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Exploring a Laugh

Sometimes life gets stressful and can be kind of a downer. We all need a good laugh, so we've compiled a random list of books that some people have found humorous. Feel free to explore the books that have been suggested and check them out at your hometown library.

Kaling book coverIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck-impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence "Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I'll shut up about it?" Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages).

Roth book coverPortnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse , Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.

Klausner book coverI Don't Care About Your Band by Julie Klausner

Julie Klausner's candid and funny debut I Don't Care About Your Band sheds light on the humiliations we endure to find love--and the lessons that can be culled from the wreckage. I Don't Care About Your Band posits that lately the worst guys to date are the ones who seem sensitive. It's the jerks in nice guy clothing, not the players in Ed Hardy, who break the hearts of modern girls who grew up in the shadow of feminism, thinking they could have everything, but end up compromising constantly. The cowards, the kidults, the critics, and the contenders: these are the stars of Klausner's memoir about how hard it is to find a man--good or otherwise-- when you're a cynical grown-up exiled in the dregs of Guyville.

Fielding book coverBridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

This laugh-out-loud chronicle charts a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a single girl on a permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement--in which she resolves to: visit the gym three times a week not merely to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and not fall for any of the following: misogynists, megalomaniacs, adulterers, workaholics, chauvinists or perverts. And learn to program the VCR. Caught between her Singleton friends, who are all convinced they will end up dying alone and found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian, and the Smug Marrieds, whose dinner parties offer ever-new opportunities for humiliation, Bridget struggles to keep her life on an even keel (or at least afloat).

Vonnegut book coverBreakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut's most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

Toole book coverA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).

Ames book coverWake Up, Sir! by Jonathon Ames

Alan Blair is a young, loony writer with numerous problems of the mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and physical variety. He's very good at problems. He's also quite skilled at getting into trouble. But luckily for Alan, he has a personal valet, a wondrously helpful fellow named Jeeves, who does his best to sort things out for his young master.Our tale begins in Montclair, New Jersey, where Alan gets into a scrape with his uncle Irwin, a gun-toting member of the NRA. So Alan and Jeeves flee New Jersey and take refuge at a Hasidic enclave in Sharon Springs, New York. Unfortunately, more trouble ensues -- involving a woman! -- so Alan and Jeeves again take flight, this time landing at a famous artist colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. There Alan encounters a gorgeous femme fatale who is in possession of the most spectacular nose in the history of noses. Such a nose can only lead to a wild disaster for someone like Alan, and Jeeves tries to help him, but...Happy reading!

Bryson book coverA Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes -- and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness.

Goldman book coverThe Princess Bride by William Goldman

A writer's view on life and art are revealed during his attempts to edit the children's classic that shaped his literary ambitions. Now a cult classic, this story of pirates, evil princes, sorcerers, and, most importantly, true love is handsomely repackaged in a commemorative 25th anniversary hardcover.

Sedaris book coverMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is an amazing reader whose appearances draw hundreds, and his performancesincluding a jaw-dropping impression of Billie Holiday singing I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weinerare unforgettable. Sedariss essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest hes ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. Entertainment Weekly on Barrel Fever Sidesplitting Not one of the essays in this new collection failed to crack me up; frequently I was helpless. The New York Times Book Review

AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend , whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!

Fey book coverBossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Wilde book coverThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest shows a full measure of Oscar Wilde's legendary wit, and embodies more than any of his other plays, his decency and warmth. Two English gentlemen use the same slant when meeting women, by saying their name is Earnest. Everything is going well until both men fall in love with the same girl, using the same a.k.a.

Lawson book coverLet's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives--the ones we'd like to pretend never happened--are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 N ew York Times bestseller, Let's Pretend This Never Happened , Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: "Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel"; "A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband"; "My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking"; "And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane."

Moran book coverHow to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth--whether it's about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children--to jump-start a new conversation about feminism. With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

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