Lunch at the Piccadilly by Clyde Edgarton

Find in catalogCarl Turnage is a bachelor who is looking after his favorite aunt after a fall sends her to a convalescent home. Aunt Lil desperately wants to return to her apartment and get back to driving her car, but it is no longer safe for her to do either. This stage of life is explored with gentle humor and a great deal of compassion.

The $64 Tomato by William Alexander

Find in catalogCity boy William Alexander and his family move from Yonkers, New York to a small northeastern town, where they find their dream home, a dilapidated fixer upper on a three acre piece of land. The family renovates the house and proceeds to build 22 raised beds for their garden. Alexander battles the yellow clay soil, deer, insects, the weather, and a giant groundhog named “Superchuck” while trying to grow his heirloom tomatoes and other produce. The stories are very funny, and any one who gardens will relate to the author’s trials.

An Irish Country Doctor, by Patrick Taylor

Find in catalogBarry Laverty is a young doctor fresh out of medical school in 1960’s Ireland. He takes an assistant physician position in the Ballybucklebo, a town so small he has difficulty finding on the map. His boss is an unusual man, a skilled doctor who isn’t above prescribing placebos for troublesome patients. Barry comes to love the eccentric residents of this charming town. Lots of gentle humor make this a very enjoyable story. The accent of the audio version’s narrator adds a lot to the experience.

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Find in catalogGeorge Hall has just retired, hoping for time to pursue his art. When daughter Katie announces that she is marrying Ray, a man deemed undesirable by the whole family, everything is upended. George discovers that his wife is having an affair, his son’s lover walks out, and George quietly starts to go insane. Very funny and heartfelt.

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill

Find in catalogWith morbid fascination and some pleasure in the dark humor, I plowed through this story of a rich lawyer who becomes “the dog” of a super rich Dubai family empire. He is used by the family to handle all sorts of questionable and legally iffy matters and spends copious and funny time finding legal ways to lessen his own liability. On the run from a ferocious and hurt ex-girlfriend, he seeks only the company of a man servant, a high end brothel, and some old buddies in various stages of the big ride up or down this disgusting social structure.

The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers

book joanI enjoyed reading Melissa Rivers’ good writing. She has a witty sense of humor, herself. Of course, the book is her tribute to her recently deceased comedienne mother, Joan Rivers.

Theirs was a truly loving relationship, which comes across clearly, despite Joan’s very biting and in-your-face style of humor. She draws an honest picture of her mother, not lionizing her at all….but accurately detailing how she did pave the way for women comediennes in our country.

One of the last chapters includes the entire Commencement Address Joan gave to the University of Pennsylvania the day her daughter graduated there. It showed both the comedic and the very serious and values-oriented sides of Joan Rivers, and I was favorably impressed.

I liked the book.

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea’s Family, Friends and other victims

Find in catalogInstead of hearing the pranker tell the pranks she has pulled on others we get to hear from the prankee. What a change of prospective! Chelsea Handler is pure comedy: full of no holds bar jokes and complete bull shit that one just can’t get enough of. It’s a good thing Chelsea is so generous with her success when it comes to her poor victims that one starts to wonder if her victims are just playing the part for the fun.

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Find in catalogChelsea Handler’s latest book is my favorite thus far. Just imagine her in a crazy travel situation and get ready to laugh till you cry. Her travel advice is actually pretty sound and worth listening to. Her misadventures range from looking for tigers in Africa to getting lost in Montana when skiing on a ski resort.

“Can’t We Talk About Something More PLEASANT?” by Roz Chast

Roz ChastThis is quite a book. It is the illustrated account of the author’s parents final years of life, complete with pictures of their belongings and descriptions of their physical complaints. She had no siblings and did not live with her parents. They were older. They had lived in the same apartment in Brooklyn for many, many years.

This is Chast’s wonderful, slightly askance view of her parents’ lives and idiosyncrasies, full of detail and humor and a feeling of an overwhelming world. It is very intimate, with examples from her mother’s dementia and many pictures (including some photos) of the various objects that were “saved” by her thrifty parents. It ends with drawings Chast made of her mother as she was dying.

This is a wonderful book.

Reviewed by Sue D.

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I Feel Bad About My NeckI just love Nora Ephron’s writing! Her observations are spot on and she is funny, funny, funny! (Remember, she was the author of “When Harry Met Sally.”) She is open about this strange activity of aging and its effects on our bodies that are sometimes pretty surprising, starting with how our necks change and why we wear clothing that covers them up. (Does this explain why Diane Keaton always seems to be wearing turtlenecks?) An easy read for an upbeat perspective on being an older woman.

Reviewed by Vicki