Mere Anarchy, by Woody Allen (Random House, RRP $34.99):
Woody Allen is many things: playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, father, husband and — at least once — dodgy photographer. However, beyond all that, he’s also pretty funny.
I’ve actually found I enjoy his writing much more than his movies: the humour is more rounded and gentle but when it delivers, it has a sharp edge.
This is the first new humour collection from Allen for 25 years and it has been worth the wait.
In a bundle of 18 comic pieces — some of which have been reprinted from the New Yorker but nine of them have never been printed before — he offers up an intelligent, surreal and pleasantly satirical read.
I get the American sense of humour most of the time and can see the appeal in some of his on-screen stuff. However, I’ve never really found his movie work as flat-out funny as most New Yorkers and wannabe movie- buffs seem to.
Mere Anarchy, on the other hand, I loved. I sniggered my way through it, from the body double who gets kidnapped, and the pretentious novelist working on an adaptation of some low-brow comedy, to conmen selling custom-designed prayers and a nanny secretly writing a daring expose of her Manhattan employers.
At times I even snorted.