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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

humor

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Author: Graeme Simsion

Ooh, ooh, ooh, a fabulous follow-up to "The Rosie Project". (& a perfect Valentine's Day read!!) Don and Rosie are starting new lives in New York. They have the challenges of new jobs and new friendships. Add to that a pregnancy and the fun of these two characters ensues. Don gets himself into laugh out loud, unpredictable situations (the park and the birthing class come to mind!). But there are also tough and sad encounters as each of them is navigating this new idea. They both love each other but have communication breakdowns because of how polar opposite their personalities are. And Rosie got pregnant without planning with Don, what was she thinking?! I love that Don's extreme stringent behaviors once again end up being helpful. I adore what they end up calling the baby and why. There is so much joy and gentleness and kindness of spirit in this book. The science is interesting, too. Well done!!

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Author: Graeme Simsion

For an entirely different kind of romance, read this book! Don Tillman, a professor of genetics with Aspberger's syndrome, is seeking out a life partner. In order to do this, he has created an application for the ideal life partner. (The application has a life of its own because Don changes the application as he sees which questions are working and which aren't.) His best friend, Gene, sends Rosie his way. Rosie is on a mission to discover who her father is. She enlists Gene's help to gather DNA from possible candidates and to check the subsequent DNA. (This is when we have a mystery on our hands.) As they work together they bond and find out that the meaning of love is not decisive. The expectations of what one wants in a mate can be overturned! The book is written from the perspective of Don and it is very, very funny! I could see this as a comedy. Gene, who is a womanizer, in an open marriage with Claudia, has a growth experience in the book, too. When Don discovers who Rosie's father is, it is perfect! This book is well set up, well written, and sensitive. It is a fast read and I just loved it! Thanks to Sue B. for recommending it to me!

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Author: Ann B. Ross

Fans of the Miss Julia series, and even those who have never read a Miss Julia book, will enjoy this a lot.  It's a great story and a cookbook all rolled into one.  Miss Julia, who says she doesn't like to interfere with anyone else's business, does exactly that.  She decides she simply must help Hazel Marie, who has baby twin daughters, and who cannot cook a lick.  While getting all her friends to donate recipes, plus demonstrate how to cook a dish at Hazel Marie's, she manages to create tons of havoc, even though she has a heart of gold and truly wants to help.  Thrown into the mix are Hazel Marie's husband (what is he really up to?), a self-proclaimed Pastor and Hazel's uncle, who moves himself into the already hectic household and treats everyone to his harsh words and criticisms.  I really enjoyed this book and hated to see it end.

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Author: Douglas Adams

The first book in Douglas Adams' five-book "trilogy" is a delight to read for anyone who appreciates satire and intricately crafted absurdist science fiction.  This introduction to the series begins the space-crossing adventures of Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian Astra, and Marvin the [chronically depressed] Android.

The thought-provoking hilarity of this novel is apparent from the beginning.  Arthur Dent of England awakes to find bulldozers about to demolish his house to make way for a highway bypass.  Minutes later, Arthur is rescued from a different calamity by his friend Ford Prefect, who reveals himself to be from a different planet.  As a journalist for an intergalactic travel guide, Ford knows how to hitch rides on spaceships, and does so seconds before Earth is vaporized to make way for a hyperspace bypass.  From there we meet the remaining cast of characters and follow them on a series of strange and silly adventures.

For me, this book was a quick read with an exciting page-turner ending.  Comical asides abound throughout the book, but most are not the "throwaway jokes" they first appear to be.  When reading Douglas Adams' works it is safe to assume that there are no coincidences, and what seems like an unimportant detail may be the punchline of a major plot line later.  There's no need to try making predictions, though... part of the fun is allowing the humor to "sneak up on you."

If you like to laugh and appreciate satire, then I recommend this particular escape from reality.

Life Up Nort'

Northern passages : feisty tales of
Author: Jerry Harju

This book is the third in the author's series about the adventures of living way up north, namely in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  As someone with relatives in the Keeweenaw Peninsula, I have visited the area many, many times and I found these stories quite accurate, and often hilarious.  In this book, Jerry takes us through his first day of school (how do you tell your mother you were kept after school in the very first day?), 4th of July celebrations, rural misadventures, Yooper traditions, and on down the line.  it's a very fun book to read and it will tickle your funny bone, and also touch you with its nostalgia.  A very enjoyable read.

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Author: Jess Riley

After receiving a kidney transplant Leigh questions whether some of her desires are being channeled thru her new kidney by reflecting the personality of the donor. No longer tied down by dialysis appointments, Leigh sets out on an "Unfinished Business" road trip from Wisconsin to California. The road trip is filled with adventure, mishaps and interesting characters. Jess Riley has a way of painting a place with her words so you are transported to the landscape at hand. Her writing is witty, sarcastic and brutally honest. Riley is a resident of Oshkosh and Driving Sideways is laced with Wisconsin references that make the book all the more enjoyable.

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Author: Bill Bryson

I always love to read anything by Bill Bryson and this was no exception.  In this book, Bill takes an often hilarious journey throughout vast Australia.  He vividly describes the sometimes desolate landscape, and repeats many times that Australia has more ways to kill a person (and in a horrific way) than any other place on the planet.  His close encounters with some of these deadly creatures were told in a very funny way, although I'm sure he wasn't laughing at the time.  Bill also does a lot of research into the history of Australia, many of which is unknown to most of us in the US, not to mention the rest of the world.  For example, back in the 1960's Australia lost a Prime Minister.  He walked into the water and was never seen again.  It never even made the news here.  Imagine a U.S. President going out for a swim and disappearing forever and then that not making the news.  It is nearly 100% a probability that the PM was attacked, and devoured, by any number of venemous beings in Australian waters.  When Bill asks a local about swimming and whether he should worry about sharks, the local tells him not to worry, that the last attack was a very long time ago (2 whole months).

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Quite Funny!

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Author: Jenny McCarthy

Star Jenny McCarthy bares all (pun intended) in this amusing book.  Whether or not you were raised Catholic, you can relate to her escapades, most of which cause great embarrassment to her mother, not the least of which was her appearance in Playboy.  After she receives a phone call from a male relative who reads her the riot act for disgracing the family by doing this (but who never explains why he was reading the magazine in the first place), Jenny decides to go all the way and try for Playmate of the Year.  She succeeds.  It is an enjoyable book, one that will make you laugh out loud.  Jenny was a wild child who grew up to become a famous actress, and as such, I knew of her reputation, so I wasn't surprised by the antics she describes in this book.  It was a very lighthearted and fun book to read.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Stupidest Angel

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Author: Christopher Moore

Are you weary of all the tireless holiday cheer? Does the thought of one more caroler have you reaching for the Pepto? If you answered yes to either of these questions then The Stupidest Angel might be the story for you.

Pine Cove is a small California town filled with eccentricity, and those eccentricities certainly do shine during the holidays. The story is impossible to sum up but let’s just shoot through the highlights. Santa is nearly decapitated by a shovel. A stoner constable tries to find the killer while keeping tabs on his B-movie actress wife who has taken to thinking she is an Amazonian warrior goddess. The dead are rising from the grave and the stupidest angel is going about trying to find the right child to grant a Christmas miracle to.

If you can suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride The Stupidest Angel is a lot of fun. It starts off fast and absurd and neither the pace nor the absurdity let up through the book. I would highly recommend this “holiday” read to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, or anyone who enjoys a dose of the absurd in their reading.

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Author: Adriana Trigiani

This book takes up where 'Very Valentine' left off. (Read 'Very Valentine' first). The book begins with Valentine's grandmother getting married in Italy. When Valentine returns to New York she is making new plans for her custom shoe business with the help of her friends, Gabriel and Bret, her brother Alfred, and her grandmother's colleague, June. June takes on a larger role in this book. We love her spunk and wisdom and her ability to be accepting. Valentine is grappling with her feelings about her short lived romance in Italy with Gianluca. And she unearths a family secret that takes her to Buenos Aires to meet a long lost cousin,Roberta, who is also in the shoe making business! The role of family is still integral in this book. Valentine witnesses several different marriages in her life and is deciphering what she would like for her own future. This soap opera was fun to listen to and I can't wait for the third in the series to tie it all up! (Ciao, Valentine)