Mirth of a Nation
is a collection of short humor pieces compiled by the Thurber House, which is a very dry way of describing a very funny book. Mirth
is, at long last, a truly perfect humor-browser's read, for everything--everything
--is presented with a wry wink. The book opens with Dave Eggers's guidelines for submitting work to the Thurber House ("Before undertaking the typing, straightening, and mailing of your submission, please do us the small favor of washing your hands. Please.") and closes with Al Franken's refreshingly mean-spirited index ("Luntz, Frank, likelihood of his immediately turning to index and looking up his name, 48"). In between is a hilarious collection of both new and previously published pieces. Targets range from contemporary issues (Chris Harris, tackling the UFO phenomenon in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Little Green Men": "If their object is stealth, why must they employ colored, blinking lights on the outside of their spacecraft? Is it alien Christmastime?") to the biblical, as in Ian Frazier's marvelous "Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Principles; Lamentations of the Father" ("Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.") The book is so funny, in fact, that it would be a pity to give away any more punch lines. Grab a copy and see for yourself. --Ali Davis
From Publishers Weekly
The audio medium is probably the best way to absorb this collection of comic pieces written by American humorists. The vignettes, which range from the hokey to the truly jocular, receive the royal treatment by seasoned actors Roberts and Essman. Other performers, notably Plimpton and Rakoff, add spunk and pizzazz to what might otherwise be dry, vaguely spirited essays. Rakoff gives a cynical and hilarious performance of his own "All Happy Families...," about a neurotic dude whose New Year's resolution is to explore "more natural avenues to happiness" (e.g., by eating four packages a day of Robert's American Gourmet Gingko Biloba Rings). Essman's reading of Carina Chocano's "The Self-Help Hot Line" is appropriately saccharine, while Roberts's delivery of Bruce McCall's "Who Wants to Keep His Job" is matter-of-fact. All the pieces were anthologized in either Mirth of a Nation and More Mirth of a Nation, and some originally appeared in the New York Times magazine, Tropic magazine, Salon.com, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, the New Yorker and other publications. While some tracks are bound to be replayed for friends more than others, this is overall a valuable and well-performed collection.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.