It's a dreary day, so I thought I'd indulge myself and come up with a list of my favorite comedies. A caveat, however: this is not a fancy English-professor-y list of the finest, most exquisitely crafted, most erudite or intellectually sophisticated works on paper in the language.
This is a list of the books that make me laugh until my mascara starts to run.
These are books to read over your first cup of coffee or just before you go to sleep.
Remember: a day you've laughed is day you haven't wasted--even if you didn't get out of bed.
Some days you need a jump-start to get to the funny parts of life. These books offer exactly that kind of infusion of comic energy and I rely on them to get me to smile when nothing else does the trick.
You've probably heard of most of these titles, and maybe you've already read several of them. But a couple might be new and unfamiliar--and some of them are almost certainly out of print. You can probably at used bookshops. Some are wonderfully new--Liza Donnelly's When Do They Serve the Wine? and Nicole Hollander's The Sylvia Chronicles, for example--and you should be able to get these at your usual independent bookseller (which is, of course, where you purchase your all your books, right? Good.)
You ready? Let's go:
1. Cold Comfort Farm
by Stella Gibbons
2. Three Men in a Boat and Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow
by Jerome K. Jerome
3. But Enough About You and If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet?
by Cynthia Heimel
4. The Sylvia Chronicles
by Nicole Hollander
5. When Do They Serve the Wine?
by Liza Donnelly
6. In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories
by Jean Shepard
7. How I Got To Be Perfect
by Jean Kerr
8. The World According to Dave Barry or anything else written
by Dave Barry
by Nora Ephron
10. Without Feathers
by Woody Allen
11. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
by Fay Weldon
12. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
by Anita Loos
13. The Complete Stories of Dorothy Parker
by Dorothy Parker
14. With Malice Towards Some
by Margaret Halsey
15. Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?
by Molly Ivins
16. The Best of Robert Benchley or anything else written
by Robert Benchley
17. How to Raise Your I.Q. By Eating Gifted Children
by Lewis Burke Frumkes
18. Social Studies and Metropolitan Life
by Fran Lebowitz
19. A Marriage Made in Heaven--or Too Tired for an Affair and
I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression
by Erma Bombeck
20. City Boy
by Herman Wouk
21. The Loved One
by Evelyn Waugh
22. Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
23. Brain Droppings
by George Carlin
24. Help! I'm a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery! and
Whoever Owns His Own Home, Deserves It
by Alan King
25. The Hypochondriac's Guide To Life. And Death.
By Gene Weingarten
26. The Queen and I
by Sue Townshend
27. Not Waving, But Drowning and
A Good Time Was Had by All
by Stevie Smith
28. Small World
by David Lodge
29. The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
by Jane Wagner
30. Is Sex Necessary?
by James Thurber and E.B. White
And of course this is just the beginning. Get hold of the books themselves. Go ahead: have fun, laugh out loud, and let go.