- Straight Man by Richard Russo (writer of Pulitzer Prize winning Empire Falls) was just hilarious. I plugged in all the characters from the Mash TV series and it came to life for me. I read before I go to sleep...and it generally makes me sleep better. This book made me laugh so hard I could not sleep!!! Turn off the TV and your cell phone because you won't hear them anyway.
- Milagro Beanfield War written by John Treadwell Nichols is one of the funniest books you will ever read. The book was published in 1974 and tells the story of local farmers and their struggle against a conservancy set up to control the building of the Indian Camp Dam in New Mexico and the use of the water from the dam. The dam is located near Taos, New Mexico. As a result of the push to get the dam built and find a way to pay for it's construction, the farmers and residents living in the district were asked to pay for construction and maintenance by the state of New Mexico. It turned out that the business community wanted the dam but those people that would pay for it didn't. Nichol's book brings the struggle down to the effect the formation of the Rancho del Rio Conservancy District had and how a few farmers and the people in a small community in central NM reacted. The war began when a farmer decided to plant a crop of beans and water them from the canal without paying for its use. I have been told by people from that part of the country that Espanola, NM was that little town. This might be the funniest and saddest book I have ever read. The quote below is from a college paper written about the book and how it related to reality.
Initially, farmers -- the majority of whom where Mexican American -- supported the construction of the Indian Camp Dam, but after learning the financial details of the plan they refused to support it. Their complaints focused on the proposed Rancho del Rio Conservancy District, empowered by the state of New Mexico to impose taxes on residents living within the district's boundaries. Farmers soon learned the proposed conservancy district required them to pay for a portion of the construction costs and one-half of the maintenance expenses for the dam. (link: Colorado.edu)
- Accidental Tourist written by Anne Tyler make me laugh and cry. Tyler is one of the few authors I know that can take a very sad subject and let us see the humor. In this particular book she tells the story of a man that lost his only son in an accident. Human's are very interesting animals and she wrote this story with a gentle eye to the fragile human. She also managed to keep a wonderful sense of the ridiculous when she tell about the situations that those fragile humans will be sucked into. It is much like laughing at funeral. Accidental Tourist just happens to be the first of her books I read. Incidentally she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize with this book.