Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Portable Curmudgeon” as Want to Read:
The Portable Curmudgeon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Portable Curmudgeon

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The world's greatest cynics, critics, and grouches--from H. L. Mencken to Groucho Marx--use their wit to cut down every subject under the sun in a compendium of quips, barbs, profiles, and interviews.
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published 2011 by Plume (first published 1987)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Portable Curmudgeon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Portable Curmudgeon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 467)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I've had this book for many years, and all my favorite quotes are checked or dogeared. All the greats are here -- Dorothy Parker, WC Fields, George F. Kaufman. It focuses primarily on American and British curmudgeons of the past century and a half.

As self-appointed president of the Royal Society for the Advancement of Curmudgeons, this book has earned my stamp of... hmmmm... dare I say approval.

Yes, dammit, I'll say just what I please.
Richard Epstein
A book which would be dear to my heart, if I hadn't misplaced it.
Dec 15, 2008 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary H
Recommended to Amanda by: 5th stack clean up cart
Yes. Inspired the book report project and also Joel and I to work towards becoming curmudgeons. This includes commiting pranks and being witty and caring about word play. We added our names to the authors list of world class curmudgeons and then I pranked Kate by putting a small dog in her coat pocket for her to find later. Fun. I learned about the bets prank ever nad told it to Rick.

This book was a book of quotes and biographies of old whips. I learned about the Algonquin Circle which existed
A friend put this book on her list of "to read" books and I immediately was filled with such wonderful memories that I had to launch a whole-house search of the bookshelves to find my copy. Ah, it's just as wonderful as I remembered. Since I returned to work this week from the Christmas/New Year's holidays, I took my copy to work and displayed it proudly on my desk. When a coworker/supervisor/student/etc. made my blood pressure want to rise a point or two, I took a deep breath, ope ...more
David Nichols
This 300-page collection of cynical quotations, arranged alphabetically by theme ("Actors," "Death," etc.) and interspersed with short biographical essays on famous curmudgeons (like Groucho Marx), functioned as my Bible in college, when I believed that a sour disposition denoted intelligence and integrity. I like to think I've outgrown that particular affectation, but I still credit Winokur's book with introducing me to several classic dark humorists, like H.L. Mencken and Dorothy Parker, whose ...more
Great book.
I picked it up at a used book sale for $1. For that price I had to have it since my dad is a self described irascible curmudgeon. I figured to read it then pass it on to him. There are brief bios on various curmudgeons as well as chapters full of curmudgeonly quotes. Amusing as a bathroom book or a beach book, which I think is all it really aspires to so it works at least that well.
A collection of interviews, anecdotes and (mostly) quotes from famous curmudgeons from Groucho Marx, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Parker, Roy Blount and others. As with any collection like this, it's hit and miss and, because it was published in the 1980's, some of its references are dated now, but it's still entertaining and full of classic wit.
Maurice Cordero
It's hard to find a book that will make you feel at home. The Portable Curmudgeon speaks for and with a particular audience and that was made clear from cover to cover. A warning though, if you are not the type who can be confused as a curmudgeon, stay away from this book. The humor is a hit or miss. Fortunately, it's a hit for me.
More take aways and bang for the buck than any other book I've read. Devastating to just about everything yet, somehow uplifting too. Like this from Mencken: "We must respect the other fellow's religion. But only in the sense and to the extent we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." Right?!
Ethan Harris
Aug 17, 2011 Ethan Harris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People not easily offended
Recommended to Ethan by: Found it on a bookshelf
Shelves: swap
Very, very funny. But also very negative. Curmudgeon doesn't even begin to characterize some of the acidic, but true, comments that famous people have made about ideas, places and other famous people. Woah. But with that said, this little book does have some content that borders on the brilliantly-fashioned.
Kerry Burns
As a Curmudgeon, this man is reading my mind. Sometimes I kicked my heels with joy when he was right on. He has raised curmudgeonlyness into respectability. I hope all of the readers can see his humor and that of those curmudgeons he quotes. This is a good read.
Many hilarious witticisms from famous authors, basically bitching about how much they hate everybody and everything. Anyone who knows me can understand why I can really relate to a book like this.

Two paws up!!!
A collection of quotes by very witty, annoyed people. If you enjoy a good zinger, this is full of them. If you just dislike humanity sometimes, you'll probably want to keep this around, too.
Aug 28, 2008 Lynda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to read
Recommended to Lynda by: A dear friend who kept it at his desk at work and read it daily
This is a great book for easily finding the best parts of some of the greatest books in the world. It is a great starting off point to finding books and authors you haven't read.
e b
This book has been a steady companion to me for many years. Given as a Christmas gift over 20 years ago, I have referred to it often and used many a quote from it.
A friend had this in their bathroom library (you have one don't you?)...and she ended up knocking on the door I got so sunk into it.
Mary Tuley
Aug 21, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary types.
I love this book! All these famous grouches seemed like close friends by the time I finished reading about them.
Truth is not always polite as you will see when you read this book. It CAN be funny though!
Antonia Menzel
Nothing like a pithy quote when you're out of sorts with other people.
One of my keep handy favorites. Just as funny the third time around.
Sharon Wilborn
This is a great book of quotes from some notable curmudgeons.
Stuart Lutz
One of my all-time favorite books, and a great reference tool also!
Marla Glenn
Granny loaned me this fun book and I just kept it!
Entertaining, especially when short on time.
Daily dose of bitterness and misanthropy!
Rev. Haberer
Want a good laugh? This is the book.
Dee L.
one of my favorite books.
A family favorite.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Latin for All Occasions
  • With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look At Misanthropy
  • The Clumsiest People in Europe: Or, Mrs. Mortimer's Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World
  • Rubber Legs and White Tail-Hairs
  • Dictionary of Theories
  • The Lost Deep Thoughts: Don't Fight the Deepness
  • mental floss presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again
  • Doonesbury's Greatest Hits
  • Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language
  • The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
  • How to Tell if Your Boyfriend Is the Antichrist
  • Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?
  • My World And Welcome To It
  • Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
  • Uppity Women of the New World
  • The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005
Jon Winokur (b. Aug. 5, 1947) is an American writer and editor. Born in Detroit, the son of Martin M. and Elinor Winokur, he attended Temple University (BA, 1970) and the University of West Los Angeles (JD, 1980).
More about Jon Winokur...
The Big Book of Irony Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights The Portable Curmudgeon Redux Zen to Go A Curmudgeon's Garden of Love

Share This Book