readers advisory for all discussion

216 views
so ask already!!! > Something funny, but not quirky.

Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell CHARACTERIZATION: I don't like quirkiness.
FRAME: I would like it to be funny, but like I said no quirkiness. I liked Confederacy of Dunces but like I said in my review it was just funny and therefore somewhat forgettable. I would like it to be funny but serious-minded. Vonnegut's a good example.
STORYLINE: I'm not sure. (Is that too specific for you?)
PACING: Fast. I prefer short chapters.
SUBJECT HEADINGS: Something that's about a specific place. I'm currently reading Middlesex. I like how it explores Detroit.
APPEAL FACTORS: I don't want it to disgust me like Gravity's Rainbow or The Jewish Messiah.


message 2: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
so happy.

by tomorrow, i will have at least five recommendations for you. annotated.

but anyone else should feel free to jump right in and help a brother out.


message 3: by Greg (new)

Greg | 117 comments Tom Robbins and Matt Ruff come to find, I'm not sure if either author really captures a specific place though. But Tom Robbins might be quirky.

When we try to help should we describe how the authors hit the appeal factors?


message 4: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! | 51 comments Angels & Demons

Characterization: Professor Langdon is a capable cryptologist with no catchphrases, tics, odd habits, etc.

Frame: This is where the selection probably fails. I think the only funny parts are where Brown attempts to explain science.

Storyline: Barely there.

Pacing: You can't get any faster than this.

Subject headings: It's specifically in Rome, especially the Vatican. A bit with Cern.

Appeal factors: It will disgust you in other ways than The Jewish Messiah. I'm not familiar with Gravity's Rainbow.

(this is probably an example of failure in this RA thing)


message 5: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i think overall, it would be nice to say what criteria your suggestion matches - eh! is onto something, but it doesn't need to be as structured if you aren't feeling it. as long as there is more than just a title; some sort of reasoning behind it would be useful to sort out the right match for dave.


message 6: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
but this is a great start!


message 7: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i was thinking of george saunders, who writes more intelligent humor. some of the situations are quirky, but not necessarily the characters.

i was also thinking of ken kesey, but only by reputation - i have never read him. anyone know better than me??


message 8: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Catch-22 has always interested me, but I haven't read it because I don't usually read books that have been made into good movies. Maybe I should get over that prejudice. If nothing better comes along I might read this.

Eh, thanks. However I read Da Vinci Code and perhaps I should add to my inquiry that the writer should be able to write competent prose.


message 9: by karen, future RA queen (last edited Feb 14, 2011 05:23PM) (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i may have been unclear: "appeal factors" are just what those factors (storyline, characterization etc) are called collectively - it is not a separate feature. but it can be - we don't need to be overly formal here.

characterization is just the way the characters themselves are written: if they are quirky or one-dimensional etc, how many narrators there are - stuff like that.

frame is more about the whole book - it encompasses characters, but is also about the "vibe" of the book, you know?? like poe is full of foreboding and thomas hardy has a lot of unfortunate coincidences and missed opportunities.


message 10: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! | 51 comments Hah, someday, maybe! When I'm in the mood to be disgusted?


message 11: by David (last edited Feb 14, 2011 05:31PM) (new)

David (nullnvoid) Wait. Wasn't everyone supposed to create his/her own thread for recommendations? Isn't this the recommendation soup you bitchily chastised D-Russ for in the other thread?

Edit: Never mind. I see that these are suggestions w/matching criteria. Or something.


message 12: by David (last edited Feb 14, 2011 05:44PM) (new)

David (nullnvoid) D-Russ, I think you'd like Charles Portis's True Grit, but you said you don't like to read books made into good movies. It's humorous yet serious-minded, but I don't think it's quirky. The humor is very deadpan and un-self-conscious. The pacing is brisk. Although the locale isn't very centralized, it captures a real feel for the period. I know you like westerns -- at least the film ones anyway. It's very breezy and fun without seeming at all lightweight. No disgusting scenes that I recall.

I didn't like (and didn't finish) Catch-22. I thought it was a little quirky. The tone bothered me. One of those books that thinks it's more clever than it is. (I know I'm in the minority here. I found it irritating.)


message 13: by David (last edited Feb 14, 2011 05:48PM) (new)

David (nullnvoid) He might like Catch-22. I just think it failed in the non-quirkiness criterion... a little. I obviously can't completely comprehend D-Russ's taste because he disliked the masterpiece The Jewish Messiah. (Although I don't think I would have recommended it for him.)


message 14: by David (new)

David (nullnvoid) And RE: Tom Robbins.

STAY AWAY, D-RUSS. You will HATE him. I am 99% sure. He's nothing but quirkiness.


message 15: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
no!! i was going to give him five just from me, once i did some research. this thread can go on forever, or until dave reads one or more of these books and comes back to tell us what he thought about our suggestions


message 16: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I considered Tom Robbins but people have talked me out of it. True Grit intrigues me, as does Crying of Lot 49. I almost read that for a book club.

Is there a time limit involved here because it might take me a few weeks to get to a recommended book? I have a couple others I want to get to first.

Also re: msg 15, that's NOT all. Maybe your mind has blocked out the coprophagia scene and the JFK meets Maclom X in a toilet scene. I wish mine could.


message 17: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
you pretty much have until october?? maybe december. this is a long-term project.


message 18: by Bill (new)

Bill | 21 comments karen wrote: "i was thinking of george saunders, who writes more intelligent humor. some of the situations are quirky, but not necessarily the characters.

i was also thinking of ken kesey, but only by reputati..."


sometimes a great notion by kesey is a great book. it has some humour, but i wouldn't call it quirkey and it is definitely a serious book as well.


message 19: by karen, future RA queen (last edited Feb 14, 2011 07:31PM) (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
here are some thoughts. the thing that is hanging me up is the emphasis on a particular place. most of what i can think of that does the place well is not overly comedic, unless you count jonathan lethem. i like him, but it's not like you are unaware of his existence. but maybe these are less familiar.

one big damn puzzler

this one is a light satire about colonization. it is funny the way kingsley amis is funny - british, a little slapsticky, but not too much. very quick read - a couple of poop jokes - i don't know if that falls under "disgust." it may possibly be quirky - that is always hard for me to judge.

but it made me think of this:

The_Testament_of_Yves_Gundron which is funny in a more cerebral, sophisticated way and is a much better book, overall. the pacing is a little bit slower than t'other, but it is an excellent read. both of these books are about very specific places, but not "real" places, so it might not be quite what you are looking for. the humor in this one is always tinged with a little melancholy.

robert coover. i mean, take your pick. definitely intelligent, sometimes almost too much so. i loved his retellings of fairy tales, and i also really liked gerald's party. he is not a superfast read, but briar rose is fast and excellent.

also - jonathan coe. i liked The_Winshaw_Legacy best, and this one might be my top recommendation. it is very engaging, a little madcap, but a great satire on mystery novel conventions with a perfectly good family story undercutting it. more british humor - not too quirky, just great fun.

i re-recommend george saunders, particularly in persuasion nation. i just think he is a great writer - he mostly mocks contemporary culture and all - sometimes he falls into the trap of being a little same-y, but i think this collection escapes that tendency.

and finally, maybe an evening of long goodbyes which is in the style of a wodehouse/waugh humor - a fallen family, once wealthy, now decaying, and one man's attempt to retain the grandeur of the past with all the trimmings, and falling into some absurd situations as he tries to keep up appearances. shades of auntie mame, mostly in costuming.

any of these sound good or bad?


message 20: by Bill (new)

Bill | 21 comments sometimes a great notion is set in a specific place...a small town in the usa...can't remember where exactly though.


message 21: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I've heard good things about Saunders. Coover also looks intriguing. I'll look into them more.

I guess I'm not really in the mood for Waugh/Wodehouse humor right now. A little too breezy for me.

You also mentioned Lethem, and of course I've heard of him, but I don't know much about him. Would he fit the bill? Is he funny (but with gravitas?)


message 22: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
don't listen to david, but i thought fortress of solitude did a really good job of depicting a time and a place, and i thought it was just beautiful and touching and funny all in one. was more stylized and gimmicky, but overall funnier. i like him. his essays are very good, too.


message 23: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I think I might go with Fortress of Solitude and think about the Saunders and Coover.


message 24: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
it gets a little whmsical at the end. and that's what makes david mad. but i swear, the beginning is beautiful. and real and funny.


message 25: by Kathrina (new)

Kathrina | 50 comments Though not a great novel, it is certainly a good one, and a humor-filled meditation on place, for sure, Driftless might be a good choice.


message 27: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
Kathrina wrote: "Though not a great novel, it is certainly a good one, and a humor-filled meditation on place, for sure, Driftless might be a good choice."

i just bought all of this guys books recently, without ever having read one, because i am so easy when it comes to covers. glad to know he is good.


message 28: by Jasmine (last edited Feb 15, 2011 12:34PM) (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments I love matt ruff but I think he is very quirky. This may depend on the book. Set this house in order is less quirky than the sewer gas electric one. he is probably not right for you though.


message 29: by Jasmine (last edited Feb 15, 2011 12:34PM) (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments I think you might like how to fail. It is a funny book but not quirky it's about a 20 something in new york who basically hates his life. The chapters are on the long side of short. It explores new york but a very specific new york sort of the young careless scene.


message 30: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
do you want me to add links, or are you cool to take care of it later??


message 31: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments Me? I'm on my phone so I can do it in a few hours or you can do it now either way


message 32: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
we will race!! i am at work right now so i don't have too too much time.


message 33: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments Cool I am at smac


message 35: by David (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 9 comments A few suggestions: (let's see if I can get them to show up in the books mentioned and authors mentioned lists):


The Crow Road
Iain M. Banks
setting is Scotland, good story - moves along at a fair clip, maybe the characters are 'quirky' but surely that's part of what makes a book funny, they are not obnoxiously so
Death and the Penguin
Andrey Kurkov
Quirky, but I'm including it anyway. Setting is the Ukraine. It's a kind of post-dissolution of the USSR satire
Budding Prospects: A Pastoral
T.C. Boyle
I like T.C. Boyle's short stories better, but this is of his novels that works (for God's sake, don't ever, ever be tempted to read the appalling "The Road to Wellville")


message 36: by Susie (new)

Susie | 33 comments This is my standard answer for someone looking for a funny book. (I honestly feel like quirkiness is pretty subjective, so I'll just table that thought for now.) I loved the book Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. The tagline pretty much captures the book. It's the story of Jesus's life told from the perspective of his fictional best friend Biff. There's nothing particularly disgusting in this book. It's more a tongue-in-cheek, fun look at the New Testament. I recommended it to my brother who's a churchgoer and he found it hilarious. My friend who's a Quaker also thought it was great. Also, the chapters are fairly short.


message 37: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
did you ever try any of these??


message 38: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I thought about adding Fortress of Solitude and Catch-22 to the list of books I'm considering reading.

I hope that helps you somehow.

BTW, was it necessary to comment on every thread? This group is now all lit up with red numbers and I can't figure out how to mark all posts read. It's taunting my OCD.


message 39: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
oh, sorry - i had to make sure the original posters saw that i was sniffing around for feedback. so few people had come back on to the threads, i didn't have any information about how the suggestions worked out for them. but now i do. so, sucks to your ocd, and yay for my paper!

besides, this gives you a chance to read all the exciting posts! it is like whack-a-mole with books!


back to top