I just read a very funny book; Your recommendation for others requested

Time to lighten up a bit, I figured.
I just finished The Manhattan Beach Project by Peter Lefcourt. It was hilarious. About filming a new reality TV show called “Warlord”, to be shot in Uzbekistan…
Here’s a link for more info:
http://www.powells.com/review/2005_03_18.html

So, has anyone else read a very funny book lately? It’s Spring, after all. Time to de-gloom.
All recommendations welcome, but I’d prefer new books, as opposed to classic humor or Confederacy of Dunces (one of my fave books, but I’m looking for something new).

The Straight Man, by Richard Russo. Read the preface. If you’re not giggling uncontrollably by the end of it, you don’t need to waste any money on it.

For nonfiction – A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson – his experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Another non-fiction - Last Chance To See by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker fame. He travels around the world for the BBC to see the world’s most endangered animals. Funny and sad.

As for fiction - The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. He’s a wonderful writer.

Any Douglas Adams, really, though that doesn’t fit into the category of recent.

Bill Bryson wrote Mother Tongue: The English Language some time ago. Hell of a read, and sidesplittingly funny at times. I understand, however, from my linguistics professor that a lot of the stuff he describes is slightly off, but that it was “good enough for recreational study.”

Terry Pratchett - Warning! Could be mistaken as Literature! Especially his later works.

Robert Rankin - Mondo Wacko.

Spider Robinson - Anything involving Callahan’s, Mary’s, The Place, or the Best Little Whorehouse In Brooklyn. :smiley:

P.J. O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores, as well as some of the essays in Republican Party Reptile and Holidays in Hell. Written back before P.J. lost his pizzazz.

David Sedaris, Holidays on Ice. The theatre review of kids’ holiday plays had me in sitches.

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin. Each ‘chapter’ is a micro story . He’s brilliant.

Dave Barry Slept Here The history of the US by Dave Barry. The more I read it the funnier it is.

Holiday’s In Hell PJ ORourke. Travel writing from the political hot spots of the world at the time ( I think about 1988ish), brilliant observations and sarcasm. What more does one need?

One of the strangest, funniest, and most memorable books I’ve ever read is The Bear Went Over the Mountain, by William Kotzwinkle. My sister gave me this book for Christmas a few years ago, and I have enjoyed rereading it several times since.

A plot summary does not capture the immense, quirky charm of this book. The story is about a bear (a real, in-the-woods type bear) who publishes a book, and has interesting encounters with various kinds of human beings while on his way to fame and fortune.

This is not a kiddie book, and although it is filled with laughs, it is also filled with inducements to deeper thought. Imagine Being There starring Smokey Bear instead of Peter Sellers.

I’ll have to second silenus on his first two suggestions (haben’t read the third) plus add:

Christopher Brookmyre - comic thrillers/crime fiction. Try The Sacred Art of Stealing, and if you’re into FPS games you have to read A Big Boy did it and Ran Away.

Ben Elton - screenwriter for The Young Ones, Blackadder and Thin Blue Line. Amazing satirist, I recommend This Other Eden and Dead Famous.

Alexander McCall Smith - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, although I find his* Portuguese Irregular Verbs* series funnier. Maybe because I’m into linguistics plus they are reminiscent of classical comic short stories I used to read when I was younger.

I’ve recommended this book several times: Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley. It’s about a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Funny funny book.

I have to second this one. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.
I took it with me to jury duty a couple of years ago and kept giggling out loud in the waiting room. I’m sure everyone thought I was nuts.

I agree with the Bill Bryson recommendation and I’d add The Lost Continent as another one I find amusing to read.

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse is one that amused me as well. It’s by Robert Rankin.

Fiction:
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Nonfiction:
The Gallery of Regrettable Food and Interior Desecrations, both by James Lileks

Kate Christensen’s The Epicure’s Lament is quite funny is a snobby, cynical way. Imagine Frasier Crane only much more bitter and pretentious.

Some offbeat ones:

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is classic. It’s old, yes, but it’s completely fresh and if you haven’t read it you have cheated yourself immensely.

Life Among the Savages is Shirley Jackson’s memoir of raising her kids in Vermont. It’s absolutely hilarious, especially if you thought she was some sort of twisted stunted frustrated genius person after reading The Haunting of Hill House. You may have read the short piece “Charles”, which is included.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby if you like your humor dry and British - a memoir of the author’s trip into Afghanistan in that crazy model of British dilletantism (written in the 50’s, I think) - “Oh, let’s go to some remote corner of Afghanistan. But we have to be mountain climbers.” “Oh, okay. I guess we’ll figure out the mountain climbing part on the fly, then.” Charming, fascinating, and I thought it was hilarious.

If you don’t mind fishing books, anything by Patrick McManus or John Gierach is hilarious. Gierach isn’t up front comedy, but he has a wry wit that pops up quite a bit. McManus is just ludicrously funny. So let’s see:

Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders John Gierach

The Grasshopper Trap Patrick F. McManus

I also read America the book: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction recently, hilarious. (my sig. is a quote from that book):smiley:

I’m a big fan of Mario Vargas Llosa, so I’ll recommend two of his:

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter - The main storyline is a young (18 years old) man falls in love with his aunt (by marriage), but there’s a hilarious subplot involving a radio soap opera writer named Pedro Camacho. I definitely giggled out loud reading this one.

Captain Pantoja and the Special Service - Very funny, but based on a true event. Captain Pantoja here is in the Peruvian army, and his job is to create a “Special Service” of prostitutes to satiate the urgings of the soldiers in the Amazon. :smiley: The book is very experimental in style, so if it’s confusing at first, just keep with it. Some of the most hilarious parts are when the situations and updates are written in military reports. They discuss the most absurd things in the most official and beaurocratic manner that it becomes uproariously funny.

*Good Omens * by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett

And the not-so-recent Fried Green Tomatos at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The movie was mostly serious, but as I remember the book was mostly laughs.

Of course, I have to support the Douglas Adams suggestions… if you can get ahold of a copy in the States, *The Deeper Meaning of Liff * is quite funny and makes for good bathroom reading.

Also not exactly hot off the press, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to recommend Paul Quarrington’s Civilization - (And Its Part In My Downfall).

Paul Quarrington has remarkable way of writing novels that are complex easy reading – farce that is emotionally true and often profound. You’ll laugh until you’ve got skidmarks, and feel ennobled by the experience, despite the laundry issues.

Civilization is my favourite, although I strongly endorse everything he’s ever written. He’s a genius.

Civilization is a narrative about a couple of young men who make their way west where, (after a series of trials) they become involved in the nascent movie industry. It’s extremely well-researched, and many of the characters and events are recognizable as blown-up versions of real persons, either enduringly famous or relatively obscure. (I suspect that Eve would love this book.) You don’t need to get any of the references to enjoy it, though. Oh, and there’s a naked girl in it – with beautiful bubs and milk-white skin. Surely that counts for something. :smiley:

Also recommended: The Life Of Hope, in which a biblious writer named Paul takes time out in a peculiar town founded by 19th century religious extremists and goes fishing – for a possibly (but probably not) hallucinatory, talking mystical fish. Keep your trousers fastened!

You also mustn’t miss Home Game, in which a lachrymose ex-baseball star and ex-newsreel journalist acts as a ringer (despite his crippled legs for a stranded troupe of carnival people who’ve settled (literally) in town, arousing the ire of an unusual (and extremely stern and skilled) religious sect that regards baseball as a perfect divine metaphor for life, who’ve talked them into a game to determine which group will be banished from the town forever. If you’ve seen Todd Browning’s Freaks, most of the carny people will be familiar. They’re based on folks that are best-remembered for their appearances in that film – the (original, more attractive) Hilton sisters, Johnny Eck, Olga the bearded lady, etc. It’s hilarious, and much much more. And oh, the humanity.

Here endeth my plugging for Paul Quarrington.

All parties are also instructed to read everything published by Will Self, beginning with The Quantity Theory of Insanity. (Also not new, strictly speaking.)

I also will type “also” once more:

Also.