Not Your Parents’ 800s

Pity the poor 800s. Of all the Dewey sections they are the most misunderstood. Officially they house the books about “literature and rhetoric.” Sounds pretty exciting huh? Now before you fall asleep, dear reader, let me share a little secret with you. The 800s have a side you don’t know about. A hilarious, raunchy, cutting edge and sometimes disturbing side. You see, the 800s also house all the books on humor.

We’re not talking knock knock jokes either. To begin with, there is a lot of what my colleague Carol eloquently defines as “Voyeuristic Literature.” Consider if you will Awkward Family Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack. Based on their popular blog, this book offers up a collection of some of the most cringe-inducing family portraits ever taken and provides the awkward stories behind them. This book is worth a look for the Star Trek themed portrait alone.

If you want to be exposed to more public humiliation definitely check out People of Wal-Mart: Shop and Awe by Andrew Kipple. Also based on a popular blog, this book provides frightening examples, with photos naturally, of what some people consider appropriate to wear and do while picking up necessities. 

One person’s chuckle is another person’s essential information so some may question the inclusion of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks in the humor section. After all, who will be laughing when faced with the conundrum of how to dispatch the living dead? Brooks will provide you with lots of answers—shotguns are a no-no surprisingly—and guide you to relative safety.

After surviving an onslaught of the undead, you will be entitled to a good stiff drink. But what kind? Take a look at How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice by Jordan Kaye to find out. The creation of cocktails is taken seriously with instructions on everything from proper measures to the type of glass to use. The actual reasons for drinking? Not so much. Who knew that an Old Fashioned was the perfect drink for “Endless arguments over easily ascertainable facts”?

Finally, if you feel like kickin’ it old school definitely check out Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead  by Rich Meyerowitz. Meyerowitz selects some of the funniest writing from National Lampoon magazine in its heyday and also follows up with the writers and where they are now. As the title suggests, few have retired to suburbia.


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