Titles to make you laugh out loud. Or just smile. Or both.
A thought-provoking look into how we live. ‘Isn't It Kind of Funny That?’ by Jerry Schaefer uses the title question as well as a range of other variations to explore the way humans live in order to questions the status quo and hopefully inspire a change. With quirky and entertaining images and graphics all asking “isn’t it funny/strange/mind boggling” that humans act the way we do/depend on what we do/ think of ourselves in a certain way, some of the most mundane things in our everyday lives are called into question. Each chapter focuses on one specific area of modern life, with the intention of making the reader think differently about their lives, or not think at all in some cases, in order to make ourselves more aligned with the universe. While posing hypothetical and grand views of a world changed, a world without cars for example, I think the main takeaway of this book is the inspiration and encouragement to lead more simplistic lives, to be less self-centred and involved in our own thoughts and more aware and considerate of the world around us. This is a quick-read and can offer motivation to look outwards, to others and the rest of the world instead of being wrapped up in your own thoughts as well as to be more mindful in our day to day lives.
Pull on your wellies, grab your flat cap and join Jeremy Clarkson in this hilarious and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the farm we're all obsessed with Welcome to Clarkson's farm. An idyllic spot offering picturesque views across the Cotswolds, bustling hedgerows and natural springs, it's the perfect plot of land for someone to delegate the actual, you know, farming to someone else while he galivants around the world in cars. Until one day, Jeremy decided he would do the farming itself. After all, how hard could it be? . . . Faced with suffocating red tape, biblical weather, local objections, a global pandemic and his own frankly staggering ignorance of how to 'do farming', Jeremy soon realises that turning the farm around is going to take more than splashing out on a massive tractor. Fortunately, there's help at hand from a large and (mostly) willing team, including girlfriend Lisa, Kaleb the Tractor Driver, Cheerful Charlie, Ellen the Shepherd and Gerald, his Head of Security and Dry Stone Waller. Between them, they enthusiastically cultivate crops, rear livestock and hens, keep bees, bottle spring water and open a farm shop. But profits remain elusive. And yet while the farm may be called Diddly Squat for good reason, Jeremy soon begins to understand that it's worth a whole lot more to him than pounds, shillings and pence . . .
Followers of Robert Eddison on social media (Twitter - @roberteddison1) will know that he is the undisputed master of the contemporary, pithy, one liner, with over 29,000 original aperçus on 150 different subjects to his name and tens of thousands of followers across his various platforms. In Peeing is Relieving he reveals a huge talent and endearing fascination for the quirks and power of language and also displays a playful, light hearted, world view that, while it occasionally toes the line of decency, never actually steps over it. There are chuckles aplenty - and some rather lovely illustrations - in this compact volume, which will leave you pondering the more profound insights of some of the entries as you revel in the simple absurdity of others. In the introduction, by the Times’ diary editor, Patrick Kidd makes the point that “it takes real craft to express home truths in just a handful of words, especially when they are so funny,” and he is absolutely right. Rennison joins an illustrious band of writers and thinkers throughout history who have managed to marshal a love of language and wordplay and crystallise a skewed look at life in all its ridiculous glory. As Rennison says “The English language is not so rich that it has the mot juste for everything,” but as he ably demonstrates, in the hands of a master, it comes pretty darn close. He also says that “For most of us, the straight and narrow needs widening,” and Peeing is Relieving will certainly broaden your outlook.
An interesting way to record the events of March 2020 to March 2021, ‘Rhymes and Reason (Pandemic Polemic and Prose)’ by Alan McDonald provides a diary of limericks covering a lot of the key events and talking points during a year like no other. The bounce in the limerick style and the overall brevity of each poem means each subject is handled in a way that’s quite light, you’ll find no in depth or balanced political arguments here. ‘Rhymes and Reason’ is a personal record that will serve as a reminder, for those that want it, of most of what transpired throughout 2020. There is humour and satire within the text and each poem is introduced with a brief sentence or paragraph about the events unfolding. I think that this is a creative way to document the year and found it to be a light-hearted reminder of just how much has happened in the last year. I found each limerick well written and each introduction sufficient to set the scene without detracting from the main feature of the diary. A unique diary that I’m sure will inspire those who pick it up to reflect and remember their own experiences. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Shifting from shocking confessions, to relatable emotions and experiences, Eleanor Tattersfield’s Lockdown Secrets is an ingenious concept of a book that will make an entertaining and elegant gift. It all began back in the dark days of a long COVID lockdown, when designer Eleanor Tattersfield heard a podcast about a 1980s answering machine confession line, leading her to “wonder what might happen if people had a similar opportunity at this strangest of times to document their own lockdown confessions.” Somewhat fortuitously, later that day, Eleanor found a box of unused postcards from the 1930s - “It felt like fate. I rushed upstairs, set up the type LOCKDOWN SECRETS and the shop’s address, and printed away.” Following an Instagram shout-out - “I'll send you a postcard, you send me a secret” - replies flooded in, a selection of which are reproduced in this gorgeous book. Many of the cards are resplendent with illustrations, elaborate typography, clever collages, and intriguing handwriting, and all of them capture the shared experience of lockdown in all its complex strangeness. Indeed, the author noted a number of recurring themes - “food fetishes, masturbation, loneliness, breaking the rules, sex, love and, surprisingly, the love of lockdown.” Honest and enlightening, what an extraordinarily unique document of such extraordinary times this book is.
Edward Estlin Cummings knew a thing or two (take a look at our Poetry Section if you don’t believe us!) and we have to agree with him. Humour is at the heart of human life and you’ll find it in fine form in this section. From favourite TV shows to quirky memoirs; hilarious novels to witty verse; books to dip into, books to devour. We know that humour is subjective and so we’ve spread the net pretty wide as we trawled the comedy oceans for the funniest fish. Un’shellfish’ly, we’ve compiled monthly lists of eclectic recommendations so that you can easily find whatever tickles your fins. There are books here to give as gifts, to savour on your own, or to enjoy with others. Books of laugh out-loud jokes and anecdotes to make you smile on the train, plane, bus or any other public place. After all, laughter is infectious. Spread it around.