Camberwell Beauty

Jenny Eclair - 2000
    This is a satellite-dish-free zone of tall houses, standing shoulder to shoulder with big front doors, five floors apiece. Come inside, shut the door and smell the coffee: you could almost be in Kensington. This is where the actors, writers and media types live, where small children wearing smart uniforms and shoes in the shape of lightbulbs get ferried every day to schools that are not local. Some people are luckier than others; fortune smiles on some and gobs on the rest. Jo Metcalf (no. 95) smokes and spies on the smug Cunninghams down the street as they play their bile-inducing game of happy families. Why is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? But happiness is a fragile thing and hairline cracks in a perfect world can become craters of misery. Each story is full of comic insight and realistic observation of contemporary British life and focuses on the very different lives of a set of characters living in the same street.

Slouching Towards Kalamazoo

Peter De Vries - 1983
    Prematurely sophisticated, young Anthony spends too much time reading Joyce, Eliot, and Dylan Thomas but not enough time studying the War of 1812 or obtuse triangles. A tutor is hired, and this "modern Hester Prynne" offers Anthony lessons that ultimately free him from eighth grade and situate her on the cusp of the American sexual revolution. Anthony's restless adolescent voice is perfectly suited to De Vries's blend of erudite wit and silliness—not to mention his fascination with both language and female anatomy—and it propels Slouching Towards Kalamazoo through theological debates and quandaries both dermatological and ethical, while soaring on the De Vriesian hallmark of scrambling conventional wisdom for comic effect.

Last Call

Laura Pedersen - 2003
    In fact, he now spends his days crashing funerals for the free food and insight into the Great Beyond. Then he meets Rosamond, a nun playing hooky from the Holy Orders. Hayden is smitten the instant her heavy silver cross smacks him in the face when she leaps up to do the wave at a ball game. Luckily, Rosamond has picked the right person to teach her how to live . . . and to love—because nobody does both better than Hayden MacBride.However, Rosamond’s years in the convent have not prepared her for the oddball characters of Hayden’s world. There’s his ever-fretful, vigilant daughter, Diana, the “Dutchess o’ the Sidelong Glance”; his sweet grandson Joey, struggling to break free of his mother’s overprotective embrace; Hayden’s bagpipe-blowing cronies; the Greyfriars Gang; neighbor Bobbie Anne, a “working girl” full of good advice and tender mercies; and Hank, the sexy architect contemplating the priesthood—a big mistake in Hayden’s book. For Hayden thinks that Hank should be married to his daughter and raising Joey. And he has an elaborate plan to make Hank see things his way. . . .In an uproariously funny novel of love, laughter, and one man’s final call at the riotous watering hole called life, Laura Pedersen proves that miracles are all around us—when we open our eyes and our hearts to embrace them.

Running the Light

Sam Tallent - 2020
    Over the course of seven spun-out days across the American Southwest, he travels from from hell gig to hell gig in search of a reason to keep living in this bleak and violent glimpse into the psyche of a thoroughly ruined man. Ex-inmate, ex-husband, ex-father - comedian is the only title Schafer has left. Trapped in the wreckage of his wasted career, Billy Ray knows the answer to the question: what happens when the opportunity doesn’t come - or worse - it comes and goes?

Drinking Closer to Home

Jessica Anya Blau - 2010
    The troubled adult children of Buzzy and Louise come home to visit their parents on their hippie ranch in Santa Barbara, Cal., "where the days are so sunny you'd swear a nuclear reactor had exploded." Sisters Anna and Portia, and brother Emery, recall the events that led them to their restless present. Emery and his partner, Alejandro, tip-toe around the topic of asking a sister to donate eggs so that they can have a child. During their week-long visit everyone must deal with uncomfortable details about their parents' personal lives, as well as the ghosts of the people they once were, wishing that they could leave their childhood wounds behind once and for all. Blau writes funny, often heartbreaking, and always relatable anecdotes. She aptly describes the family visiting Louise in the hospital: "every day, a moment comes when someone can no longer take sitting in the beeping, stinking room." Blau's lifelike characters are such a joy to get to know that one feels sorry to leave them behind.

See Mommy Run

Laura Kennedy - 2012
    Set in the 1980s, she endures a sub-zero marriage to Mike, Assistant Manager of Friendly Finance, as well as the impossible role of mother to fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Kim and fourteen-year-old Molly. Adding to her misery, is the job she loathes at Big Brother Insurance Company. Life in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California is a soap opera. Kim and Molly skip school, smoke pot, and call each other bitch, while Mike loan sharks by day and guzzles Coors by night. Eventually a line is drawn across the matted shag carpet when Mike sides with the girls.Pushed to her limit when Kim's truancy draws the attention of the State Attorney's Office, Margie flees to San Francisco and a new life.

Formerly Fingerman: A Novel

Joe Nelms - 2015
    Bruce Cameron, author of The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man"A smart mix of humor and humanity... An energy drink for the funny bone." --Jane Wagner, author of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the UniverseBrad Fingerman was an art director in the glamorous world of New York advertising. He had the respect of his peers, a beautiful wife, and a bright future. That is, his future was bright before he spectacularly nuked his career, discovered his wife's infidelity, and witnessed a high-profile Mafia hit in a Midtown elevator. Now Brad's unemployed, divorced, and the government's key witness in a major murder trial.

Carl Hiaasen's South Florida Three-Book Set #2

Carl Hiaasen - 2003
    Carl Hiaasen's South Florida Three-Book Set #2 (Lucky You, Basket Case, Double Whammy) For a limited time get three books in Carl Hiaasen's popular South Florida series together in one easy-to-order package, including the bestseller, Lucky You.

The Black Brook

Tom Drury - 1998
    Paul and Mary Emmons were having lunch in a diner called Happy's when Mary happened to notice a dog in a car in the parking lot with his head turned upside down." Thus begins the strange and captivating saga of Paul Nash, a.k.a. Paul Emmons, a fallen accountant whose inadvisable return to New England, the region of his crimes, sets the stage for this darkly comic novel of love, death, guilt, redemption, and the various forms of clam chowder. More than a dog's head gets turned upside down in the course of Paul's transatlantic misadventures. Through it all Paul strives to find and accomplish his mission in life, and myriad characters contrive to tell their stories -- of unkept promises, nightmarish evenings, identities lost and found.

Adrian Mole and the Small Amphibians

Sue Townsend - 1991

¡Caramba!: A Tale Told in Turns of the Card

Nina Marie Martínez - 2004
    Enter our protagonists, Natalie and Consuelo, self-described “like-minded individuals.” They spend their days at The Big Cheese Plant and their nights at The Big Five-Four, the hottest spot in town. But they have long-term projects, foremost among them to cure Consuelo of her unreasonable fear of public transportation and long car rides so they can finally take Natalie’s 1963 Cadillac convertible on the road trip it deserves . . .

Welcome to Wahoo

Dennis Carr - 2006
    But when her parents are hunted down by international assassins, Victoria and her no-fun, no-frills bodyguard, Adam, must flee her fancy European boarding school for…Wahoo, Nebraska? Chased by the mob, hiding out in the middle of nowhere, what's a poor little rich girl to do? In this funny and contemporary riches-to-rags tale, Victoria finds that being at the wrong end of a nasty smear campaign, the wrong end of a nearly-empty bank account, and the wrong end of the world can have rewards all its own.

Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road?

Gordon Korman - 1994
    Justin is determined to win his class's Good Deed Contest, but his good intentions have a way of backfiring--with hilarious results!

Seventh Horcrux

Emerald Ashes - 2015
    I am Lord Volde...Harry Potter. I'm Harry Potter. In which Harry is insane, Hermione is a Dark Lady-in-training, Ginny is a minion, and Ron is confused.


Mameve Medwed - 1997
    High school valedictorian. Radcliffe graduate. Published author. Ex-wife of a noted Joycean scholar. Writing instructor at Harvard. And in love with her mailman.