Six intelligent Kansas Citians recommend nonescapist but funny books

Summer Reading 

Six intelligent Kansas Citians recommend nonescapist but funny books

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"I love Post Office, by Charles Bukowski. It's about Bukowski's alter ego, Henry. My favorite part is when he's delivering mail in the rain and his truck gets stuck in the middle of the street, in a huge puddle. So he abandons his truck, goes to a bar and gets drunk."

Rogers also recommends Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands. "She's a comedian, and she has absolutely no shame. I'm sure a lot of her stories are exaggerated, but still hilarious. She tries to pick up a midget at a party who's wearing a sombrero filled with chips and salsa. She takes him home, discovers how big he is and says, 'Hell, no!' It's a book you end up lending out because you want everyone to read it. She lies to get out of bad dates, makes up lies to leave after a one-night stand. It's an easy summer read because they're short stories. You're not actually committing yourself to a novel."

Harold Sipe graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2000 and develops global applications for Andrews McMeel — things such as software comic book readers for mobile devices. Speaking of which, Image recently published Sipe's first comic book, Screamland, illustrated by Kansas City's Hector Casanova. Sipe spoke to The Pitch about one of his favorite funny graphic novels.

"The first would be Buddy Does Seattle, by Peter Bagge. It captures a lot of that 20-something experience. It's still relevant and funny. Peter Bagge has a very sharp wit, and it has a sarcastic tone, which, while it can be crass, it's easy to relate to. A lot of books try that sort of tone, and it's too abrasive. Somehow Bagge's found that sweet spot that allows him to make those observations and completely pull it off.

"The main character, Buddy Bradley, leaves home, tries to figure himself out — it was very timely for me. And it's interesting — he moved to Seattle during the whole grunge deal. It's got this bizarre sort of documentary quality to it now. This is gonna sound really terrible, but there's a running gag about Buddy and his girlfriend having abortions. It's how the book ended — she didn't want to have another abortion, so they decided to have a kid. It wasn't just a throwaway gag. It was a really big deal to the characters."

An unexpectedly funny freelance technology writer, former KC resident Joel Johnson left town five years ago and got famous, blogging for Gawker Media at Kotaku.com and Gizmodo.com. He's now one of the newest Boing Boing Happy Mutants, editing Boing Boing Gadgets at boingboing.gadgets.net.

He recommends The Modern Man's Guide to Life by Denis Boyles, Alan Wellikoff and Alan Rose. "It's a collection of essays. It's out of print, but you can still find it on Amazon. The conceit is that it's asking various guys their opinions on things — it's not that the individual responses from the men are so funny but how resolutely a man can express an opinion and then, in the next paragraph, express an equally strong opinion on the other side of the argument. The sections on women, dating and relationships are especially good. Asked about sex, they'll say, 'Pay attention to your partner — it's all about her,' and in the very next line, they say, 'Sex is a time to be completely selfish!' I got a copy when I was 12. It covers everything from how to tie a tie to how to buy a used car. All very important for a 12-year old.

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