Category Archives: Comedy

Literature to make you laugh

Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff

In this funny and inspiring talk, Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. It’s worth a watch, and will make you consider how, and what, materials you’ll choose to build with.

Christmas is coming… and we’re here to help you get ahead of the silly season

With the 25th December inching closer (there’s only 8 weeks until Christmas), it can be hard to remember everything on your to do list so we thought we’d share the most anticipated books that are expected to make a huge splash under the Christmas tree this year. 

Earlier this year Dan added a brand new feature to Booko helping you to search books that are on pre order and boy has it been popular (just like the newest feature to buy LEGO via Booko). On the front page of Booko you can click the Pre Order section to see what’s coming, click through on one of the titles and you’ll be taken to the stores selling pre orders. So if you are thinking it is time to check a few presents off the shopping list (and avoid the dreaded shipping costs) then have a look at these beauties below. 

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

From the New York Times bestselling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, comes a bold new framework for leadership in today’s ever-changing world.

How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers, only ahead and behind. The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?

In his new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our life meaning. Sinek’s message is leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organisations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.

The Body by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody. Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body, how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so strongly that she even became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mum comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads. The sharp insights and humour are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life offstage, including the brutal single life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.

Cookie Perfection by Martha Stewart

Prepare yourself for some showstopper cookies from Martha Stewart to take your cookies to the next level in flavour, technique, and decorative appeal. The editors of Martha Stewart Living present a new, fun source for anyone looking to make their go-to cookies even better and bolder. These recipes make ordinary cookies absolutely extraordinary, packed with the familiar favourites you love, but taken up a notch in variety, flavour, and creativity. Classic recipes discover new life with unexpected twists such as Lemony Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies and Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies. Go over-the-top in super-sized fashion with Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies; get inspired by cultures around the globe with Brazilian Wedding Cookies and Stroopwaffels; and celebrate with beautifully decorated holiday treats, such as Easter Egg Puzzle Cookies and Snowball Truffles. Whether for a special celebration or a sweet anytime-treat, you’ll be sure to find inspiration to trade in your everyday cookies for versions far more special, and especially delicious.

You Suck at Cooking by You Suck at Cooking

Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less. You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings. You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeño Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).

In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*

*Results not guaranteed

Bluey: Fruit Bat based on the hit ABC KIDS TV show

We’re tipping all books containing this little Blue Healer and her sister will be a popular choice under the Christmas tree this year. Bluey has been a phenomenal success since airing on ABC KIDS in October last year. Bluey has gained legions of dedicated fans and taken the coveted position of being the most watched program ever on ABC iView, with over 100 million plays. It has also topped the Australian iTunes Kids Chart with the series peaking at #1 and consistently remaining in the Top 5.

In Fruit Bat, Bluey wishes she was a nocturnal fruit bat that stays up all night and soon she finds herself flying through the night sky. This is a fun and imaginative tale that anyone avoiding bedtime can relate to. 

Enjoy!

Celebrating amazing women through books this Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mum or not, the world of literature celebrates women from all backgrounds and all with different storylines. We have rounded up six stories that we think will amuse, inspire, resonate and enlighten this Mother’s Day. 

Pop on the kettle and make yourself a cuppa because we think you’ll want them all. 

200 Women by Ruth Hobday

Famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. Women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits, this landmark book is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and ask them what really matters to them. All two hundred women were photographed against the same background and asked the same five questions. Their answers reveal truth, wisdom, and inspiring stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional, each woman shares her unique replies to questions that reveal a human being’s deepest motivation, happiness, sadness and hope. With responses that range from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength, inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many people are fighting for basic freedom and equality. It’s a book that confirms what we already know – there are no ordinary women.

Diary of A Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe

The #craphousewife movement calls to unite all mothers who, like Jess, sometimes feel they are not perfect. Being a crap housewife is a badge Jess wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of crap is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about gourmet family dinners eaten together over the table, and tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off? This is a fabulous, funny, down-to-earth book, The Diary of a Crap Housewife, as Jess writes honestly about her cooking, mothering, career, botox, family and many other #craphousewife interests.

In Pieces by Sally Field

Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door’ to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-winning ferocity and depth of her role in Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzla Carlson

Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life (you can click through to her original book here). Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have you Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special. But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

We were trying to write about this book but came to the conclusion that  there was no better way we could write about Lily Allen’s story. We think the blurb she has written herself is perfect.  

So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.

Say Hello by Carly Findlay

Say Hello is a forthright, honest and rousingly triumphant memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly. ‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often cast as the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skin that they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of my story – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’ This honest, outspoken and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.

Enjoy!

The best comedic books in 2019…so far

This month we’re working on broadening our horizons and with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in full swing we are going to start by diving into comedy and see how it teaches us about our lives and sheds light on the human psyche.

Let’s dive in…

I can’t remember the title but the cover is blue by Elias Greig

As any retail or service worker will tell you, customers can be irrational, demanding, abusive, and brain-scramblingly, mind-bendingly strange. They can also be kind, thoughtful, funny, and full of pathos. Something about the often-fraught interaction between customer and worker – with the dividing line of the counter between them, and the commercial imperative, with its curious etiquette and toleration of all kinds of suspect behaviour brooding above – dims down certain inhibitions, and has a kind of hot-house effect on eccentricity. In I Can’t Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue, veteran bookseller Elias Greig collects the best, worst and most interesting customer encounters from his years at Berkelouw Balgowlah. From ill-behaved children to nostalgia seniors and everything in between, this hilarious and unpredictable book is the perfect gift for anyone who’s ever been on the wrong side of a store counter.

The book of the year 2018 by No Such Thing As A Fish

In a year dominated by Russian collusion and Brexit confusion, The Book of the Year returns with another dose of barely believable yet wholly unimpeachable facts and stories from the past twelve months. Every week for the past four years, Dan, James, Anna and Andy – the creators of the award-winning, chart-topping comedy podcast No Such Thing As A Fish – have wowed each other and millions of their listeners with the most astonishing trivia they have learned over the previous seven days. Now, once again, they have put down the microphones, picked up their pencils, and transformed a year’s worth of weird and wonderful happenings into one uplifting book that you won’t be able to put down. Discover how Peruvian mummies affected the World Cup, and why Love Island contestants are experts in game theory – as well as hundreds of stories that may have passed you by entirely, including the news that:
– NASA sent a man with a fear of heights to the International Space Station.
– An ice hotel in Canada caught fire.
– Mark Zuckerberg’s private data was compromised while he was talking to Congress about compromised data.
From Kim Jong Un’s personal potty to Jeremy Corbyn’s valuable vegetables, The Book of the Year 2018 is an eye-opening tour of yet another incredible year you didn’t know you’d lived through.

I built no schools in Kenya by Kirsten Drysdale

In September 2010, Kirsten Drysdale was tricked. Her friend called with a job offer too curious to refuse; a cruisey-gig as a dementia carer for a rich old man in Kenya. All expenses-paid, plenty of free time to travel or do some freelance reporting. There seemed no good reason to say no so she got on a plane. Only Kirsten’s friend hadn’t given her the full story. It was only on arrival in Nairobi that she discovered the rich old man’s family was fighting a war around him, and that she would be on the front line. Caught in the crossfire of all kinds of wild accusations, she also had to spy on his wife, keep his daughter placated, rebuff his marriage proposals, hide the car keys and clip his toenails, all while trying to retain her own sanity in the colonial time warp of his home. Meanwhile, the Kenyan army was invading Somalia, Al-Shabaab was threatening terror attacks, the East African bodybuilding scene beckoned, and Kirsten discovered she had long-lost cousins running a bar on the other side of the city. I Built No Schools in Kenya is a travelogue-tragedy-farce about race, wealth, love, death, family, nationhood, sanity, benzodiazepines, monkeys and whisky. It is almost entirely true.

Born a crime by Trevor Noah

One of the comedy world’s brightest voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt and humorous look at the world that shaped him. Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. A collection of eighteen personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man’s fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother – a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah’s own hilarious stand-up. Born a Crime is a must read.

GuRu By Ru Paul

A timeless collection of philosophies from renaissance performer and the world’s most famous shape-shifter RuPaul, whose sage outlook has created an unprecedented career for more than thirty-five years. GuRu is packed with more than 80 beautiful photographs that illustrate the concept of building the life you want from the outside in and the inside out. ‘You’re born naked and the rest is drag.’ As someone who has deconstructed life’s hilarious facade, RuPaul has broken ‘the fourth wall’ to expand on the concept of mind, body, and spirit. This unique perspective has allowed RuPaul to break the shackles of self-imposed limitations, but reader beware, this is a daily practice that requires diligence and touchstones to keep you walking in the sunshine of the spirit. Once you’re willing to look beyond the identity that was given to you, a hidden world of possibilities will open its doors. Throughout the history of humans on this planet, there’ve always been shaman, seers, and mediums who are able to interpret both high and low frequencies and remind humans to look beyond the surface for the truth of who we really are. And who we really are is an extension of the power that created the universe (aka: God in drag). FYI: most people are not willing to hear or accept that. That is RuPaul’s secret for success, not only in show business, but in all aspects of life, especially in navigating the emotional landmines that inhibit most sweet, sensitive souls. If you think this book is just about ‘doing drag’, you are sorely mistaken because for RuPaul, drag is merely a device to deactivate the identity-based ego and allow space for the unlimited.

The Uncollected plays of Shaun Micallef by Shaun Micallef

Shaun Micallef is without doubt one of Australia’s premier comedians, writer, producer, presenter, host, actor, author, broadcaster, bon vivant, gadfly, troubadour, dancer, impresario, trick-cyclist, acrobat, lion tamer, poet and elite sportsman. But did you know that he is also an internationally renowned playwright? No? Typical. It’s a stain on our national character that this doyen of theatre does not get anywhere near the credit he deserves or attention he craves in this country; mute testimony to Australia’s cultural cringe and inveterate dumbness. From Broadway to the West End, his name is mentioned in the same breath as Mamet and Ray Cooney; and in the salons of Paris he is worshipped as a God. His plays, uncollected until now, are irrefutable proof that when it comes to listing the world’s greatest dramatists, the name Micallef should be inserted in there somewhere. Even if you have never been to the theatre before, just holding this book in your hands as you are now will change your life forever. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, your body will spasm convulsively – you may even be so moved that you will open the book and read it.

Enjoy!