Tag Archives: Comedy

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Overview
This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps | 9780751575231 | Booktopia

Title: This Will Only Hurt a Little
Author: Busy Philipps
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Memoirs, Mental health, Strong women
Dates read: 2nd – 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: sphere
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I promised I would call him as much as I could and write him every single day, and he promised to do the same.

Synopsis

Busy Philipps has always been headstrong, defiant and determined not to miss out on all the fun. These qualities led her to leave Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of nineteen to pursue her passion for acting in Hollywood. But, much like her painfully funny teenage years, chasing her dreams wasn’t always easy.

In this stunningly candid memoir, Busy opens up about chafing against a sexist system rife with on-set bullying and body shaming, being there when friends face shattering loss, enduring devastating betrayals and struggling with the challenges of motherhood.

But Busy also brings to the page her sly sense of humour and the unshakable sense that disappointment shouldn’t stand in her way. The rough patches in her life are tempered by hilarity and joy: leveraging a flawless impersonation of Cher from Clueless into her first paid acting gig, helping reinvent a genre with cult classic Freaks and Geeks, becoming fast friends with Dawson’s Creek castmate Michelle Williams, conquering natural child breath with the help of a II Mad Man II -themed hallucination and more.

Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability and sharp observations about life, love and motherhood.

Thoughts

I was expecting this to be kind of funny and very, very light-hearted. That is not the case. The story that Busy tells you about her life is kind of confronting and definitely heartbreaking in moments. But it is told with a sense of lightness that makes you feel… less uncomfortable.

I’ve not had much exposure to Busy Philipps beyond Cougar Town. Or at least, I didn’t think that I had. Turns out that she’s been involved in a few things I like, and now I need to go back and watch them. Particularly now that I know her story behind the moments in her acting career that I recognise. That even though I love her acting on screen, there is a whole story behind every moment that I was previously unaware of.

I can’t believe the amount of strength that would be required to deal with some of the crap that Busy has been through. I mean, I recognise some of it in my own life (I mean, we’re both women and there are just some horrors…). But I also don’t work in a field that is so damn focused on how we look and is just, frankly… toxic.

One of the things that really stuck out with me from this book was that Busy Philipps has consistently fought mental health. For her entire life. The different ways she’s tried to deal with it are intriguing and make for a very interesting memoir. It also drives home the fact that regardless of how bright and cheerful someone may appear on screen… there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. All in all, I could not put this novel down. It was brilliant and poignant. Nothing like what I expected and one of those impossible to forget kind of stories. I would definitely read this one again and again.

<- Rosa Parks: My StoryFollow the Rabbit-Proof Fence ->

Image source: Booktopia

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Overview
Sourcery | Sir Terry Pratchett

Title: Sourcery
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #5, Rincewind #3
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Easy reading, Fantasy
Dates read: 22nd July – 18th August 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Corgi
Year: 1988
5th sentence, 74th page: He just steals things.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

All this books and stuff, that isn’t what it should all be about. What we need is real wizardry.

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we’d better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son… a wizard squared… a source of magic… a Sourcerer.

Unseen University has finally got what it wished for: the most powerful wizard on the disc. Which, unfortunately, could mean that the death of all wizardry is at hand. And that the world is going to end, depending on whom you listen to. Unless of course one inept wizard can take the University’s most precious artefact, the very embodiment of magic itself, and deliver it halfway across the disc to safety…

Thoughts

Whenever I pick up a book by Terry Pratchett, I know that I’m going to have a good time and be entertained. And Sourcery was no exception. I had such a great, fun, amazing journey throughout this story. One that I absolutely adored and would love to read again.

So far in the Discworld series, none of the stories have really finished on a cliff hanger. Instead, the story almost works as a standalone and lets you journey onwards to the next story in the series without any extra baggage. This novel didn’t quite work out like that. It just felt like there was so much more that was likely to happen to Rincewind – and I would love to know what the outcome of his latest misadventure will be. It was kind of fun finishing a Discworld story on a cliff hanger. Just different enough to leave me happy and content.

One of my favourite things about Pratchett is his amazing ability to build worlds. The fact that he’s doing so consistently throughout the Discworld series always leaves me feeling happy. In this novel, his world building is building on the rules of wizardry and sourcery. I love all of the completely obscure and odd rules that come about in this and the way that the rules of magick are completely unexpected and not what I would have thought of as logical at all. It was quite brilliant.

Throughout all of this novel, I read a lot of the more humorous passages to my husband. There is just something great about the flow of his writing and the style that not only made me laugh… a lot. But can be shared with somebody who just doesn’t quite like reading and books as much as I do… there is just such a great sense of humour and wit that I wish I could impart into my own written word…

<- MortWyrd Sisters ->

Image source: Sir Terry Pratchett

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Overview
Why Not Me?: Kaling, Mindy: 9780804138161: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Why Not Me?
Author: Mindy Kaling
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Humour, Memoirs
Dates read: 18th – 31st December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ebury Press
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: MOM: Because it’s sad and even when it’s happy, it can be gruesome.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Mindy Kaling has found herself at a turning point and Why Not Me? is her ongoing journey to find fulfilment and adventure in her adult life, be it falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in unlikely places, or attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behaviour modification whatsoever.

Revealling her tongue-in-cheek solutions for guaranteed on-camera beauty, telling the story of being seduced then dumped by a female friend in LA, and spilling some secrets on her relationship with ex-boyfriend and close friend B.J. Novak, Mindy turns the anxieties and glamour of her second coming-of-age into this book, to which anyone can relate. (And, if they can’t, they can skip to the parts where she talks about Bradley Cooper.)

Thoughts

This memoir is pretty much the funniest book I’ve read this year. There is just something about the way that Mindy writes that had me laughing out loud. Multiple times my partner came into our bedroom to find out what was going on. And to tell me off for not actually going to sleep. But seriously… this was just so damn funny!

This was the very final book that I finished of 2019 and it was great to finish on such a high note. There is something fun, engaging and entertaining about the way that Mindy tells her story. And she’s got such a bubbly attitude to life. I did read one other memoir by a comedian this year (The Last Black Unicorn) which was also hilarious. But I think it is Mindy’s light-heartedness that really took this one over the line.

To top off the humour of the writing, there are lots of pictures throughout this. My favourite might be of Smegal. But you need to read the book to see why I was crying with laughter at that. Literally crying. And then my puppies and partner looked at me in slight fear… they thought I was going insane. Which might not be far off the bat, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

Mostly this is a great story abut Mindy’s life and career. How what you see is what you get, except when there’s a huge makeup team involved and just generally about loving life. Or at least, that’s what I get out of this. And I love that. So what a way to end the year, and bring on the new one!

 <- When Breathe Becomes AirThis is Going to Hurt ->

Image source: Entertainment Weekly

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Overview
Image result for book cover the last black unicorn

Title: The Last Black Unicorn
Author: Tiffany Haddish
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Memoirs, Race
Dates read: 7th – 13th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Gallery Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: So we started being serious and being together all the time.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“An inspiring story that manages to be painful, honest, shocking, bawdy and hilarious.” —The New York Times Book Review

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Thoughts

This might be the funniest, most ridiculous, and yet serious book I have read all year. Or maybe ever. It was intense, intriguing and made me have a whole new appreciation for some of the horrors that other people, and in particular, women are forced to endure. But there was also so much humour and hope, that it was incredibly difficult to get bogged down in the tales that, if anyone else wrote about them, would fill make me cry in the most horrible way ever.

To start with, this novel is just downright funny. The first two chapters allude to some of the more difficult aspects of Haddish’s life, but mostly they’re just really funny. High school days in which a smart arse found a way to fit in, mostly by pursuing a boy that really didn’t have much interest in her. But then it gets a little, alright, a lot more serious. She talks about abuse, death and the many, many bad situations that she found herself in throughout her life. But, it’s still tempered with humour. So that when I was telling my partner about this amazing book I was reading, he just stared at me in abject horror, wondering what the hell kind of book I’d found this time…

I didn’t realise until the last few chapters that Tiffany Haddish was the woman in Girls Trip. But when I did, I not only rushed to finish the book, but I also grabbed out my remote, flicked Netflix on and settled in for a great movie. Somehow, her role and character in this movie had way more meaning because I understood a little more of the very real shit she’d been through. Like The Last Black Unicorn, Girls Trip touched on some serious issues but with so much humour that it wasn’t until afterwards that you realised it wasn’t all just a good lark. Actually, writing this review, I’ve decided that I need to watch that movie again…

The Last Black Unicorn details a life that is full of hurdles and difficulties. But they’re not told with a sense of loss or woe. Rather, Haddish tells her tales with a great dose of humour, a dark sense of humour that I absolutely adored. It was a great reminder that you can overcome almost anything, if you can find a way to move on and not be bitter (alright, not always that simple, but Haddish gives me so much hope). I am now madly in love with this woman. This is just an amazing read for everyone. No matter what your literary tastes…

 <- Marley & MeLab Girl ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

God Clown by Carol Emshwiller

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: God Clown
Author: Carol Emshwiller
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Tricksters
Dates read: 24th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: I treat myself to more of his lemonade.

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Synopsis

You would think that God is a trickster and maybe a bit of a clown… and, if this short story is anything to go by… you’d be right.

Thoughts

I’ve sometimes wondered if the world is run by clowns. Or something similar. After all, nothing really makes sense, everything is random, and whoever in charge probably has a sick sense of humour. Very sick. Sadistic even. Which is why I like the idea of a story which is based on the idea of a God Clown.

The idea of a clown running the world is kind of scary. But it’s also kind of fun. I’m pretty sure that the clown I’m imagining is the same as the one in IT because that’s where my brain tends to go… but that also somehow works into the entire ideal perfectly. If not in a way that made me want to stay up all night watching Disney movies…

One image that strongly sticks with me after turning the last page of this story was the image of the God Clown on the side of a mountain. That he is eventually replaced. And every decision made is about balance and future wellbeing. It’s not vicious and its not kind. But, rather, everything has to be in perfect balance to keep the world turning…

 <- A Reversal of Fortune ReviewThe Other Labyrinth Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner

Overview
naked-city

Title: The Duke of Riverside
Author: Ellen Kushner
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, LGBTQI, Medieval fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 12th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Why would you want to go there with me?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

There’s a young man whose decided to come down to Riverside and find his death. What he doesn’t realise is that no one is going to end the life of an unarmed man. But what he finds instead is much, much better.

Thoughts

The wit and dry humour in this story had me chuckling a fair bit. There was something about a strange, lanky scholar who was desperate to be killed roaming the streets and just having absolutely no luck. It got even better when you found out that he was a duke and abhorrent to the rest of his family. The beauty, humour and irony in the story had me cackling more than I should probably admit if I still wanted people to consider me sane (which I don’t, so it’s fine).

Growing up, I never seemed to read many stories which featured LGBTQI characters. But as my reading tastes have grown, I’ve noticed that it’s a theme that shows up more and more frequently. Or it may just be that it’s a theme that is written about more frequently as our society changes. Regardless, it’s something that I always love in my stories. And the unexpected coupling of two men in this story took me completely by surprise. Partly because in the beginning I thought it would be a tale about Alec just being killed in some random, heinous way. And partly because it’s a medieval fantasy-esque story, and I tend to find that that’s not a relationship that is outwardly hinted at.

The final scene of this short story is one of those that is incredibly difficult to get out of your head. The entire time I’ve been writing this review, I have that great, final image struck into my brain. But, you really must read this story yourself to have that fine enjoyment.

 <- On the Slide ReviewOblivion by Calvin Klein Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

The Twits by Roald Dahl

Overview
Image result for the twits roald dahl book cover

Title: The Twits
Author: Roald Dahl
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Easy reading
Dates read: 16th June – 5th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 1980
5th sentence, 74th page: He was out of breath and so tired he could hardly flap his wings.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

How do you outwit a Twit? Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything — except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don’t just want out, they want revenge.

Thoughts

Growing up, my best friend and I decided that we were the “Twin Twits”. And I couldn’t for the life of me remember why and where this came from. Until I bought a box set of Roald Dahl books. And realised exactly why we used the word Twits. As an adult, I’m not entirely sure why we thought that was “cool”, but it meant that rereading this was a great, nostalgic journey down memory lane.

This is one of those fun, easy things that, as an adult you can read in under half an hour. It only took me a few days because I kept getting distracted by being… well, an adult. It’s funny and full of these quirky, lively illustrations. The storyline isn’t a difficult one, and actually really only comes into play about halfway through the novel. Mostly because the first half is just a series of funny little anecdotes about how horrible Mr and Mrs Twit are.

I can imagine keeping this book for years and reading it to my future nieces, nephews and maybe children. Teaching them all about the silliness of the Twits and the karma that followed their horrible actions. Sharing the fun pictures and laughing at the randomness of the activities.

<- Switch BitchTwo Fables ->

Image source: Amazon

How the Pooka Came to New York City by Delia Sherman

Overview
naked-city

Title: How the Pooka Came to New York City
Author: Delia Sherman
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Fae, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 4thy July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The shoat it belonged to squealed and bolted, leaving only four and their dam for the Pooka to fight.

Synopsis

The Pooka is a trickster of marsh and bog. So he’s not entirely sure why he’s in New York City, but maybe he should just make the best of his situation…

Thoughts

Most of the fae stories I read form some mentioning of the immigration of the Fair Folk to America in some way, shape or form. There’s always a mention of the industrial revolution and a discussion of how hard it was, even for these supernatural immigrants. But I’ve never read a story that actually takes place in this time. That talks about those first moments off the boat in a whole new world that is just as convoluted and confusing to the fae as it was to the humans. Until now. And I find that I kind of love it…

As with all of the other short stories I’ve read by Delia Sherman, there is a great level of wit and humour to this story. And a slight twist to it that made it so much more fun and more difficult to put down. But, mostly I loved the nature of the trickster and the weird juxtaposition of a man who is accompanied by a fae who is supposed to save him. When the fae is so iron sick that he can barely save himself…

I loved the vivid descriptiveness of this story. I felt like I was actually standing next to the Pooka as he discovered a new world. Trudging through a new reality that I didn’t understand or quite like… but one that had so much potential.

<- CursesOn the Slide ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

The Fairy Enterprise by Jeffrey Ford

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Fairy Enterprise
Author: Jeffrey Ford
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Fae, Gaslamp
Dates read: 28th June 2019
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: “Did you say fairies?”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

He wants to manufacture fairies and make a fortune. But when the wrong person hears about his plans, things will take a turn for the worse.

Thoughts

I really loved the industrialist spin of this story. The idea of taking the fae and mass producing them for some kind of gain. That in and of itself makes for an interesting story. The fact that someone with power finds out and seeks revenge on the perpetrator just makes it all that much better.

The story for this is a little convoluted and twisty, but I found that thoroughly enjoyable. Actually, the setting, the story-tale telling and the themes were all a little bit reminiscent of Jekyll & Hyde. There was an atmosphere of mystery, a sense of irony and a darkness about the tale that screamed Victorian England. Murders done in dark streets. And, eventually, wrongs being righted.

The Fairy Enterprise is a great short story that encompasses the needs and drives of industrialisation. It also helps to give a fantastical, fae spin to a story that is dark, twisty and more than a little fun.

 <- Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells Review From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire) Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Cat of the World by Michael Cadnum

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: Cat of the World
Author: Michael Cadnum
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Tricksters
Dates read: 28th June 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: While I first set paw upon sand in the Egypt of the Ancients, I have travelled the world.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

The cat is in the bag… literally. But this cat has some sharp teeth and his captors are about to face more than they bargained for.

Thoughts

Cats are tricky, difficult and irritating creatures. They always have been. They’re also kind of fun, but, mostly irritating and tricky. Which means that it makes perfect sense to have a feline creature in a collection of trickster stories. I also love that although it is a cat trickster with extra powers, it’s not quite god-like and not quite mortal… but a glorious, contrary mix of something in between.

This entire tale was quick, quirky and filled with the sassy language that I’m sure a cat would use, if he could talk. It was a lot of fun. And, considering I was reading it will feeling the after-effects of a migraine, it was a nice, easy, happy read. Although I’m not really a cat person, and am, in fact, allergic, I do love tales of these insane creatures. There is something so fun, capricious and contrary about the silly creatures. Something which speaks to me on a personal level.

Many tales of tricksters involve a wit defeating another wit. Yet, this wasn’t quite like that… the cat is kind of witty. The foes he went up against though… not so witty. Which of course, makes it even funnier and more enjoyable.

 <- Uncle Tompa ReviewHonored Guest Review ->
Image source: Amazon