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Humor Me    edited by Ian Frazier order for
Humor Me
by Ian Frazier
Order:  USA  Can
Ecco, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Humor Me, edited by Ian Frazier, is 'An Anthology of Funny Contemporary Writing (Plus Some Great Old Stuff Too)'. It's a compendium of more than fifty pieces of 'the greatest comic writing of our time.' Steve Martin, Calvin Trillin, George Saunders and David Sedaris are but a few of the authors and funny people who are represented.

The pieces were mostly published in the past thirty years in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, The Atlantic, National Lampoon and Outside. This collection also includes an older 'handful of comic masterpieces that nobody in need of a laugh should ever be without.' Of course, Mark Twain is among the latter writers as well as Bret Harte, Elizabeth Bishop and Donald Barthelme.

Humor is known to be a great equalizer as well as a panacea for many ills. Taken one piece at a time - preferably with a break between the stories - laughter will erupt from your inner core and sooth jangled nerves. I find that reading one story directly after another, one can become inured to the joy of a good belly laugh.

So take your time and savor some of the products of the most respected wits around. I read somewhere that comedy was harder to write than drama. That is probably so, but these pieces seem to trip lightly from comedic minds to enrich our lives. Enjoy the work of Ray Blount, Jr., Patricia Marx, Garrison Keillor, Andy Borowitz, Larry Doyle, and Ian Maxtone-Graham with a ribald one-liner. Light up your life with a good laugh from these and more great writers.

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