Non fiction


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Non fiction

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Modificato: Gen 14, 2007, 5:23am

So as i browse through stiff I am moved to ask what Non fiction makes you laugh I suspect Travel such as McCarthy's Bar or round ireland with a fridge will get the votes but I suspect you will want to tell me different.


Gen 14, 2007, 5:21am

Michael Moore? Yes - very political, but if you (like me) don't live in the US, it's actually pretty funny :)

Gen 14, 2007, 5:33am

Calvin Trillin has a number of very funny non-fiction collections of travel writings, e.g., Travels With Alice.

Gen 14, 2007, 10:27am

Sarah Vowell's stuff is some of the funniest non-fiction I've read, particularly Assassination Vacation, which is a funny romp through the history of US political murder.

Gen 14, 2007, 10:31am

Bill Bryson. Also, Dave Barry Slept Here was hilarious.

Modificato: Gen 14, 2007, 2:00pm

Last chance to see by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. Not that the subject is funny, but DNA was hired "to be an extremely ignorant nonzoologist to whom everything that happened would come as a complete surprise."

I wish I hadn't said that: the experts speak - and get it wrong! by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.

The book of Gossage. Back in print.

Also, Gary Larson shows up as non-fiction in my suggestion lists, but I guess that doesn't count? ;-)

Gen 14, 2007, 3:45pm

Actually, come to think about it, Scott Adams has written some serious, funny stuff as well.

Modificato: Gen 14, 2007, 6:43pm

The books by Deborah Tannen and Bonnie Kreps.

Mar 13, 2007, 12:59am

Bookishbunny, I agree with you on Dave Barry Slept Here I remember laughing aloud with a classmate while we were reading it together at what was supposed to be a quiet school function.

I also find David Sedaris to be hilarious. Oh, and Augusten Burroughs too. Anyone know of any female authors that are that laugh-aloud funny?

Mar 13, 2007, 4:14am

The Bible, God's pretty funny, a point brought out in The Humor of Jesus: Sources of Laughter in the Bible by Earl F. Palmer.

Mar 13, 2007, 4:48am

There's a genre of 'funny mummy' books that are often quite funny in a laugh-aloud way - From Here To Maternity by Mel Giedroyc (the title's been used a few times but I only know hers is non-fiction and funny!), for instance, or Kate Konopicky's A Woman Of No Importance. I don't doubt that some of it has been fictionalised, but the majority hasn't.

Mar 13, 2007, 9:07am


Remember: "Smoot - Holley - Damn it." (or something like that on the Nixon tapes).

I was so enamored with the Smoot-Holley Tariff running jokes that I named a character I played after it. I still refer to my big purple sunglasses as my 'Holly Smoots'.

Mar 14, 2007, 7:18pm

Bill Bryson tops my list, but I also love Danny Katz's newspaper column. As he is Australian, it seems likely not many of you will know his writing. Stephen Potter is also a long time favourite. I don't know if his up-man-ship books would be classed as fiction or non-fiction?

Mar 14, 2007, 11:00pm

well since I doubt the school they purported to advertise existed I think we can assume they are fiction.

Mar 25, 2007, 12:38am

Heres a good book which has some funny stories about living in the country Tales From Great Grandpa's Trunk.

Mar 25, 2007, 9:47am

Not a well-known book, but a wonderful and humorous look at reservation life can be found in Ted Williams's (no not the baseball player) aptly titled book, The Reservation. Hard to find, though. I bought a signed copy years ago at a Native American bookstore. Definitely worth a read if you can find it, though.

Apr 10, 2007, 8:33pm

Dan Savage
Sarah Vowell
Augsten Burroughs
David Sedaris

Apr 12, 2007, 2:58pm

All of those and Erma Bombeck.

Apr 13, 2007, 1:16pm

Saw David Sedaris last night. Soooo funny! Seemed like he only talked for a few minutes, but turned out to be something like 90. Of course, I was terribly hurt that he didn't remember me from last year. "Marf? I've never heard that name before," he said. "Oh yes you have!" quoth my husband. I also recognized the Arthur the Aardvark wrangler from ETV that night.

Love David Sedaris ... love, love, love him. And Dan Savage, Sarah Vowell. I'm one of those Prisoners of Public Radio.

Apr 13, 2007, 1:54pm

Having someone else mention Sedaris in the non-fiction thread seems like a good occasion to bring up the 'controversy' stirred up by this article.

Personally, I think it's just silly. I think everyone realizes that Sedaris and other 'autobiographical' humorists exaggerate all the time. Anyone else have any thoughts?

Apr 13, 2007, 4:38pm

Last night he did a whole riff alla the Frey episode and I thought it was just plain hilarious. He wanted to explain that he had fictionalized some of the material he was about to read. He mentioned the James Frey controversy and how upset "his wife Gina was to discover that Frey had made it up." I howled.
Non-fiction can just be essays. In fact, I think that's where he is usually placed, although I do see a "fiction" and a "biography" designation next to some titles in our library.
I have noticed that his "fiction" never really comes up to the level of his "non-fiction." It seems more cruel to ascribe these stories to a fictional character whereas taking the blame on himself for his foibles, opinions, dependencies makes him more lovable.
I don't expect any non-fiction to be free of fact twisting to make a better story. Especially autobiographical non-fiction. I'm always writing things that actually happened and, you know, they just aren't that entertaining.
I'm amazed that there wereaccuracies in those stories.

22blink_shrug Primo messaggio
Modificato: Apr 13, 2007, 6:18pm

I once read a review of Beth Lisick's Everybody into the Pool in which the reviewer essentially said that Lisick's writing was like that of David Sedaris...if Sedaris were in possession of female anatomy. Make of that statement what you will, but I did laugh out loud a few times and did enjoy it, overall. I don't know that I'd necessarily rank her next to Sedaris, but if you're looking for a funny female writer of nonfiction (aside from Sarah Vowell, who is an absolute given), I'd give Lisick a shot.

Gen 7, 2010, 12:22am

Dave Barry is mentioned here, Carl Hiassen in another talk -- well, how about dead columnists? No Royko lovers here? I still recall some of the wording in a column of his on Baltimore speak (Oltno = I don't know) and the powerful German pub maid's treatment of the drunk GI and the datschund who needed an icetray to defrost his extremities after a walk in the snow, etc. . .

Modificato: Gen 8, 2010, 7:00am

One pretty funny author not listed here is John Allen Paulos. He's written some funny books, especially I Think, Therefore I Laugh about humor, logic and philosophy. Also check out Innumeracy, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper and Irreligion. He's excellent at making interesting points using jokes.

Gen 8, 2010, 7:19am

#1 You picked a great author to start with. Mary Roach's Bonk also tickeld me considerably. It's quite hard for me to find books laugh-out-loud-able but there are a few that I've read several times now and that still make me snortle away. One of my favourites is God: the Ultimate Autobiography by Jeremy Pascall - (God's own version of that Bible thing of which you speak, #10 and I'll definitely be on the lookout for your recommendation). Bill Bryson still cracks me up too, as does Michael Moore (most of the time). And I just read How Not to Write a Novel which snagged me quite a few "NOW what are you sniggering at"s from the rest of the family.

Ago 23, 2011, 2:38pm

Unlike Sedaris, Lisick refrains from being overly clever and predictable. I loved David Sedaris, but found I soon knew where he was going after the first couple sentences. Lisick continues to catch me off guard and actually makes me laugh out loud, rather than just give a "Huh...".

Ago 23, 2011, 2:54pm

I have to put Beth Lisick's Helping Me Help Myself up on this list. I'm reading it now, and I realize it has been a really long time since I have had so many emotions triggered from a non-fiction book, on top of the laugh-out-loud-ability factor that seems so lacking in fiction and non-fiction. The book focuses on Lisick's attempt at self-improvement over the course of a year, as she test-drives several well-established self-help regimens. She is not overly cute, or clever (as so many young memoir-writers are these days) but approaches her storytelling honestly, without trying to impress us. When we laugh, it seems by accident on her her part. She's just naturally funny. Example: she describes the beginning of her carnival cruise with Richard Simmons as the beginning of a "tyranny of fun", a term which I could apply to so much of life. There's no set up or punchline to her humor. It flows.