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Spring is my favorite season, as we (in this hemisphere, anyway) emerge from the winter doldrums (albeit this winter really presented us with little to complain about). April, however, has been labeled "the cruelest month" because of the looming possibility of a (short-lived) regression into colder temperatures. I enjoy April because of it's status as "National Humor Month."
Yes, I am well cognizant of the fact that April is also "National Poetry Month" (as much as I adore Shakespeare, especially his 116th sonnet, his lines therein "...love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come..." have yet to prevent former old boyfriends from exclaiming, "Gee, Muriel looks old!" Hint: dark circles under the eyes and a less than firm jaw line do not necessarily correlate to diminished hearing). My beloved niece, Amanda, will celebrate her fifteenth birthday during this month (when people comment that Amanda is redolent of me while she is within hearing distance, her gorgeous countenance assumes this look of sheer horror, until I clarify that she resembles me when I was young, not the middle-aged woman she sees before her. I once had to hastily prevent my niece from submerging her face in a vat of anti-aging cream following someone's well-intentioned comparison to me).
And, on a more somber note, the one hundredth anniversary of the RMS Titanic sinking to her watery grave will occur on April 15th of this year. But, as expressed above, much of April's charm for me is centered on concentrating on the works of writers of humor (an endeavor which I share). The NYPL's collection is replete with many works that will exert the effect of causing the reader of convulse with laughter. These books encompass modern writers, such as Dave Barry, as well as classic humorist of yesteryear, including my role model, Erma Bombeck. I can vividly recall being eleven years old, laying on the floor, reading Bombeck's column in the newspaper, and remarking to my brother, "This is it. This is what I want to do with my life." My esteem for Mrs. Bombeck increased exponentially when I read, after her tragic passing in 1996 due to complications following a kidney transplant, that her agent Aaron Priest described Bombeck as, "...the only person I ever met who literally you couldn't buy." True integrity, like true talent, is rare. When combined in the same entity, it is indeed cause for high praise.
I hope patrons derive as much jocularity and inspiration from the writings of Mrs. Bombeck (as well as of other authors' respective works contained in the NYPL's collection) as I have. The list enumerated below is not exhaustive, but rather a compilation of a sampling of some of the humor-laden materials available for check-out to NYPL patrons.
- Forever Erma: Best Loved Writing From America's Favorite Humorist
- The Best of Bombeck
- Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck
- We'll Laugh Again by Art Buchwald
- Rumpole of the Bailey by John Clifford Mortimer
- Rumpole Misbehaves by John Clifford Mortimer
- Rumpole and the Angel of Death by John Clifford Mortimer
- Rickles' Letters by Don Rickles with David Ritz
- Lamentations of the Father by Ian Frazier
- The Bible of Unspeakable Truths by Greg Gutfeld
- The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro
- Don't Count the Candles — Just Keep the Fire Lit! by Joan Rivers
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
- Schmucks!: Our Favorite Fakes, Frauds, Lowlifes, Liars, the Armed and the Dangerous and Good Guys Gone Bad by Jackie Mason
- Dave Barry's Greatest Hits
- The Illustrated Woody Allen Reader
- Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin
- When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin
- Laurel & Hardy Collection