Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sixteen very funny books

Some staff members at Publishers Weekly their favorite funny books. The entry tagged by Oren Smilansky, editorial assistant:
Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

My grandpa of all people was the one who suggested I read this filthy novel. I was 18 and, like a lot of guys at that age, really into Bukowski. Based on that fact alone, he thought I might like Portnoy’s Complaint. Grandpa said it was one of the books he used to assign his high school English students, so I definitely wasn’t expecting the obsessive, hilarious, x-rated monologue I got when I started reading. Portnoy’s “complaints”—all shared with his psychotherapist, detailing his upbringing in a Jewish home in New Jersey as well as his sexual experiences – stood out to me as a stubborn and single-minded young male. I ripped right through the book and read passages aloud to nearly anyone who would listen. When I emailed Grandpa to thank him for the recommendation, and to tell him I was going to read Goodbye, Columbus next, he replied, “Glad I could be of service, but I don’t care for Roth’s other books.” I’m not certain that this is the funniest book I ever read—I think that award goes to Money by Martin Amis–but it was the first time I laughed out loud at something on every page.
Read about another book on the list.

Portnoy's Complaint is among David Denby's six favorite books and Matthew Pearl's top ten books inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

--Marshal Zeringue