Many in literary circles know that April is National Poetry Month as well as the anniversary month of both the birth and death of William Shakespeare. But did you know that April is also National Humor Month? I suppose it makes sense with April Fool’s Day leading it off. At the end of the month, two memoirists will be visiting two Fairfax County Public Library branches and bringing with them humorous as well as heartfelt accounts of serious chapters in each of their lives. Local author Martha Carruci, speaking about her book Sobrietease, will be at Sherwood Regional Library on Wednesday, April 26th, and, the next day at Pohick Regional Library on April 27th, David Winters will be offering humorous anecdotes and advice from his book Sabbatical of the Mind. In the meantime, keep laughing all month long with these excellent satirical works of fiction!
Anyone else remember when Ask.com used to be the Ask Jeeves search engine in the late 90s and early 00s? My Man Jeeves is just one in a series of books that contain the stories of the original butler with all the answers. These stories provide a humorous look at the life of an engagement-prone British upper class gentleman, his friends and his clever butler who gets both him and his friends out of all kinds of legal and social trouble, particularly with women. Luckily, this Jeeves knows all.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
It’s probably pretty safe to say that this book is a satire of life, the universe and everything. Adams makes frequent use of heavy sarcasm and the hilariously unexpected to tell the story of Arthur Dent and his friend, Ford Prefect. Arthur's home--along with life as he knows it-- is on the chopping block to make way for a freeway – and Ford is an alien who easily passes for human in appearance, but is actually from a small planet near Betelgeuse, much to Arthur’s surprise. A hilarious ride through the galaxy!
The Discworld series – Terry Pratchett
This series is very similar in tone to the above Hitchhiker’s Guide. It has the same satirical quality about it, and Pratchett, too, makes good use of the hilariously unexpected and a wry sort of humor. But then, what can you expect, really, when one of the most memorable characters in the first in the series, The Colour of Magic, is a suitcase with teeth?
Austenland – Shannon Hale
Feel free to judge this book by its title - Austenland, in many ways, is exactly what it sounds like. The main character, Jane, is a single woman gifted with the opportunity to vacation at a resort that takes living and breathing Jane Austen to the next level, despite the lack of Colin Firth appearances. This is a light and quick read poking fun at Darcy enthusiasts and those of us who rather like the idea of living within a book.
The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
This book is the first in a series that defies being labeled by a single genre, mixing literary fiction with mystery and crime fiction, along with healthy doses of science fiction and fantasy. Meet Special Operative Thursday Next, a literary detective, tasked with tracking down forgers, resolving disputes over Shakespearean authorship and generally protecting society’s great works from those who would harm it, even to the point of the more rare and dangerous cases like literary homicide. Jane Eyre may never be the same.
The Princess Bride – William Goldman
The Princess Bride is a beloved tale, both by its readers and by the viewers of its 1987 movie adaptation-- a story that arguably earns the right to be called a fairy tale, while unabashedly satirizing the classic fairy tale genre at the same time. This book tells the story of Westley and Buttercup and the adventures and obstacles their true love must overcome for their tale to end in happiness, alongside a cast of truly unforgettable characters.
Have other recommendations for those who love to laugh? Leave them, along with any suggestions for future “If You Like…” posts, in the comments!
-Denise Dolan, George Mason Regional Library