Humor

The spaceship The Hangman's Daughter over a sun

The Bastard Legion

By Gavin Smith
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Anne G
Sep 14, 2022

The Bastard Legion is an action-packed thrill-ride into space warfare.  Gavin Smith stays in the very top tier of science fiction writers with his future mercenaries.  When I first saw the back of the book, I thought this military science fiction sounds like Suicide Squad.  And I was right - it even has a science fiction Australian guy with a killer boomerang.  The next question: is this space opera more like the mess of the movie or the well-crafted graphic novels?  

The answer is dramatically the latter.  This is a wonderful addition to Smith's amazing fiction of imaginary wars and battles

Picture of the cover of The Genius Under the Table.  Child laying under table while adult stands nearby with arm over eyes.

The Genius Under the Table

By Eugene Yelchin
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Hannah Jane W.
Jun 2, 2022

The Genius Under the Table is bleak but also strangely cozy at times.  It’s hopeful, heartbreaking, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, and may stir up tender feelings for your own strange family.

Eugene (Yevgeny) is a child growing up behind the Iron Curtain.  His family shares a kitchen and bathroom with several families, including a spy who’s always lurking in the corner of the kitchen.  Eugene is bursting with questions - Why is his grandfather’s face cut out of all the family pictures? Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about defecting (which is too close to the word defecating?)  And why is

Black background with text Baskets: The Complete Season One and a picture of a bearded clown who looks melancholy

Baskets

By Zach Galifianakis
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Heather C
Apr 21, 2022

I finished watching this series months ago and I found that I just can’t let it go.  I have talked about this series to anyone that will listen.  And now I’m telling you.  The thing is, this show is really hard to describe.  You really just have to watch it.  

Is it funny?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Is it poignant?  Also yes.  Very much so.  Does it have moments of absurdity?  In spades.  Is it also raw and honest and sweetly sad?  Totally.  Will you be tempted to go to Arby’s on your way to Costco after watching?  Possibly. 

Baskets is a show centered on the Baskets family.  Chip Baskets (Zach Gal

Weird Al's UHF: A 30th Anniversary Tribute.

By Michael K
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Michael K
Jul 19, 2019

July 21st, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “UHF.” To celebrate the occasion (and its recent addtion to the JCL catalog), I wrote about my lifelong love of the film.

When I was around four or five years old, there were a handful of films I watched over and over again. Oliver!, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beetlejuice were in very heavy rotation in my family room, along with several Disney animated films that we regularly threw on in the afternoon. I remember watching those films as a kid and being in awe of them. They felt so exotic, and I was completely captivated by the

Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time

By Steve Jenkins
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Jesseca B.
Oct 18, 2017

When Steve Jenkins agrees to adopt an abandoned micro pig from an old friend, he has no idea that his life is about to drastically change forever. Rather than maxing out at 70 pounds, the wee “micro pig” turns out to be a commercial sow who grows to a whopping 600 pounds. As Esther grows in size, Steve and his partner transform from bacon-eating and city-dwelling folks to buying and operating a farm to use as a sanctuary for animals in need of a safe home. Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary is located in Canada, and you can keep up with the farm on one of Esther the Wonder Pig’s many popular

Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From An Addiction to Film

By Patton Oswalt
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Scott S.
Oct 9, 2017

Patton Oswalt sometimes serves as my spirit guide. That might be a function of my desire to put all of my useless pop culture knowledge to good use and get paid for it. Which is not to say that I think Patton's job is simply goofing on George Lucas or drawing parallels between his chronic depression and the Mad Max film series. Like all effective comedians, he presents his often insightful and unique views on the world with remarkable timing and a memorable delivery. To that end, I sometimes forget that those jokes must be written and not simply spat at the audience in an impromptu diatribe.

Britt-Marie Was Here

By Fredrik Backman
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Emily D.
Aug 16, 2017

Britt-Marie is reasonable, punctual, and practical, thank you very much. The best life lived is one of order, no shenanigans necessary. But recently sixty-three year old Britt-Marie has had to make some changes in her life. She's walked out of her loveless marriage and found herself a temp job in Borg, a decrepit town ruined by the financial crisis.

Britt-Marie becomes the coach of the local kids soccer team, quite by accident. She doesn't really know how to coach, but at least they will have clean uniforms. Since her arrival, the rec center has never been cleaner; and the resident rat makes

The Martian

By Andy Weir
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Emily D.
Jan 29, 2017

This is a hands-down fabulous book! It’s an adventure. In space. On Mars. What more do you need? But on top of that it’s witty and science-y with a hint of impending doom.

Mark Watney, astronaut-botanist, gets left behind by his crew and must find a way to survive on this uninhabitable planet, alone, until rescue is made possible. The Martian is written in journal form from Watney's perspective. He details all the ways he fixes and rigs the Hub (his home far away from home), finds ways to grow eatable food, and tries to communicate with NASA. But the writing isn't all science jargon, Watney

The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place

By Jennifer McCartney
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
Jan 28, 2017

In case the title doesn’t give it away, McCarney is a potty mouth. If foul language upsets you in the least, please put this book down immediately. Should profanity be less a concern, The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place is actually kind of a joy itself.

McCartney offers a humorous response to decluttering and minimalism to advocate that we “break free from the bonds of tidiness and triumph over the boring forces of uniformity and predictability.”  She cites the same research as your favorite housekeeping books, The Joy of Less and The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. She

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

By Lindy West
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
Sep 30, 2016

Lindy West’s Shrill is cataloged in the humor section of the library and three of its five subject headings use the word “humor.” So it’s no surprise that while reading chapter 1 I scared my own dog. He looked at me sideways while West describes the role models who looked like her young self: Lady Kluck, Baloo dressed as a sexy fortune teller, and Miss Piggy to name a few.

She then spends a chapter or two talking about her early awareness that she is too big, and pondering what to “do when you’re too big, in a world where bigness is cast not only as aesthetically objectionable, but also as a

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

By Mary Roach
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Jed D.
Aug 24, 2016

When reading a Mary Roach book, always bring a strong stomach and a sense of humor. Grunt, Roach’s bestselling follow-up to Gulp, is filled with anecdotes about pretty much every aspect of military science that you can imagine. Inside you’ll find a chapter on failed shark repellents, another on surviving IEDs through science, one on stink bombs and weaponized odors, and another where the author offered herself up as a guinea pig to have her sweat collected and analyzed. When covering the horrifying topics of amputations and urogenital wounds, she retains her humor while not being disrespectful

Deadpool (DVD)

By Tim Miller

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jul 15, 2016

Deadpool finally gets his due. A far cry from his last portrayal in the dreadfully off-mark X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this Deadpool is the "Merc with a Mouth."

For those unfamiliar with Deadpool, this is the story of a mercenary, Wade Wilson, who falls in love, is diagnosed with cancer, and goes off the deep end, not necessarily in that order. When his experimental "cure" leaves him looking like leftover roadkill he goes hunting for the man responsible with gleeful enthusiasm and a lot of murder.

For those familiar with Deadpool, there's a lot of little details that aren't accurate (it's not

Yes Please

By Amy Poehler

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jun 7, 2016

Listening to the audiobook of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please exceeds expectations. To hear the comedic build-up, delivery, and nuance of each joke she lands is a joy. Poehler tells us writing is hard and she is trying to lower expectations so when it turns out well we are impressed. However, there is no need to try and fool the reader; the writing is crisp, witty, hilarious, and often soul-searching. Yes Please showcases the hard work, time, and dedication Poehler puts into her comedy. 

This is not only a memoir; it is an exploration of a life in and outside the spotlight. I expected to enjoy this

Bad Feminist

By Roxane Gay
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Jo F.
Mar 12, 2016

Immediately after finishing the downloadable audiobook of Bad Feminist, crisply narrated by the inestimable Bahni Turpin, I placed the print book on hold. There are just too many interesting, important and often hilarious moments to absorb in one go. Turpin's reading is too good to pass up, so I wholeheartedly recommend the audiobook, but on this second time through, I'd like the luxury of reading and then rereading those paragraphs that give me the most to think about.

Roxane Gay is both a fiction writer and an essayist, as well as a social media cultural commentator. Bad Feminist was my

Enlightened, the Complete First Season

By Laura Dern
Star Rating
★★★

Rated by Megan C.
Jan 10, 2016

There are some downsides to HBO’s Enlightened. It is painfully sincere. It riffs on commercialized, New Age-y self-help. It satirizes corporate America in a way that makes you wonder if it is really satire after all. But I find myself recommending the show anyway.

I haven’t really seen anything like it. I cringed a lot. I felt uncomfortable. But I didn’t stop watching. There’s a tension in the show, which totters between rage and earnestness. These extremes are broadcasted on the face of the protagonist, Amy, played by Laura Dern. Everyone is a bit of a caricature, which is the show’s main

Furiously Happy

By Jenny Lawson
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Josh N.
Jan 2, 2016

If you've read Jenny Lawson's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, or if you follow her online, you know that her head is a very, very strange place--in all the best ways, assuming your head is also a very strange place. I don't generally think my head is a strange place, but I do love the way Jenny Lawson's mind works and the way she writes about it, so maybe I'm stranger than I think I am.

Furiously Happy is much less autobiographical than her first book. She still tells stories about her life, but it's more about what she's been doing in recent years. Like in her first book

Into the Woods

By Stephen Sondheim
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Caitlin P
Dec 3, 2015

What a fabulous movie version of this amazing musical! This is arguably Stephen Sondheim's best musical with lyrics that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you rewind to listen to them again. Though I was nervous when the movie rights were sold to Disney, I was delighted to find they did not sugarcoat the potentially risqué topics of infidelity, child abandonment, and death.

The singing is fabulous with the two exceptions being the two biggest names, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences clearly disagrees with me though, since Ms. Streep got

My Year of Running Dangerously

By Tom Foreman
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Hope H.
Nov 13, 2015

If the phrase "training run" has ever been part of your vocabulary – whether in reference to you or someone near you – you're bound to get a laugh, cringe, and sigh out of My Year of Running Dangerously. Combining two of my favorite topics, memoirs and running, acclaimed journalist Tom Foreman uses his storytelling skills to recount his monumental return to distance running. His decades-long running hiatus came to an end when his daughter invited him to do a marathon with her, and after shaking some initial hesitation, Foreman went all in. You might worry that his story will run long, but the

Yes Please

By Amy Poehler

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 23, 2015

Yes Please gives readers insight into the crazy, hilarious, sweet and caring mind and life of Amy Poehler. She discusses everything from the day she was born, to the first time she realized she wanted to be an actress, to learning improv in Chicago. She talks at length about the hysterical workings of Saturday Night Live and how much she thoroughly enjoyed herself and working with her fabulous co-workers. Toward the end of the book she describes how wonderful her experience was working on Parks and Recreation and gives little anecdotes about each one of her colleagues and includes information

Steven Universe (DVD)

By Rebecca Sugar

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 19, 2015

Steven Universe is everything I never knew I wanted in a show.

I was initially put off by the animation.  The character designs just struck me as weird and more than a little doofy.  Still, I'd heard a lot of good things about it, and I figured it couldn't hurt to try—each episode is only about eleven minutes, after all.  Plus, it's created by Rebecca Sugar, best known for her work on Adventure Time.

I was instantly captivated.  The titular character is extremely doofy in the most charming ways imaginable.  Steven is the kindest, most loving and generous soul you could imagine, while still

Attachments

By Rainbow Rowell
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Hope H.
Aug 13, 2015

Let's face it, light-hearted love stories are not my go-to genre. Were it not for the well-crafted recipe of humorous dialogue, characters with quirky faults, and attention to vulnerable emotions, this love-at-first-sight story, would simply be fluff. But it's not. Instead it's the decadent ganach filling the inside of our storytelling pastry that literary so-so fluff only wishes it could be.

Rainbow Rowell is a master at creating an underdog you can't help but root for. Lincoln finds himself in a lonely job monitoring company emails and unexpectedly falls for a woman whose messages keep

Dear Committee Members

By Julie Schumacher
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
Jul 27, 2015

In Dear Committee Members, Schumacher puts a delightful twist on the epistolary novel. The story is told completely through LORs (Letters of Recommendation) written by a washed-up professor still teaching in “the wake of the deliberate gutting of the liberal arts, English in particular, in favor of the technological sciences…which the faceless gremlins…have condemned to indigence and ruin.”

Totally one-sided, Shumacher still paints a vivid picture of both the personal and professional life of Jason Fitger. With an ex-wife, ex-lover and trail of irritated colleagues in his wake, Fitger reveals

Puzzled Indemnity

By Parnell Hall
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Octavia V.
Jul 8, 2015

Sixteenth in the Puzzle Lady series, Hall’s Puzzled Indemnity is still as funny as ever! Cora Felton, the famous puzzle lady has a secret; she can’t solve crossword puzzles. But she can solve a mystery. Cora is just your typical grouchy lady trying to quit smoking without help, and she’s got too many ex-husbands to count.

Cora is asked to protect Brittney from a husband who wants to kill her for the insurance money, but it’s his car that blows up in front of the police station. Right in front of Cora and Brittney, leaving them with too many unanswered questions. Was he in the car? How did the

Proof: The Science of Booze

By Adam Rogers
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Jo F.
Jun 24, 2015

Whether you're a lush (as Betty White says, "Vodka is a kind of hobby") or a teetotaler, this book will fascinate and entertain (I was laughing out loud at least once every chapter). I particularly recommend the eAudiobook, which I listened to on a long road trip. It made the time fly by, listening in turn to chapters about the history of yeast and the chemical reasons behind hangovers (and their "cures"), to the author's anecdotes about visiting famous breweries and drinking tragically expensive scotch in distinguished New York City bars. The narrator, Sean Runnette, has a pleasingly apt

Attachments

By Rainbow Rowell
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Caitlin P
Mar 5, 2015

Before the success of the young adult novels Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell debuted with the adult fiction novel Attachments.

Set at the end of 1999 with Y2K pending, Attachments tells the story of three newspaper employees, Lincoln, Jennifer and Beth. Lincoln is a night systems security officer, whose main duty is to monitor employee emails for potentially inappropriate or prurient activity. Jennifer and Beth are best friends whose emails get flagged to Lincoln on a regular basis. Amused by their snarky and clever non-work related conversations, Lincoln decides not to report their staff email abuse, and instead continues to read their personal email exchanges.

The Martian

By Andy Weir
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Caitlin P
Mar 2, 2015

Have you ever felt like you were the only one on the planet to do something? For botanist astronaut Mark Watney, this is a reality for everything he does. Abandoned by the rest of his crew during an unforeseen dust storm, Watney is stranded on Mars after his team fled, thinking it too late to save him. Completely isolated from the rest of humanity, Watney has to figure out not only how to survive, but also how to get back home.

This book is, at its core, a man-versus-nature story, with nature being the Mars atmosphere. Watney must figure out how to grow food in a freezing cold environment

The Middlesteins

By Jami Attenberg
Star Rating
★★★

Rated by Kinsley Riggs
Nov 10, 2014

Edie and Richard Middlestein have been married for over 30 years, enjoying their family life in Chicago. But as their relationship stops growing and Richard decides to leave, all Edie can seem to do is grow.  She is obsessed with food and eating.  Will the family save her from herself?  Will Richard come back and continue loving every ounce of her?  One particular scene in The Middlesteins made me realize just how much this woman is eating:  Edie's daughter-in-law follows her from the house to McDonald's, then to Burger King, and on to the Chinese restaurant, watching Edie order, eat and throw

Redshirts

By John Scalzi
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Brian B.
Oct 30, 2014

Redshirts is a thoroughly engaging read, with interesting characters, snappy dialogue, and a plot that transports from comedic to thought-provoking at will. The story follows the adventures of a group of "Redshirts" as they fight for survival and try to unravel the mystery of a curse that plagues their ship. Will they figure it all out, or will they suffer the same grim fate so many "Redshirts" have before?  If you are a fan of Star Trek, or science-fiction in general, do yourself a favor and check this one out! The three codas at the end of the novel take a little bit to warm up to, but add

Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Melody K.
Jul 27, 2014

I'm not a writer but Anne Lamott makes me believe that I could be a great one.  Bird by Bird is a writing manual that reads like a memoir, a very funny, life affirming, let's get real memoir.  She reminds me a bit of Cheryl Strayed in her clarity and insight not only about writing but about relationships and priorities.  Lamott says, "if you want to know your characters, you have to hang out with them for awhile."   I highly recommend hanging out with Lamott.

Waiting on You

By Kristan Higgins
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Rachel N.
Jul 14, 2014

Things are going pretty well for Colleen O'Rourke:  she co-owns a tavern with her twin brother, Conner; has made more than a few love matches between the good people of Manningsport, NY; and is great at giving advice. Well, things were going well until Lucas Campbell comes back to Manningsport to see his dying uncle. Ten years ago they were in love—​Lucas living in Chicago gearing up to go to law school, Colleen in Manningsport to be close to her family while becoming a nurse. They had their life together planned out until secrets damaged their four-year relationship beyond repair. In their