A humour book recommendation: This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ixpunU.
As a writer her informal, chatty style engenders a kinship with both her struggles and triumphs. She speaks directly to the reader and welcomes them in to her private thoughts and dreams.
Book description from Google Books:
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir–wise, complex, smart, funny–a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read Gabourey Sidibe–“Gabby” to her legion of fans–skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”    Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. 
The book is rated 4.01/5 at goodreads.com, from 2547 ratings. See 451 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2izvnAC.
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A humour book recommendation: Broken River: A Novel by J. Robert Lennon

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2iyfdYD.
There are moments here of chilling violence, and of nuanced comedies of manners; the result is a heady novel that distills a host of anxieties into something offbeat and hard to shake.
Book description from Google Books:
The most inventive and entertaining novel to date from “a master of the dark arts” (Kelly Link)A modest house in upstate New York. One in the morning. Three people—a couple and their child—hurry out the door, but it’s too late for them. As the virtuosic and terrifying opening scene of Broken River unfolds, a spectral presence seems to be watching with cold and mysterious interest. Soon the house lies abandoned, and years later a new family moves in.Karl, Eleanor, and their daughter, Irina, arrive from New York City in the wake of Karl’s infidelity to start anew. Karl tries to stabilize his flailing art career. Eleanor, a successful commercial novelist, eagerly pivots in a new creative direction. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Irina becomes obsessed with the brutal murders that occurred in the house years earlier. And, secretly, so does her mother. As the ensemble cast grows to include Louis, a hapless salesman in a carpet warehouse who is haunted by his past, and Sam, a young woman newly reunited with her jailbird brother, the seemingly unrelated crime that opened the story becomes ominously relevant.Hovering over all this activity looms a gradually awakening narrative consciousness that watches these characters lie to themselves and each other, unleashing forces that none of them could have anticipated and that put them in mortal danger. Broken River is a cinematic, darkly comic, and sui generis psychological thriller that could only have been written by J. Robert Lennon.
The book is rated 3.55/5 at goodreads.com, from 947 ratings. See 153 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwM1kq.
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A humour book recommendation: Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iVUHRL.
One of those books with the sort of repetitive pattern that can get a bit tiresome for adults reading aloud, thankfully Daddy Long Legs is full of such quirky detail that it never gets dull.
Book description from Google Books:
An endearing tale about a little boy who wants to be sure. ñSee you this afternoon,î says Daddy when he drops off Matthew at kindergarten. But Matthew says, ñWhat if, this afternoon, the old green car doesnÍt start?î Thus begins a series of what-ifs that Matthew poses to all of DaddyÍs ideas about how heÍll fetch him, each one more fantastic than the last: heÍll come by teddy bear, by the wings of birds, by dragon! Finally, Daddy says heÍll use his own two long legs, the ultimate reassurance that heÍll come back for Matthew, no matter what! A hug of a book. Children will want to snuggle up inside its warm covers.
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 99 ratings. See 45 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zIubmK.
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A humour book recommendation: Standard Deviation: A novel by Katherine Heiny

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2iXOKDZ.
This book is about a marriage under stress — though Heiny keeps it bubbly, evoking the smart, stylish wit of Laurie Colwin, Nora Ephron, and Maria Semple.
Book description from Google Books:
*A Skimm Reads Pick* An uproarious novel (“Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny.” –Louise Erdrich, The New York Times) from the celebrated author of Single, Carefree, Mellow about the challenges of a good marriage, the delight and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken. When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater houseguests, and invitations to weddings of people he’s never met. Audra firmly believes that through the sheer force of her personality she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, shepherding her son through awkward playdates and origami club, and even deciding to establish a friendship with Graham’s first wife, Elspeth.  Graham isn’t sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize–are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? And as Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife he starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice? A hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami, Standard Deviation never deviates from the superb.
The book is rated 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 2963 ratings. See 551 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zM9jej.
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A humour book recommendation: The Mayor of Casterbridge (Penguin Classics) by Thomas Hardy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ivRvMi.
Hardy’s reworking of Oedipus Rex, set in the author’s native Wessex in the 1840s. Michael Henchard, a drunken journeyman labourer…The novel is Hardy’s most powerful study of will and character and the irresistibility of fate.
Book description from Google Books:
A haunting study of guilt and lost love in Penguin Classics, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge is edited with an introduction and notes by Keith Wilson. In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper. Subtitled ‘A Story of a Man of Character’, Hardy’s powerful and sympathetic study of the heroic but deeply flawed Henchard is also an intensely dramatic work, tragically played out against the vivid backdrop of a close-knit Dorsetshire town. This edition includes an introduction, chronology of Hardy’s life and works, the illustrations for the original serial issue, place names, maps, glossary, full explanatory notes as well as Hardy’s prefaces to the 1895 and 1912 editions. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), born Higher Brockhampton, near Dorchester, originally trained as an architect before earning his living as a writer. Though he saw himself primarily as a poet, Hardy was the author of some of the late eighteenth century’s major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts. If you enjoyed The Mayor of Casterbridge, you might like George Eliot’s Silas Marner, also available in Penguin Classics. ‘The greatest tragic writer among the English novelists’ Virginia Woolf ‘Visceral, passionate, anti-hypocrisy, anti-repression … Hardy reaches into our wildest recesses’ Evening Standard
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 45159 ratings. See 1702 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h7KsZT.
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A humour book recommendation: Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h8TKF3.
he narrative continually emboldens the heavy, darker tone of the novel which, while not as light as his previous novels (though none of Backman’s works can truly be considered light), still preserves its basic human-ness and even persevering, uplifting spirit.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times bestseller • The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true. “You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People “Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic….There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor….A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit.” —Kirkus ReviewsPeople say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
The book is rated 4.31/5 at goodreads.com, from 28161 ratings. See 5059 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9J6Oi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2izhd2C.
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A humour book recommendation: Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome by Shawn Levy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iIK8RU.
Levy captures much of the excitement of that time and place in a prose style that is teeming with satisfying gossipy details…
Book description from Google Books:
From the ashes of World War II, Rome was reborn as the epicenter of film, fashion, creative energy, tabloid media, and bold-faced libertinism that made “Italian” a global synonym for taste, style, and flair. A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose use of color, line, and superb craftsmanship set the standard for women’s clothing for decades, and Brioni, whose confident and classy creations for men inspired the contemporary American suit. Rome’s huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as “Hollywood-on-the Tiber,” attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charleton Heston, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers–Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti–who searched, waited, and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.Fashionistas, exiles, moguls, and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to experience and indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos, and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. It was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was condemning the very excess, narcissism, and debauchery of Rome’s bohemian scene.Gossipy, colorful, and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential re-creates Rome’s stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city’s magnificent transformation.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zwtLQf.
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A humour book recommendation: Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D by David Kushner

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iy1twU.
Koren Shadmi’s art and the pacing of Rise of the Dungeon Master combine to create a palpable tension; reading it, you can almost feel these guys on the verge of discovering something big.
Book description from Google Books:
Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story.Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game’s co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson. By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry — so much so that a mom’s group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture.
The book is rated 3.52/5 at goodreads.com, from 276 ratings. See 66 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iy1zog.
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A humour book recommendation: Extraordinary Adventures: A Novel by Daniel Wallace

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2iAqlE7.
Daniel Wallace is one of those rare, wonderful writers who make it look easy. You find yourself chortling and sometimes laughing aloud as you breeze through his novels, which makes it possible to overlook the artistry and expertise that render his characters so vivid and his plots so engaging.
Book description from Google Books:
**One of PopSugar’s Best 2017 Spring Books for Women**A large-hearted and optimistic novel, Extraordinary Adventures is the latest from the New York Times bestselling Daniel Wallace.Edsel Bronfman works as a junior executive shipping clerk for an importer of Korean flatware. He lives in a seedy neighborhood and spends his free time with his spirited mother. Things happen to other people, and Bronfman knows it. Until, that is, he gets a call from operator 61217 telling him that he’s won a free weekend at a beachfront condo in Destin, Florida. But there’s a catch: the offer is intended for a couple, and Bronfman has only seventy-nine days to find someone to take with him.The phone call jolts Bronfman into motion, initiating a series of truly extraordinary adventures as he sets out to find a companion for his weekend getaway. Open at last to the possibilities of life, Bronfman now believes that anything can happen. And it does.
The book is rated 3.59/5 at goodreads.com, from 485 ratings. See 145 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iznQBR.
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A humour book recommendation: My Italian Bulldozer: A Novel by Alexander McCall Smith

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h7aOLW.
And this is one important reason his readers love McCall Smith: He presents us with gentle stories that ask profound questions and leave us not with all the answers, but with a smile on our face and a lot more to think about than when we began.
Book description from Google Books:
The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series returns with an irresistible new novel about one man’s adventures in the Italian countryside. Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer. With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected. A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start.
The book is rated 3.59/5 at goodreads.com, from 2782 ratings. See 615 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ixG1bh.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2izd7HF.