Today I recommend a collection of short fiction I picked up at AWP in January. Well, I bought it there and it was shipped to me a month or so later. I’ve been reading excerpts here and there, and have found myself laughing out loud reading Created In Darkness By Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category.
The length, topics, styles, voices, and senses of humor throughout this collection is the most varietal hodgepodge of ha-ha one could find. You’ll find lists, loads of satire, stylistic parodies, and even some short stories in here. The best part of reading a collection of short pieces is if something isn’t clicking for you, move on to something else. Yet when something works, you’ll relish in it, wanting it to last forever.
Three of my favorite pieces in this collection (and I’m only not-quite-halfway through) includes the opening piece, “A Brief Parody of a Talk Show That Falls Apart about Halfway through” by Tim Carvell, a piece which breaks the fourth wall and then breaks it yet again. Another favorite is “The Newest from Jokeland” by Brodie H. Brockie and R.J. White – featuring terrible jokes all in the sake of self-away irony. Finally, no fan of the Lord of the Rings films can go without reading Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell’s “Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Edition), Part One.” The satire of both Zinn and Chomsky, as well as the brilliant, biting analysis of the film will make fans laugh out loud, guaranteed.