Tag Archives: Dave Barry

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best Books I’ve Ever Read. What Are Yours?

Like the title says, these are the ten best books that have ever read. They’re my favorites. Yours may be different. In fact, I’m hoping they are. Either in the comments or, in your own blog post with a link back, I’d like you to share some of your favorite books so that we can all maybe find a new favorite book or author from each other. Of course I won’t shamelessly plug my own books by putting them on my list, but if you want to, I won’t argue.

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10. The Vampire LeStat: by Anne Rice. Unbeknownst to most people (you know it’s serious when I use big words like unbeknownst) it wasn’t Stephanie Meyer who invented the vampire genre, but Anne Rice about fifteen years earlier. LeStat, referred to as the Brat Prince, is such a fun character you’ll want to become one of the undead just to hang out with him for eternity.

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9. The Da Vinci Code: by Dan Brown. The first in the series was easily the best. Don’t watch the movie because Tom Hanks stars in it with a ridiculously bad hairdo, but read the book.

8. How to Succeed in Evil: by Patrick E. McLean. Edwin Windsor is an Evil Efficiency Expert who contacts out his services to help supervillains be more villanous. Hilarious!  You end up rooting for evil!

7. Bite Me: by Christopher Moore, award winning, New York Times bestselling author who I interviewed for The Phil Factor about three years ago. Spoiler alert: This won’t be his only book on the list. Trust me on Christopher Moore. You’ll want to read so many of his books. Bite Me skewers the vampire genre with brilliant sarcasm.

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6. Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys: by Pulitzer Prize winning Dave Barry, whom I interviewed for The Phil Factor in 2013. If you’re a woman, you’ll laugh as you read countless hilarious examples of the idiocy of men. If you’re a guy you”l see yourself in so many of the true stories.

5. 11/22/63: by Stephen King. I hope you didn’t watch the Hulu miniseries. They took some liberties with the plot that I didn’t think were necessary and detracted from the story. Read the book. It’s a surprising love story.

4. Good Omens: by Neil Gaimans and Terry Pratchett. Read. Laugh. Thank me later. Both authors are cherished titans of English literature, and their other solo works are brilliantly funny. Together they don’t disappoint.

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3. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: by Douglas Adams. This book is a literary classic. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch the movie. Read the book. Your cultural education cannot be considered complete until you’ve read this book.

2. A Dirty Job: by Christopher Moore. Being the Grim Reaper is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Hilarity galore. If you enjoy the absurdity of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, then you’ll also love Christopher Moore.

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1. Odd Thomas: by Dean Koontz. In general I consider Dean Koontz to be Stephen King lite, but Odd Thomas is his signature character. I read books from a first person point of view. I become the protagonist when I read. Some characters fit in my head better than others. Odd Thomas fit me like a glove. For me, he was one of those characters where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be him or have him as my best friend. I read the first Odd Thomas novel at least a decade ago and was disappointed earlier this year when, after 16 novels, the series came to an end.
Those are my top ten. What are yours? Answer in the comments or create a post and link back so we can all find a few more good reads.

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

The Phil Factor Interview with Dave Barry! (yes, that Dave Barry)

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Hello Dave and welcome to #ThePhilFactor. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for my readers. For those of you not familiar with Dave’s work, he is an American humorist and Pulizter Prize winning columnist that the New York Times has referred to as “the funniest man in America.” For those of you wondering about the picture above, yes, Dave is also a guitarist. Dave’s syndicated humor column has run in the Miami Herald since 1983. Then in 1999 he branched out into humorous novels. In an effort to learn how to duplicate his career I asked for a few minutes of his time and he was nice enough to respond.

TPF: First off Dave, congratulations on being named a finalist for this years’ Thurber Prize for American Humor for your novel Lunatics. When you began your career as a humor writer, did you even suspect you could make a career at making jokes and that there would be prizes for it?

Dave: No. I always assumed that at some point I would have to get a real job and do something meaningful and productive that would actually benefit society. Fortunately this never happened.

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TPF: In 1999 after many years of writing your humor column you published your first fiction novel Big Trouble. You were doing very well with your column and humor books, why did you decide to go into fiction and was it difficult to change your style for that genre?

Dave: I just thought, hey, this might be fun, writing stories. I mean my columns were full of lies anyway, so why not try writing something that was all lies? The hardest part for me (it’s still the hardest part) was plotting – learning to construct stories that made some sense, and were compelling enough to read, and had satisfying endings.

TPF: For your novel Lunatics you collaborated with former Saturday Night Live writer and Thurber Prize winner Alan Zweibel. What are some of the challenges to writing a novel with a partner?

Dave: You have to work with somebody you like, whose judgment you trust, and who’ll trust your judgment. Like when I tell Alan that he’s an idiot, he listens to me, because he knows I’m right.

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TPF: This may not come as a surprise, but there is a Dave Barry Wikipedia page. I know what I would do if it was my page. Are you ever tempted to make some humorous additions or changes to it, and if so, what would you add?

Dave: I long ago stopped reading my Wikipedia page. There always seemed to be mistakes, and if you correct them, more pop up. It’s frustrating, and I decided at some point it was better to just not worry about it.

TPF: It’s hard not to notice that many of your books start with “Dave Barry” in the title. Is that a strategy you would recommend to other humor writers looking to emulate your success?

Dave: That has long embarrassed me, but the marketing folks at the publishing houses pretty much insist on having my name be in the title, because… I’m a brand! Like Ex-Lax!

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TPF: You’ve got another humor book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty, coming out in January. What else can we look for from you in the coming year?

Dave: I’ll be working on another novel. Also I plan to continue drinking beer.

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Dave, I’d like to thank you and your assistant Judi for putting up with my e-mails and for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for my readers. Myself and the rest of Rochester look forward to seeing you at the annual Rochester Fringe Festival on Sept. 27th. For those of you who want to cyber stalk Dave Barry you can always find the latest on his writing at his website davebarry.com and you can find links to his Facebook and Twitter. As always, if you enjoy what you read here at ThePhilFactor.com please share with your friends via the Facebook and Twitter share buttons below.