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Sakata's avatar

Any help on finding a new book to read?

Asked by Sakata (3327 points ) January 26th, 2009

I’ve read, and loved, everything by David Sedaris and I’m hoping to find something along the same lines. Basically satirical essays/short stories.

The wikipedian description of his style is, ”...autobiographical and self-deprecating…”

To fill the gap until I find something new I’ve read The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales and (currently) Aesop’s Fables. I’m literarily bored. Any ideas?

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26 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

How about Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett? That might actually be approximately where Sedaris meets Grimm.

madcapper's avatar

currently loving Tom Robbins check it!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Bill Bryson is a travel writer, but he’s very autobiographical and self-deprecating, especially in The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

I also like Tom Hodgkinson. He’s the guy who has the magazine The Idler, and he’s a youngish curmudgeon. A youngish, English curmudgeon, which means he’s funny. He wrote a book on his adventures driving a Rolls-Royce across Europe that had me in stitches.

augustlan's avatar

In the fiction area, try Carl Hiiasen. Absurd and funny.

Foolaholic's avatar

I second Good Omens. Just about anything by Terry Pratchett has that same great humor quality that you’d probably enjoy. I know I did!

lapilofu's avatar

I second Tom Robbins for good satire. He’s way more over the top than Sedaris, but he’s mostly fiction. He has some non-fiction too, but it’s not nearly as good as his novels. I highly recommend Still Life With Woodpecker by him.

suzyq2463's avatar

I bet you’d enjoy the works by Sarah Vowell. She has a very dry, ironic sense of humor, and her essays deal with some of the most bizarre subjects. Her book Assassination Vacation might be a good place to start.

LostInParadise's avatar

You may enjoy some of the popular books by Richard Feynman, who in addition to being a Nobel prize winning physicist was a rather colorful personality. In particular I suggest, “Surely You Must Be Joking Mr Feynman.”

jayson's avatar

How about continuing with some other classics like Dickens’ Great expectations? It’s our family favourite.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Have you ever read any Jean Sheherd? He wrote “A Christmas Story”. “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters” is really funny. So is “Dating Your Mom” by Ian Frazier.

jfrederick's avatar

my latest discovery as far as authors is steve berry. reading the amber room right now, and looking forward to his other books.

steelmarket's avatar

Tom Wolfe, especially The Right Stuff, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Cory Doctorow
John Irving
Dave Barry

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson is a pretty fun read. He drives around America on backroads.

jfrederick's avatar

@alfredaprufrock, bill bryson also wrote an interesting book about his travels on the appalachian trail, although i can’t remember the title.

Jack79's avatar

Good Omens that Jeruba suggested is actually my favourite book, and since I have read everything Terry Pratchett has ever written (including a note to himeslf about his dentist’s appointment he made on a handkerchief), I decided to go for Neil Gaiman this time. The book I’m just finishing today (I’m in the last chapter) is “The Anansi Boys”, which is almost as good as “Good Omens” and certainly an entertaining story. It lacks Pratchett’s wordplays which I particularly like, and the funny Discworld background of most of his books, but at the same time builds a coherent and comprehensive link between the world of the real and the imaginary, the natural and the supernatural.
The story is about a god dying and his two sons taking over the job, or as the subtitle says “God is Dead. Meet the kids”.
There are many references to African folklore, but it’s mainly a story based in our own hi-tech world and people’s dreams and greed. Anyway, I was not meant to write a review. But I’ve liked this book.

Before this I read “the world according to Jeremy Clarkson” parts 1&2, which I found extremely hilarious and witty. Might be closer to what you were thinking? It’s certainly an easy read, with intelligent observations about the stupidity of the world around us.

But start with Good Omens. You’ll love it :)

Sorceren's avatar

If you’ve never read any Terry Pratchett and you start with Good Omens, I predict that you won’t need any suggestions for about a year.

I just finished a Neil Gaiman work, “The Graveyard Book,” which was just nicely. Quite different from Pratchett’s work, but I see how they work together so well.

janbb's avatar

The Bill Bryson Appalachian trail book is called “A Walk in the Woods.” It’s a lot of fun.

Did you ever read Jospeh Heller’s “Catch 22”? It’s one of the greatest satires ever.

90s_kid's avatar

To Kill A Mockingbird, Freedom’s Children, So Far From the Bamboo Grove
Many good ones.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a story about this young girl named Scout growing up in Maycomb, Alabama. There is this mysterious house, where there is said to be a psychopath family that lives inside. They have neighbors to deal with, and problems with her dad, Atticus who is defending a Negro, you will get so involved in the story.

Freedom’s Children is a favorite. I am actually not fully done with the book, but I love it. I like reading about the Martin Luther King Jr. era. One of my biggest pet peeves is racism, and even though there is much of it in this book, it shows how colored people stand up for their rights, and is told from the very people themselves! You even get to see a picture of the storytellers. Some examples of people in the book are: Thelma Eubanks, Ernest Greene, Frances Foster, and many more.

So Far From the Bamboo Grove is about the war in Korea. It tells about the story of a little girl who has to travel to another place in hard times. Her house gets robbed, and many other bad things happen. It is just her mother, her sister, and herself.

They are all must-reads. Really Epic. Not 100000 page novels, but within the 300 pages or so of the books, could very well be that many pages.

Sakata's avatar

Based on all the suggestions I’ve gotten so far, and a little of my own research, it looks like I’m going to pick up Good Omens and, maybe, Catch 22 next time I hit the bookstore.
I’ve also considered picking up Ulysses as well. I know it’s not satire but I like mythology and it looks like a nice pick-up on Homer’s Odyssey.

Thank you all (so far)

augustlan's avatar

Good luck with Ulysses. I tried and tried, but could not do it! Hope you have better luck :)

Jeruba's avatar

The first Gaiman title I read, the one that led me on to the others, was Neverwhere. It is at once both marvelously imaginative entertainment and a textbook Jungian quest.

Catch-22 is one of the greats.

rickpoll's avatar

Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom a wonderful book

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Jeruba – My first was the Sandman graphic novel series, then American Gods. All the inside references to Wisconsin places and things in the latter book made me smile.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@LostInParadise: I loved “Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman” (and the sequel “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”) Two excellent books.

I’d recommend anything by Dave Barry. He always has me going back and forth between laughing hysterically and wincing at the hard truth of what he says.

NanoNano's avatar

Our Final Invention by James Barrat

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