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Old 03-20-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
pilotbob
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April 2011 Book Club Nominations

Help us select the next book that the Mobile Read book club will read for April 2011.

The nominations will run through Mar 25 or until 10 books have made the list.
Voting (new poll thread) will run for 5 days starting Mar 25.

Book selection category for April per the "official" club opening thread is:

April 2011
Humor


In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).

How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.

How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a pool at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.

How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.

How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others may consider their level of interest.

How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.

When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.

The floor is open to nominations.


Official choices each with three nominations:

There are now 10 fully nominated books.

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart [obs20, JaneD, Asawi]
Inkmesh search
Spoiler:
Description: The author of two critically acclaimed novels The Russian Debutante"s Handbook and Absurdistan Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America"s dysfunctional coming years-and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink. In a very near future-oh let"s … more »say next Tuesday-a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don"t that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor proud author of what may well be the world"s last diary and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn"t it? Lenny"s from a different century-he totally loves books (or "printed bound media artifacts " as they"re now known) even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books Lenny loves Eunice Park an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work teaching our "ancient dork" effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny"s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis riots break out in New York"s Central Park the city"s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner the dollar is so over and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He"s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect"s "hotness" and "sustainability" with the click of a button in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon there is still value in being a real human being. Wildly funny rich and humane Super Sad True Love Story is a knockout novel by a young master a book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart. From the Hardcover edition. (from Kobo)


The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French [JSWolf, DixieGal, Hamlet53]
Amazon | B&N | Kobo |BooksOnBoard | Sony
It's also available at some libraries in the US & Canada via Overdrive.
Spoiler:
From Booklist
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Marylou Ahearn’s feelings for Dr. Wilson Spriggs should, after 50 years, be just about frozen. But at age 77, Marylou realizes she’s running out of time if she wants to make Spriggs pay for his role in a 1950s covert government medical-research project that gave unsuspecting pregnant women like herself a radioactive cocktail that resulted in the premature cancer death of her eight-year-old daughter. Discovering that Spriggs now lives in Florida with his daughter and teenage grandchildren, Marylou abandons her Memphis home, moves to Spriggs’ neighborhood, and adopts the persona of Nancy Archer, best known to B-movie fans everywhere as the infamous “50-Foot Woman.” Marylou/Nancy’s mission is to kill Spriggs, but the reality is that she’s just a nice little old lady, not an overly large woman with super powers. Instead, she decides to wreak havoc upon the lives of Spriggs’ family, to hilarious, and often sobering, ends in this broadly comic, yet essentially heartfelt, absurdist satire. --Carol Haggas


The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobsen [SensualPoet, edbro, lila55]
Inkmesh search
Spoiler:
Originally Posted by Overdrive Library Blurb
He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one... Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it.


The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith [GA Russell, SensualPoet, arkietech]
Inkmesh search | MobileRead's Patricia Clark Memorial Library uploaded by BenG lrf - Mobi - IMP
Spoiler:
Description: <snip> a selection from CHAPTER 1 - CRITICIZING AN EXPLOSION: The small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion—a singularly self-centred sort of explosion. 'Well, thank God, that's over,' said Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert, swathing her sentence in a sigh intended to convey an impression of hard-pressed fortitude. With bleak eyes she surveyed the fragments of a shattered vase. Its disastrous dive from the piano as a result of the shock had had in it something of the mad deliberation of a suicide's plunge. Its hideous days were over now, and Mrs Lambert was dimly aware of another little familiar something having been withdrawn from her life. 'I hope to high heaven this last one satisfies him for this spring at least,' was the petulant comment of Alfred, the male annexe of Alice. 'I've been waiting and waiting and waiting,' came a thin disembodied voice from a dark corner. 'Night and day I've been waiting and expecting—' 'And hoping and praying, no doubt, Grandpa,' interrupted Daphne, idly considering a run in her stocking and wondering what she was going to do about it, if anything, and when would be the least boring time to do it if she did, which she doubted. 'Alice,' complained Grandpa Lambert from the security of his shadows, 'that baggage has no respect for her elders.' Stella, femininely desirable but domestically a washout, made one of her typical off-balance entrances. It started with a sort of scrambled hovering at the door, developed this into a mad dash into the room, and terminated in a tragic example of suspended animation somewhere in the immaculate neighbourhood of Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert. 'Been an explosion, ma'am,' announced Stella in a deflated voice. 'Mr Betts says so.' 'Now all you need to do is to fall dead at our feet to make the picture complete,' remarked Daphne. 'Yes, Miss Daffy,' said Stella brightly. 'And if Mr Betts says there's been an explosion,' Daffy continued, 'then there must have been an explosion. Betts is never wrong. You go back, Stella dear, and thank him for letting us know so promptly.' 'But, Miss Daffy, what shall we do about it?' asked Stella, vainly looking for some light to guide amid the encircling gloom. 'About what, Stella?' asked Daffy. 'This explosion, miss,' and Stella extended her hands as if she were offering a young explosion for the inspection of Daphne. Thorne Smith's rapid-fire dialogue, brilliant sense of the absurd, and literary aplomb put him in the same category as the beloved P. G. Wodehouse. The Night Life of the Gods--the madcap story of a scientist who instigates a nocturnal spree with the Greek gods--is arguably his most sparkling comedic achievement. Hunter Hawk has a knack for annoying his ultrarespectable relatives. He likes to experiment and he particularly likes to experiment with explosives. His garage-cum-laboratory is a veritable minefield, replete with evil-smelling clouds of vapor through which various bits of wreckage and mysteriously bubbling test tubes are occasionally visible. With the help of Megaera, a fetching nine-hundred-year-old lady leprechaun he meets one night in the woods, he masters the art (if not the timing) of transforming statues into people. And when he practices his new witchery in the stately halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art-- setting Bacchus, Mercury, Neptune, Diana, Hebe, Apollo, and Perseus loose on the unsuspecting citizenry of Prohibition-era New York--the stage is set for Thorne Smith at his most devilish and delightful.<snip>(from Amazon.com)


A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole [Hamlet53, Hoyt Clagwell, VioletVal]
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Spoiler:
From Kobo:A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once."So enters one of the most memorable characters in American fiction, Ignatius J. Reilly. John Kennedy Toole's hero is one, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).Ignatius J. Reilly is a flatulent frustrated scholar deeply learned in Medieval philosophy and American junk food, a brainy mammoth misfit imprisoned in a trashy world of Greyhound Buses and Doris Day movies. He is in violent revolt against the entire modern age. Ignatius' peripatetic employment takes him from Levy Pants, where he leads a workers' revolt, to the French Quarter, where he waddles behind a hot dog wagon that serves as his fortress.A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece that outswifts Swift, whose poem gives the book its title. Set in New Orleans, the novel bursts into life on Canal Street under the clock at D. H. Holmes department store. The characters leave the city and literature forever marked by their presences Ignatius and his mother; Mrs. Reilly's matchmaking friend, Santa Battaglia; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, bemused Patrolman Mancuso; Jones, the jivecat in spaceage dark glasses. Juvenal, Rabelais, Cervantes, Fielding, Swift, Dickens their spirits are all here. Filled with unforgettable characters and unbelievable plot twists, shimmering with intelligence, and dazzling in its originality, Toole's comic classic just keeps getting better year after year.Released by Louisiana State University Press in April 1980 and published in paperback in 1981 by Grove Press, A Confederacy of Dunces is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon. Turned down by countless publishers and submitted by the author's mother years after his suicide, the book won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Today, there are over 1,500,000 copies in print worldwide in eighteen languages.


The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr [SensualPoet, GA Russell, DiapDealer]
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Spoiler:
Description: "His best book", Esquire wrote of Kurt Vonnegut?s 1959 novel The Sirens of Titan , adding, "he dares not only to ask the ultimate question about the meaning of life, but to answer it." This novel fits into that aspect of the Vonnegut canon that might be classified as science fiction, a quality that once led Time to describe Vonnegut as "George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded … more »into one writer ... a zany but moral mad scientist." The Sirens of Titan was perhaps the novel that began the Vonnegut phenomenon with readers. The story is a fabulous trip, spinning madly through space and time in pursuit of nothing less than a fundamental understanding of the meaning of life. It takes place at a time in the future, when "only the human soul remained terra incognita ... the Nightmare Ages, falling roughly, give or take a few years, between the Second World War and the Third Great Depression." The villainous and super rich Malachi Constant is offered a chance to journey into the far reaches of outer space, to eventually live on the planet Titan surrounded by three beautiful sirens. There is the proverbial "small print" with this incredible offer, which Constant turns down, setting in motion a fantastic chain of events that only Vonnegut could imagine. The result is an uproarious, freewheeling inquiry into the very reason we exist and about how we participate and matter in the scheme of the universe. The Sirens of Titan is essential, fundamental Vonnegut, as entertaining as it is questing in search of answers to the mysteries of life. As a work of fiction, it is a sure leap, in terms of craft, over his first novel Player Piano . His writing here is pared down, more concentrated and graceful, richly in the service of his remarkable ideas. Vonnegut summons greatness for the first time in The Sirens of Titan , where the search for the meaning of existence looks and sounds like a kaleidoscopic dream but leaves the reader with a clear and challenging answer. (from eBooks.com


Naked by David Sedaris [sun surfer, Asawi, DixieGal]
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Spoiler:
Description: Hip radio comedy fans and theater folks who belong to the cult of Obie-winning playwright/performer David Sedaris must kill to get this book. These would be fans of the scaldingly snide Sedaris's hilariously described personal misadventures like The Santaland Diaries (a monologue about his work as an elf to a department store Santa) seen off-Broadway in 1997. In a series of similarly textured … more »essays, Sedaris takes us along on his catastrophic detours through a nudist colony, a fruit-packing plant, his own childhood, and a dozen more of the world's little purgatories. Sedaris (Barrel Fever, LJ 5/1/94) has fashioned a funny memoir of his wonderfully offbeat life. To call his family "dysfunctional" would be enormous understatement and beside the point; Sedaris's relatives and other companions become vital characters on the page. We see his mother serving drinks to the string of teachers who want to discuss her son's compulsions to lick light switches and make high-pitched noises. We travel with Sedaris and his quadriplegic hitchhiking companion, listen to his foul-mouthed seat mate on a long bus trip, and accompany the author on a hilariously self-conscious visit to a nudist colony. Sedaris's humor is wickedly irreverent but not mean. Traveling with him is well worth it for the laughs and his generous human sensibility. Highly recommended.?Mary Paumier Jones, Rochester P.L., N.Y. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. (from Amazon.com)


Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons [seagull, issybird, sun surfer]
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Spoiler:
Description: " Quite simply one of the funniest satirical novels of the last century." -Nancy Pearl NPR"s Morning Edition The deliriously entertaining Cold Comfort Farm is "very probably the funniest book ever written" ( The Sunday Times London)-a hilarious parody of D. H. Lawrence"s and Thomas Hardy"s earthy melodramatic novels. When the recently orphaned socialite Flora Poste descends on her … more »relatives at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm in deepest Sussex she finds a singularly miserable group in dire need of her particular talent- organization." Quite simply one of the funniest satirical novels of the last century." -Nancy Pearl NPR"s Morning Edition The deliriously entertaining Cold Comfort Farm is "very probably the funniest book ever written" ( The Sunday Times London)-a hilarious parody of D. H. Lawrence"s and Thomas Hardy"s earthy melodramatic novels. When the recently orphaned socialite Flora Poste descends on her relatives at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm in deepest Sussex she finds a singularly miserable group in dire need of her particular talent- organization. (from Kobo)


The Diaries of Adam and Eve (also called extracts from Adam and Eve's diary) by Mark Twain [spellbanisher, lila55, issybird]
Inkmesh search
Spoiler:
Here is an excerpt:
Adam:
"TUESDAY.--Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls-- why, I am sure I do not know. Says it LOOKS like Niagara Falls. That is not a reason, it is mere waywardness and imbecility. I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is offered--it LOOKS like the thing. There is a dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it "looks like a dodo." It will have to keep that name, no doubt. It wearies me to fret about it, and it does no good, anyway. Dodo! It looks no more like a dodo than I do.

Eves:

When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat--I saw it in his eye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it in a way that could hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite natural way of pleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming of conveying information, and said, "Well, I do declare, if there isn't the dodo!" I explained--without seeming to be explaining-- how I know it for a dodo, and although I thought maybe he was a little piqued that I knew the creature when he didn't, it was quite evident that he admired me. That was very agreeable, and I thought of it more than once with gratification before I slept. How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it! "


Hal Spacejock #1 by Simon Haynes [caleb72, JSWolf, snipenekkid]
http://www.spacejock.com.au/index.html
Spoiler:
I found the below on http://www.spacejock.com.au/HalSpacejockSeries.html:

Quote:
<snip>
Who is Hal Spacejock? Everyone knows a character like Hal Spacejock - he's the guy who plugs a 12-volt lantern into a mains socket and burns his house down. He's the guy who does his own plumbing and floods the neighbour's house. He's the guy who visits three stores to save a few bucks on a hammer, then blows a hundred and twenty on a laser-guided tape measure with built-in bottle opener.

In short, Hal's your regular, everyday guy. He just happens to have a two-hundred ton spaceship, and he's none too flash with the controls. <snip>

From Amazon (paperback): Editorial Reviews
Review
... a winner for almost anyone who can read. -- Specusphere Oct 2005

Fast, funny, quirky, enthralling comedy adventure; not just a genre parody but a well-made story in its own right. -- Tom Holt

The quirkiest genre satire to hit bookshelves since Terry Pratchett's Discworld. -- West Australian, 17th Oct 2005
Product Description
A perennial loser, Hal Spacejock borrowed heavily to fund his intergalactic cargo business. His loyal customers evaporated after several highly publicised mishaps, and mounting bills have confined him to planet Lamira, a mining colony with the vibrant, up-and-coming economy of a rubbish tip.

Now the finance company is despatching heavies to all points of the compass, desperate to track Hal down and extract money and/or vital organs. Meanwhile, on a nearby planet, a wealthy businessman needs a freelance cargo pilot for a suicidal cargo mission. Ideally, he wants a desperate, debt-ridden loser . . .

Last edited by dreams; 03-25-2011 at 03:25 PM. Reason: added to the Hal Spacejock spoiler
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:47 PM   #2
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Does it have to be fictional humor or can it be non-fiction?
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
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PLEASE something funny AND published within the last year or two! I'm begging here!
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:17 PM   #4
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I nominate Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
PLEASE something funny AND published within the last year or two! I'm begging here!
Last book we had in this category was old and not funny. So I agree we should have something more modern and more filled with LOLs.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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I'd like to nominate The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French.

Quote:
This lively, intricately plotted, laugh-out-loud funny, and surprisingly touching family drama combines the wit of Carl Hiaasen with the southern charm of Jill McCorkle.

Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.

Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter's family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stumbling into.

Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that's not all . . .

Told from the varied perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters and written with the flair of a native Floridian, this dark comedy does not disappoint.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:39 PM   #7
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I nominate the Wallet of Kai Lung by Ernest Bramah.
Beautifully written and he pokes subtle fun at so many different things. DL Sayers used quotes as chapter headings.
Oh, you want something more recent?
then try Esprit de Corps by Laurence Durrell. Its a series of short stories about the antics of the diplomatic corps in the then newly formed Yugoslavia.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
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Seconded.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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Second Revenge of the Radioactive Lady. I've always feared pineapple upside down cake.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by seagull View Post
Does it have to be fictional humor or can it be non-fiction?
It doesn't matter.

BOb
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:29 PM   #11
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Second Revenge of the Radioactive Lady. I've always feared pineapple upside down cake.
I was thinking the description was something you might go for. Me, I have a fear of little old ladies in Florida.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
Hamlet53
Something Wicked This Way
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This seems like a tough one to come up with nominations. What's humorous to a broad spectrum of readers, and if still more restrictions are added for it to be available as an ebook and of recent production? I'm looking forward to what is proposed.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #13
SensualPoet
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Something recent? What about Howard Jacobsen's The Finkler Question which won the most recent Man Booker Prize? (First humour entry to win this prize in eons.) It's under $10 as an e-book, and on the Overdrive library system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdrive Library Blurb
He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one... Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it.
So nominated.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:22 PM   #14
Hamlet53
Something Wicked This Way
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Since I have no clue as to what to throw into nomination I know I will have multiple seconds. Therefore I feel confidant to provide another second for Radioactive Lady.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:26 PM   #15
GA Russell
BC loses Guaranteed Win!
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I nominate The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith.

Amazon says: "Thorne Smith's rapid-fire dialogue, brilliant sense of the absurd, and literary aplomb put him in the same category as the beloved P. G. Wodehouse. The Night Life of the Gods--the madcap story of a scientist who instigates a nocturnal spree with the Greek gods--is arguably his most sparkling comedic achievement."

It is available at the MR library here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...t=Thorne+Smith

PS - I read it 35 years ago and loved it. I've been meaning to read it again.

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