One More Thing. By B. J. Novak. 2014.
Knopf, $24.95 (9780385351836).
Novak’s ingenious, waggish, and disarmingly commiserative fiction debut includes
brainy comedy bits and deep emotions as
he performs topsy-turvy improvisations on
a dizzying array of subjects.
The Sellout. By Paul Beatty. 2015. Farrar,
Beatty hits on all cylinders in this darkly
comical, dead-on satire of race, popular
culture, and politics in today’s America,
featuring an African American narrator
who ends up in the Supreme Court after attempting to resegregate his California town.
Super Sad True Love Story. By Gary
Shteyngart. 2010. Random, $16
Stubbornly romantic Lenny Abramov
works for Post-Human Services and courts
hip and unhappy Eunice Park in Shteyngart’s devilishly hilarious, all-too plausible
satire set in a ruthlessly crass digital dystopia in which techno-addled humans are
still humbled by love and death.
Tenth of December. By George Saunders.
2013. Random, $15 (9780812984255).
Saunders, a brilliantly inventive, surreal
satirist with a tender heart, is stealthily
humorous in ambushing and affecting
stories of beleaguered characters trapped
in wildly ludicrous predicaments.
They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? By
Christopher Buckley. 2012. Twelve, $15
In this bull’s-eye political satire skewering our complicated relationship with
China, espionage, and the corruption
rampant in the weapons industry, Buckley
brings together aerospace lobbyist Walter
“Bird” McIntyre and sexy-scary hawk and
neocon Angel Templeton.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-
Eight Nights. By Salman Rushdie. 2015.
Random, $28 (9780812998917).
In Rushdie’s wickedly astute, comic,
fantastic, and spirited update of One
Thousand and One Nights, the action (
flying carpets, gigantic attacking serpents)
surges from drastic to exuberantly madcap
as he spins piercingly merry social and
Watergate. By Thomas Mallon. 2012.
Vintage, $16.95 (9780307474650).
Mallon revisits the paradoxes of Watergate in this expertly detailed romp
featuring a delectable cast that includes
Alice Longworth Roosevelt, the venomously funny belle of this wittily
choreographed satirical ball.
destroying short stories in which he takes
on racism, poverty, alcoholism, diabetes,
and the tragic loss of Native American languages and customs.
The Blondes. By Emily Schultz. 2015.
St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $25.99
Hazel Hayes, a struggling, pregnant
graduate student, gets caught up in the
outbreak of a bizarre deadly virus that
transforms blondes into rabid killers in
Schultz’s ferociously clever and acidly
funny pandemic satire, which considers
the true dimensions of womanhood.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
By Junot Diaz. 2007. Riverhead, $16
Diaz presents the imaginative, harrowing, and keenly comedic saga of Oscar
Wao, a chubby Dominican American
“ghetto nerd,” and his family, in a combustible mix of slang and lyricism, deftly
generating sly and lascivious humor in
counterpoint to tyranny and sorrow.
The Heart Goes Last. By Margaret
Atwood. 2015. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese,
Once thriving, now destitute Charmaine
and Stan join a maximum-security community that combines employment with
incarceration, launching a riotous plot of
corporate rule, sexbots, brainwashing, and
murder in Atwood’s latest laser-sharp, hilariously campy dystopian satire.
Lionel Asbo: State of England. By Martin
Amis. 2012. Knopf, $15 (9780307948083).
Amis delivers a crafty, nerve-racking,
and uproarious send-up of the Dickensian rags-to-riches motif in this tale of a
volatile Liverpool thug, Lionel, and his
smart, mixed-race nephew, Des, lethally
mocking social services, the lottery, and
Miss New India. By Bharati
Mukherjee. 2011. Houghton, $14.95
Mukherjee cunningly parodies the
legacy of colonialism, persistent misogyny,
and new forms of oppression spawned by
India’s digital revolution via the adventures of Anjali Bose, a smart, rebellious
country girl in Bangalore, the booming
capital of call centers and start-ups.
My New American Life. By Francine Prose.
2011. Harper, $14.99 (9780061713798).
After escaping violence in Albania,
Lula is working as a nanny in New Jersey,
an ideal setup for Prose’s spiky, wryly
mirthful, and bittersweet tale of cultural
displacement and political nightmares.
ONLINE ALERT! The laughter doesn’t
stop in print. To tie in with this issue’s
spotlight, we’ll be featuring humor on
the Booklist Reader ( www.Booklist-
Reader.com). Check out these posts:
• ”He Reads/She Reads . . . Humor,” by
David Wright and Kaite Mediatore Sto-
ver. We’re reprising this column, which
originally appeared in our April 1, 2008,
issue because David and Kaite are
very funny people who like very funny
books. But that’s not the only reason.
Ian Spector’s The Truth about Chuck
Norris: 400 Facts about the World’s
Greatest Human is on David’s list of
funny books, and it is Booklist policy to
never pass up an opportunity to plug
the man David rightly calls the “sultan
• “Funny without a Y (Chromosome),” by
Annie Bostrom. Annie rounds up the
best recent books by the witty women
of film and TV.
• Katharine Uhrich looks at books whose
authors walk a razor-thin line with their
“Funny Books about Things That Aren’t
• The very funny Gordon Korman tells
aspiring authors how it’s done in
“Publishing U: Writing Humor for