What clean humor book should I get for my fundie grandmother's birthday?
September 21, 2011 8:08 PM   Subscribe

It's my grandmother's birthday next week, and I'd like to give her some sort of book with cute and funny short stories/jokes, a la Reader's Digest. It should also be clean humor only. Any suggestions?

A little more info:

- My grandmother is a fundie. She will not read or listen to anything remotely "sinful," which really narrows it down (from my perspective), considering how much she considers sinful. For instance, I'm pretty sure the word "butt" would offend her (yes, it's that bad), but if she can quickly turn the page on that sort of thing, maybe it'll be okay.

- Caveat: Please only suggest books that aren't religious/spiritual in nature. As the black sheep agnostic of the family, I seriously do not want to encourage that monster, no matter how much she'd like something with a Jesus-loving bent.

- Upbeat material only. My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago, and she's had friends pass recently; I think she's (understandably) a little depressed, but she won't see to it because of her beliefs. I want something that will make her laugh and not have to think too much.

Thank you, hive mind!
posted by iamfantastikate to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Reader's Digest has a collection of jokes, etc here.
posted by jenny76 at 8:12 PM on September 21, 2011

Response by poster: @jenny76, will those be the same that are in the magazine, though? I think she's been a subscriber over the years...
posted by iamfantastikate at 8:16 PM on September 21, 2011

Best answer: This might be a job for Erma Bombeck.
posted by decathecting at 8:17 PM on September 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm not positive that you won't find the word "butt" somewhere in the book, but have you considered Letters from a Nut?
posted by blurker at 8:18 PM on September 21, 2011

Oh, also, Robert Fulghum isn't humor per se, but he's a very happy sort of sentimental, and his books really do seem to lift people's spirits.
posted by decathecting at 8:20 PM on September 21, 2011

How about John's Bathroom Readers?
posted by ian1977 at 8:23 PM on September 21, 2011

Seconding Erma Bombeck: even if she's read her over the years, the posthumous collection is a nice set of her work and she'd be unlikely to remember columns that disparate.

And she's quite wonderful.
posted by jrochest at 8:26 PM on September 21, 2011

Best answer: What about some James Herriot? A little old-fashioned, funny, and clean. Plus, animals!
posted by freshwater at 8:27 PM on September 21, 2011 [5 favorites]

Maybe the chicken soup for the soul books? They're not new and they're not all funny, but I *think* they're clean and heartwarming. There's got to be one that'd be appropriate.

You might want to check about Rogert Fulgham. It's been decades since I read his books but it seems like there's more than a "butt" that might offend your grandma.
posted by lemniskate at 8:38 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

A Fine and Pleasant Misery by Patrick McManus.

Very broad, very clean, and very powerful humor. Flipped me right out of bed one time when I was trying not to laugh so loud it would wake up my partner-- who was sleeping in a bedroom at the other end of the house.
posted by jamjam at 8:40 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bob and Ray? Their written bits are just as funny as their audible ones.
posted by Madamina at 8:41 PM on September 21, 2011

There's a slew of Chicken Soup for the Soul books - for Grandmothers, for the Young at Heart, for Grieving and Recovery - the list goes on and on. Some (including me) find the books trite but lots of folks (including my prudish mother) find them inspirational.
posted by kbar1 at 8:43 PM on September 21, 2011

Most anything by Garrison Keillor.
posted by tomswift at 8:46 PM on September 21, 2011

I'd second Keillor only if your Grams is OK with making fun of Methodists and Lutherans. I wouldn't put the word "butt" past him, either. Jeez, am I actually describing PHC as having offensive qualities? Wild.
posted by rhizome at 9:10 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much! This should give me some ideas beyond just this birthday, so yay! She's hard to buy for, as you might imagine, so I'm grateful for the suggestions. I think I'm going to try James Herriot this time. :)
posted by iamfantastikate at 9:37 PM on September 21, 2011

Best answer: James Herriot is a wonderful choice. For next time - my dad quite enjoyed the book Kids Say the Darndest Things.
posted by evilmomlady at 4:05 AM on September 22, 2011

Best answer: A suggestion for the future - I think she would quite like a subscription to Reminisce Magazine. It is squeaky clean and should be right up her alley.
posted by gudrun at 6:01 AM on September 22, 2011

Some of Calvin Trillin's work maybe? (Not sure about this.) Or some of James Thurber's short stories?
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:53 AM on September 22, 2011

Nthing James Herriot. I love James Herriot! Fits your bill perfectly.
posted by StephenF at 8:53 AM on September 22, 2011

I haven't read the whole thing, but Mama Makes Up Her Mind? Several of the stories were popular at my summer camp for counselors to read to campers, so they must have been pretty clean. The one about the penpals in Maine cracked me up every time.
posted by naoko at 11:30 AM on September 22, 2011

Not quite on target, since they're longer works rather than little snippets and anecdotes, but she might be interested in Gerald Durrell's autobiographical books. I had them as a fairly young child, so I doubt there was much offensive about them, and they were very, very funny. Despite my having read them as a tween, his Corfu trilogy and other autobiographies aren't specifically targeted at children, so your grandmother might like them.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2011

Ooh, one of the Gerald Durrell has a graphic vivid birth scene, as I recall from a childhood brush with the book; I think it's My Family and Other Animals.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:02 PM on September 24, 2011

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