Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BEST TO LAUGH: A NOVEL by Lorna Landvik, DBC 02662

If you like books that have a nostalgic and upbeat tone, similar to FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLESTOP CAFÉ by Fannie Flagg, you may really enjoy BEST TO LAUGH by Lorna Landik.

You can get a sense of Ms. Landvik’s sense of humor and writing style from the Bio and FAQ section on her webpage. She explains how she gets ideas for her books with the following quote: “I buy them from the Idea Man; two for a dollar. Early in my career, he tried to sell me an idea about a girl with a dragon tattoo, but I bought the idea for The Tall Pine Polka instead. When he’s out on the road, selling stuff I declined to J. K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins, I scavenge around and find ideas in roadside cafes, in a whiff of pipe smoke or ripe peaches, in an autumn vista, in a song fading out on the car radio, in the stillness of my monkey mind.”

Ms. Landvik brings this same wit and whimsy to the protagonist in BEST TO LAUGH, Candy, who with the help of an ensemble of zany friends and her personal “life saber”, embraces her new life in 1970s Hollywood.


NLS Annotation As a child, Candy Pekkala seemed to get unhappy experiences in Minnesota, so when a cousin called with a Hollywood apartment, Candy jumped at it. Her new fellow tenants include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. Candy figured if she always lived by her wits here, she would have a chance to live with them. There are game show appearances, temp jobs and the allure of stand-up comedy. For high school and adult readers.

If you enjoyed this book or generally like humorous books with a host of quirky characters, you might try BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani, DB 52742.

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– RELIC MASTER by Christopher Buckley, DB 83947

It is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation so we thought that patrons who enjoy historical fiction might like a novel dealing with that time and place in European History.  The 2002 winner of the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence as well as the 2004 winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Christopher Buckley has created a witty and irreverent satire of 16th century Europe in his most recent novel RELIC MASTER.


NLS Annotation Switzerland, 1517. Dismas, a relic dealer, balances the demands of his two most prominent clients–Frederick, the ruler of Saxony, and the archbishop of Mainz. When his nest egg is stolen, his friend Albrecht Durer suggests creating the shroud that the archbishop covets. Some strong language. 2015.

If you enjoyed this novel, but would like to learn more about the historical figures that feature prominently in RELIC MASTER told in an informative yet entertaining manner, try HERETICS AND HEROES: HOW RENAISSANCE ARTISTS AND REFORMATION PRIESTS CREATED OUR WORLD part of the Hinges of History series written by Thomas Cahill, DB 78469.

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray, DB 85432

Do you enjoy humorous young adult novels that involve absurd situations and over the top characters? If so, you might like BEAUTY QUEENS. Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Young Adult Novel for 2011, BEAUTY QUEENS describes the trials and travails of several beauty pageant contestants, surviving in the wild. Written with a witty and offbeat tone, I quite often found myself laughing out loud at the outrageous adventures these talented ladies encounter. If you’re a proud Texan, you’ll be excited to note that Miss Texas leads this band of intrepid and inventive ingénues.

NLS Annotation: After their plane crashes and strands them on an island, the fifty beauty contestants for the Miss Teen Dream Pageant channel their talents into surviving. But the arrival of some hot reality-television pirates adds new complications. Descriptions of sex and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

If you already read this book or simply enjoy humorous young adult books with feminist adventures and subtle romance, you might try I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter (DB 66621).