Humor

Mary Ann Dimand amaebi at iwon.com
Thu Jul 27 16:39:02 EDT 2000


I'm afraid that these are out-of-print suggestions, but a lot of libraries
have them, or some of them.

Two of the funniest books I know are autobiographies, sort of.

Gwen Raverat's Period Piece is about growing up in the Cambridge (UK) of the
late 19th century, and about her amazingly idiosyncratic family, the
Darwins. (She was a granddaughter of Of Charles Darwin.) Read about how Aunt
Mildred fed Uncle Lenny charcoal biscuits! Of the three types of morality--
Church, Gentleman and Empirical! Of the shockingness of trousers under long
skirts in Charlie's Aunt! Woodcuts by the author add an extra and delectable
dimension.

Eleanor Farjeon's A Nursery in the Nineties (American title Portrait of a
Family) is about Eleanor growing up with her three brothers in the home of
their novelist father and a mother who was the daughter of J. Jefferson, a
famed American actor. It's not laugh-out-loud funny to me, but I find the
accounts of their games amusing. And I find the saga of the addictive game
TAR quite compelling, having also been involved in a storytelling/drama game
which eclipsed other life from childhood into my twenties.

Novels: I think that Robertson Davies's Rebel Angels contains some of the
funniest stuff he ever wrote, though I think it far from his best book. I
really like Mary Lasswell's books about three older beer-guzzling women
friends, published from the mid 1940s into the 1960s. (Suds in Your Eye, One
on the House, High Time, Tooner Schooner, Wait for the Wagon.)

I think Cotillion is probably Georgette Heyer's funniest novel, BTW.

Looking forward to unpacking books, but only sort of,
Mary Ann


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