Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BOOKS: Bring on the Funny Redux

You came. You listened. You did not rip me a new one. For that I thank you. I do not need a new one.

So here's my new tack.

I ditched Lost in a Good Book, per several people's suggestion. I have not given up on
Fforde, though. I'm going to put in a library request for The Eyre Affair and make a clean start.

I don't want to abandon
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman so soon, either, so I'm going to check out Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment and Small Gods, as well as Gaiman's Coraline. And thanks to Marissa for the heads up that Pratchett and Gaiman may be teaming up for a Good Omens sequel. Whee!

I'm also going to request a copy of
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. I've been meaning to read Bourdain since forever, so this seems a good place and time to start.

I'd completely forgotten that a looooong time ago Cap'n Ganch had strongly urged me to read
Jincy Willett's book, Winner of the National Book Award, and I meant to and then totally forgot, so thanks for the reminder, katiedid. It's back on my frontlist. (Hey, Cap'n, I went to the Jones Soda site and voted for your photo. Let me know if you win. I love Mr. Potato-Head!)

On the backlist: travel writer
Tim Moore, Saki, The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith, Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott, Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield, and Dave Barry's Big Trouble. How's that for diversity?

Master Sam: The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle. I've never read it, either, so... ahem... I'll give it a test drive before I pass it along. And thanks to Anna's reminder that these books exist, Master Sam will definitely be getting "his own" copies of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, as well as Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's other books. I bought these for my niece and nephew ages and ages ago, when they were first published, and I've decided to hog more than my share of the credit for the fact that, because of the incredible awesomeness of my book-giving skills, my niece is now studying English literature in university. And on scholarship, no less.

Right now, I'm reading
Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog. Coincidentally, I'd already gotten it out of the library when I wrote my original post, so I grabbed it with great hope and optimism when several of you recommended it. And so far I'm liking it, slow-ish start and all. Yay!

Thanks for the fantastic -- and plentiful -- suggestions, folks (and I think it goes without saying that I invite you to keep them coming). I may end this year with a bang (and not a whimper) after all.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, there's nothing more satisfying than a successful book recommendation. Hope you enjoy those...

Thomas said...


My name is Thomas, and I'm from the Philippines... but I'm moving to Vancouver in a few months. My girlfriend turned me on to your site, and I must say that I really enjoy your blog (inspiring my own blog). I hope all canadians are as cool as you guys.

Anyway, my suggestions:
1. If you enjoy Connie Willis' funny work, try her more serious ones - DOOMSDAY BOOK, a companion piece to Dog, and PASSAGE.
2. Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS. Both are much more superior to Neverwhere, and Anansi is similar in tone to Good Omens.

Anonymous said...

While I wouldn't say that I found LAST CHANCE TO SEE to be better than Adams' other work, I do also love it myself. One of the reasons that the HITCHHIKERS' movie worked for me as it did was because I knew just how much Adams loved this earth and its beings.

Wow, that was purple prose.

Anyway -- if you liked LAST CHANCE TO SEE, you'll probably also like anything by the outdoor writer Tim Cahill; imagine LAST CHANCE TO SEE written by an American. I especially recommend ROAD FEVER, which tells the story of his attempt to get into the Guinness book of World Records for the fastest drive up the Pan-American Highway. He and a partner, a stunt driver contracted by a car company with a new SUV, started in Argentina and drove all the way up to Alaska. The point in Columbia where he talks about how their minds snapped and they started babbling to each other in a language consisting largely of in-jokes was itself one of the funnier things I've read -- and I've adopted some of the in-jokes myself. The first of his titles I read was was PECKED TO DEATH BY DUCKS -- I got it for the title alone, and it did not disappoint.

Some of the earlier P.J. O'Rourke is also good -- I find him a little too conservative now for my taste, but with his earlier works -- REPUBLICAN PARTY REPTILE and HOLIDAYS IN HELL -- he came across as kin to Hunter S. Thompson. His account of visiting the Bakker's Heritage USA in HOLIDAYS and comparing it to the Sistene Chapel was fun. So was his own tale of a road trip in PARTY REPTILE -- he and his editor got the chance to try driving a Ferrari cross-country, and a half hour into the trip he found out his boss was a speed demon, and the rest was history, apparently.


alittleposy said...

So you had people tell you to ditch Lost in a Good Book? I'm interested to hear reasons (if they are other than that it just generally sucked :-)), as I read and enjoyed the first two Tuesday Next books but have attempted to read Lost I think twice now and haven't gotten past the first chapter. Very curious!

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up to Montstrous Regiment-- you might also try The Wee Free Men by Pratchett. It's in the YA section at my library, but I think it's one of his better books. It's also a great audio book.

Kitchen Confidential was interesting, and entertaining. I picked it up because I had read that they are making a sitcom out the book.

Operating Instructions-- one the best books I have read in a while. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me truly believe that God talks to me by throwing me the right books at the right times. And I don't even have a child :)

Jess the librarian

Anonymous said...

I also recommend Tim Cahill-- so funny! I have read Road Fever multiple times, and it is still funny.

Sorry about the spelling above--you would think that I would know how to type by now :)

Jess the librarian

Anonymous said...

I feel SO FANCY that you're gonna try "The Giggler Treatment" which, by the by, was first recommended by ME. I'll take the secondary love, for certain. And give Master Sam about 4 years...he'll ADORE IT. And so will you.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Thomas and recommend, um, everything Connie Willis has ever written. Doomsday Book is amazing (but quite depressing), and I think Passage is even better (and less depressing). Her short stories are also fantastic (Fire Watch is another piece set in the tme travel world of To Say Nothing of the Dog), and Bellwether is actually something of a lighthearted, romantic comdedy. About pop culture. And sheep. And it's fantastic. (I also just finished a reread of it, so I'm feeling a bit enthusiastic.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the vote. I'm considering having a "Get the Vote Out" campaign, and your endorsements are doing no harm.

Don't forget about Jenny & The Jaws of Life either, though. Especially if you have a backlog of books. You can just pop one of these babies in between novels for a filling, though somewhat salty, literary snack.

Anonymous said...

I'm famous!


Also, thank you! In one handy link (the Jon and Lane one) is encapsulated my entire want list, which comes in handy for Christmas. I didn't know those existed, although... I'm not sure why. Whee!

Anonymous said...

I definitely second tina's opinion that OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY by Cornelia Otis Skinner is very funny. Another laugh out-loud book that surprised me was MIKE NELSON'S DEATH RAT - I know it doesn't sound very good, but it was. Also funny - NUMBER TEN by Sue Townsend.