A humour book recommendation: The Museum at the End of the World by John Metcalf

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dycfBV.
This is Metcalf’s first fiction collection in 30 years, and overall it’s a welcome return. If it’s a little wearying to spend 300 pages reading about Forde railing against the foibles of literary Canada, it’s never dull to read Metcalf.
Book description from Google Books:
“John Metcalf comes as close to the baffling, painful comedy of human experience as a writer can get.”–Alice Munro Set in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Ottawa, the stories in this collection span the life of writer Robert Ford and his wife Sheila. Playing with various forms of comedy throughout, Metcalf paints a portrait of twentieth-century literary life with levity, satire, and unsuspecting moments of emotional depth. John Metcalf is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including Standing Stones: Selected Stories, Adult Entertainment, Going Down Slow, and Kicking Against the Pricks.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 14 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2epXfDE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u01KjO.

A humour book recommendation: Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2g9VuLJ.
I can’t help but cling, however, to the old-fashioned notion that it is easier to retain information integrated into an overarching story line…That said, if “Feminist Fight Club” is on the right track in its presentation style, it has performed a huge service not just to its target audience but to the businesses they will be joining.
Book description from Google Books:
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2016 BY:Chicago Tribune, Refinery 29, Forbes, Bust, CEO ReadsPart manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club is a hilarious yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women.It was a fight club—but without the fighting and without the men. Every month, the women would huddle in a friend’s apartment to share sexist job frustrations and trade tips for how best to tackle them. Once upon a time, you might have called them a consciousness-raising group. But the problems of today’s working world are more subtle, less pronounced, harder to identify—and harder to prove—than those of their foremothers. These women weren’t just there to vent. They needed battle tactics. And so the fight club was born. Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday—such as the Manterrupter who talks over female colleagues in meetings or the Himitator who appropriates their ideas—and provides practical hacks for navigating other gender landmines in today’s working world. With original illustrations, Feminist Mad Libs, a Negotiation Cheat Sheet, and fascinating historical research, Feminist Fight Club tackles both the external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviors that plague women in the workplace—as well as the system that perpetuates them.
The book is rated 3.91/5 at goodreads.com, from 2381 ratings. See 370 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ga36hi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t2epPF.

A humour book recommendation: Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare) by Margaret Atwood

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2tkxBs2.
Following Jeanette Winterson’s take on “The Winter’s Tale” and Anne Tyler’s on “The Taming of the Shrew,” Margaret Atwood has taken on “The Tempest” in “Hag-Seed” — and it’s a thoroughly entertaining romp through the theater of revenge and redemption.
Book description from Google Books:
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest retold as Hag-Seed   Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds.   Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.   After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?   Margaret Atwood’s novel take on Shakespeare’s play of enchantment, retribution, and second chances leads us on an interactive, illusion-ridden journey filled with new surprises and wonders of its own.
The book is rated 3.91/5 at goodreads.com, from 9334 ratings. See 1929 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2e2R6wy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tkswA4.

A humour book recommendation: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2n9yZdS.
In the end, “Born a Crime” is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother…
Book description from amazon.com:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followedNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • BooklistTrevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.
The book is rated 4.49/5 at goodreads.com, from 47377 ratings. See 7103 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2nsmYCL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ntmsEB.

A humour book recommendation: Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family by Daniel Bergner

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2eO0wwR.
This is a book of great compassion that traces the contours of a single remarkable life. But Bergner is also doing something more expansive, examining the long and tormented history of black involvement in an elite artistic tradition and in society at large.
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times bestsellerA New York Times Notable Book A Washington Post Notable Book A Publishers Weekly Book of the Year As seen on CBS This Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air, and People MagazineA New York Times Book Review Editor’s ChoiceA Publishers Weekly Best Book of the YearA Library Journal Nonfiction Pick of SeptemberThe New York Times bestseller about a young black man’s journey from violence and despair to the threshold of stardom. “A beautiful tribute to the power of good teachers.”–Terry Gross, Fresh Air “One of the most inspiring stories I’ve come across in a long time.”–Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia’s juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future. In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe’s most prestigious opera houses.SING FOR YOUR LIFE chronicles Ryan’s suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan’s path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters–including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes–technically, creatively–to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 539 ratings. See 104 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dTkHfc.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s7hkWQ.

A humour book recommendation: Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dRQBZs.
His book somewhat finds its feet in its second half, as Mr. Kanigel increasingly gets out of the way and lets Jacobs’s story tell itself. Many readers will have already returned to their apartments, run their fingers through some gin and ice, and slammed the door.
Book description from Google Books:
The first full-scale biography of Jane Jacobs, the irrepressible woman who with her book The Death and Life of American Cities, and others that followed, so profoundly changed the way we think about and live in cities that, to this day, her influence can still be felt in any discussion of urban planning, or in any conversation about what cities mean to us. Jacobs is brought to life here by Robert Kanigel, the writer who introduced us to Indian mathematician Ramanujan and to industrialist Fredrick Winslow Taylor. Based on new sources and interviews, as well as on archival letters and other material, this is a revelation of the phenomenal woman, who, while raising three children, wrote seven groundbreaking books; saved neighborhoods; was arrested twice; and engaged–at home, on the podium, and on the streets–in thousands of impassioned debates, all of which, it could seem, she won.
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 105 ratings. See 23 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dROCob.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2p9Bbps.

A humour book recommendation: Loner: A Novel by Teddy Wayne

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2ekKGt2.
Is David smitten like Gatsby is with Daisy, or is he simply a stalker type? The answers ingeniously lie in the final papers David and Veronica turn in for the semester, both involving scholarly theories on the predatory male gaze. At bottom, “Loner,” like all good suspense stories, academic or otherwise, test readers on our close reading skills.
Book description from Google Books:
“Powerful.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air Named a best book of the year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, and BookPage • One of the most anticipated novels of the fall from New York magazine, Glamour, Lit Hub, Boston magazine, The Millions, and BookPageDavid Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. Initially, however, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David becomes instantly infatuated. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem. Loner turns the traditional campus novel on its head as it explores ambition, class, and gender politics. It is a stunning and timely literary achievement from one of the rising stars of American fiction.
The book is rated 3.42/5 at goodreads.com, from 2199 ratings. See 451 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2fKrObU.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t7KmpB.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A humour book recommendation: A Gambler’s Anatomy: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2fes0Qz.
The prose in “A Gambler’s Anatomy” is nearly always this good, and Mr. Lethem has a touching sense of the lives of obsessive misfits. They’re his tribe.
Book description from Google Books:
The author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a devilishly entertaining novel about an international backgammon hustler who thinks he’s psychic. Too bad about the tumor in his face. Handsome, impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur “whales” who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon. Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, Edgar Falk, Bruno arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore. Perhaps it was the chance encounter with his crass childhood acquaintance Keith Stolarsky and his smoldering girlfriend Tira Harpaz. Or perhaps it was the emergence of a blot that distorts his vision so he has to look at the board sideways. Things don’t go much better in Berlin. Bruno’s flirtation with Madchen, the striking blonde he meets on the ferry, is inconclusive; the game at the unsettling Herr Kohler’s mansion goes awry as his blot grows worse; he passes out and is sent to the local hospital, where he is given an extremely depressing diagnosis. Having run through Falk’s money, Bruno turns to Stolarsky, who, for reasons of his own, agrees to fly Bruno to Berkeley, and to pay for the experimental surgery that might save his life. Berkeley, where Bruno discovered his psychic abilities, and to which he vowed never to return. Amidst the patchouli flashbacks and Anarchist gambits of the local scene, between Tira’s come-ons and Keith’s machinations, Bruno confronts two existential questions: Is the gambler being played by life?  And what if you’re telepathic but it doesn’t do you any good?
The book is rated 3.22/5 at goodreads.com, from 1443 ratings. See 250 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dIHhni.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tNCjSs.

A humour book recommendation: The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2dBZQwV.
The Wangs vs. the World drives home the fact that there is no one immigrant experience — just humanity in all its glorious, sloppy complexity, doing its best to survive and thrive despite the whims of society and circumstance. With plenty of laughs, both bitter and sweet, along the way.
Book description from Google Books:
“A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent–and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together. Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands–and his pride. Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China. Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America–and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could”–
The book is rated 3.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 7236 ratings. See 1212 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2euWGZe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sJPLmz.

A humour book recommendation: Loner: A Novel by Teddy Wayne

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2ekKGt2.
Is David smitten like Gatsby is with Daisy, or is he simply a stalker type? The answers ingeniously lie in the final papers David and Veronica turn in for the semester, both involving scholarly theories on the predatory male gaze. At bottom, “Loner,” like all good suspense stories, academic or otherwise, test readers on our close reading skills.
Book description from Google Books:
“Powerful.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air Named a best book of the year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, and BookPage • One of the most anticipated novels of the fall from New York magazine, Glamour, Lit Hub, Boston magazine, The Millions, and BookPageDavid Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. Initially, however, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David becomes instantly infatuated. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem. Loner turns the traditional campus novel on its head as it explores ambition, class, and gender politics. It is a stunning and timely literary achievement from one of the rising stars of American fiction.
The book is rated 3.43/5 at goodreads.com, from 2193 ratings. See 448 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2fKrObU.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t7KmpB.
Google Books preview available in full post.