Does anyone else remember ordering joke books in the Scholastic Book Order as a kid and eagerly gobbling up all the quips and antics, only to forget them minutes later? William Novak drew me back to this memory with his book Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks. This was a surprisingly pleasing random pickup on the heels of April Fools Day, but it’s not as the title suggests only for “newly old folks.” Anyone with a campy sense of humor about aging will find a chuckle in these pages.
Upon realizing he was entering into the class of “old people,” William Novak, father of author B. J. Novak, gathered all of his favorite jokes about aging and compiled them in one work. The book is divided into aging applicable chapters like “Try to Remember,” “Long Marriages,” “The Afterlife,” and my personal favorite, “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” Many of these jokes you will have heard in the past, such as “I knew I was marrying Mr. Right, I just didn’t know his first name was Always,” but thanks to our *cough* maturing *cough* brains, they seem new again! Laced throughout the book are quotes from famous comedians and commentary from Novak himself. The jokes are not a raucous, belly-laugh inducing type of humor but are instead a groan and smile type of comedy that serve an important reminder to laugh at yourself as you age.
This is the perfect book to checkout from the library. There’s really no sense in spending twenty bucks on it, only to have it sit on your bookshelf or re-gift it to someone else who will let it sit on their bookshelf. It IS worth borrowing from the library though and reading a smattering aloud to a friend or family member. It’s an interesting personality quiz to see which jokes amuse one person but elicit a giant eye roll from another.
Those who appreciate this type of book might also enjoy Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. This short compilation book recounts anecdotes about the hardships of being an older woman, written in that talking-to-your-best-friend voice that Nora Ephron has mastered. It is a quick read with an uplifting resonance for even the driest of humors.