(Part of a series on The Most Interesting Books of 2004)
“America (The Book).” By Jon Stewart and the Writers of The Daily Show. Warner Books. $24.95. From the fake news show comes a fake textbook, and like the show, it’s smarter and closer to the truth than the real thing. Banned in many places for the nude Supreme Court Justices, it still stays on the best seller lists.
“May Contain Nuts - A Very Loose Canon of American Humor.” Edited by Michael J. Rosen. Perennial. $15.95. Over 60 humorists contribute their best. Roy Blount Jr. gives travel tips in “See the World but Stay Southern.” Brian Frazer predicts the future in “The Cola Wars: The Next 50 Years.” Joe Bob Briggs defends his actions after an Earnhardt eulogy in “Forever Dale.”
“When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” By George Carlin. Hyperion. $23.95. Carlin’s third book is mercilessly funny. The older he gets, the braver he gets, because he is not afraid to skewer everybody and everything. The gems: his ode to marketing and buzzwords called “Modern Man,” and his cleanly logical reduction of the Ten Commandments in “Two Commandments.” NOT for the sensitive or the politically correct.
“No Shirt. No Shoes....No Problem!” By Jeff Foxworthy. Hyperion. $12.95. You don’t have to be a redneck to appreciate Foxworthy’s brand of humor. Even though he is making fun of his own culture, the stereotypes are universal: family quirks, loony in-laws, dating insecurities and raising kids. His stories will bust-a-gut but somehow it’s not mean spirited. The account of romancing his future wife is particularly touching. Ideal reading in a doctor’s office waiting room.
“The Homer Book” and “The Bart Book.” By Matt Groening. Perennial Currents. $9.95 each. Two books in The Simpsons Library of Wisdom. Explore your inner Homer (yes, we all have one) with his “Things To Do List” or “A Typical Day In The Life.” Examine “What’s On Bart’s Mind?” Check out his “Secret Codes for the Classroom.” You can read them once and come back a month later and it’s twice as funny.
(Bambi Evans can be reached at Stonyirons@aol.com)