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Old 07-17-2009, 02:23 PM   #1
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Please help me laugh

Hiya folks,

When I was a student, I had to dedicate way too much time to excessively dense and contrived literature. I more or less vowed for a while not to bother reading again if I could avoid it.

A few years have gone by and, well, I have been getting into reading again. However, particularly dense or serious material kind of irritates me. I'm looking for some funny material.

Actually, I should say I'm looking for more funny material. I've got a small stack of books and ebooks waiting for me to run through them yet, but I always like the prospect of stockpiling more.

I've been reading Pratchett's Discworld series, and I rather enjoy the City Watch and Death books, though they don't really draw out laughs from me. I also liked "Good Omens" a lot, though I can't remember any jokes that got me to laugh out loud. Much the same way with P.G. Wodehouse so far: I appreciate the jokes and the situations, but I tend to keep a straight face or just smirk.

Being an uncivilized brute, I found myself in stitches reading Christopher Moore's "Lamb" at times...not as a jab at religion but merely as an amusing, somewhat zany story (seemed to slow down a bit at the end with the jokes though). I've got another book or two of his that I'll be tearing into soon enough, since I expect I'll enjoy them.

I went through David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day", and though the first half rarely drew more than half a smile, I really enjoyed several stories in the second half.

I'm currently going through "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. While it's a very enjoyable read with lots of interesting historical anecdotes and observations and a few laughs, I'm really not cracking up the way I had originally expected. Not a bad thing, but I had picked it up with slightly different expectations.

I've got the first MYTH book by Robert Asprin waiting for me, as well as "A Confederacy of Dunces", Three Men in a Boat, Topper, and Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys". I've also got some more Pratchett waiting for me, and a few other books laying around like the first and second Xanth books.

I lean slightly more towards fantasy, and am slightly hesitant about science fiction. However, I think of myself as reasonably open-minded regarding genre, as long as it doesn't take itself too seriously.

I guess I'm probably being too particular in any case. Anyone got any recommendations?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:33 PM   #2
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"Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett--though I personally cannot appreciate the original English language version, but rather enjoy my Hungarian translations thereof.

"Things I and my girlfriend have argued about" by Mil Millington

Anything by P. G. Wodehouse.

- Ahi

Ps.: Should have read your post more carefully. I see now you already read "Good Omens" and probably also are familiar with the Discworld series.

Last edited by ahi; 07-17-2009 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Added ps
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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"Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett--though I personally cannot appreciate the original English language version, but rather enjoy my Hungarian translations thereof.

"Things I and my girlfriend have argued about" by Mil Millington

Anything by P. G. Wodehouse.

- Ahi
hey ! somebody else who knows mil millington ! i love that guy ! i will strongly second this recommendation. his emails / columns / website are also hilarious, if you're interested.

also second wodehouse, of course. and jerome k. jerome. and i imagine you've read all the douglas adams books ?

mark twain is also really funny and you can get several of his books here.

i also love gerald durrell's books ("my family and other animals", etc.) but i'm not sure if they're available as ebooks (hm, i should check...).
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
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hey ! somebody else who knows mil millington ! i love that guy ! i will strongly second this recommendation. his emails / columns / website are also hilarious, if you're interested.
He also has a second book out, I think...

His book(s) are probably not to be read for their masterful plot development, but rather for the myriad laugh out-loud funny scenes along the way.

The introduction to Iain Banks' "The Business" had me laughing like a maniac too. The rest of it is good too... but not comedic. The introduction though... hilarious!!

- Ahi
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
...
i also love gerald durrell's books ("my family and other animals", etc.) but i'm not sure if they're available as ebooks (hm, i should check...).
If you find them, would you tell me? I haven't read them since I was a teenager - it could be fun to revisit them.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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He also has a second book out, I think...

His book(s) are probably not to be read for their masterful plot development, but rather for the myriad laugh out-loud funny scenes along the way.
he has at least 3 that i know of and you can get them all at fictionwise.

Quote:
The introduction to Iain Banks' "The Business" had me laughing like a maniac too. The rest of it is good too... but not comedic. The introduction though... hilarious!!

- Ahi
hm, maybe the first time someone is recommended a book just for the introduction !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ea View Post
If you find them, would you tell me? I haven't read them since I was a teenager - it could be fun to revisit them.
yes i will, i haven't read them in a long time either and i wouldn't mind reading them again.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:51 PM   #8
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"Naked" by David Sedaris I thought was his funniest.

But man, the essay with "Me Talk Pretty One Day" had me in tears. Also, Holidays on Ice is hilarious!
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:53 PM   #9
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hm, maybe the first time someone is recommended a book just for the introduction !
I actually recommend "The Business" whole-heartedly in full. But it is a secret society/world domination/intrigue sort of story, so it's probably not what LDBoblo is looking to read next.

But yeah, if anybody spots it on a bookstore's shelf, read the introduction... ideally outside of other shoppers' line of sight.

- Ahi
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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Boy, that is the worst Bryson book to read if you're looking for a laugh. Heh, it's okay but it's nothing like most of his stuff. Try In A Sunburned Country or I'm a Stranger Here Myself.

Wodehouse, I wouldn't say just any of them. The Jeeves and Golf stories are excellent but not laugh out loud in my opinion. Best and funniest in my opinion by far - were Something Fresh (here at MB), Leave It To Psmith, Blandings Castle and Summer Lightning. There's a Blandings anthology called Life At Blandings.

Pecked To Death By Ducks by Tim Cahill

The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw by Patrick McManus

Good online comic - http://xkcd.com
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:09 PM   #11
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oh, James Thurber ! the night the bed fell in will make you fall off your chair laughing. hm, i wonder if he's available as an ebook...

i agree with wayspooled, i love all of wodehouse but the blandings castle books (starting with something fresh / summer lightning) are some of my favourites.
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:16 PM   #12
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Welcome to MR, LDBoblo.

Quote:
I lean slightly more towards fantasy, and am slightly hesitant about science fiction. However, I think of myself as reasonably open-minded regarding genre, as long as it doesn't take itself too seriously.
A Sci-Fi adventure that I totally agree with the below comments....

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"Fast, funny, quirky, enthralling comedy adventure" - Tom Holt

"Simon Haynes is the Australian Terry Pratchett" - Midwest Book Review

The Hal Spacejock series is published by Fremantle Press and distributed by Penguin Australia

Download Hal Spacejock - Free!

Grab a copy of the hilarious, best-selling sf novel as a free ebook!
Simon Haynes is a member of MR (Spacejock) and the ebook is available at the below website..

http://www.spacejock.com.au/Hal1Download.html
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:38 PM   #13
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Yeah, David Sedaris and James Thurber.

The Butterfly Kid by Chester Anderson

Funniest book I ever read probably isn't funny anymore. It's probably dated. It was Shut Up and Eat Your Snowshoes by Jack Douglas, circa about 1970. He was the writer that did Johnny Carson's monologues back when they were famous entertainment - he decided to pack up his Japanese wife and their kids and pet wolves and move to backwoods Canada and it's their story. It was just hilarious.

Edit: Ya know what? Second thoughts on it's being too dated. If I had to risk $3.96 on anything (.01 for the books, 3.95 shipping) for a laugh, I think I would bet on Shut Up and Eat Your Snowshoes. Of course, no way it would be ebook'd.

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Old 07-17-2009, 10:16 PM   #14
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Seems to me we need some 'humor' definitions so we know what is being recommended.

Stooges humor is the raw physical, poke them in the eye stuff.

Teen Humor (defined by Hollywood not teens) involves adolescent jokes involving body parts.

Sophisticated Humor: I need someone else to define this because I just don't get it. Howse that for a description of me?

Satire -- political or otherwise

Other categories ...
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:21 PM   #15
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Anyway, along with definitions, you mention the first Myth book by Asprin. Many years ago I really enjoyed those books. I'm not sure I would call them humor as in laugh-out loud, but they are definitely light, easy reads.

I used to call them bubble-gum reading. Something that was sweet and didn't take too much work to read or enjoy; however, not a lot of meat to them.

He also has (had, since he passed away) a series about Phule's army that was an enjoyable read. You might describe it as humorous or silly. I thought the jokes were a little too obvious to be truly LOL funny, but I found them quite amusing.
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