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Talking Books Talk

Talking Books Talk provides news and updates about the Kansas Talking Books Service (KTBS). Talking Books staff will highlight relevant announcements from KTBS and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Questions: KTB@ks.gov or 800-362-0699

Jan 13

Staff Spotlight - Suzanne Phillips

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 9:14 AM by Michael Lang

Meet Suzanne our Graduate Assistant from the Emporia State University, School of Library and Information Management.

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Jan 07

On the Download - January 2020

Posted on January 7, 2020 at 8:34 AM by Michael Lang

There were many great audio and braille titles downloaded in December. Find out if your next great read is on the list.

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Jan 03

LOL into the New Year

Posted on January 3, 2020 at 8:42 AM by Maggie Witte

Welcome everyone! Most years, we start off the New Year looking toward the future, not the past, and making resolutions we vow we’re going to keep. There’s resolutions on losing weight, getting organized, being more responsible, saving money, and I can keep going on and on. It’s all so serious and can make the coming year seem daunting.

So this year, our staff has decided to start this year off lighter by looking back on our most humorous reads from 2019. Who doesn’t like to giggle or laugh out loud (LOL) when you’re reading something truly funny? Try one (or all) of these books to start your year off with a laugh.

--Maggie Witte

Aaron’s Choice
DB 96636 Someone who will love you in all your damaged glory: Stories by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Annotation: A collection of off-beat and darkly humorous short stories about love. Young couple faces family drama over ritual goat sacrifices at wedding. Lonely commuters eternally fail to make contact after a missed connection. Members of a rock band have superpowers, but only when drunk. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

Each of these stories is completely ridiculous, but this collection hits the sweet spot where organized chaos meets surprisingly real emotion.

Nataly’s Pick
DB 74668 Alien in the Family by Gini Koch
Annotation: Kitty Katt is preparing--though it looks more like procrastinating--for her upcoming wedding to alien Jeff Martini when emissaries from other planets arrive for the nuptials. But which of them are truly friends? Sequel to Alien Tango (DB 74616). Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. 2011.

All of the books in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series are funny; however, in my opinion, this one takes the cake. The stubborn awkwardness of the main character, Kitty Katt trying to do her best during her wedding only to have to sprint in the middle of it is hilarious.

(Personally, I also love this series. It’s completely action-packed with sarcastic humor and so much saving the earth.)

My Favorites

DB 93298 Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Annotation: When a long-term attack against her world by an alien race called the Krell escalates, Spensa's dream of becoming a pilot may finally come true--despite her community's reluctance. Some violence. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

If you enjoy a sarcastic lead character, chatty and possibly insane AIs, and stop-and-go action, this book is for you. The artificial intelligence, M-bot, is, I think, the comic generator with his incessant drive to catalog and study mushrooms and logical thinking.

While Skyward is my top pick, it's tied with another book.

DB 92651 Alien Education by Gini Koch
Annotation: Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini face robotic attacks endangering Earth's alien child population. Meanwhile, they must also deal with murders, a resurgence of Club 51, and the Parent-Teacher Association. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2017.

This novel has it all: a synchronized ice skating fight, androids, aliens, PTA meetings and sarcastic comments flying. Most of my time reading this book was spent laughing. It has some fantastic hilarious moments, touching moments, and action-packed moments, so if you want a book with it all, read Alien Education.

Dylan’s Pick
DB 44750 Brain Droppings by George Carlin
Annotation: A veteran comic offers zany observations and opinions on various aspects of life. Carlin cites oxymorons (mandatory options), redundancies (added bonus), and euphemisms (body bags equal remains pouches). He also relays his views of pretentiousness in twentieth-century society. Strong language. Bestseller.

George Carlin gives his opinion and views on a little bit of everything, which is always entertaining.

Michael’s Selections
DB 65696 The Last Cattle Drive by Robert Day
Annotation: Mid-twentieth century. To avoid trucking charges, cattleman Spangler Tukle attempts to drive 250 steers over highways, parking lots, and cloverleafs to the Kansas City stockyards. Aiding him are his wife Opal, aging ranch hand Jed, schoolteacher Leo, and Leo's persistent girlfriend Heather. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. 1977.

A modern tall-tale that reminds me of sitting around 4th of July picnic tables with my uncles and cousins, shaking my head in disbelief, while trying to discover the kernels of truth buried under the layers of embellishment. The oversized characters in this book might seem ridiculous, if only I didn't know so many exactly like them.

KS 00463 The Revival by Max Yoho
Annotation: A holy war in Epic, Kansas? You'd better believe it! It's Revival Week, and every man, woman, child and cocker spaniel - if it looks Methodist - is expected to be there. A humorous account of Edwin J. Stamford, an eleven-year-old boy, growing up in a small town in Kansas.

Yoho's writing elicited guffaws from me when I read this book; he's a master at elevating silly situations into high comedy with ingenious turns of phrase. The mischievous eleven year old protagonist Edwin J. Stamford, is a character that would give Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes) a run for his money.

Becca's Choices
DB 74112 The Fault in our Stars by John Green and Kate Rudd
Annotation: A miracle drug may have given sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel a few more years, but she is still depressed. Then Hazel meets cute Augustus during a support-group meeting and her world shifts in unexpected and inspiring ways. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2012.

This book was funny to me, because, like the main character, Hazel, I have a morbid sense of humor. I try to find humor in every situation life throws at me ... the same way that Hazel does. I found myself giggling one minute and crying the next throughout this entire book.

DB 58588 There's No Toilet Paper on the Road Less Traveled: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure by Doug Lansky
Annotation: Twenty-six writers relate embarrassing, frustrating, comical, but certainly memorable moments from their sojourns abroad. Bill Bryson takes an enlightening stroll through Paris, while Dave Barry attempts to learn Japanese in five minutes. Peter Mayle, P.J. O'Rourke, and Mary Roach, among others, also share their outrageous travel experiences. 1998.

I like this book, because I love learning about other cultures and customs ... and it's great when it's somebody else's error.


Hopefully, these will tickle your funny bone as much as they did ours. Happy reading and may your new year be filled with laughs.