Monday, April 3, 2017

April Reading Theme: Dark humor

April is National Humor Month, but instead of a bunch of knock-knock jokes, we’re featuring books of dark humor. It’s not for everyone, and neither are these books, but for the grimly amused, here are some suggestions...

By user:pschemp - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow: “Kenneth Trachtenberg… is a witty, eccentric Russian-literature nut who leaves his native Paris to be near his famous American uncle, Benn Crader. Uncle Benn is a world-class genius in botany but a total duffer when it comes to women. Now his erotic escapades & disastrous marriage are about to lead him & Kenneth into a wonderful romp through America's mind-body dilemma...and into a Bellovian masterpiece of great wisdom & good fun.” (Publisher’s summary)

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “One the eve of WWI, three American male explorers stumble onto an all-female society somewhere in the distant reaches of the earth. Unable to believe their eyes, they promptly set out to find some men, convinced that since this is a civilized country, there must be men. So begins this sparkling utopian novel, a romp through a whole world "masculine" and "feminine", as on target today as when it was written 65 years ago.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Call of the Toad by Gunter Grass: “A couple from Gdansk has a unique idea for a business: selling cemetery plots in Gdansk to Germans who were exiled after WWII.” (Publisher’s summary)

Tourist Season: A Novel by Carl Hiaasen: “A group of most unusual terrorists sets out to purge Florida of greed and corruption by attacking what they consider the root source--tourists.” (Publisher’s summary)

The Barbarians Are Coming: A Novel by David Wong Louie: “Sterling Lung who ‘grew up in the back of his parents' laundry dreaming of being an American, while speaking Chinese to his mother, English to his friends, and very little to the father he seemed always to disappoint’ is now a graduate of Swarthmore and the Culinary Institute of America, involved in ‘an arm's length-affair with a Jewish-American princess.’" (Publisher’s summary)

Bright Lights, Big City: A Novel by Jay McInerney: “Written entirely in the second person, McInerney's first novel is a vivid account of cocaine addiction.” (Publisher’s summary)

Buddha’s Little Finger by Victor Pelevin: “In the Russian Civil War of 1919, Pyotr Voyd is commissar to the legendary Bolshevik commander Chapaev, and falling in love with his machine-gunner sidekick, Anna. But who is the Pyotr Voyd who finds himself incarcerated among a group of patients in a contemporary Moscow psychiatric hospital? And who is the Chapaev who issues maddeningly metaphysical dialogues on the virtues of the void and the illusory nature of reality?” (Publisher’s summary)

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