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Here is a tribute to the books that make us laugh. Not just smirk or smile or emit a small "heh", but really laugh. Eyes squeezed shut, head thrown back, shaking helplessly with silent laughter, tears running down our faces - these are the few and far between gems that really tickle our funny bones.
"There was an old man of Calcutta..." You know the rest. Salute the wonderful Edward Lear (an extraordinary wordsmith and artist), and the joy of limericks and nonsense verse with our celebration of these special forms of poetry. There are limerick books from the master of science fiction Isaac Asimov and the master of the macabre Edward Gorey, and Playboy Magazine too.
After about 10 minutes of interviewing William Leith on the telephone, I gave up and put down my pen. Trying to record the author′s answers was simply not happening and I resorted to having a good old fashioned chat.
The British sense of humour is famous around the world but what kind of literature makes them laugh? It seems the ideal amusing read for Brits would be a mind-boggling combination of P.G. Wodehouse's sublime wit, a liberal dose of Joseph Heller's black humour and a slice of Douglas Adams' galactic comedy.