Five lads a-laughing

It’s been a great investment year for some, awful for others, and mixed for many.  Time for a break, I say.  As our last piece for 2011 I present my favorite five authors who can just make me laugh.

It’s a diverse lot, but they all have one thing in common; they resist the temptation to take the world and themselves too seriously. They see humor everywhere and share it generously. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do. Prepare to laugh early and often.

Scott Adams is well known for his first book, The Dilbert Principle, in which he skewers modern corporations and large companies.  His daily comic strip, Dilbert, can be found here, and probably in your local newspaper, too.  We love Dilbert, I believe, because we have shared his ridiculous experiences ourselves.

Dave Barry was a late discovery for me in 2001 with Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up!, as he had been a popular columnist and humorist for some time already. Barry is prolific, so you can choose among his fiction, non-fiction, and collections of columns.  All are good for a laugh.

Bill Bryson, you get the feeling, was the class wiseguy as a kid, always ready with a wickedly witty line at the expense of some minor authority figure, and always getting in trouble for it. I think Bryson decided to make a career of that talent, ultimately writing humorous travel books for a very good living.  I would recommend any and all of them, as well as his more scholarly works like, A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Carl Hiassen writes Florida eco-mystery humor. Quite a combination, I agree.  Starting with Hoot, with which my then 8-year-old daughter and I were equally fascinated, I have since graduated to Double Whammy (trout fishing) and Skinny Dip (Everglades bad behavior). The stories are simply not describable; they must be read to be experienced.  His wit is unpredictable and delicious.

Michael Lewis could make the phone book sound fascinating.  He has the rare ability to parachute himself into a seemingly everyday situation and discover the complexity and amazement underneath.  Starting with Wall Street and Liar’s Poker in 1989 (all true, and still true, regrettably), he has moved through baseball (Moneyball) and football (The Blind Side).  His latest book, Boomerang, about the aftermath of the financial crisis manages to be funny, unbelievable, and heartbreaking all at once.

Honorable mention to Gail Collins, New York Times editorialist, for promising herself to mention in every column – and actually doing it – that Mitt Romney drove to Canada with the family dog crated on the roof of the car.  Necessary mention, too, of those New Yorker cartoons every week – peerless!  For the open-minded, David Sedaris cannot be topped.  For sophomoric humor, literally, peel back The Onion.

May your holidays be full of laughter. See you again on January  5th!


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