Humor

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman

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Ove is ready to leave the monotony of this life behind.  He is tired of making his morning rounds to insure that all of the neighbors are abiding by the residential association’s rules.  He is particularly tired of dealing with people, most of whom he finds to be incompetent and lazy.  And most of all, he misses Sonja, who has been dead for six months now.  As soon as his affairs are in order, he has resolved to join her.  That is, until some new neighbors move in and drive their vehicle down into the residential area (although the sign Ove installed clearly states that this is a violation of the rules!) and back into his mailbox.  Somehow, the reluctant Ove gets swept up into their lives and reinvested in his community which, as it turns out, needs him as much as he needs them.

This international bestseller is humorous, quirky, feel-good book about the importance of community and relationships.  Engaging and occasionally absurd plot threads propel this story about a diverse cast of unconventional but lovable characters.  I highly recommend it to adult readers of realistic fiction who like humor in their thought-provoking novels.

FUNNY GIRL by Nick Hornby

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As she walks onto the stage as Blackpool’s beauty queen, Barbara suddenly gets a glimpse of her future; she will marry a local business owner, have kids, get fat, get old, and die.  She will never do anything noteworthy.  She will never be Lucille Ball.  Unless, that is, she escapes now.    In London, two disillusioned radio writers, a timid BBC producer, and a bitter radio actor prepare to film a crappy TV show pilot, unaware that a quick-witted and determined comedienne is about to change their lives forever.

Set in the 1960s, Funny Girl tells of the transformation not only of its principal characters but also of the British entertainment industry.  Quirky and endearing characters keep the story engaging as it spans decades of their lives and changing situations.  I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy being immersed in the world of the (not too distant) past  and even readers who enjoy realistic fiction about relationships.  I also recommend the audiobook.

If you liked Funny Girl,  you might like Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

INSANE CITY by Dave Barry

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Seth can’t believe he is marrying Tina.  More specifically, he can’t believe Tina wants to marry him, and he can’t believe that the wedding (the insane wedding that Tina’s family has been spending millions of hours and dollars planning) is in just two days.  As he arrives in Miami, all Seth wants is a nice, simple bachelor’s party—not too much booze, and definitely no strippers.  So how does he end up in a pimp’s car with a snake handler’s girlfriend and an angry orangutan trying to rescue some illegal Haitian immigrants from the clutches of his fiancé’s billionaire father’s thugs?  Well, it is Miami. . . .

The title pretty much says it all.  This is a reasonably suspenseful novel in which a whole lot of random, silly, absurd, unbelievable, insane things happen.  As is typical of Dave Barry’s writing, the novel is funny and definitely light.  I never got completely invested in it (it didn’t keep me turning pages the way many of Dave Barry’s books do).  But it was entertaining, and readers who like his style of comedy will certainly enjoy it.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: A CHOOSEABLE-PATH ADVENTURE by Ryan North, William Shakespeare, and You

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Ever get sick of those predictable Shakespearean tragedies where everyone dies at the end?  Then this is the book for you!  Ryan North has turned the bard’s best known tragedy into a choose-your-own adventure book.  Decide whether you’d rather go through the story as Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet Sr.—spoiler alert: if you choose the latter, you get to be a ghost!—and the choices you make will determine the outcome of the story.  This book will be especially hilarious to those familiar with Shakespeare’s play who can appreciate the inside jokes and twists on the original.  A really fun read!