Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Humor Writing

Last night we laughed and shared stories and talked about what was and wasn’t a bad word as we meandered down the path of humor writing.

The Genre Meeting Group next meets on Tuesday, July 30th at 6:30pm in the Library’s Conference Room for a discussion of western novels. There’s a display of great books at the 2nd floor reference desk so pick one out and plan to join us!

Here’s what we talked about last night (book descriptions from unless otherwise noted):

Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens by Sloane Tanen

With more personality than most people have to spare, New York artist Sloane Tanen's tiny yellow chickens negotiate the tricky modern world, filled with three-headed blind dates, menacing KFCs, playground popularity battles, and annoyingly crowded yoga classes. They perch amid doll furniture, in scenes photographed in glorious color and brilliantly captioned- and their lives will strike you as strangely familiar...

Charming, spiky with off-kilter wit (or waxing jobs gone terribly wrong), and somehow larger than life, these chickens win the hearts of all who behold them.

Going for the Bronze: Still Bitter, More Baggage by Sloane Tanen

They’re back! Sloane Tanen treats us to a second installment of her hilarious chicken dioramas in this sequel to her immensely popular Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same.

Join these fluffy, yellow, surprisingly human protagonists as they face a new series of dilemmas in their exquisitely crafted, miniature settings. Whether playing the online dating game, trying couples therapy, dealing with uncooperative children, discovering the melancholy of middle age, dreaming of a better life, or finally grasping the golden (or at least bronze) ring, these chickens encounter everyday troubles and triumphs as painfully recognizable as they are hilarious. Clever, charming, and endlessly entertaining, Going for the Bronze is a brilliant follow-up to a wholly unique bestseller.

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline

This one’s for you, extraordinary ordinary women everywhere! It’s time for seriously hilarious girl-talk with New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline. She’s shared this collection of scenes from her real life, and she bets her life sounds a lot like yours . . . if you crave carbs, can’t find jeans that fit, and still believe that these two things are unrelated. Pick up this book—you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll swear off pantyhose. Here are some examples of Lisa’s wit and wisdom:

“Everybody has their pornography, and mine is the real estate ads.”

“We’ll get universal health care before we get beauty salons open on Mondays, and that’s backwards. Ask any woman if she’d rather have a haircut or a mammogram, and you’ll see what I mean.”

“Mothers are a natural force, and maybe an alternative source of fuel.”

“Lately there’s been talk about a religion that allows polygamy, so that a man can have as many wives as he pleases. Where is the religion that allows a woman to have as many husbands as she pleases?”

“I have never been in an accident, if you don’t count my two marriages.”

“My mother taught us that if you eat baked beans from a can that has dents, you’ll die of botulism. This was before people injected botulism into their faces. Nowadays, the dented can will kill you, but you’ll look young.”

Inspired by her wildly popular column in The Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Chick Wit,” Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog is a book you’ll have to put down—just to stop laughing.

My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline

Critics and readers loved Lisa Scottoline’s first collection of true-life stories, which only encouraged her—now she’s back with these all-new, exciting adventures. She’s farther down the road now, and the scenery has changed—ex-husbands Thing One and Thing Two are in her rear-view mirror, daughter Francesca has moved into an apartment, and Lisa’s finding the silver lining in her empty nest, which has lots more room for her shoes. And some things have stayed the same—Mother Mary is still the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, who won’t part with her recipe for tomato sauce or her thirty-year old bra.

In this book Lisa and Francesca spill all their family secrets—which sound a lot like yours, if you understand that three generations of women is the formula for spontaneous combustion.

Inspired by her weekly column entitled, “Chick Wit” for The Philadelphia Inquirer, this is a book you’ll have to put down—just to stop laughing.

America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert

Book store nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we're the #1 nation at being the best at greatness.

But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can't exchange it because we're 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around--we don't make anything anymore, we've mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn't even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?! It's high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost!

Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject's ranging from healthcare ("I shudder to think where we'd be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering") to the economy ("Life is giving us lemons, and we're shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade") to food ("Feel free to deep fry this book-it's a rich source of fiber"), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.

Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel

No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel. Bitch is a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today's headlines.

In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth.

She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway's tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society's complete obsession with badness: what's a girl to do? Let's face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock."

Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love. Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success of The Rules, the evil that is The Bridges of Madison County, the twisted logic of You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core. In prose both blistering and brilliant, Bitch is a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation.

Don’t Sit Under the Grits Tree with Anyone But Me by Lewis Grizzard

More down-home humor from the incomparable Lewis Grizzard- ruminations on lardbutts, bra-padders, good ol' boys, and giggling Yankee girls. The joys of white bread and knowing your way around a 1957 Chevrolet. And lots more.

How to Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor’s Guide by Howard Mohr

Based in part on material written for "A Prairie Home Companion," How to Talk Minnesotan will help visitors to Minnesota keep from sticking out like sore thumbs when they don't know the difference between "not too bad a deal" and "a heckuva deal." Illustrated with line drawings.

Growing Up Catholic: An Infinitely Funny Guide for the Faithful, the Fallen, and Everyone In-Between by Mary Jane Frances Cavolina Meara, Jeffrey Allen Joseph Stone, Maureen Anne Teresa Kelly, and Richard Glen Michael Davis

The beloved classic bestseller features a witty, poignant, and downright hilarious potpourri of essays, lists, games, drawings, photos, and quizzes.

More Growing Up Catholic by Mary Jane Frances Cavolina Meara, Jeffrey Allen Joseph Stone, Maureen Anne Teresa Kelly, and Richard Glen Michael Davis

If you swear you had the strictest nun ever, if you always make the Sign of the Cross when you pass a church, if you still won't call a priest by his first name, if you'll never get used to calling Confession the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then you probably enjoyed the national bestseller Growing up Catholic.

For those who stayed and those who strayed, More Growing Up Catholic presents further revelations of the joyful mysteries of growing up Catholic, including:

* All in the Family: Ethnic Catholics
* Altar Boy Fun
* The Quintessential Catholic Family
* An Insider's Guide to Fourteen Famous Catholic Colleges
* How to Torture a Catholic Mother
* Things Nuns Always Say
* Are You a Catholic?: A Quiz to Make Sure
* Real Lives of the Saints

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem by Jeff Foxworthy

America's favorite Southern-fried, stand-up comedian and TV sitcom star Jeff Foxworthy brings his humor to the page in this riotous laugh-out-loud book. In No Shirt. No Shoes. No Problem!, Foxworthy examines the hilarity of growing up, love, sex, crazy families, roommates, friendship, mooning, having a crush on your cousin, and the real stories behind many of his favourite Redneck jokes. So get're in for a helluva good time!

Gettin’ It On: A Down Home Treasury by Lewis Grizzard

Best selling humorist Lewis Grizzard, leads us on a warm, sensitive, and very funny journey through the soul of his beloved South in this collection of three of his favorite works. While extolling the praises of the GA Bulldogs, Southern womanhood, beer joints, butter beans, high school reunions, hayrides and Willie Nelson, he takes the important aspects of life very seriously. This collection of modern Southern life and culture is written with humor, real emotion, and true empathy with the land and its people. Lews Grizzard gives us a down home delight, full of politics, homemade biscuits, plain folks, and more than a little common sense.

Henhouse: The International Book for Chickens and Their Lovers by Buddy Wakefield

This new publication is inspired by hens and the people who love them. Geared toward new chicken owners and created for everyone to laugh with and learn from. This witty book is full of mother clucking facts. The popularity of raising chickens in cities and suburbia continues to grow and Henhouse offers up a wealth of how-tos, tips and advice for this new wave of environmentally conscious chicken owners. Henhouse is a valuable resource for helpful information on all things chicken with a playful, educated and current appeal.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, etc by David Sedaris

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

With Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called "hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving" (Washington Post).

Sex, Drugs, and Gefilte Fish: The Heeb Storytelling Collection edited by Shana Liebman

Scoring weed for your uncle...Hanging out with porn stars on Christmas Eve...Eating nachos with the Mossad...Observing the Dyke Days of Awe...Getting held up at a Weight Watcher's meeting...Spying on your naked Hebrew School teacher.

From Heeb magazine--the definitive voice of a proud, searching, and irreverent new generation of American Jews--this first-of-a-kind fast and fun showcase spotlights the hilarious and heartful raconteurial gifts of many of today's leading writers, comedians, actors, artists, and musicians. Laura Silverman, Michael Showalter, Andy Borowitz, Joel Stein, Ben Greenman, Darrin Strauss, and others navigate sex, drugs, work, youth, family, and, on the lighter side, body and soul. You'll never bleach your arm hair again.

What are YOU reading?

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