Luckily for this post, The Blue Bookcase's Literary Blog Hop offers a follow up question: What is your favorite humorous literary book?
Every year I have the great good fortune to teach A Midsummer Night's Dream, and every year as my students and I take on the roles of Bottom & Quince, Helena & Hermia, Lysander & Demetrius, we laugh ourselves silly. Of course, Shakespeare's greatest comedy is meant to be played, and it's in the playing that this piece of literature leaps off the page and into our hearts, cadging smiles at every turn.
But then so many other stellar comic works leap up to tickle my fancy... So I'll focus here on a few good current runners-up. (And I also must note that my list below offers ample evidence of my taste for social satire and darkly comic works.)
* I'll sample anything by T.C. Boyle, whose short fiction almost always takes a darkly comic turn.
* And Margaret Atwood's among my favorite authors: She's also a master of the scathing social satire, offering up the darker side of human nature lightened by the regular ironic chuckle. And her "The Female Body" is among the most darkly, trenchantly hilarious of the myriad literary essays I've ever read.
* Also of note: Salman Rushdie, a master of both the tragic and the comic (and the tragicomic) yarn. Not to mention children's fiction that wraps laugh-out-loud word-play around rich allegory: If you haven't read his Haroun & The Sea of Stories, I highly recommend it. Its sequel, Luka & The Fire of Life, just came out, and I'm looking forward to that one too.
* And how about Matt Haig's The Dead Fathers Club? The better you know Hamlet, the more creepily hilarious this tale of a modern day 11-year-old with a princely problem gets...
And that's just a few minutes' worth of musing on this worthy topic from The Blue Bookcase's literary blog hop today. I'll keep adding over the next three days of the tour, but do give me a literary leg up, please:
Frankly, I'm seriously in need of a (new) good laugh: Which literary-comic masterworks would you suggest?