Posted in Book Talk

Books to make you laugh

One of my reading goals this year was to seek out books that would make me laugh. Not just a smile, or a flash of amusement, but an actual out-loud guffaw, chuckle, giggle, or other form of chortling. Even if this isn’t one of your goals, everyone could use some laughter in their day! Especially with the given state of the world at the moment. (If you’ve got any books that have made you laugh, please let me know so I can add it to my TBR!)

So I can’t promise that you’ll also find these books funny, because maybe we have different senses of humor. For example I dislike Will Ferrel and Tina Fey, so if those are your go-to’s, we may be at opposite ends. Nonetheless, I’ve grabbed a relatively wide range of books for you here, from fiction to nonfiction, from middle grade to adult, and from parody to memoir. Which means there should hopefully be something you’ll enjoy. 😁


Nonfiction

I typically laugh most at nonfiction works, probably because due to their very nature the authors are more able to make jokes and write conversationally. Humor lends itself to nonfiction. Here are some of my favorites!

A Lawson two-fer

Ok, so if you follow this blog there’s a high chance you’ve seen me talk about at least one of these books before, but there’s a reason for it. The reason is that they absolutely make me cackle. These are the books I read when I feel the worst, for any reason. They’re completely absurd and hilarious and I greatly enjoy Lawson’s voice. Note however that they do also address mental illness like depression, so they’re not 100% lighthearted.

Type of funny:
Unexpected situations, familial banter, thought trails that wander off as you might when you’re falling asleep, questions you never thought to ask

A drunken bet, a fridge, and Irish folks

Please note that this is not written by Tony Hawk, the professional skateboarder, but by Tony Hawks, a British Comedian. The premise of this is probably pretty clear from the title, but it’s the story of him hitchhiking all the way around the coast of Ireland, with a minifridge. I feel like the humor writes itself. Besides the laughs, I also loved the people he meets during the journey, and they were so many kinds of wonderful. This is also very feel-good to read.

Type of funny:
situational humor, misunderstandings, interpersonal moments, observational humor

Stories from humans

People are funny. Probably every person, even if they don’t realize it. Some people just need some help shaping their humour, and the crafters at The Moth are professionals at doing just that. The result is genuine stories from people who just learn how to tell it exactly right. I do recommend listening to the original recordings of any that you particularly enjoy, because the voice aspects can really enhance a story. Still, this will be filled with stories of many kinds and many emotions, but plenty to make you laugh.

Type of funny:
varies by story/person but generally relatable humour, a warm interpersonal humour like laughing with friends about something silly that happened

Take her advice, just… later

This one relays a woman’s journey to push herself to be more than her job (or jobless) self. To RSVP yes to friends and actually follow through, to face all her fears, and to figure out how to make friends as an adult. Personally, I saw so much of myself reflected in her, and I think most people would. How DO you make friends as an adult?? I admired her bravery and candor and, okay, I admit it: I also felt somewhat inspired. Maybe not ready to do standup comedy yet, but improv classes perhaps!

Type of funny:
watching someone try doing things they’re bad at/ new at, situational humor, laughing at actual jokes (as she does stand up routines), trying to find answers to awkward questions


Fiction

While I don’t get guffaws from fiction quite as often, there are certainly some that are written just right to coerce a cackle from me!

The pre-teen awkwardness

Chances are high that if you’re reading this, you’ve been through puberty or are currently going through puberty. And that can be hella awkward at the time, and hella funny looking back. This graphic novel about a mean girl who only just realized she was a mean girl takes an unusual look behind the curtain of popularity and cliques to a perspective not often given. The artistic delivery is absolutely perfect, too, and captures the mind and tone of a middle school girl very well.

Type of funny:
relatable, artistic punctuation of moments, situational

Culture clash is a beautiful thing

Okay, admittedly, this one has some extra impact for me since I lived in Korea for a while and absolutely fell in love with the country and people and culture and FOOD. 🤤 But with that said, I’m confident that this story will be funny to people without that experience too, maybe even more so since the confusion the reader has will mirror the confusion Merri feels.

Type of funny:
cultural miscommunications, Korean cliches that look wildly out of place in U.S. high schools

Meta-art and character humour

While this overall address racism and stigma and the micro-aggressions that can be so common, it’s done in a remarkably light yet accurate way. This is another graphic novel, and Craft makes use of the character’s artistic ability by including some of Jordan’s drawings and interpretations of events in the story. Combined with the way Jordan and others use humor to cope, there ends up being a lot of moments that make you laugh out loud even as you’re rooting for the good guys to come out on top. Pop culture parodies are sprinkled in to give this a very modern feel, as well.

Type of funny:
humor from reactions, witty comebacks, wry artistic wit

A surprise gem

This one I found completely by accident and ended up loving its elements of parody and warping of the traditional epic-adventure genre. This one could admittedly read as lazy orr tiring to some people, as it’s very similar to so many other plot lines we see. The key difference is in the skewing of the values of the world, the authority of the authority figures, and the truth behind “the chosen ones.” Imagine a caricature of Lord of the Rings combined with The Hobbit and you’ve just about got it.

Type of funny:
parody, extreme exaggeration, slapstick-esque, absurdity, twisting of tropes

Sweet and sour laughter

This is a manga that will crack you up and warm your heart. The part with the frog? I laughed very hard. And re-read it multiple times immediately. It’s not all fun and games, as there are certainly some dark moments in here, but there’s a lot of comic relief. Based on the Japanese stories of animals with special spirit powers and duties to the gods, this is a classic story of a villain who is forced to change his ways, whether he wants to or not.

Type of funny:
events that don’t end as expected, characters that contrast with each other, a general playful art and story style


What books have made you laugh?

Please, help me with my goal for the year! If you have any books that have made you laugh, let me know what it was in the comments so I can add it to my list. 😁

Alliterative ways to say “it made me laugh:”

  • charmed a chuckle
  • elicited a laugh
  • got a guffaw
  • coerced a cackle
  • gave a giggle
  • choked a chortle
  • triggered a titter
  • set up a snigger
  • beget busting a gut
  • kindled a crack-up
  • manifested much mirth

Author:

Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

4 thoughts on “Books to make you laugh

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