Tag Archives: Humor

Screwed by Eoin Colfer (review by Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian)

Screwed (Daniel McEvoy, #2)Screwed by Eoin Colfer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eoin Colfer successfully follows up his first adult crime novel Plugged with Screwed. Former member of Ireland’s UN forces in Lebanon and current New Jersey night club owner, Daniel McEvoy is back wending his way through the unintentional but thrilling labyrinth that comes with living on the seedy side. Small time Irish crime boss Mike Madden has McEvoy over a barrel and wiggling his way out forces loveable if slightly unbalanced McEvoy to suffer a host of dangerous fools and predicaments. The action is top notch and, like Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, littered with whip-smart humor. Colfer provides more back story in this second novel and weaves in information about McEvoy’s alcoholic father and doomed mother and brother as well as McEvoy’s experiences in the Middle East. Colfer further develops characters introduced in Plugged and adds a few more, all colorful and keenly crafted. Like his young adult Artemis Fowl series, Colfer proves he can sustain a character through more than one ever-twisting plotline. And like Artemis Fowl, let’s hope there’s no end in sight for McEvoy’s travails and adventures. – Mrs. Vaughan, Harker librarian

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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Ace detective, snappy dresser, razor-tongued wit, crackerjack sorcerer, and walking, talking, fire-throwing skeleton.” That’s how author Derek Landy describes Skulduggery Pleasant, who, in this first book of an ongoing series, must track down and stop his old nemesis Nefarian Serpine from acquiring a staff of unimaginable power. Fortunately, a young girl named Stephanie Edgley is eager to join the chase – and once she sees the world of sorcery and wonder – never wants to leave. While action and humor are scattered liberally throughout its pages, I found that this novel provides instant gratification, rather than the long-lasting satisfaction I tend to prefer. The characters are consistent but forgettable; the plot is engaging but not particularly unique. Fans of Artemis Fowl and The Bartimaeus Trilogy will enjoy reading Skulduggery Pleasant for pleasure, but should not expect a thought-provoking or memorable experience. – Andrew R. ‘17

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The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (review by Andrew R. ’17)

The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24)The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Samuel Vimes, policeman and reluctant duke of the city of Ankh-Morpork, loves the thrill of the hunt he experiences every day as chief of the City Watch, but finds his role as a member of the aristocracy insufferably boring. Therefore, he is despondent when the lord of the city sends him off to be a diplomat in the far-off land of Überwald—but perks up considerably when the king of that region allows him to investigate the theft of a precious royal artifact. The Fifth Elephant, one of many Discworld novels following the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is also one of the best. Vimes’ adventures in the gothic-style countryside of Überwald are a refreshing change from the usual urban setting of these books. Although he uses the clichéd characters of vampires and werewolves, the author gives them enough personality to differentiate them from the monsters of other modern novels. In addition, he gives the reader occasional comic relief by returning to Ankh-Morpork, where Vimes’ incompetent second-in-command struggles to keep control. Anyone who has already read the four preceding City Watch novels will enjoy this short excursion to a new, unique setting in the ever-entertaining Discworld. – Andrew R. ‘17

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Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris (review by Monica K. ’14)

Let's Explore Diabetes with OwlsLet’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Sedaris manages to pull off a combination screwball comedy and thoughtful introspection within each of his essays. Featuring tales of dentist appointments and swim meets, a few morbid short stories, and, yes, a stuffed owl, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is a collection of short essays based on Sedaris’ personal experiences. While the topics may sound mundane, Sedaris has a knack for transforming the remotest details into complex narratives about relationships and life. My favorites include Atta boy and Loggerheads. Less tasteful and more over the top are the fictitious short stories interspersed between essays. Overall, I guarantee that there will be at least one story that will make you laugh. – Monica K. ‘14

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (review by Kacey F. ’15)

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastards, #2)Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a sequel to the stunning first novel The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies continues just about where its predecessor left off, starting with the recovery of the two main characters. Before long, the inseparable Locke and Jean are back at what they do best: clearing the nobility of Tal Verrar of everything under their noses through multi-layered, unpredictable grand schemes. Even so, the two see their share of hardship and deceit as they get swept under an increasingly uncontrollable and bloodthirsty political web. Compared with the first book, Red Seas somewhat falls short as a result of its wavering and complex plot. It succeeds, however, in brilliantly furthering the compelling relationship between the two reprobates that readers first fell in love with in The Lies of Locke Lamora. Deploying all the world-building craft of a video game designer and skilled fiction writer, Lynch weaves an action-packed story complete with some of the snarkiest characters you will ever meet and an ending that will leave readers agonizing for The Republic of Thieves. – Kacey F. ‘15

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Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (review by Soham K. ’17)

Very Good, Jeeves! (Jeeves, #4)Very Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another of P.G. Wodehouse’s hilarious classics, replete with all the wit and wisdom one could desire! In fact, I often doubled over laughing while poring over each sparkling page. Very Good, Jeeves comprises eleven extraordinarily funny stories, highlighting the exploits of Bertie Wooster and his resourceful valet Jeeves. From extricating Bertie and a cabinet minister from an island inhabited by unusually vicious swans to successfully intervening in yet another unlikely romance, Wodehouse maintains the extremely high standards established in all his other books and epitomizes British wit – pleasantly acerbic without being crude or cynical. I enjoyed this book tremendously and would recommend it to most readers. – Soham K. ‘17

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (review by Elisabeth S. ’16)

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, #1)The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lies of Locke Lamora involves author Scott Lynch taking the classic fantasy tropes of rugged thief and medieval Venice and going for a joyride. The protagonist and antihero, Locke Lamora, delights in totally robbing members of the Venice-like Camorr’s noble class, assisted by his companions and best friends. He participates as part of the city’s mafia, yet he doesn’t steal to get rich — he steals because it’s “heaps of […] fun!” One day, he gets in way, way over his head. The voices Scott Lynch has crafted for each of his characters are so unique that they linger on and make dialogue tags almost unnecessary. The book was snarky, smart, and written with a skilled hand, yet remained surprisingly poignant and touching at key points. This book is highly recommended to fans of fantasy, or anyone who is looking for a fun read. (If you are not comfortable with strong language, this book is not for you.) – Elisabeth S. ‘16

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Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman (review by Agata S. ’15)

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Readers unfamiliar with Richard Feynman might envision a scholarly, soberly theoretical physicist scratching away on a blackboard full of formulas so complex that only he and, perhaps, Einstein can understand them. However, after finishing Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, readers discover a radically different side of the Nobel prize winner. Whether Feynman is breaking into Los Alamos safes, drumming in an amateur band as part of Brazil’s annual carnival, or having the time of his life in a Las Vegas strip club, he remains fantastically dynamic. Throughout, the language in the autobiography is rather simple, yet one hears a truly genuine voice behind the words. In my opinion, this is a must-read, even for non-physics fans, since it traces the story of a genius in such a non-conventional, exciting way. – Agata S.’15

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Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins (review by Sean K. ’14)

Still Life with WoodpeckerStill Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Still Life with Woodpecker falls into a list of novels that should be read while readers still possess the youthful quality of imaginative curiosity that adulthood so viciously takes away. Robbins’ adolescent quirkiness creates a rebellious love story wild in character yet sober in its philosophical musings. Bernard (Woodpecker), a young explosives expert who takes pride in his anarchist nature, and Leigh-Cheri, the daughter of a formerly-royal European family, fall in love in a Seattle bar, leading them down a bizarre path of obstacles such as the death of a Chihuahua and Leigh-Cheri’s rise to queendom of an Arab rebellion. Consistent humor pervades the randomness and absurdities of the plot. Readers will learn tidbits of knowledge from the reasoning behind the Camel cigarette packaging to how to make love stay, and ultimately that it is never too late to enjoy childhood. Robbins is a hit-or-miss author; many cannot digest the scrambled nature of his storytelling. Indeed, this is no classical masterpiece. However, to most young readers, Woodpecker will stand as a silly, romantic, and adventurous reflection on life’s amorphous realities, and will serve them in the journey through adulthood. Moreover, Robbins’ novel provides a nostalgic reminder of the importance of the human quality of imagination. – Sean K. ‘14

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (review by Joyce Z. ’17)

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Fault in Our Stars starts off with a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster, whom the reader may forget is not normal while she is narrating the story. Instead, she is diagnosed with lung cancer and uses a miracle product that will keep her alive for a few more years. Augustus Waters has been cancer-free for a year at the cost of giving up one of his legs. The unexpected crossing of their lives creates a fascinating love story of a boy and a girl battling cancer with humor, tragedy, and romance all mixed in. John Green has spun a not so classic fairy tale that will have the reader completely absorbed until the last page. Although Hazel keeps the tone playful for the majority of the book, her insightful view of life will keep the reader pondering the fragility of life even long after it ends. – Joyce Z. ‘17

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