It is set in space...didn't do it for me, but lots of people think it's great. (fiction)


THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster is one of my all-time favorite books. Yes, it's considered a kid's book, and I think it's brilliant. Milo is bored. He comes home one day and finds a tollbooth and a little car. He starts out on a journey, accompanied by a Watch Dog, Tock. Milo discovers all sorts of things about the world and himself. It's clever and fun...this is a masterpiece. (fiction)


HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS Francois Lelord...I just saw this on the shelf yesterday and don't know much about it. I'd never heard of it. The cover has kind of 60's artwork on it. Hector is a psychiatrist. I liked how it looked and how it started. I don't know anyone who has read it. (how's that for a recommendation?) (fiction)


Lynne Truss is a British columnist. She has a collection of columns called MAKING THE CAT LAUGH which is absolutely hilarious. (non-fiction)


HAPPINESS by Will Ferguson is another fun it, someone writes a self-help book that WORKS. Everyone's problems are solved after reading this book, relationships are fixed, financial problems are no more...which causes all sorts of problems, since so much of our society is built on the problems and fixing them. Ferguson is Canadian, so this book may be a bit harder to find, though it still is around. It was originally published under the title GENERICA. (fiction...Ferguson also has a few non-fiction titles, which are also good)


What would you recommend?

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