Thumbs up for Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Literature/Humor/Science Fiction (sneakily—watch for it).
It’s always a dangerous business when you search out whichever classic it is that has almost the same plot as what you’re writing. Some authors refuse to read That Book (whatever it is for them), and I’ve sometimes fallen into that camp. This time, though, I don’t really care.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Gentleman by Forrest Leo. Fantasy/historical fiction/humor.
Lionel Savage—a young poet straight from the pages of Wodehouse or Jerome K. Jerome—discovers that he loves his wife. Unfortunately, this happens only after she is stolen by the Devil. Usually I expect this sort of thing to quickly grow tedious, but The Gentleman was consistently funny from start to finish.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Fantasy.
The Thursday Next novels (of which this is the first) are some of the few books I’ve read multiple times and plan to read again. They’re so stuffed with jokes about literature and history that they stand up well to re-reading; you’re never going to remember all that, and you’ll probably get more of the references each time.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton. Comics.
I did not laugh quite as uproariously as I did when reading the first Hark! A Vagrant book, but that is setting a very high bar indeed. Check out the webcomic, and if you dig it, you’ll find that the print collections are well-worth adding to your shelf.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Packing For Mars by Mary Roach. Science/humor.
If you have not yet read Mary Roach, and you like learning things and want to laugh so hard you curl up in pain and make little squeaking noises in place of breathing, then you need to go out right now and buy all of her books: Stiff, Spook, Bonk and now Packing for Mars.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Ranma 1/2, Volume 1 and Ranma 1/2, Volume 2 by Rumiko Takahashi. Manga.
My current project of reading Japanese literature would not be complete without some manga. My options were limited to what we had in the bookstore where I work: in other words, it was this or nothing. I did check reviews on Amazon first to make sure I was reading something decent, and was astonished to find that the first and second volumes had five stars each – with scads of reviews.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Don’t Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Suspense.
I was delighted to find another one of these delightful, nasty little jewels. Think Robert B. Parker but British, with a lot more booze and women and cowardice. Bonfiglioli nevers sets a step wrong. These books deserve much better than the anonymity they have fallen into.
“Somewhere in the trash he reads Martland has read that heavy men walk with surprisingly lightness and grace; as a result he trips about like a portly elf hoping to be picked up by a leprechaun.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Science fiction.
To start with, it’s FUNNY. And smart. And, to me as a writer, inspirational, because it has a very simple story arc but is nevertheless brilliant. There are almost no books I wish I’d written, but this comes close. If you like any variety of science fiction, you should run and buy all of Scalzi’s books right now.… >> Read more