Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A ghost walks into a bookshop. The owner asks, “How can I help you?” Ghost says, “I’m here for the BOOOOks.”
Yeah, that was more groan-worthy than a haunted staircase. But in these weird times of uncertainty and distancing ourselves from friends and family, having a sense of humor, and feeding it, is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves.
A good guffaw can help soothe tension and physical symptoms of stress by stimulating circulation and relaxing muscles. Positive thoughts (which go hand in hand with laughing) releases neuropeptides that help battle stress and potentially more serious illnesses. Thus boosting your immune system.
A shared joke can help you deal with difficult situations and bond you with a person more fully, even if you can’t be within six feet of them.
Laughter can also be as helpful as a workout (I for one would much rather laugh than sweat) by boosting your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart and muscles and increasing the endorphins released by your brain. Endorphins elicit a positive feeling in the body and improves your mood, which helps decrease depression and anxiety.
So, like our ghost mentioned earlier, you’re here for the BOOks. What does The Haunted Bookshop staff recommend to increase laughter and keep the effects of COVID-19 at bay?
In picture books, I NEED A NEW BUTT and the sequel, I BROKE MY BUTT by Dawn McMillan, because potty humor will never grow old no matter how much we evolve. And seriously, there’s a crack in it.
In middle grade (for ages 8-12) The Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier. Okay, this one may not be totally appropriate because it’s about a zombie and monster apocalypse, (one of the fun things about laughter is that it’s not always appropriate) but it’s written in a hilarious way. The main character, Jack Sullivan, has some jokes. And it may motivate your kids to clean up their cobwebby old treehouse and fortify it with anti-zombie (or anti-coronavirus) catapults.
If your child is an animal lover, or even a super hero/evil villain fan, the Wedgie & Gizmo trilogy by Suzanne Selfors, about an overexcited corgi and conniving guinea pig, will tickle the funny bone. It’s a definite reread in my household.
Interested in a YA that’ll make you LOL? Mackenzi Lee’s THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is as if The Pirates of the Caribbean yo-ho’d into Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Funny stuff. And Alabama author, Chad Alan Gibbs, rocks voice and humor in his YA debut, TWO LIKE ME AND YOU.
For adult books, fantasy author Terry Pratchett is hilarious in his absurdity. His book written with Neil Gaiman, THE GOOD OMENS, is hilarious in an apocalyptic way, so may be just what you need to read right now.
Christopher Moore is another author that tickles the funny bone with his interesting insights and turns of phrases. LUST LIZARDS OF MELANCHOLY COVE and FOOL are two of his books that Alex recommends for humor.
Eoin Colfer’s fantasy, HIGHFIRE, about a vodka-swilling, flashdance-loving dragon hiding out in the bayous of Louisiana is an all-around staff favorite. We couldn’t get enough of Vern.
If you’re looking for romance, (in books, not real life—six foot distance, remember?) Lyssa Kay Adams’ THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB is hilarious in its metaness. The book asks the question: what if romance novels are really instruction manuals for how women think? So a group of guys fighting for their ladies turn to romance novels for help.
And of course, definitely check out our owner Angela’s romantic comedies. Laugh-out-loud, smart, and sexy, her latest release is the time-traveling SOME LIKE IT PLAID.
On our local humor shelf we have al.com political cartoonist J.D. Crowe’s HALF-THUNK THOUGHTS AND HALF-FAST DRAWINGS to make you chortle.
Do you have any funny book recommendations? We’d love to hear from you. And if any of these grab your attention, we’re offering curbside pickup and free local delivery.
So stay safe. Read a book. Wash your hands. And don’t forget to laugh.
For more fun facts on the advantages of laughter, visit http://www.humana.com/health-and-well-being/health-benefits-of-laughter