Everyone's posting the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize, and Bookslut posted a quote about why funny books don't win these "major" literary awards. So in an effort to lighten things up, I'm going to recommend that everyone (yes, everyone) read Will Ferguson's Happiness.
Will Ferguson is a funny and popular Canadian writer; his books even have a consistent presence on the BC Ferries gift shop bookshelves. I was introduced to Ferguson's work by the man I love, who urged me to read it because "everyone who works in publishing should." He even sent me the book, and I polished it off in a few days and, excited, passed it on to a friend working with me at the university press. She also loved it, and read it even faster than I did. (I knew she would.)
So, the book's premise is this: Someone writes a self-help book that actually works. Everyone buys it. Everyone becomes happy. The world collapses. The editor (who initially rejected the manuscript) hunts down the writer. There's some gunfire somewhere in the book. There are daisy stickers. There's a man who's ended up with his own harem. There's a trailer. A desert. New York City. People in robes. A janitor in a limo.
And it's all funny.