The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Find in catalogThere are few things better than reading aloud and sharing a book with a kid. My 7-year-old son requested that I put “The Book with no Pictures” on hold so that we could read it together (he read it in his 2nd grade class last year). Naively I checked out the book at the library and read it on a road trip for my son, 2 daughters, and husband to listen to as well. I won’t spoil the fun, but by the end of the “story” my 3 kids were laughing hysterically and my husband was entertained too. The book lives up to its claim of containing no pictures, but kids will love the creative text that completely holds their attention and plays to their sense of humor. A fun and funny book to read aloud!

Under the Stars by Dan White

Find in catalogSummer is the season for camping. To put you in the mood, read “Under the Stars,” a book that spans camping history. The author backpacked extensively in his 20s (hiking the PCT). Now in his 50s, he writes from the perspective of a middle aged man taking his daughter to the outdoors. Filled with fun trivia, “Under the Stars” also includes laugh-out-loud stories about White’s experiences renting an RV and connecting with fellow campers. This book is really a mash-up of Dave Barry humor meets well-narrated history. “Under the Stars” is a perfect book to take camping or just on your chaise lounge this summer!

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Find in catalogA funny, poignant, and creative novel about a twelve-year-old boy who looks much older, the Willy-Wonka-esque selection of children for the inaugural spaceflight of a Chinese rocket, being stranded and alone in space, and the importance of being a dad.

My nine-year-old and I both liked it so much that I took it with me when out of town at a conference, and at one point read him a few chapters over the phone while walking along the streets at dusk. (The book is probably aimed at kids a few years older, but not much older.) Cosmic manages to be zany and thoughtful, and has a story that’s refreshingly unique – neither magically fantastical nor grittily realistic. It’s one of the best kids’ novels I’ve read in a while, and given its themes of “dadliness,” it’s a great book to read to one’s child! [Copied from my Goodreads review]

The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel by Jess Walter

Find in catalogMatt Prior quits his job as a financial journalist to start a website that combines financial news and poetry. Not surprisingly, this is not a success and Matt and his family are on the verge of losing their home. A late night trip to the 7-11 presents a solution to Matt’s financial difficulties. This is very well written, and laugh out loud funny. Highly recommended.

A World Without Whom by Emmy J. Favilla

Find in catalogI’m a long-time word nerd, but language changes so fast, and I’m not as up on internet slang and usage as I could be. Thanks to Emmy J. Favilla, Buzzfeed’s global copy chief, I’m a little more educated. She taught me the right way to pronounce the gender neutral terms Latinx (“Lat-een-ex”) and Mx. (“mix”), confirmed that “I’mma” is spelled that way, and clarified that SMH stands for “shaking my head”, not “so much hate” as I first thought when I saw it. She talks at length about “how not to be a jerk” when writing about sensitive issues like race and sexuality and how to write for a global audience (which includes a rollicking list of British swear words and how strong or mild they are). There’s plenty of memes, and plenty of texts with her fellow staff about pressing matters like is dog pile hyphenated or not. Underneath it all is a firm understanding and explanation of language and grammar. I enjoyed this irreverent yet rigorous guide!

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.