April 1st – Reading is Funny Day
Gotta wonder who thought that up! Pinch and a punch and “Reading is funny”?!!??
Type ‘funny authors’ into Google and a series of lists will pop up. Some lists favour US authors, some British authors and some are…varied. It would seem that what people find funny is particularly cultural. Australians notice the difference most clearly on imported sitcoms – the US versions always had canned laughter and left little to the imagination. Humorous British TV was more about what was left unsaid or the exact opposite; clever use of language including puns or double entendre.
According to Good Reads Listopia, (one of the biggest list generators around) the funniest book of all time is The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Along with Adams, Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore are found on every list on the first page of results generated by the ‘funny authors’ search. The other thing they have in common is that they are fantasy authors. What is it about fantasy that makes it so easy to be funny? Could it be that fantasy transcends cultural humour limitations?
Woody Allen, P.G. Wodehouse and Helen Fielding are popular for their witty observance of the awkward humanness we all secretly relate to. Speaking of the humour of the ordinary; the works of Austin and Dickens are timeless classics, rediscovered with glee by each generation.
And then there is the humour that makes the ugly and frightening, bearable if not enjoyable – think MASH, Catch 22 and Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall.
The most useful ‘funny authors’ list comes from the Staff Picks section of a US library where the comedy reading options are broken down into genres. Thank you to the inspired librarians of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for making our search for something that will appeal to the individual sense of humour that much easier.
Look for the yellow HUMOUR spine label in the Adult Fiction section of your South Perth Library branch and take home something to tickle your fancy, poke your funny bone and release a belly laugh this April Fools Day 🙂