I prefer a good laugh to a good drama, a good spy novel, or even a good romance (is that an oxymoron, Luke?). These days, laughter seems more important than ever – and much harder to come by.
The following list is made up of books that, through bad times and good, have always afforded me a good laugh, lifted me out of the rut and allowed me to get a different perspective on things. If you could use a good laugh, then give some of them a try. It can’t hurt!
Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The earth is about to be demolished and Arthur Dent and friends are left to wander the galaxy, searching for meaning. Then everybody breaks for lunch.
Barry, Dave. Book of Bad Songs. Sometimes we hum the songs because the words are so embarrassing.
Cuppy, Will. The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. Cuppy dishes up the skinny on a number of great historical figures, observations that can’t be found in the autobiographies.
Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones’s Diary. This story chronicles the life of a 30-something woman who wants to lose weight, stop smoking, develop inner poise, and form a functional relationship with a responsible adult – all against the odds.
Garner, James Finn. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. Garner takes the finger-pointing out of fairy tales.
Henry, O. The Ransom of Red Chief. A kidnapped boy becomes such a nuisance, the kidnappers wish they had never seen him.
In a Fog: the Humorist’s Guide to England. Some great writers share their views of England’s history, its delights, and its foibles.
Jerome, Jerome K. Three Men in a Boat. Three young men and a fox terrier terrorize the Thames.
Larson, Gary. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! Honestly, has he ever done an un-funny book?
Lederer, Richard. Anguished English. Hilarious examples of our abused English language, taken directly from the abusers.
Nagan, Greg. The Five-Minute Iliad. Synoptic versions of some great books created for the short attention span.
Origen, Erich. Goodnight, Bush: An Unauthorized Parody. Whatever your politics, this parody of the beloved children’s book, Goodnight Moon, is hilarious.
Palin, Michael. Ripping Yarns. Contains the screenplays of six classic episodes of the post-Monty Python Michael Palin/Terry Jones tv show.
Parker, Dorothy. The Portable Dorothy Parker. One of the greatest wits of all time. When Clare Booth Luce held the door for Parker to enter a room, Luce cattily said “Age before beauty.” Parker replied, “Pearls before swine,” and swept on in.
Pelletier, Cathie. The Funeral Makers. Small town life, with all its characters, dramas, and calamities. You’ll recognize it.
Robbins, Tom. Still Life with Woodpecker. A sort of love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes.
Sellar, W.C. 1066 and All That. England’s history as you may not remember it.
Thompson, Kay. Eloise. This one is children’s lit, but the 6-year-old Eloise is such a charmer, she will certainly have you smiling, if not laughing outright.
Thurber, James. A Thurber Carnival. Thurber’s gentle wit is applied to tales taken from his own life.
Toole, John Kennedy. A Confederacy of Dunces. The ultimate job search, Southern style.
Twain, Mark. Oh, just anything.
Wisniewski, David. Halloweenies. Five well-known horror movies rewritten for children, but I was laughing out loud.
Reminder: If you can’t find a title you really would like to read in our catalog we can always request it Interlibrary Loan. All it costs is the return postage (usually between $2 -$3). Just ask at the desk.
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