Saturday, 19 December 2015

"Book that made me laugh"????

Oh - this is going to be difficult? Just one? No. I must have more than one Vanessa.
You see one of them was written by a rather remarkable person we both "know". You know her in real life. I only know her "virtually" but we have exchanged things over the years and we have both come across some of those customers.
Yes, "Weird things customers say in bookshops" by Jen Campbell is very definitely a book which made me laugh - and sigh. It is so very true. I have had my own experiences with such stories in our local bookshop - and similar experiences in the library.
Yes, if anyone else is reading this and has not read Jen's book then please buy a copy and read it now. It will lighten your day.
I will lighten your day with my own experience. I was "minding the shop" for our local indie bookshop owner one day. I was standing behind the counter and feeling important - perhaps. Actually I was hoping the phone would not ring and that nobody would expect me to know how to use the till. 
A potential customer strolled in and looked at me and then asked, "Do you know anything about books?"
Another book is a very old one indeed. "The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce. It started life in the 19thC and became a book in the 20thC. 
Bierce wrote it over many years and the definitions first appeared in newspapers where he was employed as a journalist and then as an editor.
The first book appeared in 1906 and there have been a number of versions since then with some "lost" definitions being included in the most recent versions culminating in the Unabridged Devil's Dictionary. 
Some of the definitions are old now but many of them are still as cutting and funny as they were when they were first published.
"Lawyer (n) One skilled in circumvention of the law" and "Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage" being just two which are still, to my mind, funny now. 
And, should you want a slightly more modern version of the same type of thing then try Peter Bowler's "The Superior Person's Book of Words". It is an equally wicked and deliciously funny book by an Australian lexicographer.
Or what about Asterix? Oh yes, I know. It's a comic strip sort of book but it IS funny.  
Have I made you laugh? 


jeanfromcornwall said...

Asterix in English - because it owes so much of its wit and humour to the translator, Anthea Bell. And to the English language itself, which so lends itself to pun and wordplay.

catdownunder said...

Yes, Asterix in English Jean - I don't know what it is like in the original but I have a sneaaking suspicion that it is even funnier in English.