I love books. (Woah, I just shocked everyone, right?) I wanted to work in a bookstore because I love books, but what I didn’t expect was how working in a bookstore would open my eyes to all these other books than I tended to skip over as a customer.
Today I want to talk about our Humor section. I never bought a humor book pre-bookseller days. I mostly read fiction with the occasional non-fiction title, usually for research. (I also read much more non-fiction now, but that’s a topic for another day.) When I started shelving books for the store, I would often read part of the back flap or flip through the book as I walked to its proper shelf. While we’re not supposed to pull up a chair, pull out a book, and read on work time, we’re encouraged to do what I’m describing: take a good look at each book we shelve. That way we’re far more likely to recall it if a customer comes in asking for that specific book but lacks important details like the title or author. It can also help with recommendations as I might remember a detail from the back cover of a book that sounds like exactly what someone’s looking for. Back to humor, though. I would often flip to a few pages in humor books before putting it on the shelf and sometimes that’s all it took for me to start laughing aloud and often end up showing the book to the nearest the customer.
Like many people, I like to laugh. I had never thought to buy a humor book, but after bonding with numerous customers I had never met before over random books from the humor shelves I realized what great ice-breakers they are. Since working at Village Books, I’ve bought dozens of humor books and will often leave them lying around my apartment for guests to spot, flip through, comment on, and laugh over.
Now it’s time for what we booksellers do best: recommendations!
Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel
We actually shelve this in our Pets section, but I’m including it due to laugh factor. This one is better sold with visuals than words. I could tell you how funny these dogs look in the underwater photos, but you really have to come in and see for yourself. I’ve already gifted this to two dog lovers who both adore it.
When Parents Text by Sophia Frioli and Lauren Kaelin
It’s great when parents try to connect with their kids…and sometimes just really entertaining. For anyone who doesn’t know, “LOL” stands for “Laugh Out Loud.” It seems a number of parents thinks it means “Lots of Love,” which leads to texts like “Your dog died. LOL.”
Signspotting series by Doug Lansky
When in Japan, I saw a sign in a hotel that read, “Please feel free to take advantage of the maid.” Ever since that little translation confusion, I’ve been interested in signs that don’t say quite what they mean. This is actually the first humor book that I started showing to customers so we could bond over the crazy things we humans do.
I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano and How to Tell if Your Cat is Trying to Kill You by The Oatmeal
These two books are by completely different authors, but I’ve paired them for a reason. We sold these like crazy one holiday season, no doubt because they don’t just strike a chord with cat owners but with anyone who has ever met a cat.
Bunny Suicides series by Andrew Riley
This is some twisted humor, the kind that has you laughing partly in horror as Riley imagines all the near infinite ways that adorable little bunnies could try to take their own life. What’s amusing about this one is the level of creativity; some of these, er, bunny suicides are incredibly elaborate.
Read more of Rachel's book reviews on her blog.