Check It Out: Belly Laughs

Submitted by J. Johnston on Wed, 01/26/2022 - 09:20

Someone once said, “Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you.” I don’t know if this is really true because what’s funny to me might not be funny to you, but I do appreciate the idea of keeping laughter in one’s life. Did you know that there is a Global Belly Laugh Day? Yes, really, I’m not making this up. The official day of celebration is January 24, but belly laughs are welcome any day of the year, so when the urge to let out a good guffaw strikes, lean into it!

As I already mentioned, humor is a personal thing. The titles I’m listing today might not hit your funny bone, so I encourage everyone to search the library’s catalog to find things that make you laugh. If you search the word “humor” in our catalog, be prepared: the number of results will be large, and feeling overwhelmed is not funny at all. Think about topics or people who bring a smile to your face and perform some keyword searches.

The reading suggestions listed below are about subjects and/or people that have brought joy to my life. May they tickle your fancy as well, and if not, follow my lead and read what makes you happy.

Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting” by Jennifer Traig
I have never been a parent (except to cats), yet I can appreciate the hard work that parenting demands as well as the unexpected moments that bring joy—maybe tears—to every mom and dad. If you’re a parent and could use a laugh or two, check out Jennifer Traig’s hilarious review of parenting techniques.
How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons” by Robert Mankoff
“The New Yorker” magazine has always been one of my favorite periodicals offering an array of wonderful stories, engaging articles and smart, witty cartoons. And speaking of cartoons, Robert Mankoff worked as a cartoonist at “The New Yorker” before becoming the cartoon editor for nearly twenty years. If laughter is the best medicine, this book offers a large dosage of mirth and merriment.
How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog: Exploring the Big Questions in Life” by Anthony McGowan
Although I’m a crazy cat mom, I love dogs. They love you no matter what and are eager to please even when author Anthony McGowan decides to teach philosophy to his loveable Maltese terrier, Monty. I try to imagine engaging in a discussion about Socrates with one of my cat boys, and I’m pretty sure the feline disdain for human philosophy would hang heavy in the air.
Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life and How Anyone Can Harness It” by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas
Goodness knows we need more laughter right now (belly-shaking or quiet, interior chuckles—it really doesn’t matter), so how do we get more laughs? “Humor, Seriously” advises readers, in a seriously funny way, how to incorporate more grins in life and work. Ha, ha!
If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)” by Betty White
The world lost Betty White recently, and while she will be greatly missed, we’re lucky to have her television shows to watch and writings from the cheery lady herself to read. I’m a fan, and I hope you are, too.
A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber” by Michael J. Rosen
If you enjoy reading “The New Yorker,” you probably know about James Thurber’s long-time connection with the magazine. Thurber, a cartoonist and author who was well-known for his wit, wrote stories for “The New Yorker” as well as drawing multiple covers and sketches for the magazine. He died in 1961, but his literary and artistic contributions continue to resonate with readers to this day.

New at the Library




This is just a small sampling of the many new titles added each week to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District collection. Find more in our catalog, or call (360) 906-5000 to reserve titles or find additional listings.

Jan Johnston, Collection Manager
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

You can email Jan at

A version of this "Check It Out" column was published in The Columbian newspaper on January 23, 2021.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.