Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sunday December 6th, 20015 Share the Gift of Laughter This Christmas

For many, the days of December are stressful - wrapping up projects at work, shopping for and wrapping up gifts at home, baking or cooking, planning and visiting – it is hard to keep one’s balance through all the hustle and bustle. For others, it can be a lonely or difficult time of year. That is when the opportunity to make someone smile, or even better, to make someone laugh – the kind of laughter which racks your body and causes you to wheeze or chortle or guffaw - is most appreciated. For that reason, I am sharing with you some ideas for books which are sure to squeeze a smile or two from the most Scrooge-like customer. You can find them at your Library to enjoy, or you might consider buying one for a friend who shares your sense of humour or could use a good laugh.

Holidays on Ice: with Six New Stories by Dave Sedaris; a seasonal offering from the sharp-humoured Sedaris who is widely acknowledged as one of the funniest writers around today.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by the perennially popular Dave Barry is both funny and a little bit warm and fuzzy in this semi-autobiographical Christmas story.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson is the brand new book by this hilarious writer who leaves you laughing even as you cringe a little reading her honest and irreverent memoir about growing up with mental illness and a taxidermist Dad. It actually rivals some of my own family memories which is why I bought it for my sister for Christmas.  I also recommend her earlier book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. Winner of the Stephen Leacock award for humour, this political satire about an old curmudgeon who agrees to stand for city election as a favour to a desperate campaigner and who wins despite mounting no campaign whatsoever. Funny, fresh and witty.

Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz is another very funny memoir full of insight and self-deprecating humour by the woman who brought us the TV show, Little Mosque on the Prairie. It would have special appeal for any independent-minded adult child of conservative immigrants.

Fifty Shades of Black by Arthur Black. He’s back! Many will remember him from his days in Thunder Bay and the local CBQ radio and will especially enjoy Black’s anecdotal style and humourous rants about technology, aging and a slew of things we forget are actually quite funny.

As a children’s librarian I cannot end this article without some suggestions of laugh-out-loud children’s books. If your pre-teen child does not already own Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, then you can be the one to introduce this to a beloved young person. The poems and drawings are daringly, manically funny yet there is an underlying tone of compassion and morality which is undeniable. This one is a classic for a reason. And for younger children, parents won’t even mind repeated readings of the Chester or Scaredy Squirrel series of picture books by Melanie Watts. Chester is a mischievous cat who talks directly to the reader as he argues with the author trying to tell his story, and Scaredy Squirrel is the master of paranoid over-preparation. You can’t go wrong with either.

Thanks Mom for giving me a sense of humour and teaching me how to see the amusing element in anything. And have a very happy holiday readers.

Angela Meady

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