Toppleton’s Client: Or A Spirit in Exile by John Kendrick Bangs (1893)

The prolific humor writer strikes again. This is Bangs at his finest and I don’t want to spoil the ending. If I could write good fiction, this is the style I’d adopt. The 1900 bizarre humor style suits me perfectly. It is a shame that its all but disappeared from the world of literature nowadays. Or maybe it hasn’t. I’ll admit I haven’t looked that hard.

Hopkins Toppleton Jr. is not a great legal mind like his father but he does retain the same name as that great lawyer. The legal firm his father helped create wants to retain the prestige associated with the Toppleton name despite the recent death of Hopkins Toppleton Sr. Therefore, they hire his idiot son, Toppleton Jr., and immediately send him off to England. In order to not disgrace the firm, he is given two rules. Go on vacation regularly and never ever get a client. Both rules are quickly broken. Take off your reading glasses and meet Toppleton’s Client.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34171

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/toppletons-client-by-john-kendrick-bangs/

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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton (1908)

Have you ever casually stepped in a puddle that ended up much deeper than first assumed? This book is a puddle. You may find depth but I only saw glimpses. Instead I thought that this novel had a consistent absurd style of humor that paced the whole story wonderfully. Each chapter left me thinking that this couldn’t go any further. The joke was over yet the author kept pulling at it incessantly like a kitten with a ball of yarn. At times I imagine jumping inside a book to see how realistic the book feels around me. This book hangs realism in the first chapter and spends the next fourteen chapters dragging the body around and taking pictures with it. To some this would be too far. Instead I found it refreshing.

Gabriel Syme is a policeman disguised as a poet. This is an easy disguise; he used to be a poet. His goal is to disrupt the plans of the a secret international anarchist organization. Through ruse, subterfuge and mostly blind luck Syme finds himself inside the local underground bunker taking part in an anarchist meeting. Syme seizes his chance and tricks the local chapter to elect him as their representative. Like a line of dominos, Syme crashes from one adventure to the next in pursuit of a world without anarchy. Ride an elephant through London while reading The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-man-who-was-thursday-a-nightmare-by-gk-chesterton/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1695

A Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith (1892)

My unabashed love for this little book will be hard to explain. The book itself is a lowkey slice-of-life novel based in the 1890’s written as a diary. Each chapter collects almost a weeks worth of entries in the dull life of Charles Pooter. We hear about his many awkward moments and wait patiently for his rare, polite anger. Attempting to read this monotonous comedy in one sitting will just create an excess of snores. A chapter or two a day will make you crack a smile. In other words, consume this diary like an IV instead of shot.

Charles Pooter and his wife Caroline live a quiet homely life in the suburb of Holloway. They don’t worry about the world’s big problems. Instead, they might play dominoes in the evening after a simple dinner. Or he may complain about his job as a city clerk. Or they may worry of the future of their son, Lupin. In between these everyday occurrences, little coincidences will make you smile. Start your own journal after reading A Diary of a Nobody.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-diary-of-a-nobody-by-george-weedon-grossmith

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1026

 

Supermind by Mark Phillips (1963)

(Note: This is the final book in the series. First read Brain Twister.)

This writing partnership crafts incredibly snarky dialogue. Each character is like a stand up comic riffing on everything and anything happening around them. There are plenty of exciting things to riff on from teleportation to telepathy to an international conspiracy. This book has it all. When I finished reading the last chapter, I felt a little sad as if I was saying goodbye to an old friend. Funny little books like this one leave me undecided. Do I reserve my highest praise for the “classics” or do I speak highly of the unusual books that I just can’t put down? In the end, I think there is a place for a wacky sci-fi book like this one that doesn’t ask the big questions but enchants me with amusing characters, bizarre situations and witty dialogue.

Kenneth J. Malone has tackled telepathic spies and teleporting thieves but this is his hardest test yet. He is tasked with finding out who or what is causing inefficiencies in the government. Not the normal bureaucratic inefficiency. A new unusual phenomenon that seems to be affecting all levels of government. How do you find something that you can’t name and you don’t understand? Follow Malone as he tries to answer these tough questions and detect the Supermind.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22342

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/supermind-by-laurence-m-janifer/

Brain Twister by Mark Phillips (1962)

Have you ever purchased a soda from a vending machine and two popped out? This book is a similar sweet surprise. I acknowledge that I’m not well read but it still took me unawares when I realized that this was a sci-fi humor novel instead of the assumed sci-fi action thriller. Is sci-fi humor a thriving sub genre that falls through the cracks not fitting into either the sci-fi or humor bookshelves at the store? The world needs more genre bending books even if a large portion feel half baked and end up falling flat. I always applaud the courage needed to try something different. Brain Twister does not fall flat. Instead it is positively enchanting and singularly hilarious. Fans of witty dialogue will enjoy this book immensely.

Kenneth J. Malone wakes up early to the ringing of his phone. His boss, the head of the FBI, tells him its an emergency. The emergency is unusual. A telepath is reading the minds of the scientists at a top secret government research facility and Malone is on the case. First, he must answer a series of difficult and absurd questions. How did we detect the telepath? How do we find the telepath? How do we stop the telepath? To answer these questions Malone is pulled all  across the US with hilarious results. You must be this tall to read Brain Twister.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/brain-twister-by-mark-phillips/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22332

Jill the Reckless by P.G. Wodehouse (1920)

Another superb comedy authored by Mr. Wodehouse. Just when a thread starts to tangle it gets stitched back in seamlessly making you wonder how you didn’t see its inevitable conclusion earlier. The dialogue is quaint, quick, snappy and a real treat. No chapter feels forced and everything moves along at the pace of a happy golden retriever. Jill the Reckless is a ripe and refreshing little tale.

You begin at the beginning with Jill slated to meet her fiances mother, a cruel and usual woman. Through a series of mistakes and mishaps Jill makes a dreadful mess of this introduction and all of Mrs. Underhills fears are realized in the tiny stature that is Jill Mariner. From here we glide to and fro following Jill as she tries to make her way in the world. Jill must rely on her sharp wit and reckless instinct to make the best of every unforeseen situation. Quickly sneak out the back with Jill the Reckless.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/jill-the-reckless-by-p-g-wodehouse/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20533

Once a Week by A.A. Milne(1914)

Like a mute bird trying to sing the humor in these stories can be subtle. They come from a time where humor was expressed in absurd and wonderful little stories that twisted your brain in an enjoyable sort of way. Full of bizarre twists and great timing these stories are addictive like the best lemonade. My favorite fairy godmother tale appears in this collection. The entire genre of fairy tales is subverted in one quick blow to the head. Don’t be shy. You could learn to tango Once a Week.

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/once-a-week-by-a-a-milne/

free ebook download: http://manybooks.net/titles/milneaa2431324313-8.html