If an author’s book makes me laugh, then there is a 99.9% chance that I am going to love the book because I love to laugh. I seek out books or movies that have a good probability of doing that. And why not? It is a win-win situation. Read a book that makes you laugh and you relieve stress and depression. You improve your immune system and your digestion. But most of all, laughing just makes us feel GOOD. But why read about it? Watch the video to experience it. Feel better now?
The caveat is finding authors that write the humor I find funny. Have you ever gone to a comedy club where everyone is howling with laughter while you sit there stone faced, or a co-worker tells a joke and you are thinking, “This is not funny.” If so, then join the club, because that is me. It is not that I am oblivious to a supposedly funny scene. I recognize immediately any scene that appears written to be cute or funny — except that humor can be very subjective and not all of these scenes are funny to me.
There are very few authors that can make me laugh out loud immediately. Susan Elizabeth Phillips did it in It Had To Be You, but honestly that is uncommon. However, if I spontaneously smile in the first chapter then I make the assumption that the author and I share the same sense of humor and hope for more. You notice I said first chapter. I recently read Second Guessing Fate by Claire Robyns and in the very beginning the author used the expression “my biological clock is spinning, Helly, it is spinning down like a bloody stopwatch on Viagra.” Now I think of Viagra as, let’s say, a firming drug or even a blood pressure drug, so I didn’t immediately figure out that the author meant that Viagra only lasts so long until it stops. The opening scene in Don’t Mess with Texas by Christie Craig, where the heroine runs into her ex-husband, didn’t grab me, but by the time I reached the scene below, the author had my interest. Later I laughed all the way through both books.
The thing about humor is that there is no right or wrong answer. We all have different tastes. Personally I thought the apology in the form of the film clip hilarious in What I Did For Love, which actually surprised me, since dark humor is hit and miss with me with the exception of the Far Side by Gary Larson.
I have taken a scene from three books recently reviewed here at AAR. While I am not saying that the scenes are the best in the first chapter, I think they do indicate the variance in types of humor.
Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis
(Hero has just charmed a little kitten)
“Yeah, there you go,” he said quietly. “Lifting his head, he flashed a grin at Jade. “If only your species were as easy.”
“We both know that for you they are.” She shook her head. And that should be illegal.”
“What?” He asked innocently. “Sweet-talking a p—“
“If you say pussy,” she warned. I’ll make sure that tomorrow you’ll be up to your eyeballs in vaccines and well puppy checkups from sun up until sun down.
“I like puppies.”
“Scratch the puppies. Did I say puppies? I meant anal gland expressing. I’ll find every large animal in Sunshine who needs it done and book them, just for you.”
Don’t Mess with Texas by Christie Craig
Dallas O’Connor walked into the building that housed both his business and apartment. Stopping just inside the doorway, he waited. Five seconds. Ten. When Bud didn’t greet him, Dallas looked over at the coffin against the nearby wall. Someone had opened the dang thing again.
“He growled low in his throat, “Get out of there.”
One soulful second later, Bud—short for “Budweiser” – raised his head from inside the coffin and rested his hanging jowls on the edge of the polished wooden box. The pain of being chastised flashed in his huge bug eyes. Bud, an English bulldog, hated being chastised.
Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl
“Happy Wednesday, ladies.”
Gwen grinned. “Don’t you mean happy hump day?”
Aw, come on, Gwen. I’m a nice boy. You should be ashamed of yourself?
“I’d like to be. Wanna help?”
For a split second, Olivia thought Gwen had gone too far. She’d offended this man. He was just doing his job. Olivia touched Gwen’s arm, trying to prompt her to apologize, but suddenly his face cracked, and he burst into loud laughter.
“Good one, “he chuckled. “You been saving that up for me?”
Any of the scenes make you smile? Make you want to buy the book?
So how do you find the authors that give you the belly laughs? I rely heavily on authors that have a proven track record with me, like Rachel Gibson, Julie James, Robin Kaye, Jill Mansell, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. So who are your go-to authors for great laughs?
I am hoping that I will discover new books and new authors from your input. I definitely know that a few of you keep a humor rating for all the books that you read. What is the last book that had you laughing out loud like the baby in the video? Do you actively seek out these types of books?
– Leigh Davis