Category Archives: Humour

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

Many of us in our `middle ages` are dealing with aging parents in various stages of decline.  Roz Chast, the writer and New Yorker cartoonist, uses the graphic novel format to document her journey through this challenging time in her memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

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From first noticing that things seem to be `falling apart`, to realizing that she must take control of the uncontrollable, and then on through moving her parents into care, and experiencing their passing, Chast weaves her story with humour, grace, and brutal honesty.

The most important messages I took from this endearing memoir are that:

  • we are not alone,
  • having a sense of humour is a survival skill, and,
  • in the midst of complicated family relationships and challenging situations there is still, always, love.

(Submitted by KS).

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Furiously Happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson

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I listened to this book as an audiobook. The subtitle describes the book perfectly – it is both very funny and very sad. Lawson suffers from depression and various other mental and physical issues. The title comes from her deciding to be “furiously happy” and live life to the fullest during the times when she’s able. I found the funny and horrible to be mixed very well–a serious chapter about depression followed by something bizarre about taxidermy raccoons.

Lawson isn’t for everyone; she has a very odd sense of humour and a rather foul mouth and is very frank about depression. But if you enjoy quirky humour and live with depression yourself or in a loved one, this is a great listen. Lawson is a true advocate for mental illness and she provides a very real look at depression – I was particularly interested in her description of how people with mental illness just don’t have the same amount of energy as “normal” people (she calls it the “spoon theory”) and how it is not treated like a disease–sufferers are told to get over it or just be happy while we would never say such things to people with physical ailments.  I laughed a lot and I really admire her philosophy of being furiously happy, I plan to try it myself! (Submitted by Gayle).

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

man called ove.jpgAt first this sounds like a dark story as it’s about an elderly widower who decides to commit suicide. However, it’s actually a charming, comical and heartwarming story of a curmudgeonly old man who never manages to commit suicide as his needy neighbours keep showing up at his doorstep asking him to help them. He acquiesces repeatedly providing rides to the hospital, cat sitting, driving lessons, apartment repair, etc. and after a while his life is full again. This is definitely a contender for the best book I read in 2015. Originally written in Swedish. (Submitted by KA)

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Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

As a huge fan of Parks & Recreation, I was excited for Poehler’s biography to hit the shelves. It took me two tries, and here is what I learned: Skip the book, and go straight to the sweet sounds of the author herself reading in your ears. This book was meant to be read out loud, by Amy herself. It is absolutely hilarious as an audiobook. (Submitted by Tamarack)

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Meet Me at the Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline

Meet Me at The Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella was a humorously written selection of short essays on various topics narrated by mother and daughter. If you are about to go on a road trip with your mom or daughter, this audiobook will make a great read for both of you. This book truly warmed my heart and made me laugh many times.  I found myself longing to share similar experiences with mom. (Submitted by Ilona).

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Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl has just lost her mother, and has gone through a painful divorce. In a desperate attempt to try to make sense of her life she embarks on a lone hike along 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Through this challenging (physically and emotionally) journey she regains her strength and finds her healing. After listening to this audiobook you will be truly inspired. I was inspired by Cheryl. I tried to imagine myself embarking on a similar journey. (Submitted by Ilona).

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Horrorstor–Grady Hendrix

Horrorstor_final_300dpi1If you want to read an IKEA parody that is a humourous horror story, this is the book for you.  The format of this book is similar to their catalog – the furniture, names, descriptions and pictures preceding every chapter were just as much fun as the story  (I especially like the different colour choices).  I was laughing before I even got to the first chapter.  If you have ever worked in retail, you will enjoy the corporate speak and find the “just ORSK” sayings hilarious.  This book walks the line between humour and horror with the store layout being just like a haunted house.  (Submitted by DS)

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