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Funny Business

Updated: February 1, 2019

The following books were subjected to, and passed, a series of rigorous tests to ensure their unassailable hilarity. You're welcome!

Anguished English : an anthology of accidental assaults upon our language
Lederer, Richard, 1938-
Call Number: 817 L473
A collection of actual quotes from advertisements, student essays and other rich depositories of misspellings and malapropisms. The opening piece, "The World According to Student Bloopers," is laugh-out-loud funny.

Beauty queens
Bray, Libba.
Call Number: YA

Also available for download as an e-book

Also available for download as an e-audiobook

When a plane full of teen beauty queens crash lands on a (mostly) deserted island what will become of them? Will they devolve into an all girl reenactment of Lord of the Flies anti-civilization? Be eaten alive by wild animals? Meet up with some reality show pirates and stop a major coup? Prepare to be amazed by this delicious, feisty satire.

Bridget Jones's diary : a novel
Fielding, Helen, 1958-
Call Number: Ed.a
If you loved the movie but haven't read the book, you are in for a treat. Follow the adventures of our intrepid heroine Bridget as she wages her battles against overindulgence, pervy coworkers, and singleton angst. Very good!

Confessions of a prairie bitch : how I survived Nellie Oleson and learned to love being hated
Arngrim, Alison.
Call Number: 812.092 A7485
Based on Alison Arngrim's acclaimed stand-up comedy show, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is a cut above the usual memoir. Finally, an actress who can write - and write funny! Arngrim recounts her days as "Nasty Nellie" on Little House on the Prairie, and regales us with tons of other insider dirt in this page-turning howl.

Good omens : the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch : a novel
Gaiman, Neil.
It's time for the apocalypse, but there are just a few glitches to clear up. Like the fact that the minions of heaven and hell are drinking buddies who've decided that they like the human race. And, oh yeah, the anti-Christ may have been misplaced.

Holidays on ice
Sedaris, David.
Call Number: 817 S447-1
Lovers of funny know that David Sedaris and all of his books are an absolute scream (save the meh-inducing Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk). This Yuletide-themed collection is being singled out for one essay in particular: "Front Row Center With Thaddeus Bristol," wherein a snooty "legitimate" theatre critic reviews an elementary school production of the Christmas story. It never fails to make me cry with laughter, and I am a flinty old stick. Read it and weep, Los Angeles!

I am neurotic : (and so are you)
Kong, Lianna.
Call Number: 817 K816
Fun little book culled from a web site of the same name (, where anyone can anonymously post their personal idiosyncrasies. Accompanied by clever full-color photos by Matthew Stacey, this is a great bathroom read or coffee table book. Here is a sample bit of neurosis: "When I buy dinner at a restaurant I always leave a tip so that the total is a palindrome." 'Nuff said.

The idiot girls' action adventure club
Notaro, Laurie.
Call Number: 817 N899
Laurie Notaro writes about her "magnificent and clumsy life" in this collection of essays. From the horror of killer candy apples to taking revenge on the guy who stood her up. Notaro is smart and sassy and she'll make you laugh out loud.

If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?
Bombeck, Erma.
Call Number: 817 B695-4
Original domestic goddess Bombeck expounds on the joys and horrors of modern(ish) family life. Topics include "How to Operate a Clothes Hamper," "How to Speak Child Fluently," and a tear-jerking segment called "You Don't Love Me" that is reason alone to check this book out. Though she is no longer with us, Erma will always be a national treasure.

Most of the most of S.J. Perelman
Perelman, S. J. 1904-1979.
Call Number: 817 P437-13 2000
One of the greatest of all The New Yorker stylists, S. J. Perelman wrote humorous sketches that were unlike anything else, although his style would heavily influence future generations of humorists like Woody Allen and Steve Martin. Although all of Perelman's work has something to recommend it, fans and critics of his writing generally consider his early work to be his best, and much of it is collected here.

Mother on fire
Loh, Sandra Tsing.
Call Number: 810.92 L833
In a book of particular interest to L.A. parents, radio commentator and performer Loh launches herself into an extended rant about the absurd and often enraging task of getting your kid into the "right" kindergarten. She stomps all over the sacred cows of modern parenting and serves 'em up on a gluten-rich bun. Not for everyone, but girlfriend calls it like she sees it.

The portable Dorothy Parker
Parker, Dorothy, 1893-1967.
Call Number: 818 P238 2006
Oh, what fun it is to crack open a collection of poetry, prose and one-liners from the original queen of snark. It is impossible not to love a woman who wrote of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." Air kisses to Dottie forevah!

Things my girlfriend and I have argued about : a novel
Millington, Mil.
Readers who enjoy the dry wit of the Brits will dig this zany meditation on modern love and life. Our hapless hero Pel has a string of misadventures, both at his do-nothing university job and at home with his German girlfriend Ursula. The things they argue about include (but are not limited to): buying a house, nonsexual soaping, defrosting the freezer and, of course, the advisability of getting into a high-speed car chase with workmen who may or may not have stolen their broom. Highly recommended.

Without feathers
Allen, Woody.
Call Number: 817 A432-1
A collection of vintage (circa early 1970s) Allen essays and two short plays ("Death" and "God"). Highlights include the essay "The Whore of Mensa," about a ring of brainy young babes who, for a price, will discuss Proust, Kant, etc., with men who are starved for intellectual stimulation, and an epistolary gem called "If the Impressionists Had Been Dentists." Good stuff.