Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Books

Here’s a great list of nine very funny novels.  I vouch for all of them, especially My Family and Other Animals, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and A Confederacy of Dunces.  May I add to the list–since it’s been on my mind lately– Andy Weir’s The Martian?  There are many places in that novel I just busted out laughing.

Two other authors who’ve made a career out of seeing the humor in even the toughest situations are David Lodge, author of Small World, and Carl Hiassen, author of Skin-Tight and other acerbically-funny novels about the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll scene in Miami.

As with all great funny books, there’s more on these authors’ minds than just giving the audience a good laugh.  Each of these writers is a sharp observer of human nature.  We can learn a lot about our fellow men and women and ourselves–our follies and the things we really care about–by reading their works.  The fact that we can also herniate ourselves laughing while we do it is just a bonus.

[Postscript:  I wrote this post before learning of this morning’s fatal shooting of a TV reporter and her cameraman while doing an interview in a shopping mall near Roanoke, VA.  Suddenly, I do not feel nearly so light of heart.  Life does go on, always, but this senseless, stupid, barbaric act casts a pall over even the gentlest invitation to laugh.  Had I known about the incident beforehand, I would not have posted this morning’s entry.  I have no idea why anyone would shoot a reporter and her cameraman during a run-of-the-mill interview.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  My apologies to anyone whose sensitivities I may have jarred.]


3 thoughts on “Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Books

  1. John, I just saw the shooting report online. I want to escape into the gentle humor of one of your books, but escaping is so very much not the answer. I wish I knew what an answer might be, though.

  2. I don’t have an answer, either. The shooter is still alive as I write this note. [He died later Wednesday afternoon at the hospital, and was fired from the TV station in 2013.] He is (or was) an employee of the station who may have had a conflict with the two people he killed. Without knowing directly from him what he was thinking, I get the sense that he felt he didn’t have much of future at the station (or anywhere else) and that he held the two of them somehow responsible for his predicament. The “answer” we both seek lies, I think, in teaching people that *there is hope,* *there is a future* for us, no matter how dire our circumstances. I’ve been crushed before; I’ve lost jobs; I’ve felt rage against people who did me wrong. But never did I wish to take up a gun against those who hurt me. It’s too easy, and that “solution* solves nothing, ends nothing.

    Everyone who’s ever really lived has felt pain, has endured loss. What we have to do is teach others–especially young people–that pain *has* to be felt; losses *must* be endured. None of us likes to endure suffering, but that’s the cost of being human, the true cost of living. We must love each other as best we can, even through our pain, and show others how to do it.

  3. Pingback: Funny Books Revisited | Books Here And There

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