Author Topic: Priceless Passages in Books  (Read 1363 times)

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Thipu1

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Priceless Passages in Books
« on: February 24, 2012, 11:39:38 AM »
The discussion about Bill Bryson reminded me of this. 

It was on the QE2.  From the ship's library, I'd taken out 'A Sunburned Country', Bryson's book about Australia. I was enjoying both the book and a soft drink when I started to hoot and holler with laughter.  The passage was about how Bryson looks and acts when he's asleep.   

A man from another table came over to ask what I was reading. I handed the book to him.  He read it and started loudly laughing as well.  His partner got interested and read the passage.  In a few minutes all three of us were acting with the kind of hilarity that usually means a bit too much alcohol consumption although none of us had had anything more potent than a cola. 

There was also a Stephen Saylor novel about imperial Rome that began with the sentence, 'Pompey will be mightily p-ssed'. 

Does anyone else have passages from books that made them laugh out loud?

Sanity Lost

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 11:53:37 AM »
I have to think about it.

But I am going to read "A Sunburned Country" to see if I can't find that passage :-D

JennJenn68

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 11:55:57 AM »
I still remember one from Julian May's Pliocene series... It was from the beginning of "The Many-Coloured Land".

"'Sh*t!' exclaimed the seven eminent scientists."

Still makes me giggle even now.

(Edited because I can't abide spelling mistakes!)

hobish

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 12:04:42 PM »

The day i stop laughing about the Heart of Gold trying to make a cup of tea just shoot me.
If you know Douglas Adams you know what i am talking about. If you don't know Douglas Adams it is not at all funny in retelling and explaining. I've tried.

At the risk of sounding snooty-hoo i admit i giggled to myself in bits of As You Like It. Rosalind says some funny stuff.



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Hillia

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 03:01:39 PM »
The Once and Future King has some priceless bits.  A lot of the humor comes from forcing early 20th century English speech patterns on to Norman knights.

In one scene, Merlin has lost his hat and is trying to recover it.  He's speaking to an invisible spirit of some sort, and asks for his hat.  He gets all sorts of hats, but not his wizard hat, and complains bitterly about  it (one he calls 'a beastly anachronism').

The young Arthur wants to see a joust with real knights.  Merlin arranges for two knights to meet in the forest and joust.  Everything is very by the book, with set speeches for issuing challenges etc.  After the knights are unhorsed, they try fighting on foot, except their armor is so heavy that once they start running at each other they can't stop, so they run past each other and then start swinging their swords wildly in the air, because they can't see through their visors.

At one point King Pellinore scolds Robin Hood, who is attending a hunt in disguise, to 'stop lounging about with that air of negligent woodcraft'.

There are so many scenes in that book that just make me howl with laughter, but you have to read them...it's the wordplay.

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lady_disdain

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 05:19:06 PM »
At the risk of sounding snooty-hoo i admit i giggled to myself in bits of As You Like It. Rosalind says some funny stuff.

And, of course, "Much Ado About Nothing". Beatrice and Benedict are priceless.

Now, I have to get my Jasper Fforde books, To Say Nothing of the Dog and a few others to look for some favourite passages.

Julia Mercer

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 08:35:07 PM »
I don't remember the title of the book, but one stands out pretty good.

"It was so quiet in there, you could hear a cockroach fart"

Pinky830

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 09:52:06 PM »
Anthony Bourdain's chapter about Adam, the psychotic bread baker, in "Kitchen Confidential" breaks me up every time.

Reika

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2012, 01:31:55 AM »
I was reading Know No Fear by Dan Abnett for the Horus Heresy series in the Warhammer 40k(tabletop minis games now roleplaying) setting.

A Space Marine (genetically engineered super soldier) was trying to deal with a local politician at the behest of his commander and trying to be patient. His idea of being patient was to not shoot the politician and just look menacing.  >:D

MsMarjorie

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2012, 02:25:08 AM »

The day i stop laughing about the Heart of Gold trying to make a cup of tea just shoot me.
If you know Douglas Adams you know what i am talking about. If you don't know Douglas Adams it is not at all funny in retelling and explaining. I've tried.

He was the master of the hilarious comment "hangs in the air in the same way a brick doesn't" gets me every time.

A chapter of James Herriot, the Yorkshire vets hilarious stories, where is trying to get a "sample" from a bull and fills the fake cow vagina (funny in itself) with too hot water, making the bull walk around with a very impressed "Whoa mama" look on its face.  Then the bull runs at him and the only thing he has to defend himself with is the rubber vagina. I had a stomach ache I laughed so hard at that chapter.

« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 02:28:27 AM by MsMarjorie »

oz diva

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2012, 02:49:02 AM »
Bryson's quite good on cricket too:



I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incoporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players -- more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it to center field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to to handle radio-active isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattress's strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and every one retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege.

Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket."

Victoria

Thipu1

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 11:26:49 AM »
Ron Goulart's 'Shaggy Planet' has a classic chapter.

The book is only about 200 pages long but, by page 75, the plot has gotten so convoluted that some clarification is needed.  This takes the form of a discussion between two main characters during a love tryst.  The description of the action is soft pron but the conversation is pure exposition.  The split between the two makes the chapter absolutely hilarious.   

Sirius

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 02:25:02 PM »
P.G. Wodehouse's "The Mating Season":  My favorite bit is this here:

"If you're dippy about a girl, and another fellow has grabbed her, it can't be pleasant to sit at a writing-table, probably with a rotten pen, sweating away while the other fellow dictates 'My own comma precious darling period I worship you common I adore you period How I wish comma my dearest comma hat I could press you to my bosom and cover your lovely face with burning kisses exclamation mark'."

The best line in a book full of good lines.

VorFemme

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Re: Priceless Passages in Books
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 03:06:31 PM »
I was reading Know No Fear by Dan Abnett for the Horus Heresy series in the Warhammer 40k(tabletop minis games now roleplaying) setting.

A Space Marine (genetically engineered super soldier) was trying to deal with a local politician at the behest of his commander and trying to be patient. His idea of being patient was to not shoot the politician and just look menacing.  >:D

My son loves these..........he's also started reading the rest of the original Dune series (up to Children of Dune) after reading Dune over the summer...........

I remmber sniggering out loud on a plane while reading a description of some alien bit of etiquette in a book some years ago - and there are a couple of scenes in the Honor Harrington novels about baseball (it's about two thousand years in the future - there aren't many planets that play baseball) War of Honor (?) where she's talking to the queen's cousin (her room mate from the academy-equivalent) and the answer from one of the natives who grew up playing baseball about WHY they do something the way they do is "because if they did it the other way, then it wouldn't BE baseball" (I keep hearing it as if it was Tom Hanks saying it...........dunno why, the description of the guy doesn't sound like Tom Hanks - but that tone of voice just makes it funnier for me).
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 03:13:31 PM by VorFemme »
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