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Five Best - Read 'Em and Laugh - My favorite comic novels.
Opinion Journal ^ | March 11, 2006 | ROGER KIMBALL

Posted on 03/11/2006 4:59:36 AM PST by Caipirabob

1. "Leave It to Psmith" by P.G. Wodehouse (Doran, 1924).

May I begin a survey of superb comic novels by offering the collected works of P.G. Wodehouse--100 volumes, give or take? No? Well, how about "Leave It to Psmith"? Everyone knows about Bertie and Jeeves. Allow me to introduce Rupert Psmith. The "P" is silent, he explains, "as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan." But the comedy is uproarious in this tale of an impecunious though impeccably turned out dandy who impersonates the modern poet Ralston McTodd--a scaly specimen--in order to cadge an invitation to Blandings Castle so that he can pursue the beautiful Eve Halliday. The plot is stuffed with improbable twists, farcical turns, breath-stopping complications and one of the greatest predawn flowerpot-throwing scenes in literature.

2. "Scoop" by Evelyn Waugh (Little, Brown, 1938).

"Scoop" is Waugh's funniest book and the best (and most savage) satire of newspaper journalism in English. William Boot is the retiring author of "Lush Places," a nature column in the Daily Beast, the brash flagship of Lord Copper's gargantuan publishing empire. He is not to be confused with John Courtney Boot, the ambitious novelist eager to get away from London and his girlfriend. A helpful friend, the mesmerizing Mrs. Stitch, invites Lord Copper to a lunch party, wraps him around her little finger and has everyone at the table regale him with the exploits of young Boot, "the Prime Minister's favorite writer." "Get Boot," Lord Copper commands, and his underlings buzz into action, producing the wrong Boot, of course, who is promptly outfitted and sent to the godforsaken African hot spot of Ishmaelia to cover the impending revolution. The rest is farce--or just journalism.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: comicnovels; culture; literature; reading
For your reading pleasure.
1 posted on 03/11/2006 4:59:40 AM PST by Caipirabob
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To: Caipirabob
"Leave it to Psmith" is side-achingly funny.

The best of all that is decent in the world, even being a bounder and a rascal!

My mind plays tricks on me - was that the one where the flowerpots are thrown through the window?

kind regards.
2 posted on 03/11/2006 5:02:46 AM PST by vimto ("Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton." King George III)
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To: vimto
Thanks for the post, I will have to check it out now. It sounds like a good list. I'll look on Amazon later today after we do the "family stuff".
3 posted on 03/11/2006 5:05:08 AM PST by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: vimto

"The best of all that is decent in the world." Very apt comment by Vimto. Wodehouse showed how to amuse without vulgarity. Sadly, the world of Wodehouse has been replaced by sitcoms.


4 posted on 03/11/2006 5:12:49 AM PST by Malesherbes
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To: Caipirabob
Good list. I would have to add two of my favorites that I read as a kid, Catch 22 and Mister Roberts. I still remember my dad coming into my bedroom and asking me what was so funny as I read Catch 22.

Now forget the movie Catch 22, it was awful and did not catch the spirit of the book at all. Mister Roberts was much better but still left out a lot, especially that part where the sailor gets a dose of the clap in the middle of nowhere and wants the doc to cure it. The doc can't believe that he wants to cure his "badge of courage". It is funny stuff but of course could not be included in the movie in those days.

5 posted on 03/11/2006 5:15:14 AM PST by mc5cents
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To: Caipirabob

Postmark to read later.


6 posted on 03/11/2006 5:16:02 AM PST by EmilyGeiger
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To: Caipirabob
Good list but I would have included Life With Father by Clarence Day a laugh out loud funny book.
7 posted on 03/11/2006 5:16:13 AM PST by ABN 505
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To: Caipirabob

I must say, Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, is one of the few novels that actually make me laugh out loud. I can heartily recommend it to anyone with a lingering case of the winter blues.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853753718/ref=ed_oe_h/104-3206993-5661558?%5Fencoding=UTF8


8 posted on 03/11/2006 5:21:11 AM PST by Eepsy
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To: Caipirabob

"Lucky Jim" bump!
And if you liked Kingsley Amis, I also recommend "The Alteration"


9 posted on 03/11/2006 5:38:30 AM PST by BlazingArizona
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To: mc5cents
I'm told the movie ran our of funds which accounts for its lack of cohesion. It did have some good set pieces. Having said that it was a daunting task to film Catch 22 which was more about messing with your head than visual storytelling.

kind regards.
10 posted on 03/11/2006 5:42:12 AM PST by vimto ("Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton." King George III)
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To: Caipirabob; Malesherbes
Yes, and the most English of all novels (Auberon Waugh excepted) it is worth noting that P.G Woodhouse lived and wrote the comic novels in the USA!

Kind regards,
11 posted on 03/11/2006 5:45:34 AM PST by vimto ("Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton." King George III)
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To: Caipirabob

Scoop is one of the funniest books out there! I haven't read it for years - thanks for reminding me of it.

A modern book I thought was very funny, although not quite as innocent, was "The Lecturer's Tale," by James Hynes. It is a satire on the pretensions of modern academic life and has some howlingly funny moments.


12 posted on 03/11/2006 5:47:57 AM PST by livius
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To: livius

I haven't read Scoop but if it's his funniest it must be hillarious.


13 posted on 03/11/2006 5:50:35 AM PST by bkepley
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To: Caipirabob

BUMP


14 posted on 03/11/2006 5:50:49 AM PST by kitkat
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To: Caipirabob

Bump


15 posted on 03/11/2006 5:52:16 AM PST by Dustbunny (Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. - Will Rogers)
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To: mc5cents

Any list that leaves out Catch 22 isn't worth its salt. I would add The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth (Doubleday 1967).


16 posted on 03/11/2006 5:54:55 AM PST by cloud8
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To: Caipirabob

I could never get into 'Scoop', but recommend 'Black Mischief' and 'Put Out More Flags'.


17 posted on 03/11/2006 5:59:47 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: Caipirabob
Another vote for Wodehouse here. I prefer the Blanding's Castle stories, but there all witty, kind and wise.

Keith Laumer's "Retief" science fiction series has much of Wodehouse' style of wit- to the dismay of diplomats everywhere.

"Don Quixote" belongs on any list of comic novels.

18 posted on 03/11/2006 6:11:51 AM PST by mrsmith
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To: Caipirabob
The first few Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels are laugh out loud funny.

I'm currently reading the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, some of the funniest stuff I've read in years. I particularly liked this passage from The Wee Free Men:

'Here, wee hag! Stannit ye still, right noo!'

She stared up.

A tiny blue man had poked his head up out of the snow on top of the hedge.

'There's a headless horseman after me!' she shouted.

'He'll no make it, hinny. Stand ye still! Look him in the eye!'

'He hasn't got any eyes!'

'Crivens! Are ye a hag or no'? Look him in the eyes he hasnae got!'

The blue man disappeared into the snow.

Tiffany turned round. The horseman was trotting under the trees now, the horse more certain as the ground levelled. He had a sword in his hand, and he was looking at her, with the eyes he didn't have. There was the breathy noise again, not good to hear.

The little men are watching me, she thought. I can't run. Granny Aching wouldn't have run from a thing with no head.

She folded her arms and glared.

The horseman stopped, as if puzzled, and then urged the horse forward.

A blue and red shape, larger than the other little men, dropped out of the trees. He landed on the horse's forehead, between its eyes, and grabbed an ear in both hands.

Tiffany heard the man shout: 'Here's a face full o' dandruff for ye, yer bogle, courtesy of Big Yan!' and then the man hit the horse between the eyes with his head.

To her amazement the horse staggered sideways.

'Aw right?' shouted the tiny fighter. 'Big toughie, is ye? Once more wi' feelin'!'

This time the horse danced uneasily the other way, and then its back legs slid from under it and it collapsed in the snow.

'Big toughie, is ye? Once more wi' feelin'!'  Words to live by! <g>

19 posted on 03/11/2006 6:14:30 AM PST by Phsstpok (There are lies, damned lies, statistics and presentation graphics, in descending order of truth)
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To: Caipirabob

VENUS ON THE HALFSHELL by Kilgore Trout.....


20 posted on 03/11/2006 6:23:19 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Caipirabob

Thanks, wonderful post. I've got to read it again, later.


21 posted on 03/11/2006 6:27:08 AM PST by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: Caipirabob

bookmark for later printing. Thanks for the pointer for good reading.


22 posted on 03/11/2006 6:38:28 AM PST by IrishCatholic (No local communist or socialist party chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing.)
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To: Malesherbes
Sadly, the world of Wodehouse has been replaced by sitcoms.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

23 posted on 03/11/2006 7:02:45 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: IrishCatholic

"Slouching Towards Kalamazoo," by Peter DeVries.


24 posted on 03/11/2006 7:04:04 AM PST by MoralSense
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To: Caipirabob

"They Shoot Canoes" .....Patrick McManus


25 posted on 03/11/2006 7:06:21 AM PST by showme_the_Glory (No more rhyming, and I mean it! ..Anybody got a peanut.....)
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To: Caipirabob

BTTT..


26 posted on 03/11/2006 7:15:27 AM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: Caipirabob

Three men and a Boat


27 posted on 03/11/2006 7:33:11 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: Caipirabob

Thanks for posting this article.
I look for reading material like this.
Rare is the fiction book published today that I can stomach.


28 posted on 03/11/2006 7:50:15 AM PST by krunkygirl
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To: Caipirabob

ANY Book by Patrick McManus.


29 posted on 03/11/2006 7:59:08 AM PST by FreedomFarmer (Push Me, Shove You - Oh, Yeah? Says Who? Push Me, Shove You -Oh, Yeah? Says Who?)
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To: FreedomFarmer

I have to go with Hunter S. Thompson's
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Cracked me up.Of course you needed to be there to really
understand.

"I didn't tell him about the MaNTA bats, I figured
he'd see them soon enough.
Don't worry kid, we're not like the ......others."


30 posted on 03/11/2006 11:03:03 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Caipirabob

Stop on by the FReeper Canteen tonight.
I will be posting many of these audio stories for your enjo0yment


31 posted on 03/27/2009 6:22:12 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Caipirabob

Stop on by the FReeper Canteen tonight.
I will be posting many of these audio stories By Patrick F MacManus for your enjoyment


32 posted on 03/27/2009 6:23:22 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: FreedomFarmer

See post #32


33 posted on 03/27/2009 6:24:41 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Caipirabob
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
34 posted on 03/27/2009 6:26:05 AM PDT by Petronski (For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden. -- Cdl. Stafford)
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To: Caipirabob
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Whoops: Walk in the Woods is non-fiction.

35 posted on 03/27/2009 6:26:36 AM PDT by Petronski (For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden. -- Cdl. Stafford)
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To: Petronski
Tom Sharp - "Riotous Assembly" and "Indecent Exposure"

He skewers the South Africans who aspire to be Englishmen.

36 posted on 03/27/2009 6:31:32 AM PDT by Lizavetta (Politicians: When they're not lying, they're stealing.)
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To: Caipirabob
To Say Nothing Of The Dog, Connie Willis. Science fiction, time travel, romantic comedy of manners/errors, and very much an homage to "Three Men in a Boat". Also, Connie Willis is the best science fiction author alive today.
37 posted on 03/27/2009 6:31:45 AM PDT by JenB
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To: Caipirabob

bfl


38 posted on 03/27/2009 6:37:17 AM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: mylife
Awesome! Thanks!
39 posted on 03/27/2009 7:20:50 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Caipirabob

Enjoy.
MacManus cracks me up.


40 posted on 03/27/2009 7:27:58 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Phsstpok
I tend to prefer the Granny Weatherwax/Nanny Ogg stories myself, although Rincewind runs a close second. First, if there's anybody chasing him.

(smile)

"Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four."

41 posted on 03/27/2009 7:49:02 AM PDT by Jonah Hex ("Never underestimate the hungover side of the Force.")
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