Baxter Black shares his dry wit and poetry with us in Horseshoes, Cowsocks and Duckfeet. There is something for everyone in this book by the famous NPR cowboy poet. Those from a rural background will understand each story and those more urban can appreciate most of his two page humorous stories told on NPR in 2001.
He covers rodeos, politics, doing laundry, getting in accidents, all kinds of critters and veterinarian woes with sarcasm and wit. My favorite is on page 125, a family story he shares about his small daughter’s payback for the many times he has scared her. Baxter Black is good medicine for the soul!
Open the back cover of Calling Invisible Women and you will hoot with laughter. The photo of the author, Jeanne Ray, is as imaginative as this story.
Clover Hobart is a middle aged mother of two young adults and the wife of a pediatrician with an insanely busy practice. One day she discovers that she is invisible. As any middle age woman knows, this is not uncommon, however, Clover was actually gone. She could not see her own hands, face or anything else. This crazy situation was being experienced by other women that Clover finds through a newspaper ad she stumbles over while searching the notices. The 10 a.m. meeting at the Downtown Sheraton of equally invisible women brings comfort to Clover and a determination to discover the source of their invisibility. Could a combination of prescription drugs that all of these women have taken actually lead to this result? How are they going to battle a major pharmaceutical company? When will her family actually take notice of her condition?
Jeanne Ray wrote her first book as a retirement project after working forty years as a registered nurse. This New York Times bestselling author has a wonderful sense of humor. I can’t wait to see what else she has written.
God is kind of bored with earth and humanity. The share of the population that believes in Him has been steadily decreasing, and He can’t really see why He should continue to waste any more time and effort on people. He’d much rather refocus His efforts on His next big venture, an Asian fusion restaurant.
Angels Craig and Eliza in the Miracles Department don’t see it the same way. They like their jobs, surprising people with small good things happening during their day. Craig convinces God to make a bet with him. If Craig and Eliza can make one prayer come true, God won’t destroy the Earth. The prayer(s) they decide to answer should be a piece of cake. Sam and Laura, two people living in New York City, both separately prayed to be together. The problem is that Sam and Laura are socially inept and keep passing up the opportunities Craig and Eliza give them. This saving the earth thing may be harder to accomplish than they thought.
Jonathan Tropper’s keen insight into family relationships has allowed him to create novels about families that are both touching and funny, such as How to Talk to a Widower and This is Where I Leave You. In his latest work, One Last thing Before I Go, Daniel Silver is a divorced, ex-rock band drummer living in a depressing high-rise filled with divorced, middle-aged men like himself. He contemplates the failures in his life, from his marriage and parenting to his career, and when he is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that can be corrected with surgery, he decides that the people in his life would be better off without him. As he faces his death, he learns truths about himself and the ones he loves, and examines his past failures. Tropper’s work is filled with insight, humor and heartbreaking honesty. Family dynamics and characters are believable and well-developed, from the ex-wife that Silver still loves, to the other down-and-out divorced men that reside in his apartment building. This is a story that make you laugh and will touch your heart as well. Jonathan Tropper is one of my favorite authors and this new novel is a welcome addition to his works.
Izzy Spellman never really had a chance for a normal life. Raised by private investigators, she joined the family business at 12, establishing a pattern of snooping and distrust that doesn’t bode well for healthy relationships. Her parents routinely run background checks on her boyfriends. Her uncle Ray regularly disappears on binges of his assorted addictions. Her brother David, the supposedly normal one, has been hiding something. Even her baby sister is mastering the art of extortion within the family. Meanwhile Izzy tries to solve an unsolvable case and maintain a fairly normal (if completely dishonest) relationship with the dentist of her dreams.
I was told to read The Spellman Files because I like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Both series are hilarious mysteries with entertaining young female characters who can’t quite get it together, but Spellman is less slapstick and more clever. This tale of mystery, suspense, and family dysfunction will keep you laughing all the way through.
Bill Geist, a roving correspondent for CBS News, goes Way Off the Road in his tribute to quirky places and people in rural America. Never Mean-spirited and always respectful, Geist finds the humor in off-beat and odd celebrations and occupations. From a 92 year old paper boy who delivers the paper by airplane (and has had 5 heart attacks!) to the Iowa town that celebrates the summer solstice with a festival built around the sunset over the railroad tracks, or from the Prairie Dog vacumers in Colorado to the UFO believers in New Mexico, we meet people and places that make the reader laugh out loud. Filled with charming and interesting stories, this book will inspire you to turn off of the interstates and explore the places in America that are unique, fascinating and more than just a bit eccentric.
Dan Zevin is a stay-at-home dad in Brooklyn. There is nothing earth shattering in his story of taking care of his kids, walking the dog, trying to make a living, and wondering if his life is headed in the right direction. That may be the true gift of his writing, the ability to take the everyday struggles that all parents face and show the humor. Dan Gets a Minivan won’t provide you with any helpful advice, but it will make you laugh out loud – at Zevin, but also a bit at yourself. A must read for anyone who has children.
Doc Martin is a surgeon that develops a fear of blood! So begins this British television drama that has won numerous comedy awards. Martin Clunes stars as Dr. Martin Ellingham, a brilliant vascular surgeon who must give up his successful career in London. He begins a new career as a general practitioner in the sleepy seaside village, Portwenn, where he spent his vacations as a child with his aunt. Martin is a doctor without a warm bedside manner. His impossibly cold, gruff and no nonsense manner is the mainstay for much humor as he deals with eccentric backward villagers and falls for the pretty, local school teacher. If you like to laugh, you will love following this really funny British series. Manhattan Public Library owns all five television series plus the made for tv movies produced in 2011.
by Dave Ihlenfeld
You’ve heard of Oscar Mayer hotdogs, but have you seen an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and did you get a wiener whistle? For some reason I missed out on meeting up with the Hotdoggers that took a year out of their schedules for the privilege of driving a 27 foot long hotdog around the country. Dave humorously shares his teams experience as they drive this monstrosity of a Wienermobile around the country. One incident happened at a Walmart store: three of the four team members made the decision to run into the store. Dave thought they were nuts, so he decided to just walk in. Well, after returning to the mobile innumerable times to get yet one more person a wiener whistle, he decided they weren’t quite so nutty after all. He did finally make it into the store. They traveled California, Louisiana at Mardi Gras (where Dave ended up in jail), and finally Dave finished his year with one other team member traveling over seas to drive the Wienermobile in Germany and Italy. Dog Days is an exciting action fulled journey you’ll not soon forget.
I don’t remember when I first heard about Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but I know I’ve been meaning to read it for months. It was definitely not a disappointment. My husband could always tell I was reading this over the past couple days/week because I’d burst out laughing on a regular basis.
Blogger/comedienne Jenny Lawson had a strange childhood growing up in poverty in rural west Texas. She certainly ended up with some interesting stories. Like the time her father brought home a bunch of turkeys that would follow her to school every day. Or when she was in high school and she got her hand stuck in a cow’s uterus.
No one was going to grow up to be normal after a childhood like that. And Jenny Lawson certainly did not. Let’s just say the love of taxidermy animals did not skip a generation.
If you don’t like profanity or are easily offended, this is not the book for you. If you’re looking for a hilarious read in which the author overcomes a lot of adversity in life, you should definitely get on the hold list for this one.
David Freed is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, a pilot and an expert on world affairs and he combines his knowledge in his first mystery Flat Spin. Filled with colorful characters, lots of humor, clever dialog and vivid descriptions of flying and of places, this book pulls you in from the first page. Cordell Logan is a retired black ops agent trying to earn a living as a flight instructor and making an attempt to follow the teachings of Buddha–not always with much success. Logan’s ex-wife asks him to track down her husband’s killer–a job complicated by the fact that this was the man that stole Savannah from him. With an intriguing plot, a fast-paced story line, a unique main character and laugh-out-loud moments, this is an exceptional debut mystery–hopefully there will be many more novels featuring Cordell Logan, his aging plane and his adventures!
In the third book of the Corduroy Mansions series, Freddie de la Hay, the devoted canine who attached himself to William French is missing. While visiting William’s old school friend and his wife, Freddie follows the irresistible scent of rabbit and digs himself into trouble which involves a possible new home and life for Freddie. Meanwhile his master is in his own hot water when the wife of his best friend announces her secret long-held love of William. Free-loading Eddie has found someone to take care of him he thinks, but Barbara with all of her inherited money may have doubts. Other quirky characters charm us with their foibles and we continue to anticipate further antics in this London setting.
Alexander McCall-Smith keeps adding to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and I keep enjoying the adventures of Precious Ramotswe. This time the difficult situations are a little too close to home for the Precious and her assistant, Grace Makutsi. The best auto repair assistant of Mma Ramotswe’s husband is arrested for auto theft, then Grace and her husband hire a contractor to begin building their home but the builder comes into question when one of his worker’s leaves doubt in their minds. The renowned Clovis Anderson, author of The Principles of Private Detection, comes for a visit and helps them with the terrible trouble of the dismissal of Mma Potokwane, matron of the orphan farm. Satisfactory solutions result and we continue to applaud the wisdom of Precious Ramotswe and her allies.
After contracting tropical pneumonia on a family vacation to the Dominican Republic and getting a taste of his own mortality, author A.J. Jacobs decides to go on a two year quest to become the healthiest man alive. Jacobs decides to go about this by tackling one body part per month. He starts with the stomach and finishes up with the skull. Along the way, he focuses on everything from the adrenal gland (lower his stress levels) to the skin to the hands. Throughout the book, Jacobs shares interesting studies that have been conducted about health and we learn how many health claims by “experts” are dubious at best. Jacobs approaches the topic of his own health with skepticism, humor, and a willingness to try new things in the name of trying to become the healthiest man alive. He obviously doesn’t make his goal, but he learns a lot along the way (and shares it with his readers). This isn’t a how-to-manual, but the quirky story of Jacobs’ experiences and the many people he meets along the way as he tries to improve his health.
Drop Dead Healthy is for people who have read and enjoyed Jacobs’ previous book, The Year of Living Biblically, and for those who are interested in self-improvement and health and fitness.
Librarian Julia Wright has separated herself from her eccentric family in an attempt to have a quiet, responsible, and normal life. But once Luke Maguire rides up, dressed in black and riding a Harley, Julia’s serenity starts swirling down the drain. Luke is forced to come back to Serenity Falls due to a clause in his father’s will and resents every minute there, but is starting to wonder if the cute librarian might make his stay a bit more tolerable. Julia is further troubled by the sudden appearance of the very family she was trying to avoid; a hippie mother and a free-spirited sister who’s most recent business venture leave them stuck asking the responsible Julia to let them move in.
All set in a quirky small town with great secondary characters, Good Girls Do is a delightful story that will keep you laughing and racing to the very end.