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Check It Out: Looking for a literary laugh?

When a customer asks a librarian to help them find a funny novel, it can be a challenge to find one that fits an individual's sense of humor. One person may appreciate dark humor, while another may enjoy satire or gentle humor.

If you think you might enjoy a story embracing wacky characters and plots that involve crime, romance, dysfunctional relationships and even aliens depicted in a comedic light, then check these out:

"The Facades: A Novel" by Eric Lundgren: One night in the decrepit Midwestern town of Trude, a celebrated mezzo-soprano vanishes during rehearsal. When the police come up empty-handed in solving the mystery, the opera singer's husband, Sven Norberg, takes up the quest to discover the secret of his wife's disappearance. Along the way, he must descend into Trude's underworld and discovers menacing and bizarre citizens such as the likes of shifty music critics, rebellious librarians and a cop named the Oracle. The town is filled with a maze of ornate, rundown buildings that Sven must trudge through as though in a maze while solving the mystery.

"Someday, Someday, Maybe" by Lauren Graham: Graham is an actress, best known for her roles in two television series, "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood." Her witty debut novel is set in 1995 and centers on Franny Banks, who has given herself three years to find fame as an actress in New York City. She's working as a waitress in a comedy club and lives the typical life of a struggling actor while trying to find a decent agent, attend auditions and participate in an acting class. Although she has a bumpy road while pursuing her hopes and dreams, you will laugh at her travails with friends, family and attempt at romance.

"The Humans: A Novel" by Matt Haig: In this captivating story, an alien is sent to Earth on a mission to prevent mankind from discovering a mathematical principle that could set humans on the path to discovering new planets. In the process, he assumes the identity of a human, Professor Andrew Martin, a Cambridge University mathematician and scholar. The alien is initially disgusted by humans and views them as primitive, money-grabbing warmongers. However, he comes to realize that humans are much more complex than he originally thought and even possess a powerful beauty.

"The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel" by Matthew Quick: Bartholomew Neil is approaching 40 and struggling with the recent death of his mother and his fear of what most of us would call a normal life. He's never had friends, a girlfriend or relationships outside of the refuge his mother created for him. Most consider him odd since he can't read social cues and doesn't understand the thoughts and emotions of others. This is an unusual story about mental illness, fear and fragility with interjections of humor. Quick is also the author of "The Silver Linings Playbook."

"The Last Original Wife: A Novel" by Dorothea Benton Frank: This story of family, friendship, self-discovery and love offers a poignant tale mixed with lots of comic relief. Leslie is the "last original wife" among her husband's successful social group in Atlanta. She is the only woman among her family's circle of friends who hasn't been traded in for a younger, tanned and toned Barbie bride. When Leslie falls in a manhole and is hospitalized without her husband even noticing, she decides she has had enough of playing the good wife for her husband, who thinks he's doing her a favor by keeping her around.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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