Feb 19 2010

Winter Blahs? Try these Authors!

If you’re anything like us this time of year, you’re grumpy, tired, and sore from falling down so many times. To help you get through the last few months of winter we’ve prepared a list of authors that will get you out of the doldrums and into spring. What follows is an alphabetical list of some of our favorite make-you-laugh-out-loud authors.

Whatever You Do, Don't Run1. Peter Allison

Allison’s books Whatever You Do, Don’t Run and Don’t Look Behind You take you into the surprisingly not-so-glamorous life of a safari guide. Every job has its challenges, but not many involve packs of hyenas and irritable hippos. Not to mention tourists in the wild.

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In a Sunburned Country2. Bill Bryson

Bryson is perhaps best known for being a middle-aged white guy doing absurd activities for the sake of absurdity, and simultaneously finding the absurdity in the world around him. From A Walk in the Woods where he tackles the Appalachian Trail to In a Sunburned Country where he tries all things Australian, Bryson shows us the humor of living on this planet.

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Pecked to Death by Ducks3. Tim Cahill

Need a little adventure in your life? Try some books from the founder of Outside Magazine. His titles tell you all you need to know. Among others: Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, A Wolverine is Eating My Leg, and Pecked to Death by Ducks. It’s probably all the excitement you can take for one sleepy, snowy day curled up on your bed reading.

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In the Merde for Love4. Stephen Clarke

Another writer with a flair for titles, Clarke has written the “Merde” trilogy of novels: A Year in the Merde, In the Merde for Love, and Merde Happens. In A Year, Clarke’s expat protagonist navigates living, working, and loving in urban France, home of the world’s grumpiest waiters and most beautiful women. In other words, this is not A Year In Provence.

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Pyongyang5. Guy Delisle

We have waxed graphically poetic about this guy before and aren’t afraid to do so again. Delisle has drawn several graphic novels about places most Westerners know nothing about, including Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and Burma. He is observant, self-deprecating, and honest. He literally and figuratively draws a true picture of a place.

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Round Ireland with a Fridge6. Tony Hawks

Hawks is not a man to turn down a bet – especially if it’s for £100 or stripping naked. He takes on outrageous requirements too, naturally. For instance, who else would try to drag a mini-fridge around Ireland, getting his fair share of smiling Irish eyes (Round Ireland with a Fridge)? And who else would attempt to beat the entire Moldovan soccer team in tennis (Playing the Moldovans at Tennis)? Tony Hawks would.

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In the Company of Cheerful Ladies7. Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series has been described as “honest, hilarious, and life-affirming,” “smart and sassy,” and “entrancing.” Perhaps the most accurate praise for this series is “charming.” But McCall Smith does not restrict himself to Botswana, his mysteries extend even to Edinburgh and Germany. His writing is “the literary equivalent of herbal tea and a cozy fire.”

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Absurdistan8. Gary Shteyngart

Shteyngart’s second novel, Absurdistan, is just that: absurd. And wonderfully so. This searing satire will whisk you away from the ice and snow outside to an outrageously imaginary land, guided by an outrageously odd narrator. Don’t forget his first novel, either – The Russian Debutante’s Handbook.

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To Hellholes and Back9. Chuck Thompson

Yes, we have already *hearted* him and interviewed him and even had him speak at our store, but we have to plug his books again. Smile When You’re Lying and To Hellholes and Back are both so honest they’re hilarious. There is not a word for Thompson’s observant, spot-on humor; “irreverent” is as close as the critics have come. Try traveling the world and seeing it how it really works.

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Sex Lives fo Cannibals - by J. Maarten Proost

10. J. Maarten Troost

Okay, we interviewed this guy, too, but with good reason. When Troost gets the travel bug, he gets it bad. In The Sex Lives of Cannibals, he flies to the minute Republic of Kiribati in the South Pacific. What ensues are the unfortunately hysterical realizations that he is not in paradise. He takes the same curious eye to another part of the world in Lost on Planet China.

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These are but a few of the entertaining authors out there capable of wresting you free of winter’s icy grasp, and but a few of the books in each of their oeuvres. We also realize that these are all White Dudes and our list could use a little more variety.  Please spice up our suggestions with your own favorite snort-inducing, milk-from-your-nose squirting, hand-clapping, knee-slappin’ travel writers.

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specializes in all things Ohio, but has funny stories from all over the US and Canada, plus a few snort-inducing ones from Thailand. And not only does she read books from around the world, she also samples beers in as many languages as possible. Favorite style: the multi-national American Double IPA.

One response so far

One Response to “Winter Blahs? Try these Authors!”

  1. popson 19 Feb 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Excellent list and excellent suggestion–providing you already have the books at home because if you’re like me, you’re just s.o.l. because your damn crappy car is buried so deep in a snow-filled Ohio ditch that even the AAA can’t get it out. Is there enough beer to extricate me from this February?

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