Humor comes in many literary forms. Sometimes a book is funny because the writer has a gift with words and makes them run, dance and sing. Other books are humorous when you recognize what I call The Contrast Gap — a character says one thing when that character’s thoughts or actions tell you something different.
Still other books are hilarious because the character gets into one scrape after another. This week, I read my first Janet Evanovich book. I’ve been hearing about her for years, but I’ve never gotten around to reading anything she’s written. So I picked up The Grand Finale at the library and started laughing within the first few pages. The female character, who is delivering a pizza, climbs a tree to rescue a kitten, falls out of the tree while goggling at the hero, smashes the pizza, gets rescued by the hero and watches her dilapidated Jeep jump off a cliff. Now that’s what I call a great beginning. And I’m definitely seeking out more of Janet’s books in the near future.
Humor is by far one of my favorite ingredients in a book, which is why I like writers such as Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts, Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor and James Thurber. I’ve also been happily rediscovering author Patrick McManus, who wrote books such as They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They? and The Night The Bear Ate Goombaw. Patrick writes about his outdoor adventures and has a great gift for comedy. (And did I mention that both he and his wife are bloggers, too?)
All of these writers have different approaches to humor in their books, which makes them so fun to read. In my opinion, they are some of America’s best.
But I wonder, blog readers: Who would be your personal choices for America’s funniest writers? And for my readers outside the U.S., who would be your picks for the funniest writers of your country?