Sunday, October 10, 2010

Look to books for some humor therapy

Love may be the universal language, but laughter surely has to come in a close second.

When I'm stressed or feeling blue, I head straight for the bookshelves and a little humor therapy, courtesy of some of my favorite authors. If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend it. When everything seems to be going wrong, a good belly laugh or even a few stifled giggles can make all the difference.

I started reading Laurie Notaro's I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies) while I was sitting on a bench at a very hoity-toity dance studio waiting for my daughter to finish her overpriced ballet lessons that she ended up hating. I tried, really tried, to contain myself, but I burst out laughing several times. The other mother's glares told me how inappropriate it was, and I suppose I could have stopped reading, but it was too good and I couldn't help myself.

Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent was another tome that had me giggling through my hand. I felt surprise - and relief - that there was someone else out there who sees all the strangeness in the world and doesn't mind getting a little snarky about it.

There's lots of other, of course - and not just non-fiction. I love it when fiction makes me laugh. Sarah Shankman, who wrote I Still Miss My Man (but my aim is getting better) is hilarious, and I love the Southern Sisters mysteries of the late Anne George.

But surprises - finding someone new and funny (or new to you and funny) - are the best. Consider this: Shirley Jackson, the author of the haunting short story The Lottery and uber-creepy The Haunting of Hill House, wrote a really funny memoir titled Life Among The Savages about her life with her husband, her "twenty children and half a million books." And a friend of mine recently loaned to me a little off-beat book called "Apathy," by Paul Neilan that she insists is "disturbingly funny."

I can't wait to find out.

1 comment:

  1. When I want to giggle, I'll read Sophie Kinsella's shopaholic books. They're really funny and an enjoyable quick, light read. She also writes as Madeleine Wickham and those are cute, too, always with a fun premise and likeable characters.