Tony's Take 10

Tony likes his books dark and funny, and darkly funny. On this topic, he likes to quote Samuel Beckett: "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness." The quote is from the play “Endgame,” and Tony is sure that he has taken it out of context, but he doesn't care. His favorite season is fall, and his favorite kind of cat is all of them. I think “dark” might be one of his favorite words.

F Cover Image
By Daniel Kehlmann, Carol Janeway (Translator)
ISBN: 9780804171595
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 4th, 2015

This tragicomedy about faith, fraud, and family is fantastic, farcical, and funny. But, you know, in a dark German way.

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By Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
ISBN: 9780312429218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2009

Bolano writes like no one I've ever encountered. An open-ended narrative form and a style that might be described as a cataloging of mundane events are the building blocks with which he constructs something mysterious and beautiful.

As I Lay Dying Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679732259
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - January 30th, 1991

Faulkner reinvented the novel at least twice. This darkly funny story of the Bundren family's journey to bury their dead mother made me realize that modern isn't new.

All My Puny Sorrows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940450711
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McSweeney's - July 28th, 2015

Two sisters: Elf is a renowned classical pianist with a loving husband. Yoli is a divorced mother of two teenagers, and a complete mess. But it is Yoli's job to keep her sister from committing suicide. Told in a compelling first-person narrative. And it's funny.

An Unnecessary Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802122940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - November 11th, 2014

On the first page, a 72-year-old woman in Beirut starts to tell us how she accidentally shampooed her hair blue. I fell in love with her and the book soon after. Aaliya tells us about her family, her city, and her beloved books in one of the most irresistible voices in modern literature. 

Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812987232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - October 4th, 2016

The stories in this collection are simply stunning. Johnson takes the reader to emotional heights (or perhaps depths) that I had not thought possible.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544954618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - March 14th, 2017

This story of a middle-aged misfit man and his one-eyed dog is heartbreaking and oh-so beautiful. Baume creates poetry out of the flora and fauna along Irish country roads and the detritus washed up on rocky little beaches.

A Man Lies Dreaming Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612195605
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House Publishing - May 2nd, 2017

In an alternate version of 1939, the Communists are in power in Germany, and many ousted Nazis have found refuge in an increasingly Fascist-friendly Britain. This pulp-fiction-inspired genre mashup is one of the most imaginative and disturbing books I've ever read.

The New and Improved Romie Futch Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - October 1st, 2015

When a lovesick South Carolina taxidermist volunteers for a shady neurological study, he ends up a genetically modified (but still lovesick) genius. This dark and hilarious romp is the perfect satire for our post-everything culture. Elliott's talent is monstrous!


The Flamethrowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439142011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - January 14th, 2014

Kushner's captivating ride through the downtown New York art world of the 1970s and leftist revolutionary Italy is powered by her dazzling prose. Reno's world is so rich and immediate that the overall effect is one of brilliance.