No, I'm not asking for your best Internet forward joke...although I have a great one best told in a bar with an Irish accent. What I want, what I'm craving is a funny book to read. A light-hearted fare or one where there are brilliant moments of comic relief.
The first Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) book I ever read was NOBODY'S BABY, BUT MINE. Now, this wasn't a slap-stick funny book. But when she removes all the marshmallows from the cereal box to make it more healthy for him and he says, "I've married a cereal killer!", I cracked up! When she insists on driving up the North Carolina mountain in a storm to have her baby, yep, got me laughing out loud! And it also had me back at the bookstore the next day buying everyone of SEP's back list.
My friend, Jo Davis,(author of TRIAL BY FIRE, UNDER FIRE and HIDDEN FIRE), who reads mostly suspense, claims AIN'T SHE SWEET was the funniest book she can remember reading. One of her favorite parts? When the dog in the front seat beside the heroine farts at her. The heroine thinks, "yep, even the dog hates me.
Another author who mixes great characters, good story telling, some suspense and comic relief is Julie Garwood. In SAVING GRACE , two clans are trying to live on the same land under the same laird, only they refuse to merge into one clan. Many funny episodes occur as the heroine uses quiet defiance and even tosses shattered crockery to get her point across. I chuckle my way through that book every time I read it. (28 at a last reading.)
Another dear friend, Sandy Blair, (author of A MAN IN A KILT, A ROUGE IN A KILT, A THIEF IN A KILT and A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS) says the funniest book she can remember was Garwood's THE GIFT. What makes it so funny? Sandy says it's knowing what's coming next from the heroine's POV and the hero's exasperated reaction to what he perceives as illogical. Garwood sprinkles these gems throughout all her books. One of the reasons she's one of our favorite feel-good authors.
Addison Fox, (author of WARRIOR ASCENDED: The Sons of the Zodiac, coming in March 2010), couldn't pinpoint a specific book by Nora Roberts, but says one of her favorite reasons to read Nora's books is her ability to have witty dialogue that relieves some of the suspense and have her readers chuckling in different places throughout her books.
One of the funniest books I've ever read was Linda Howard's TO DIE FOR. This book works in so many ways. First it is in first person, (not my usual cup of tea), and because we're mostly in the heroine's head we understand why she does the things she does, even if she admits they're stupid. We also get to see the hero's frustrations at her actions, he's banging his head on his desk. This is also a different kind of suspense for Ms. Howard, totally at odds with her usual dark fare. When I was reading it, Rocky-the-wonder-dog was parked on the bed beside me. I laughed so hard the bed shook and he gave me that irritated male dog look (very reminiscent of irritated male human look). I had to stop reading long enough to stop laughing in order to read some more!
Jane Graves, a romantic comedy author, (HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS, TALL TALES AND WEDDING VEILS), points to any book by Jennifer Crusie. Jane says, "I always feel a special sense of delight at her word choice, her sentence structure, and especially her dialogue. Her books are just flat-out fun to read, sentence after sentence, page after page. They're not funny in a laugh-out-loud way, at least not to me. They're just...fun. She's one of the few authors out there who can entertain me with almost every sentence she writes." My daughter, Alison, agrees whole heartily.
In fact, the idea for this blog originally titled, "where have all the funny books gone?", came from my daughter. She was going through a pregnancy, was home on maternity leave a few weeks early and was looking for books to read. She asked me, "Mom, I'm tired of reading serious, dark books. I want to laugh. I need a funny book, do you know of any?"
So, I need some help.
Who would you like to read? What writer makes you laugh? Who do you read when you want a good chuckle or to relieve some of the stress in your own life?