Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to you by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.
Today’s topic is ten books that will make you laugh, or at least chuckle. This was a fairly difficult topic for me because it’s hard to predict what will make other people laugh, and having to do this list is rather like being a stand up comedian: you’re putting your humor out there into the world and hoping other people get it. So, I will caution you that this list is best suited to people who have a similar flavor of humor to mine—hopefully you like things that are witty, clever, and good-natured. If you do, we’ll get along great. I’ve also added a couple of my tips for finding funny books because let’s face it, most of us read our fair share of depressing or at least serious material and it’s always nice to take a break from that and remember that even the darkest things have their light sides.
These books may not be groundbreaking in terms of being unknown, but hopefully you’ll find something you haven’t read, or haven’t thought of in a long time.
- Bossypants Tina Fey—A comedian’s biography is always a good bet for a laugh, but I find Tina Fey’s writing to be particularly funny and astute.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me Mindy Kaling—Another comedian autobiography/memoir, Kaling’s book is more rooted in pop culture and funny observations.
- Dorothy Parker’s poetry—Her work is witty and clever, if not laugh-out-loud funny. Poetry can be dark, deeply personal, or delve into the social/political, but it is often self-conscious, turning all those things on their heads.
- 24 Girls in 7 Days Alex Bradley—This YA novel is a classic rom com, and it has some very fun and funny moments—a great book if you’re feeling down, from the perspective of a young man who is looking for love, or at least a date.
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Anita Loos—If you’ve seen the movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, you really ought to read the book, which is (in my opinion) hilarious.
- Auntie Mame Patrick Dennis—Similarly, if you loved Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame, you’ll want to get the full scoop from the novel.
- The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde—I love Wilde for his wit and this particular play is probably the most funny as it’s filled with plenty of capers and misunderstandings.
- The Princess Bride William Goldman—A humorous take on classic fairy tales and romances; if you liked the movie, read the book.
- Stardust Neil Gaiman—An adult fairy tale filled with great moments (and see the movie too).
- Politically Correct Bedtime Stories James Finn Garner—These fairy tales have been divested of their politically incorrect attributes to silly results.
My general tips for finding funny books:
*Memoirs and autobiographies are a treasure trove of humor—and not just the ones written by comedians. People usually persevere through difficult situations at least in part because of a developed sense of humor.
*Poetry as I said before can be a treasure trove of funny things—and not just in the Dr. Seuss/Shel Silverstein vein.
*If the movie made you laugh, chances are the book will too. Almost every movie is based off something else, whether it’s a book, short story, or a play. Chances are, you’ll find something new in the book.
*If you’re into classics and haven’t found much to laugh at, try reading plays. While some plays swing equally between the tragic and the comic, many early plays swung to one side. Find an era whose sense of humor you appreciate and see what they were putting on the stage. While Shakespeare’s humor can sometimes be inaccessible, I find that turn of the century plays from the early 1900s have a wittiness that is still very accessible to a modern audience.
*Fairy tale adaptation can swing towards all kinds of dark themes and tones, but it can swing the other way just as easily. When all else fails, look at ones made for children—nothing makes you smile quite the same as a great children’s book.
Do you have any special tricks for finding books that make you laugh? Do you look for these kinds of books? Let me know your thoughts on humorous writing in the comments.