Best Laughs

THE BEST LAUGHS (According to the Penguin List)

Cold Comfort Farm
Stella Gibbons
The Diary of a Nobody
George and Weedon Grossmith
The Pickwick Papers
Charles Dickens
Evelyn Waugh
Lucky Jim
Kingsley Amis

Best Laughs (according to Semicolon):

I haven’t read any of the Penguin choices in this category except for Pickwick, and although I adore Dickens, I think there are funnier books in the world than Pickwick Papers.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. I don’t even like animals very much, but these books aren’t just about animals. They are about a Yorkshire veterinarian, and his eccentric co-workers, and his even more eccentric clientele. These stories are funny, touching, and memorable.

Right Ho, Jeeves (or any other Bertie and Jeeves book) by P.G. Wodehouse. I haven’t read Scoop by Evelyn Waugh yet, although I’m planning to do so for Kimbofo’s Reading Matters Book Group; however, if Brideshead Revisited is an example of Waugh’s humor, Wodehouse is a lot funnier.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Did we say no plays or just no Shakespeare? No, Penguin listed several in other categories, so I’m safe to laugh uproariously at Mr. Wilde.

Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreath. Not a classic? Sez who? The Gilbreaths are classically funny and delightful.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Penguin lists this one under “Best Journeys,” but I think it’ll fit better here. I can think of lots of epic journeys in literature, but how many authors are as laugh out loud funny as Lewis Carroll?

So what’s the funniest book you’ve ever read? Is it a classic? Will your grandchildren still be reading it and laughing fifty years from now?

7 thoughts on “Best Laughs

  1. Emma by Jane Austen. Very funny. Read it a few years ago. D is reading it for school this term. She frequently laughs aloud while reading this book.

  2. Reading fiction is a new ventrue, despite almost four decades as a reader, much less funny fiction. thanks for the leads.

  3. I do think Lucky Jim is a funny book, and agree with you on Herriot, Wodehouse, and Cheaper by the Dozen. Anything by Patrick F. McManus will make me laugh, and The Travels of Jamie McPheeters amused me enormously when I was in 7th grade and I’ve enjoyed passing it on to my children. I thought Cold Sassy Tree was funny, and so was Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams. My children haven’t read Cold Sassy Tree or Run with the Horsemen yet, but they agree with me on the others!

  4. Theresa

    This is in no way a recommendation to read this one because it is chock full of objectional material but the funniest book I ever read was Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Just remember my caveat.

  5. Every mom should read Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson. She wrote it in the 60’s I think? and it’s still. so. funny. She’s not as obvious as Erma Bombeck–it’s more subtle, with a faintly cynical, bewildered, how-did-I-end-up-here kind of feeling that moms relate to! I’ll review it one of these Saturdays.

    I certainly agree with your list–I’ve read and reread them all!

  6. Paula

    Saw this in a link and just had to add a most obvious title from my experience–“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole. In fact, now that I’ve mentioned it, I really must find a copy and reread it as soon as I can!

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