• A World In Love With Jokes by Justine Nofal

    Nicodemus Dodge, a seeming yokel from out of town, is hired at the printer’s shop where the young Sam Clemens is working. Not a joke book to take to the pub perhaps but you can feel the laughter well up even so.

    At the bottom of the price range ($1) we found Spongebob, Rugrats, Dumb and Dumber Garfield and hundreds in the 101 Jokes series: 101 Vacation Jokes, 101 Telephone Jokes, 101 Pet Jokes you get the picture.

    So what are all these listed joke books exactly?

    Then there is the fabulously interesting title The Jokes of Sigmund Freud: A Study in Humor and Jewish Identity by Elliot Oring. My grandpa had some of those. Mr Tunkel left Poland in 1939 when the laughter stopped. It bubbles over with jokes, puns, tall tales, and genial good humor, the bookseller says.

    At the $15 level the joke books are more adult (OBrien and Fitzgerald Walk into a Bar: The Worlds Best Irish Jokes) and edgy (the Extremely Gross Jokes series).

    The old jokes are often the best. The locals hope to make Nicodemus the butt of their jokes only to find (as Twain notes in a phrase that was ultimately deleted), that they had fished for a sardine and caught a whale .

    Using the keyword jokes, it was an eye-opener when Abebooks found 54540 books involving listed in its database. Some jovial publisher obviously figured out also that the entire world loves a good joke or more than a hundred preferably.

    It is interesting too that so many of the books of jokes in this price range are aimed at kids.

    Of course there is a dark side to the joke industry the academics who Take It All Very Seriously. This was kind of strange in a way. Consider the title Rationale of the Dirty Joke: An Analysis of Sexual Humor. This kind of title should not really be thrown out by a search for jokes. I have always had a yearning to live in Texas although I know very little about it.

    But what jokes exactly? We did a random search at Abebooks, that new and usedbook giant that changed the face of the book trade worldwide, and came up with some interesting results.

    Published in Poland in 1931 was I Laugh at You, in Yiddish, by Joseph Tunkel.

    Judging from the listings in our Abillionbooks online bookstores, the whole world is in love with jokes, and books of jokes to such an extent, well, almost as much as it loves Paris Hilton. . Its not fair and its not funny.

    And heres a joke for you. It was the most expensive that came up under the search term jokes on Abebooks.

    When last did you check out a friends book shelf at their place? We are prepared to bet that books of jokes did not feature much, if at all.

    At the top of the price range ($100 and more) there were interesting discoveries, such as an album of 50 saucy not blue postcards from World War II. Books containing Childrens good clean jokes is a recurring theme here.

    If you are prepared to stump up $77 500 dollars for a laugh, you can have the complete autograph manuscript of Chapter 23 of A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.

    The bookseller supplies a painstaking description of the item (revisions, repairs, smudging, fingerprinting and all) and says: The subject of the chapter is, in large part, reminiscence from Twain’s days as a printer’s apprentice. Most likely there were relationship books, car manuals, sports books, glossy novels, a gift books, unopened textbooks. So I got sidetracked and ordered the book.

    For $300 you can have David Henry Thoreaus Cape Cod in two volumes, reportedly Thoreau’s sunniest, happiest book.

    Perhaps there was a ragged cartoon book at the end of the shelf and one in the bathroom. Our search threw up The Joke by Milan Kundera. I reckon Texan jokes should tell me all I need to know. Funny huh?

    Then I came across the title I Give you Texas! 500 Jokes of the Lone Star State

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