Cheeseburger Gothic

My mother's bookclub.

Posted November 21, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Little help here? My mother's Bookclub is doing a modern classic for their next pick, and Mum needs to choose the book. She asked me, but I only read books that go BOOM, or nonfiction titles for work. So I'm of no use.

I did think Evelyn Waugh's Scoop would be a good choice. But Mum would like a few more.

So, something published in the last, say, 100 years, that's a recognised classic, and a bit humorous.

Anyone got anything?

56 Responses to ‘My mother's bookclub. ’

Surtac reckons...

Posted November 21, 2014


I immediately thought of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, but that's older than your 100 year limit so maybe not.

P G Wodehouse perhaps? Some of those Bertie Wooster stories are funny.

Or for something more recent, maybe Tom Sharpe? Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure are the ones that got him deported from Sarth Effrica, but there are a bunch of others - Wilt, Blott On the Landscape, Vintage Stuff, Porterhouse Blue and so forth.

sheps mutters...

Posted November 23, 2014
Tom Sharpe was my first thought. The throwback is my fave.

robW is gonna tell you...

Posted November 24, 2014
Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure were both works of genius. Wilt was amazing.

I see that Mr. Sharpe died last year at 85.

Respond to this thread

Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted November 21, 2014


And I completely forgot to include Orwell's Animal Farm.

Respond to this comment

Peter Bradley reckons...

Posted November 21, 2014

A couple I keep coming back to are

A catcher in the rye, JD Salinger or A confederacy of dunces John K O'Toole

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted November 24, 2014
A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my all time favorites. Every now and then the memory image of Ignatius J. Reilly dancing on a table in a New Orleans garment factory in an impromptu attempt to favorably impress his "Moorish" coworkers makes me laugh out loud.

There is actually a statue dedicated to him in New Orleans. If you are ever there, go see it outside of:

The Old DH Holmes
819 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70112


Buboe would have you know...

Posted November 24, 2014

Came to the thread to suggest this one. Bump it up

Timmo puts forth...

Posted November 24, 2014
I may have to give that another try. I started it some years ago and got quarter the way through, finding the style or characters a bit obnoxious. I also seem to have lost my copy.

Respond to this thread

zoot puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
It's a bit long, but Catch 22 meets the criteria.

Respond to this comment

FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted November 21, 2014
i'm reading Dandeline Wine by Ray Bradbury at the moment. Not really a belly tickler though. Has some wry moments? Might be a trip down memory lane for the older set.

The title probably should have been "Nostalgia Wine"

FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted November 21, 2014
oh and that should have been "Dandelion Wine"

Barnesm mutters...

Posted November 24, 2014
not "Dandelion Whine"?

Respond to this thread

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
Not sure how heavy or thinky ya mum and her mates want to take it, but...
  • Steinbeck: "
  • *glitch*

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
FFS.
..."Grapes of Wrath",
Harper Lee: "To Kill A Mockingbird"
Ecco: "The Name of The Rose"

Respond to this thread

Charles King swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 21, 2014
Our book group recently read The Great Gatsby but included the two movies (with Redford and DiCaprio each playing Gatsby) as part of the deal. It was more enjoyable than I expected. The book holds up pretty well, and it was interesting/entertaining to see how different Hollywood generations interpreted Fitzgerald's work. Might be fun for your Mum & her group.

Respond to this comment

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 21, 2014
I second A Confederacy of Dunces (the back story is worth noting too)

and add A Room With a View

Respond to this comment

Bunyip mumbles...

Posted November 21, 2014
Formatting F'up will be in my first post. FFS with bells on, apparently.

Respond to this comment

Lulu mumbles...

Posted November 21, 2014
Not absolutely classics, but High Fidelity or About A Boy (both Nick Hornby).

Respond to this comment

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted November 21, 2014
Anything by Dean Koontz. That bloke is a genius.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 21, 2014
and that TV adaptation of his novel 'The Langoliers' should ahve got an oscar.

robW mutters...

Posted November 23, 2014
Yes, and the acting in The Langoliers was awesome. This scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYa54e91hfY

is right up there with Marlon Brando's "Hey, Stella!" in A Streetcar Named Desire:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1A0p0F_iH8

;-)

Respond to this thread

Misfish ducks in to say...

Posted November 21, 2014
Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons. A parody of the kind of book no one reads any more, but hysterically funny none the less.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted November 21, 2014
Yes! That's the one.

JBtoo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 21, 2014
I saw something nasty in the woodshed

Respond to this thread

Quokka puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
Come in Spinner - by Dymphna Cusack & Florence James.

Respond to this comment

Murphy puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy.

The Things they Carried, Tim O'Brien.

Just a few.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Stuart asserts...

Posted November 21, 2014
The World According to Garp.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm mutters...

Posted November 21, 2014

I will recommend David Foster Wallace's 'Ininite Jest' becuase its brilliant and the only time anyone actually reads it is if is required.

but my go to book for these things 'My year of Meat' by Ruth Ozeki .

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 21, 2014
You are a very bad man.
Infinite Jest is is samizdat.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted November 22, 2014
"gesundheit"

Respond to this thread

nick would have you know...

Posted November 21, 2014
a fraction of the whole by Steve Toltz ,

Respond to this comment

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted November 21, 2014

Not many "classics" in Oz lit that try and make you laugh, they're all so fkn serious and needy.


"How To Hypnotise Chooks" - Max Walker


"You wouldn't Be Dead For Quids" - Robert G Barrett


"They're A Weird Mob" - Nino Culotta


"Johnno" - David Malouf


"In The Worst Possible Taste" - Dr Yobbo (unpublished rock'n'roll friendship shits 'n giggles)


"Merry Go Round In The Sea" - Randolph Stow (fkn mandala symbols, man)


"The Glass Canoe" - David Ireland (written in The Beauchamp Hotel, Darlinghurst in the 70's)


"

Respond to this comment

ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted November 21, 2014
Watership Down.

The Princess Bride

The Last Continent

Respond to this comment

Quokka mumbles...

Posted November 21, 2014
The mere mention of that merry go round book still makes me want to stick my head in the oven & turn up the gas.
Senior year at school & again for Australian lit at uni.
*shudders & heads for kitchen.

Therbs asserts...

Posted November 21, 2014
I did it at uni. Loved it. The book as well.

Timmo asserts...

Posted November 24, 2014
I vaguely remember doing it at school too. Can't remember a thing about it....

Respond to this thread

Steph swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 21, 2014
I am in the midst of racking my brains for my own book club selections for next year!
To kill a mockingbird- Harper Lee
In cold blood- Truman Capote
The harp in the south- Ruth Park
All quiet on the Western Front- Eric Remarque

And I really enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simision :)

Respond to this comment

Peanut has opinions thus...

Posted November 21, 2014
Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series - lots of references to classic books.

Thoreau's Walden could be thinky+

Naked Lunch starts weird, stays there.

On The Road, Kerouac. Or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

If they can find copies; Elvissey, or even Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack.

The Three Musketeers and sequels.

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright (won the 2006 Miles Franklin award)

Tiddas by Anita Heiss - it's "about five women who have been friends since childhood who come together for book club meetings". In Brisbane.

Non-fiction - Zombie Economics - John Quiggin. Fer Shere.

Respond to this comment

JBtoo mutters...

Posted November 21, 2014
Three Dollars by Elliot Perlman
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Respond to this comment

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014

JB - you've probably already settled on recommending a tome for your mum but has she and her kind read any of the following excellent choices:

Weapons of Choice by JBirmingham
Designated Targets by JBirmingham
Final Impact by Birmingham
Without Warning by JBirmingham
After America by JBirmingham
Angels of Vengeance by JBirmingham

or even the classics

He Died with a Felafel In his Hand by JBirmingham
How to Be a Man by JBirmingham & Dirk Flinthart





Respond to this comment

Halwes would have you know...

Posted November 21, 2014

Seven Emus by Xavier Herbert. Funny as hell with a terrific plot that twists and turns to the end.

Respond to this comment

Rob puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916–1988) by Kurt Vonnegut

Respond to this comment

Anthony would have you know...

Posted November 21, 2014
I asked SWMBOB who is a book clubby sort of person. Her recommendation is either "The Rosie Project" or "Mateship with Birds".

Timmo reckons...

Posted November 24, 2014
The Rosie Project is light-hearted and fun, but not likely to reach classic status just yet...

Respond to this thread

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted November 22, 2014
I know you are looking for fiction, but if nonfiction is ever on the menu:

Zealot by Resa Aslan
Cooked: a Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan

Respond to this comment

Durand has opinions thus...

Posted November 22, 2014
Classic 20th century fiction, with a bit of humour?

The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Roald Dahl's adult books, e.g. Kiss Kiss, Tales of the Unexpected.
Perhaps Terry Pratchett

But if you can stretch to non-fiction:

Anything by Bill Bryson.
Anything by Dave Barry (the 20th century's funniest writer.)

Respond to this comment

Sinnysider reckons...

Posted November 22, 2014
I would also like to nominate 'Cold Comfort Farm' by Stella Gibbons, perhaps including a viewing of the exellent movie that sticks faithfully to the original plot.
Josephine Tey's, 'The Daughter of Time', in which an injured bedridden detective tries to unravel fact from fiction regarding the reign and death of Richard III ; would make for lively discussion.

Respond to this comment

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted November 22, 2014
The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink Whiskey
By David Haskell and Colin Spoelman

This book is full of whiskey love. It includes the history of whiskey making, a detailed guide to home distilling, plus cocktail recipes. It is a fascinating read and perhaps a gateway to a new and enjoyable hobby for anybody's mum. Recommended.



Respond to this comment

BigWillieStyle asserts...

Posted November 22, 2014
"Lucky Jim" by Kingsley Amis


Respond to this comment

robW mutters...

Posted November 23, 2014
As your mother would be a woman of a certain age, she certainly would remember Herman Wouk and his incomparable The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, The Caine Mutiny and Marjorie Morningstar.

It turns out Herman Wouk is still alive and kicking, and will be 100 years old in a few months. Two years ago he published his last novel at the age of 97:

The Lawgiver

which is a book about Hollywood, scriptwriters, and Moses of Old Testament fame. No doubt the book is not his best, and it's probably like watching a recent BB King concert (he's 89 and still romancing his famous guitar, Lucille), but nonetheless, it's a helluva sendoff for a novelist who has been publishing novels consistently for the past 72 years and has been keeping a daily journal for 76 years...and, of course, the book could always be a springboard for going back and revisiting The Winds of War.

robW has opinions thus...

Posted November 23, 2014
P.S. Apparently there is a strong Australian component to the book.

Respond to this thread

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted November 25, 2014
Well Irving's Ciderhouse rules is always a fine choice, but if she want to go eclectic she could go for Harry Mulisch The Assault.

Respond to this comment

Babes asserts...

Posted November 26, 2014
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
To Kill a Mockingbird (I just picked up a copy on impulse, because I named my character Atticus and so it seemed responsible)
Bluebeard (it turned me onto Vonnegut when I found a library copy face down, spine open in the parking lot of the trucking company I temped for as a receptionist during my first year of college)

Respond to this comment

pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 26, 2014
Life of Pi.

Respond to this comment

pi ducks in to say...

Posted November 27, 2014
Pun not intended.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted November 27, 2014
If it wasn't intended, then that ruins it for me.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'My mother's bookclub. '

Follow along with RSS