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Product Details

  • Series: James Thurber Book of American Humor (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060953225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060953225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,333,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Regular readers of the New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs page and the Modern Humorist will likely have already digested some of the fare in this biennial collection of humor pieces, nearly all of which have been published elsewhere. Though big names like Steve Martin and Bruce McCall are trumpeted on the cover, the real treats can be found in the work of less famous contributors. Francis Heaney's "Holy Tango of Poetry," which imagines the results of poets writing poems whose titles are anagrams of their names-e.g. "I'm Leery Jocks" by Joyce Kilmer, or "Toilets" by T.S. Eliot ("Let us go then, to the john,/ Where the toilet seats wait to be sat upon")-is irresistibly goofy. Tim Carvell's account of his solo attempt at being a Neilsen family (he manufactured a couple of kids and wife named Gladys and made them all Eskimos) should be required reading for anyone who has ever longed to lie on annoying questionnaires. And Jeremy Simon's parody of an existential Zagat's guide is a witty send-up of a city staple (the entry for the opposable thumb reads: "While this 'innovative' evolution-a 'pick-up joint' for the klutzy-is valued by locals for 'synergy' with its surroundings, dissenters dis it as 'overrated' 'finger food'"). Silly lists, "unnatural histories," fake correspondences and countless other oddball selections round out this amusing volume.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Following the crowd-pleasing Mirth of a Nation (2000), editor Rosen offers a second anthology of the funniest voices in America writing today, with a helpful introductory warning not to drink milk while reading. Along with such comedy veterans as Steve Martin, Ian Frazier, Bruce McCall, Merrill Markoe, and Paul Rudnick, Rosen includes dozens of up-and-comers, generously shining the spotlight on a new generation of talented humorists. Standouts include Judith Podell's instructional "Blues for Beginners" and John Moe's "Terrible Names for Hair Salons" ("Shear Hostilit . . . Dude, I'm so Buzzed . . . Mein Coif"), as well as Chris Ware's novelty company ads, selling products like "Dramatic Cigar," "New Thing," and "Magic Adjectives" ("Just the thing to modify your product or service!"). Near the end, Henry Alford's "Questions for Reading Groups" posits that a biennial may just be "a book that's afraid to own up to the truth about itself." Could be, but with 175 pieces and more than 60 contributors, this supremely entertaining biennial includes something to please just about everyone--except, of course, readers who identify themselves as serious. James Klise
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Greetings and thanks for welcoming me into your home. Since I write books for both young readers and adults, I've cooked up two long-winded paragraphs.

Kids first: So, I'm the author of some four dozen books for children of all ages. New titles including SAILING THE UNKNOWN: Around the World with Captain Cook; MY DOG! A Kid's Guide to Keeping a Happy & Healthy Dog (the ideal go-to dog guide for families); a pop-up book with Robert Sabuda, CHANUKAH LIGHTS, winner of the Sydney Taylor Award; and THE HOUND DOG'S HAIKU and Other Poems for Dog Lovers.
Other favorites are The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Poems for Birders; Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family's Farm (which I both wrote and illustrated with some 400 photographs); A Drive in the Country; Don't Shoot!; A School for Pompey Walker, and Elijah's Angel. (And, yes, there's the Britiish Michael--no "J."--Rosen whose many books are often confused with mine.) For over 35 years, ever since working as a counselor, water-safety instructor, and art teacher at local community centers, I've been engaged with young children, their parents and teachers. As a visiting author, in-service speaker, and workshop leader, I frequently travel to schools and conferences around the nation, sharing stories, poems, creativity, and humor.

Several of my books here show my work as editor/anthologist or illustrator. It has been my privilege to have enlisted hundreds of other authors and artists to create 15 philanthropic books that aid in the fight to end childhood hunger through Share Our Strength's national efforts, or that offer care to less fortunate companion animals through The Company of Animals Fund, a granting program I administered for a dozen years.

Now, for adults. I can start by saying I'm a poet. I went to Columbia from 1979-1981, and received my MFA there. Poems are now collected in three volumes, which are all featured here at Amazon. Moving home to Ohio, I worked as an illustrator (while in NYC, I began selling spot illustrations to The New Yorker and Gourmet magazines); one of my first real clients was The Thurber House, the soon-to-be-restored home of Columbus's native son, James Thurber. For almost twenty years, I helped to restore the home, develop the programs there, and edit much of Thurber's uncollected work. (Those volumes are also featured here.) It was there, I began to edit short story anthologies, commission great writers to contribute to books about dogs, horses, and even VW Beetles. That's also where I started Mirth of a Nation, a three-volume humor biennial that constitutes almost 2,000 pages of the best contemporary humor.

Otherwise, my Website has a good deal about my life on the 100-acre farm I share in Central Ohio. Thanks again for reading along with me.

www.fidosopher.com

for lots more about MY DOG!, including recipes, training tips, cool projects, games, and so forth: www.workman.com/mydog

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I heard some of the humorists from this book on our local NPR station, and the interviewer gave the best description: Half-kidding, he just said that editor Rosen was the Bob Hope of the USO tour, but without the golf club. And it's all humor for the page, not the stage. But since we're all feeling somewhat like weary troops these days, this kind of humor--smart, reflective, surprising, trusty--is just what's needed. Best of all, it's not humor that banks on profanity or insanity to win you over. It's a great series. I bought the 6 CD set for holiday gifts, for folks who have too much drive time and not enough laughing during the stopping and starting of rush hour. Bravo, this "loose canon of American humor." And thankfully it's not just another survey starting with Train and ending with Keillor. Lots of new talents as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neverwinter Knight on June 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a compilation of funny writings by prolific American writers. Betwixt a strange look at Pokémon and a letter from the Census takers, there are great things, like the periodic table of rejected elements, and 100 favorite body parts. This book is hilarious, and I recommend it to all people, except for people who make census, and the creator of Pokémon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
The big, sparkly gem that catches your eye may be the recognizable names like Steve Martin, Ian Frazier, et. al., but the shining gold band that holds that gem in place are the newcomers, like Francis Heaney, Martha Keavney, and Alysia Gray Painter, for whom the editor concocted a special award called the "Discovery Prize" just to draw attention to her. Five years from now these "newcomers" will be the ones whose books you'll pre-order, so if you start liking them now (like I have) you can brag to your friends later that "you knew `em when". (If you and your friends have that kind of relationship. Which I do.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
A comedy tour-de-force by some of the funniest names in the business. Well known funny men Steve Martin and Rick Moranis are paired with brilliant and extremely intelligent writers such as Bruce McCall. The real strength of this compilation, however, rests on ithe inclusion of brilliant newcomers like Holly Smith, Tim Harrod, and Judy Grued. Read it if you dare!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Collins on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
While many of these pieces are genuinely funny, others either try too hard, nearly reach funny but don't quite make the leap, or are utterly predictable. I found the editing annoying - at the beginning is an italics-plagued table of contents and at the end a list of 'Submission Guidelines,' both boring compared to the best humor contained in the book. I wish the editors, who presumably added these features, had the presence of mind to edit themselves, because both of these features have the potential to be funny if only they weren't so ramblingly tedious. I also thought the snarky "Fortunes" sprinkled throughout the book (samples: "She was faking," "Two words: Nose job") were, well, unremarkable and dull. If this book is really the best contemporary humor, it should act like it, and refrain from reusing or reinventing lame and tired jokes and ideas. On another note, I thought Francis Heaney's "Holy Tango of Poetry" was hilarious.
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By Valerie Harover on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect to take along for a plane or train ride, this second collection from the Thurber House editors is full of funny stories that range from the divine (Merrill Markoe on Buddhism) to the sublimely ridiculous (Steve Martin grants himself access to himself for an interview). You can open this book up to any page and find amusement. I highly recommend keeping this book in your carry-on. A word of warning--you might get strange looks from the other passengers as you laugh out loud.
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