Thursday, May 20, 2010

In need of a laugh?

Sometime last week, I hit my breaking point.  Occasionally, I get so immersed in the books I'm reading that it takes me a while to realize the impact it has on my mood.  Apparently (according to certain members of my household who shall remain nameless) reading a slew of bleak, melancholy, somewhat depressing books can make me a bit moody.  (Incidentally, if you happen to check out Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter do not believe the hype on the back when a reviewer claims you'll laugh out loud.  Aside from characters that are hard to connect with, a story about a tortured first love in the midst of both murder and the accidental death of a sibling isn't really, you know...funny.  Also, Happy Now?, a really good book about a woman coming to terms with her husband's Valentine's Day suicide, while classified as "humorous fiction" wasn't really so much of a laugh riot, either.  Just FYI.)

So, in my own personal time-honored tradition of pulling out of a funk, I've turned in the past week to books on the lighter side.  I started with Love: A User's Guide, a very (very) fluffy bit of chick lit about a fashion assistant at Vogue who is romantically involved with an up-and-coming movie star.  Still, it wasn't quite substantive enough to pull me out of my funk, so I turned to a new release, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather.  Like author Alexandra Potter's last book, Me and Mr. Darcy, The Two Lives... was a well-written story with interesting, well-developed characters, told with humor and insight.  I really enjoyed it, but, still, it wasn't quite what I needed.

What finally worked for me?  Well, it was, believe it or not, a non-fiction book.  About science.  And animals.  These are usually not subjects that inspire me to read, let alone laugh.  However, when a fellow staff member pointed out a book title, Fish that Fake Orgasms: and other zoological curiousities, the title alone made me laugh, so I knew I had to give it a try.  Because of this book, not only did I break out of my literary funk, I have also gathered a bevy of new nuggets to start (or end) conversation at my next dinner party.  Want to know how geckos behave in zero-gravity? Or which animal has a heart that glows green?  Check it'll get a laugh and become smarter in one fell swoop.

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