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Old 12-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #31
MickeyC
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One of the funniest books I've read was Oyster Blues by Michael McClelland. Last I looked it was only available in MobiPocket but is a giggle. His follow on book (Tattoo Blues) wasn't quite as good and, as far as I know, that's all he wrote
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:45 AM   #32
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***Wow! Dave Langford of 'Ansible' fame; excellent - he's a hero of mine, and I'll definitely be getting this when it's CyBook friendly - thanks for the heads-up Neil!!***

The same, Sparrow. And John Grant's quite an operator, too. We'll have other formats available soon (sadly with a price tag), but if you want to give the PDF a try for free, just holler. It's DRM free and will convert. Cheers. Neil
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:12 AM   #33
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Pretty much any book by Harlan Coben will make you laugh, despite them being crime/thriller stories. Especially his Myron Bolitar series - cracks me up all the time!
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:35 AM   #34
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Not a mention yet of Spike Milligan, particularly his book Puckoon.
He might not suite the Merkins humor
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #35
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The same, Sparrow. And John Grant's quite an operator, too. We'll have other formats available soon (sadly with a price tag), but if you want to give the PDF a try for free, just holler. It's DRM free and will convert. Cheers. Neil
Thanks for the generous offer Neil; but I'd actually prefer to pay for it.
And my tbr pile might diminish somewhat in the meantime.

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Not a mention yet of Spike Milligan, particularly his book Puckoon.
He might not suite the Merkins humor
I often think Milligan was heavily influenced by zany US comedy like the Marx Bros, and the Hellzapoppin' film.

Last edited by Sparrow; 12-20-2009 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:21 PM   #36
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Anyone growing up in the UK or Australia(not sure about the US) during the late 1980's will remember the hilarious narration of a troubled teenager by the name of Adrian Mole.
If you like Adrian Mole you might also enjoy the Spud series by John van de Ruit . It's similar to the Adrian Mole series, following the adventures of Spud Milton as he grows up and goes to a private school. It's set in South Africa during the dying days of apartheid.

I've read all three books and they were pretty good - definitely some laughs in there.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:03 AM   #37
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Humor is a strangely subjective thing. I can sit through a whole Pratchett novel or a Wodehouse story without even twitching my mouth. I'm far from thick-headed and can appreciate their storytelling devices and humor techniques, but my reaction to them is almost academic, as the humor does not resonate with me very often. The last time I laughed at a Pratchett novel was when I was imagining Detritus in the freeze.

Some idiosyncratic humor does resonate with me though. The absurdities in some of the Jasper Fforde Thursday Next stories got a reaction out of me when a similar technique employed in Discworld would have failed, as the Fforde stories strike a certain geeky chord that Discworld misses a little bit. Not Pratchett's fault, but I'm simply not sympathetic enough to his world and characters to internalize his humor and let it move me.

To really enjoy humor, the characters or story or situation or something have to have some kind of empathic link to the reader. It's not simply a quality that "good writers have and bad writers don't", it's a highly personal thing.

I've found the snarky comments in the later Dresden Files books (after book 4) quite humorous, though not something I'd turn into a cult worship thing. I also really laughed hard at the audacity and political incorrectness in some of Christopher Moore's books, though the stories I've read from him mellow out a little bit around the climax and ending.

Some people laugh at veiled but biting satire, while others prefer being smacked in the face with an (cover the children's eyes please)
Spoiler:
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:34 AM   #38
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There are two series that I thought were very funny:

- The Myth Adventure Series by Robert Asprin. A great series that pokes a great deal of fun at the whole sword and sorcery genre. There was one scene in the first book that I had to struggle to not laugh.

- A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Although the events of the series should not be humorous (but are very unfortunate), Snicket's writing style makes the humor shine through.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:47 AM   #39
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I forgot to mention "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland" by Diana Wynne Jones. Laugh out loud funny. It is set up like a dictionary / encyclopedia and pokes fun at fantasy tropes. As a fantasy lover, I loved it.

Humour is very culturally subjective, so it's really hard to find something that will appeal to everyone. Aristophanes (greek comedy), for example, I sometimes find hilarious, and sometimes I have no idea what he is talking about. My husband finds "Ante Tomić", a Croatian writer of humourous novels, laugh-out-loud funny, but I have a suspicion that people not from central or eastern Europe wouldn't get his humour. (I'm not sure if any of his stuff has been translated.)
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:44 PM   #40
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@LDBoblo; you sound like you would enjoy the more underplayed humour of for example Robertson Davies or David Lodge. Very different authors, but they both have a 'light hand' with humour.


Humour really is very subjective culturally. For example the Scandinavian humour tend to be rather dark, ironic and absurd. It'd whoosh beside the head of typical American humour which is much more direct, obvious and in-your-face in comparison.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:09 PM   #41
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I recently discovered Mil Millington thanks to this forum - particularly "Things my Girlfriend and I have Argued About"...the conversation between the protagonist and his girlfriend are priceless.

Also, Bill Bryson's travel books are always good for a chuckle for me.

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Old 12-21-2009, 07:24 PM   #42
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Top of my list would be:

The Great American Novel by Philip Roth

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Also my favorite book of all time)
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:49 PM   #43
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Have you read any P.G. Wodehouse? He is an EXTREMELY funny author.
Hopefully his Jeeves stories are funnier than the only one I've read so far, Damsel in Distress-couldn't finish that one. Still have the Jeeves books on my to-be-read list, I don't generally give up on a well-recommended author just because the 1st book I happen to pick up isn't to my liking, but it does delay my getting into the rest.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:52 PM   #44
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Hopefully his Jeeves stories are funnier than the only one I've read so far, Damsel in Distress-couldn't finish that one. Still have the Jeeves books on my to-be-read list, I don't generally give up on a well-recommended author just because the 1st book I happen to pick up isn't to my liking, but it does delay my getting into the rest.
I think the Blanding books are better than the Jeeves and Woster ones. I can also recommend the golf story collection.
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:00 PM   #45
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I tried to read Three Men in a Boat but I found I did not find it all that funny. So yes, humor is a very subjective thing.

Take Discworld for example. It helps to have read a lot of fantasy books so you can understand some of the jokes. Some of it is very subtle and some of it is hit-you-on-the-head. But I do find it funny and do laugh. Oh and some of the humor is very British. So it helps to like British humor as well.
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