Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (Vintage, $12). I had a friend who was so inspired by this novel that he once tried every drug in the famous passage that begins: “The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab.” Yes, the book is dark, but it’s funny as hell. In our deepest places, we all wish we could live like Raoul Duke for a while.
Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart (Harper, $15). A collection of satirical essays written by Jon Stewart when he was just on the cusp of his full Jon Stewartdom. His chapter “Adolf Hitler: The Larry King Interview” was an early inspiration for my book American Freak Show.
Little League Confidential by Bill Geist (Dell, $15). The book that taught American dads how to draft a Little League team. Rule No. 1? Always pick at least one kid with a good-looking mom. It’s good for morale. Timeless advice from my old man.
Our Dumb Century by the Staff of The Onion (Three Rivers, $18). Imagine spoofing an entire century and writing not a single unfunny word. My favorite in this vast collection of phony headlines? “Sinatra Warns Russkies to Knock It Off: Singer Gives Khrushchev 24 Hours to ‘Drop This Commie Bunk or It’s Ring-a-Ding-Ding for you Bozos.’” The book is relentlessly funny.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Back Bay, $10). Take your pick of Sedaris’ books. I like this account of his impossibly messed-up family by a nose over Naked. As someone who fumbled through a semester in France, losing just about everything in translation, I appreciate it when the author points to calf’s brains in a shop and asks the butcher, “Is thems the thoughts of cows?” Sedaris is the good kind of crazy.
Still Standing by Carrie Prejean (Regnery, $28). Unintentional comedy is comedy just the same. There’s plenty of it in this memoir by the former Miss California.