olychick2

Happy Reads!

Olychick
last month

Runninginplace had an idea for us to share books we've read that made us happy (or uplifted, or feel good). I suggested we start a separate thread so we could keep them all together in a thread that will span month to month (not start a new one each month, but revive this one). So please post what you've read that was a Happy Read for you.

I always default to funny, so these are a few that made me laugh (and happy).

1. The Whole Town is Talking by Fanny Flagg. I've written here before how I was a bit snobbish at the idea of reading a Fanny Flagg book, but spanked myself for that attitude after it turned out that I LOVED this book.

2. The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander.

3. The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

Comments (56)

  • nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10
    last month

    Also from earlier 20th century are the Jeeves stories by P. G. Wodehouse -- Carry On, Jeeves is a collection of the earliest stories.

    Olychick thanked nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10
  • ci_lantro
    last month

    The Black Marble by Joseph Wambaugh is the funniest book that I have ever read. Parts of it are Laugh Out Loud funny.

    Olychick thanked ci_lantro
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  • praha
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Gone With The Windsors, by Laurie Graham. Very well-done gentle satire by the imaginary best friend of Wallace Warfield Simpson, aka the Duchess of Windsor. Naive best friend is always there for the Duchess, who schemes and plots her way through British society.

    Graham also wrote The Importance of Being Kennedy, "a bittersweet comedy about America's Royal Family". The author is never mean, even as she zeros in on the formation of this dynasty up to and through World War 2. Told from the viewpoint of a Kennedy nanny.

    Sable

    Olychick thanked praha
  • Janie
    last month

    Anything by Dorothea Benton Frank. https://www.dotfrank.com/

    I first read Queen Bee and knew I had found a special author! I went on to read 4 more of her books and each one was a winner in my opinion. Sadly she passed away in 2019 at the tender age of 67 but I will eventually read all of her books and be sorry that there won't be any more.

    Olychick thanked Janie
  • stacey_mb
    last month

    Nancy, P.G. Wodehouse is one of my favorite writers, in fact, I can't read his books any more because I have read them so often that I have almost memorized them! There are so many lines in his books that are absolutely quotable. He is a master humorist whose gentle writings of events and individuals are far removed from the world we all inhabit, yet close enough that we can appreciate them.

    Olychick thanked stacey_mb
  • stacey_mb
    last month

    Enslaved by ducks / by Bob Tarte. Bob Tarte, who wrote a music
    column, was recently married and new property owner in the country. His wife
    Linda was an animal lover and talked him into acquiring just one pet, a rabbit
    named Binky, who was no trouble to care for, so he was assured. Binky took over
    their lives with his “demands,” but when he died, Bob and Linda were bereft.
    They gradually acquired more and more animals until their lives were completely
    taken over by the demands of their eccentric menagerie.

    I really loved this funny and true story about this Michigan couple
    for the lively and affectionate way in which the author describes how
    they acquired the animals and how their lives were changed with their
    new acquisitions.

    Olychick thanked stacey_mb
  • norar_il
    last month

    Miss Buncle's Book by DE Stevenson. If you like English village books, this one is a delight. A "spinster" writes a book, using the residents of the village as characters. When they figure out they are portrayed in not so nice way, the town goes nuts trying to figure who the author is. I suggested this for our book group and everyone really liked it -- most went on to read the other two books about Miss Buncle.

    BTW I love Lucia and Miss Mapp. Georgie is the friend we all should have.

    Olychick thanked norar_il
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    I've mentioned these before. If you are looking for gentle books that are like a mental vacation, check out the David Grayson books...available for free from project gutenberg. Adventures in Contentment. Adventures in Friendship. They are sweet countryside tales.

    Olychick thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • nekotish
    last month

    Certainly not a book, but this guy makes me laugh until I cry!


    David Thorne

    Olychick thanked nekotish
  • salonva
    last month

    1-I don't know how I stumbled on the Mapp and Lucia books about 20 years ago or so but I was beside myself with enjoyment reading them. Highly recommend.

    2-Another great series is the Miss Read Village School and a bunch of others.

    3- Someone recently mentioned Enchanted April, another delight.


    Olychick thanked salonva
  • Moxie
    last month

    Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene. A rather dull, retired bank manager meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta at his mother's funeral. Travels with the unconventional Augusta broaden his experience of the world.

    Six of One by Rita Mae Brown. Hillarious. Aspects of several of the characters remind me of women in my mother's family.

    Olychick thanked Moxie
  • bpath
    last month

    Salon, I so enjoy the Miss Read books! Nothing “happens“, but they are a charming and amusing escape.

    Olychick thanked bpath
  • nutsaboutplants
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I’m sure I’m forgetting many books that fit the criterion, but here are a few from recent memory:

    Enchanted April

    Nothing to See Here

    Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

    Olychick thanked nutsaboutplants
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    One of my favorites as funny and moving and touching was Billy Crystal's Still Foolin' 'em. I recommend it as an audio book as he narrates and in between they splice in some of his stand up routines.

    Olychick thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • boatnerd
    last month

    Anything by Carl Hiassen, a south Florida writer whose novels skillfully, and hilariously, skewer Florida based politicians and other scoundrels while illustrating all that Florida has lost due to humankind’s greed, carelessness and disinterest in the world around them.

    Olychick thanked boatnerd
  • nickel_kg
    last month

    norar_il, if I'd read your post last night I would have saved an hour google-searching for Miss Buncle this morning! I've read it and a few other DE Stevenson books, they are kind and gentle without being saccharine.

    I suggest author T. Kingfisher, if you want a well written, faster paced, highly imaginative adventure that leaves you happy. Nine Goblins, Minor Mage, and The Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking are among my favorites. Suitable for young teens but fun for anyone.

    Gardening makes me happy -- I enjoy Vita Sackville-West's and Beverly Nichol's writings about plants.

    Olychick thanked nickel_kg
  • Yayagal
    last month

    All Fanny Flagg's books are wonderful. She's very creative. I passed mine to so many people and now I have NONE hahahahaha. I really don't care.

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  • stacey_mb
    last month

    I've read only one of Carl Hiassen's books, Skinny Dip, and I thought it was very funny. A couple is on a cruise and the husband tosses his wife overboard. She survives and much hilarity ensues as he gets his comeuppance. I read the book while on a cruise with DH and fortunately managed to stay out of the ocean! lol!

    Olychick thanked stacey_mb
  • sjerin
    last month

    I'm so happy to see this post! These days especially, I can't do anything other than happy/funny reads. Thank you.

    I've read the D.E. Stevenson books several times each over the years; usually I hate to reread a book. I find them most soothing and wish there were more. Ditto Miss Read books, which many would find silly, I believe. I loved 'em.

    Olychick thanked sjerin
  • whistle_b
    last month

    Any of the Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross. It's probably best to read them in order. I have absolutely loved every one. They are classic southern comic novels!

    Olychick thanked whistle_b
  • Janie
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Whistle - I adore Miss Julia stories LOL - my friend got me hooked with the first Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind. I had put off reading it for such a long time thinking it was just not my style but I was so wrong - i am still laughing over Hazel Marie Puckett coming to her door!

    I posted above - - you should try some Dorothea Benton Frank.

    Olychick thanked Janie
  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month
    last modified: last month

    When looking for something entertaining and funny, I turn to books written by Donald E Westlake. Silly crime fiction at its best.

    I tried two different books by Carl Hiassen and couldn't make it to the halfway point in either.

    Maybe his work is an acquired taste, I didn't like the stories and didn't find him to be particularly funny.

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  • juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl
    last month

    Watermelon by Marian Keyes and Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella are two books that caused me to unexpectedly burst out with a chuckle as I read. The Other Side of the Story, another by Keyes, also produced some funny lines.

    Olychick thanked juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl
  • whistle_b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks, Janie. I have read many of Dorothea Benton Frank's books. So sad that she died last year, entirely too young.

    I also tried Carl Hiassen and couldn't get into them.

    Just thought of another, The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore. Laugh out loud funny but some very good themes. Our book club read it and all enjoyed it. It's not often my club is in 100% agreement.

    Olychick thanked whistle_b
  • runninginplace
    last month

    I'm loving this treasure trove of happy books! Here are a couple that made me laugh:


    A Confederacy of Dunces - I really need to read this again. Ignatius Reilly is IMO one of the most amazing and hilarious characters ever created. Pulitzer quality indeed! Sample quote:


    “In addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”


    The Rosie Project- Another hilarious and also very touching story, proving that nerds have tender hearts no matter what comes out of their mouths!







  • jkayd_il5
    last month

    Several years ago when I first got my Kindle I read a book called "Three Moons over Sedona" It was a fun read so I read it again a couple years ago. I read so many books that if I can remember a book and want to read it again says something.

    Olychick thanked jkayd_il5
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    A very funny book from way back was Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson....along the lines of Please Don't Eat the Daisies, it was about raising her children.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    That reminded me of another pleasant book I read years ago: Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock and Finding Myself on a Farm.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    Also a cute read: The Thing About Jane Spring. A woman successful in business, but not so much in her love life, so she decides to change by modeling herself after Doris Day.

  • runninginplace
    last month

    I thought of another couple of series that are very funny, especially for dog lovers.


    The Andy Carpenter books feature a semi-retired lawyer who loves dogs and who solves various murder mysteries along with a cast of friends and family. There are some dark elements but the books always make me literally LOL many times.


    Also featuring a lovable dog, the Chet and Bernie series is absolutely wonderful. These are narrated by Chet, the dog, and his canine interpretation of life is hysterically funny. Again the genre is PI/mystery so there are some violent encounters with and by the bad guys but these books make me smile and sometimes get a bit misty about the warmth between owner and pet.

  • bragu_DSM 5
    last month

    crime and punishment


    it was both

  • martinca_gw sunset zone 24
    last month

    Olychick, I’m sort of liking The Whole Town is Talking by Fanny Flagg. It is a lovely , nostalgic tale of long ago. For me, at this time of Covid, and being a bit over, ahem, middle-age, I’m finding the cemetery a gloomy reminder. of the inevitable, though it’s meant to convey sweetness, it just isn’t working for me.

    It’s been years, but I remember everyone absolutely loving Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns. This is a wonderful topic!

    Olychick thanked martinca_gw sunset zone 24
  • Olychick
    Original Author
    last month

    martinca - I guess I loved the humanity of it all, the humor, and the afterlife aspect with a twist - I also loved reading how a town is born and goes through changes based on the people who live and die there. It wasn't a heavy facing mortality book for me at all, but of course we are all different. Maybe if I read it the first time after Covid, I would feel differently about it. I was reading Island of the Sea Women and absolutely loving it when it started getting dark and I just couldn't continue because of the things going on in the world at the time, so I understand.

  • bbstx
    last month

    Houzz just ate my post! ARRGGHH! Comments on books recommended upthread:


    - I love Carl Hiassen but I trip over the pronunciation of his last name. His books are especially good to listen to while on a boring drive.


    - Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder series was one of my favorites. Regretfully, I think I’ve read them all.


    - Love David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series. There is a new one coming out next month!


    - After a particularly torturous trip up a mountain in Italy, my sister and DBIL were given tiny cups of Fernet Branca by their guide. She told them that when she was small, her grandmother always dosed her and the other children with Fernet Branca to settle their tummies. I’ve downloaded the book!


    - I tried reading Three Men in a Boat once. I couldn’t get past the first couple of pages.


    @bragu_DSM 5, you crack me up!


  • nutsaboutplants
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sara mentioned Three Men in a Boat. I love that and other Jerome K. Jerome books like Three Men on the Bummel.


    Love Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives. I didn’t care for the recent TV shows based on his Corfu trilogy which introduced a lot of melodrama and sentimentality . His writing was pure fun, no melodrama.

  • olychick
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I thought of another feel good book that I, and probably many others here read recently - The Story of Arthur Trulove. If you haven't, give it a try. Lovely little story!

  • salonva
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Ooh yes - I too love Three Men in a Boat, and The Story of Arthur Trulove was one of the sweetest books ever. I remember recommending it to so many people. The only thing was I remember crying and crying while reading it but I guess it was still a very uplifting book.

    I think I tried to find the Miss Buncle

    books a while ago and they are not available on kindle from my library. I may break down and try to read the hardcover books. I remember that name and thought I might have read it but I can't remember.

    Another series I remember reading a few years ago, having never read in childhood is the Anne of Green Gables. It was a wonderful escape.

  • olychick
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Salonva, same for me with Anne of Green Gables. I never read it, nor think I ever heard of it until I was in my 60's and I loved it so much. Have you watched Anne With an E - the series based on that character? So wonderful!

  • salonva
    last month

    Oly, I have not seen that series. ( I always chuckle though when I spell Anne I always remember it's Anne with an E!).

    I just edited my post because somehow the name of the books I was trying to find- Miss Buncle. I don't know how it got deleted but now maybe I make a touch more sense!!

  • nutsaboutplants
    last month

    Oly, I recently watched Anne with an E. Loved it. Salon, I think you’ll enjoy it.

  • Rusty
    last month

    "All Things Bright and Beautiful" series by James Herriot.

    The Mitford series by Jan Karon (sorry, I don't remember exact titles right now).

    Anything by Dorothea Benton Frank.

    Anything by Richard Paul Evans.

    They are probably not the ha-ha kind of funny I first thought you were asking for here, but they are all very warm, tender, heart-warming books. And both the James Herriot series and the Jan Karon series do have some laugh out loud moments.

  • olychick
    last month

    Rusty, there isn't any particular criteria, other than happy reads. Funny is good, or books that made you happy when you read them, or happy themed books or ?? I guess just anything to take our minds off the world right now, in a good way!

  • SEA SEA
    last month

    "Funny in Farsi" by Firoozeh Dumas. Her other book "Laughing without an Accent" was cheerful too.

    I had belly laughs reading Funny in Farsi. I re-read it from time to time when I want a light hearted read and a throw-back to less complicated times, which is not really that long ago, sadly.

    Like mentioned upthread, anything by Erma Bombeck. She was hilarious. I always end up laughing so hard tears come with her books, she's that funny. rip

    A surprise one for me was "The Descendants". I felt like I was reading a pre-screenplay at the time, and sure enough the book was soon made into a movie. However, I was not expecting to LOL so many times during a heavy subject matter book. We might call it a dark comedy. I'll have to read it again sometime to see if I still feel that way. Life was heavy at the time I read it, so perhaps reading Crime and Punishment would have felt like an escape too. This book works its way through forgiveness; a timely topic. A bit long in some parts though.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    25 days ago

    I wanted to mention that if you haven't read any Paul Gallico, you might want to check him out. A number of his books have been made into movies, including Thomasina, The Cat Who Thought She Was God which became a disney movie, the Poseidon Adventure and the Snow Goose. He did a series of fun books on Mrs. 'arris with Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris. But perhaps my favorite of those I read was Love of Seven Dolls.


  • bbstx
    25 days ago

    @salonva, It is so odd. I have access to two different library systems. Both use Overdrive. One system has the Miss Buncle books; the other doesn’t. You can buy it from Amazon for Kindle.


    I loved Miss Buncle’s Book. I’m on the waiting list for the next Miss Buncle book. I was surprised that there was a waiting list. Maybe happy books are having a heyday!


    I tried reading the Fernet Branca book. I think it may have been better as an audiobook. I’m sure I was reading a lot of sarcasm, but I wasn’t “hearing” the sarcasm. I probably didn’t give it a fair shake, but I just didn’t feel like slogging through it until I caught the voice of the author.

  • runninginplace
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    I'm reading a delightful murder mystery right now, as oxymoronic as that may sound. The Thursday Murder Club is set in an upscale British retirement community and stars a team of elderly, smart folks who keep their wits sharp by trying to help solve cases, whether they are asked to or not LOL. When a very bad guy meets a very bad end they get to work to figure out whodunnit and hilarity ensures. This is our October book club choice and the recommender specifically said it would be a spot of light in a dark time-she was right!

    It reminds me a bit of a less outlandish Carl Hiassen story. There are no crazy Florida creatures or wild plot points, just lots of gentle humor and a very nice subplot about continuing to feel useful and engaged in society even as one ages and becomes invisible to the world.

    Highly recommend this one and will probably cut/paste to the October WAWR topic.

  • salonva
    2 days ago

    Well I guess I never reported back here and it's definitely been a while and this thread needs some more activity--- I did get Miss Buncle in e format and thoroughly enjoyed it. Delightful and cute and just a welcome diversion. I was able to get the next 2 in the series in eformat and have saved them for when I need them.:))

  • stacey_mb
    2 days ago

    As a respite from some grim reading, I am reading one of my favorite humor writers - Dave Barry - Dave Barry Talks Back. His writing has unexpected turns of language and exaggerations making him one of the best humorists ever!

  • hooked123
    2 days ago

    I enjoy all of Lisa See's books. I especially like China Dolls, and Shanghai Girls. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was also very good.

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