Lake Wobegon Days


Garrison Keillor - 1985
    "Filled with warmth and humor, sadness and tenderness, songs and poems, Lake Wobegon Days is an unforgettable portrait of small-town American life, of why 'we are what we are' and why 'smart doesn't count for much."

Notes of a Dirty Old Man


Charles Bukowski - 1969
    A bum off the road brings in a gypsy and his wife and we talk . . . . drink half the night. A long distance operator from Newburgh, N.Y. sends me money. She wants me to give up drinking beer and to eat well. I hear from a madman who calls himself 'King Arthur' and lives on Vine Street in Hollywood and wants to help me write my column. A doctor comes to my door: 'I read your column and think I can help you. I used to be a psychiatrist.' I send him away . . ."

Naked


David Sedaris - 1997
    In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its proverbial ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview—a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners sharp and deeply charitable. A tart-tongued mother does dead-on imitations of her young son's nervous tics, to the great amusement of his teachers; a stint of Kerouackian wandering is undertaken (of course!) with a quadriplegic companion; a family gathers for a wedding in the face of imminent death. Through it all is Sedaris's unmistakable voice, without doubt one of the freshest in American writing.

Bech: A Book


John Updike - 1970
    We see him on his travels to Russia, to Bulgaria, and in the beds of his various mistresses. This is a funny, witty book about the world of writers and the quest for success.

Paperweight


Stephen Fry - 1992
    It includes selected wireless essays of Donald Trefusis, the ageing professor of philology brought to life in Fry's novel The Liar, and the best of Fry's weekly column for the Daily Telegraph.Perfect to dip into but just as enjoyable to read cover to cover, this book, perhaps more than any other, shows the breadth of Fry's interests and the depth of his insight. He remains a hilarious writer on whatever topic he puts his mind to.

Please Don't Eat the Daisies


Jean Kerr - 1957
    It became a film in 1960 starring David Niven and Doris Day, and a television series in 1965. Now you can hear why many consider Jean Kerr to be one of America's funniest writers. In this unique collection of essays, Kerr captures the perils of motherhood, wifehood, selfhood, and other assorted challenges. Listen and learn "How to Decorate in One Easy Breakdown" and how to drop those unwanted pounds with "Aunt Jean's Marshmallow Fudge Diet." Please Don't Eat the Daisies strikes modern listeners as particularly funny because these feminist issues are still relevant today.

I Love You More Than You Know


Jonathan Ames - 2005
    Scott Fitzgerald to Woody Allen to P.G. Wodehouse, and his books, as well as his abilities as a performer, have made him a favorite on the Late Show with David Letterman. Whether he's chasing deranged cockroaches around his apartment, kissing a beautiful actress on the set of an avant-garde film, finding himself stuck perilously on top of a fence in Memphis in the middle of the night, or provoking fights with huge German men, Jonathan Ames has an uncanny knack for getting himself into outlandish situations. In his latest collection, I Love You More Than You Know, Ames proves once again his immense talent for turning his own adventures, neuroses, joys, heartaches, and insights into profound and hilarious tales. Alive with love and tenderness for his son, his parents, his great-aunt -- and even strangers in bars late at night -- in I Love You More Than You Know Ames looks beneath the surface of our world to find the beauty in the perverse, the sweetness in loneliness, and the humor in pain.

The Suitcase


Sergei Dovlatov - 1986
    These seemingly undistinguished possessions, stuffed into a worn-out suitcase, take on a riotously funny life of their own as Dovlatov inventories the circumstances under which he acquired them, occasioning a brilliant series of interconnected tales: A poplin shirt evokes the bittersweet story of a courtship and marriage, while a pair of boots (of the kind only the Nomenklatura can afford) calls up the hilarious conclusion to an official banquet. Some driving gloves—remnants of Dovlatov’s short-lived acting career—share space with neon-green crepe socks, reminders of a failed black-market scam. And in curious juxtaposition, the belt from a prison guard’s uniform lies next to a stained jacket that once belonged to Fernand Léger.Imbued with a comic nostalgia overlaid with Dovlatov’s characteristically dry wit, The Suitcase is an intensely human, delightfully ironic novel from “the finest Soviet satirist to appear in English since Vladimir Voinovich.”

Life Among the Savages


Shirley Jackson - 1953
    But the writer possessed another side, one which is delightfully exposed in this hilariously charming memoir of her family's life in rural Vermont. Fans of Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Cheaper by the Dozen, and anything Erma Bombeck ever wrote will find much to recognize in Shirley Jackson's home and neighborhood: children who won't behave, cars that won't start, furnaces that break down, a pugnacious corner bully, household help that never stays, and a patient, capable husband who remains lovingly oblivious to the many thousands of things mothers and wives accomplish every single day."Our house," writes Jackson, "is old, noisy, and full. When we moved into it we had two children and about five thousand books; I expect that when we finally overflow and move out again we will have perhaps twenty children and easily half a million books." Jackson's literary talents are in evidence everywhere, as is her trenchant, unsentimental wit. Yet there is no mistaking the happiness and love in these pages, which are crowded with the raucous voices of an extraordinary family living a wonderfully ordinary life.

The Fran Lebowitz Reader


Fran Lebowitz - 1994
    In "elegant, finely honed prose" (The Washington Post Book World), Lebowitz limns the vicissitudes of contemporary urban life—its fads, trends, crazes, morals, and fashions. By turns ironic, facetious, deadpan, sarcastic, wry, wisecracking, and waggish, she is always wickedly entertaining.

Girl with Curious Hair


David Foster Wallace - 1988
    From the eerily "real," almost holographic evocations of historical figures like Lyndon Johnson and overtelevised game-show hosts and late-night comedians to the title story, where terminal punk nihilism meets Young Republicanism, Wallace renders the incredible comprehensible, the bizarre normal, the absurd hilarious, and the familiar strange.This is an alternate cover edition for ISBN: 0393313964/9780393313963

Ukridge


P.G. Wodehouse - 1924
    The ten stories in Ukridge revolve around Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge's none-too-successful schemes to make some money.

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed


John Irving - 1993
    To open this spirited collection, Irving explains how he became a writer. There follow six scintillating stories written over the last twenty years ending with a homage to Charles Dickens. This irresistible collection cannot fail to delight and charm.The first collection of short pieces--two of them previously unpublished--by the author of The World According to Garp includes memoirs, six short stories, and essays on Charles Dickens and Gu+a5nter Grass. Reprint. Tour.This gem, a delightful collection of shorter works, both fiction and nonfiction, written by one of the country's finest--and funniest--writers, includes a living portrait of Irving's grandmother, a new, never-before-published essay, six scintillating short stories--including the O. Henry Award-winning "Interior Space"--and two essays on Irving's favorite 19th-century novelist, Charles Dickens. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed is John Irving at the top of his form.

Hits and Misses


Simon Rich - 2018
    Simon Rich is "one of the funniest writers in America" (Daily Beast) -- a humorist who draws comparisons to Douglas Adams (New York Times Book Review), James Thurber, and P.G. Wodehouse (The Guardian). With Hits and Misses, he's back with a hilarious new collection of stories about dreaming big and falling flat, about ordinary people desperate for stardom and the stars who are bored by having it all. Inspired by Rich's real experiences in Hollywood, Hits and Misses chronicles all the absurdity of fame and success alongside the heartbreaking humanity of failure. From a bitter tell-all by the horse Paul Revere rode to greatness to a gushing magazine profile of everyone's favorite World War II dictator, these stories roam across time and space to skewer our obsession with making it big -- from the days of ancient Babylon to the age of TMZ.

The Great American Novel


Philip Roth - 1973