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Happy to Be Here

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  518 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
“Keillor’s best stuff is clean (in the sense that lines are clean), down to earth, exquisitely good-hearted, highly ludicrous, and as labored as nitrous oxide…. This book will either leave you dumbfounded or happyalmost deservedly happyto be anywhere” —The New York Times Book Review“His humor is cerebral and complex, a blend of romance and nostalgia; it sparklingly parod ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1982)
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Jun 23, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dumb in a good way.
Barbara Rice
I so wanted to like all of this book, but some of it is self-indulgent and badly in need of a blue pencil. He does have a tendency to rattle on forever past the point where the point was made, and after a while it seems amateurish and high-schoolish. The concise bits were much better than the ones that seemed to go on and on and on. I think at this stage in his life Keillor was still rebelling against a lot of his early life and needed to shock people a little bit, and possibly he did here - but ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have had a tumultuous relationship with Keillor's writing. In short, I greatly enjoyed the novel Wobgeon Boy and I also enjoy his radio show, but I disliked "The Book of Guys" and, to a lesser extent,"Happy To Be Here. I think there's just something about his short stories that leaves me unsettled and doesn't offer enough substance/plot for my tastes.

The first section of the book kept me in mind of the way I felt reading the short stories in Salinger's Nine Stories. This is another author whos
Nov 19, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Along with "The Book Of Guys" and "WLT", this is probably my favourite Keillor work. Essentially, this gathers up all the non-Wobegon material from the early part of his career -- and a lot of it is absolutely side-splitting.

"Happy to Be Here" consists entirely of unrelated short pieces, mostly originally written for The New Yorker. In them, Keillor deftly (but never snidely) parodies old radio serials, comic books, 70s self-help columns, small-town newspapers, government press releases, hard-b
Jun 13, 2011 May added it
Shelves: humor
This book came from a random box o'box. It took me a second to get use to the train of thought as I had no idea what to expect. After a while, I really appreciated it and laughed out loud so to speak.

I enjoyed the chapter on step-mothers and how they got a bad wrap. I liked the re-write of the stories of Snow, Cinderella and Gretal. It was reminiscent of Wicked, in many ways.

I also enjoyed the little story about middle men in the arts. Ask for $10,000 v. $100,000 seems so appropriate in light
Adam Fleming
Of all the many Keillor books I've read this was my least favorite. Not that it's bad, because of course it isn't, it's just a collection of short stories and I probably should have been reading a novel, because that's what I like to read. Read several of the stories to my wife after kids were in bed and we laughed and laughed together, which made the whole thing worth it. Best when read out loud in bed.
David Ward
Feb 03, 2010 David Ward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, essays
Happy To Be Here by Garrison Keillor (Atheneum 1982) (Fiction). This is a collection of essays from the urbane, witty, and sophisticated Keillor (think of his “New Yorker” period output). It has nothing to do with Lake Wobegon or with the Prairie Home Companion. I recognize that he was quite successful writing this type of material, but I personally am glad that he has moved away from this and has moved toward more approachable works. My rating: 6/10, finished 1983.
Donna Davis
Perhaps I am guilty of comparing Keillor with Keillor. It's a high standard (but don't go thinking you're someone, because you're not, LOL). After having read the immortal Lake Wobegon Days, it was a tall order to come up with something comparable.

Happy to Be Here, in contrast, found my attention wandering. By the time it ended, I didn't really care what he had to say.

I was glad to see him standing tall again with Pontoon, which is funny as hell.
Daniel Currie
A collection of essays written for The New Yorker. As with all collections, it is hit and miss. I am a fan of the radio show so it is easy for me to hear him reading these stories with his voice. That helps, but I'd have to say this is a so-so collection. I do recommend the Snow White story. Pretty funny.
Mar 10, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
I came to Garrison Keillor backwards. First I saw the movie, then I started listening to Prairie Home Companion, and now I've tried out one of his books. I liked it. Although, I think I struggled without his literal voice to hear the literary one (it's the that dry wit). I didn't love it, but I'm intrigued to move on to Lake Wobegon.
Feb 21, 2011 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't finish this book. It is written in stories and I have a hard time staying with it. I did find some of the material amusing, but some of it was not. I thoroughly enjoyed another book by this author so I will certainly read another one that a friend has lent to me.
Mar 15, 2015 Richp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is uneven, with some of the stories very good and some mediocre. It is likely different readers have much different opinions as to which story fits in which category.

As all stories are easy to read, and range from very short to moderate in length, this is a good bathroom book.
Feb 20, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you love garrison keillor this is a great story of small town USA - it reminds me that we never really know people as well as we think we do
Another of Garrison's masterful portrayals of just folks you'd like to meet! Reread this one more than once!
Jun 22, 2016 Freder rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely shows Keillor's early promise... but also makes you realize why he clung so tenaciously to Lake Wobegon when Lake Wobegon finally happened.
Garrison Keillor jusy makes me chuckle. And I needed a chuckle. Here's a gem: "I had hit bottom, the depths, the Zasu Pitts, the Rudy Vallee, the utter Ralph Nader of my existence."
May 23, 2012 TaleofGenji marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Henry Sturcke
May 29, 2015 Henry Sturcke rated it really liked it
Keillor is one of those authors you either "get" or you don't. Outing myself here as one who enjoys his melancholic whimsy.
Sep 11, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read of a book I'd read a couple of times years ago. Enjoyed it just as much now as then, and I'll keep it on the shelf so I can re-read the funniest stories in the future.
John Hanscom
Feb 03, 2014 John Hanscom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a little less. Think Lake Woebegone before there was a Lake Woebegone. A lot of cute stories, but not much more.
Dec 20, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, 2009
I liked the first part of this book (Woebegone-like character stories) far more than the rest of this, which dealt with baseball, political humor, and even some weird science fiction.
Mar 03, 2009 Alyson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you enjoy short stories, there's so nice ones in here. but i've found that short stories either leave me wanting more, or feeling like i've just wasted 20 minutes of my reading time.
Nov 27, 2009 Athena rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Maybe I needed Garrison Keillor's voice to go along with these stories, but they were just kind of "meh"
Sarah James
Jan 25, 2012 Sarah James rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really finish reading and I never will. It was not my "style" of enjoyment. I didn't really get into the few stories I read and I don't think I will try any longer.
Have first Edition of this book signed by the author.
Dec 24, 2007 Meggityb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was Keillor's first book. His writing has improved since then.
Jan 19, 2009 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All chapters are funny, some are most hilarious.
David Brawley
Aug 20, 2010 David Brawley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoy NPR's A Prairie Home Companion you'll enjoy this collection of short stories.
Liza May
Jun 05, 2014 Liza May rated it liked it
My least favorite book by my most favorite author.
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Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion".

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, the son of Grace Ruth (née Denham) and John Philip Keillor, who was a carpenter and postal worker.
More about Garrison Keillor...

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“God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.” 143 likes
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