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Not So Funny When It Happened: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure (Travelers' Tale) Paperback – September 15, 2006

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"Let's Be Less Stupid"
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

J. P. Donleavy, Nicholas Delbanco, and Dave Barry are among the 36 writers represented in this collection of droll travel tales. A baboon joins one travel writer in Zimbabwe for breakfast and refuses to leave. A French language class in Paris redefines the foundation of Christianity with a discussion of the Easter bunny. Another writer, warned not to tell the Vietnamese that he is divorced, invents intricate stories to explain his ex-wife's "accidental death." A fourth writer reflects on the subject of bad haircuts around the world, and another one tells of getting to the airport an hour early and then almost missing the plane. These stories are humorous, indeed. In a few cases the reader may have gone through a similar agonizing experience--one that was not the least bit funny at the time, but comical to look back on. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...delightful, often laugh-out-loud collection of traumatic travel tales..." -- Times-Picayune

"An amusing diversion, good for your next long flight." -- Kirkus Review

"Incredibly funny travel tales..." -- ForeWord

"Kirkus Review says, ‘An amusing diversion, good for your next long flight.’ I say it’s a fine diversion any time." -- The Mature Traveler

...full of short, funny, glad-it-didn't-happen-to-me stories sure to amuse those who enjoy writing or traveling..." -- Tennessean --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Travelers' Tale
  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales; Reprint edition (September 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932361448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361445
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not So Funny When It Happened seems like a real winner. Edited by Tim Cahill, who has written a number of good adventure travel books, published by Travelers' Tales, who have the travel anthology down to a fine art, and full of travel humor, which we all know is wonderful. How can this book not be great?
It might have something to do with the limited material available. There isn't, relatively speaking, a lot of travel humor published, and much of it is written by just a few very talented authors. Not So Funny does contain all the big names, but at one story apiece, they don't come close to filling up the book. For the rest of the content, Cahill has to go to less known and unknown authors, or to those who don't usually write misadventure travel essays. Unfortunately, Travelers' Tales has been down this road very recently, with There's No Toilet Paper on the Road Less Traveled; in other words, the best unknown stuff has already been used. That leaves Not So Funny with a lot of marginal articles, plus a few good ones.
An additional caveat: if you like humor, you've probably read the big names - Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, David Sedaris, Douglas Adams, Anne Lamott, Dave Barry - in this collection already. And the essays included in Not So Funny aren't among their least-known works by any means.
In short, while I liked the concept behind this book, the reality of it leaves much to be desired. It is, however, worth reading once or twice, especially for the devoted travel writing fan.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. Sood on February 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, _Not So Funny_ is really not that humorous. Given the contributing authors (including Dave Barry, Douglas Adams, Anne Lamott, and, of course, Tim Cahill) one would expect this collection to have you rolling in the aisles. But it simply doesn't work. The snippets may have fit very well in their original publications, but the misadventures in _Not So Funny_ are just not surprising or amusing enough as stand-alones.
I read this book while on an extremely long flight to South Africa. As such, it was bearable, but the stories shared by my co-passengers were considerably more appealing. Stick to Cahill's earlier works and avoid this haphazard assortment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Kelley on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Normally, I devour almost anything Cahill associates himself with, and that's why I bought _Not So Funny_. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really that great a value.
Reviewer Ivy, below, summed up my sentiments pretty well with some really well-penned observations. While most of the big adventure travel names are here, most of the really interesting stories seem to have already shown up someplace else. Most of these are pretty short, so I suppose it'd be good before-bed or throne room reading, but I just didn't find most of them compelling.
If you don't have elevated expectations brought on by reading a lot of Cahill's stuff (as I do), you may enjoy it more than I did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Julie on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
How much travel humor have you read? How many works have you read by the authors included in this book? If you answered "a lot" to either of these questions, chances are that more than a couple of these stories will look familiar to you, as they are exerpts from previous publications rather than essays written specifically for this book. For example, the bit by David Sedaris is taken from "Me Talk Pretty One Day," and the Bill Bryson selection is taken from one of his books on America (either "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" or "The Lost Continent," unfortunately my memory fails me.) This is a great place to start for people who haven't read much travel humor. Since it does contain some fresh material, I would also recommend it to well-read fans of travel humor, but would also suggest buying it used rather than paying full price.

Now, on to the actual quality of the content- this book shows once again that good travel writing doesn't always have to come from some crazy adventure, and that simply having a good narrative style can make any situation interesting. Examples of standard situations turned into good stories include: a middle aged woman pondering the local young, pretty girls' reactions to her appearance in her bathing suit (a.k.a. "butthink"), overcoming cultural differences in Vietnam by claiming that a perfectly healthy ex-wife is dead. Of course, there are also stories of the bizarre- like taking a frog on a cross country train and ending up in the new-age alien spotting capital of the USA, where the frog is "saved by aliens" after jumping from a cliff...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
As I travel quite a bit, mostly on business, but occasionally for pleasure, I sometimes enjoy reading travel humor. I am unsure what criteria were used to select the stories in this volume, but largely the results are amusing to hysterical. My favorite, hands down was the Bill Bryson piece titled "What's Cooking?" ("We have a crepe galette of sea chortle and kelp in a rich mal de mer sauce..."), though almost as funny were "A Train, A Frog, and Aliens" by Randy Wayne White, and "Bad Haircuts Around the World" by Doug Lansky. Many of the other pieces were also quite funny, and a few only modestly amusing, though generally sincere. A couple were downright unpleasant, namely editor Tim Cahill's own "Speaking in Tongues" and especially the almost unendurable J. P. Donleavy piece "The Fox Hunt", which was not only distasteful and crude, but not a trifle funny.
By and large this is an entertaining travelogue, and I recommend it. It is particularly good for a short plane trip, as it will take about two or three hours to read. Parts are genius, but just know that other parts are occasionally a bit of a drag.
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