Funniest books you've ever read

Hi there, fellow Thimbleweed-a-renos!

I’m an avid reader, but my tastes are quite restricted. As with adventure games, I’m mostly interested in stuff that can make me laugh. There’s nothing like a good humorous narrative, be it in game or novel form.

And I’m currently having a hard time finding something new to read that suits my tastes. For example, 99% of the books listed under the “Humor” section in Amazon are joke books, and that’s not what I want, so…

…so here I am, asking for suggestions.

I love Douglas Adams. I also enjoyed P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves novels (didn’t read them all, only two, since I couldn’t find them in Italian, and I resort to English only if really needed) and I liked, but not that much, Jerome’s Three men in a boat. I’m currently reading some Donald Westlake novels, which, while they are basically thrillers*, are sometimes presented in humorous fashion (the Dortmunder series is funny as hell).

And, Catch 22. God how much I laughed with that one.

And my all-time favorite, the book I suggest to everyone, best book I’ve ever read. A confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

*About thrillers

Fun fact: Italians call thriller and detective novels “yellows”.


That´s really difficult to say because for some reason I think it´s hard for books to make me laugh. Maybe I´m just reading most of them wrong, or not so many funny ones.

Giallos, right? That´s where the name of the movie genre (Mario Bava etc.) comes from, isn´t it? I thought that was a very specific genre that usually involves a masked killer going around who eventually is revealed in a twist ending.

Gialli, yes.
The reason is because the publishing house Mondadori, in the '30s, published books with a yellow cover, only for the specific genre thriller/police/murder.
Since then, the “yellows” (gialli) are synonym of that genre of books.

It’s equivalent to the german kriminalroman .

Yeah but when I think of Gialli I think of something a litte more specific than just any kind of crime novel. The most giallo styled german movies where the very popular adaptations of the Edgar Wallace crime novels.

I’m an avid reader too, even if I’m not specifically fond of “funny” books. I like them, though. I suggest “A samba for Sherlock”, by Jo Soares. It’s a thrilling crime giallo book, whose protagonist is Mr. Holmes, who is presented to the reader under a different light. It’sbrilliantly written and its wit and intelligence are remarkable. Some lines will make you lough loud.
I also suggest another book by the same author, “twelve fingers”. Among the characters you’ll find Gavrilo Princip and Mata Hari. It mixes history and fiction in a very funny way.

EDIT: another funny book in which the author uses this expedient is

Does it count as book if I read a visual novel on Nintendo DS? :smirk:

I have read not too many books, but I remember a very funny italian book (we are talking of 25 years ago!), which was a collection of italian compositions by school kids (until the 5th grade).
It was funny because of the mistakes, but also for the strict reasoning logic of the involved children.

The book was assembled by the kids’ teacher, and the book is: Io speriamo che me la cavo
There was also a movie inspired by that book, whose international title is Ciao, professore!

recommendations are always tricky but there seems to be some overlap to what I have read and enjoyed, so here goes:

  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels (not the last 2 or 3 though)
  • Bill Bryson’s travel books
  • David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System

I hadn’t heard about Westlake before and have just borrowed those ebooks my library has. Looking forward to discovering a new author.



You could read Pinnochio in it´s original language…

I have read a german translation of the Divine Comedy, which I believe was notable for being one the first major works not written in latin but in a florentine dialect or something.

The only other italian works I´ve read I believe are all by Umberto Eco who happens to be one of my favourite authors of all time.

Eco, might even be on topic, because he was actually very funny too. Wrote many satires.


+1 I read A Brief History Of Everything and enjoyed it a lot! Never knew geology could be so not-boring!

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I have read Pinocchio (the original version) as a child, it’s quite different (and more frightening!) from the Disney movie.


Double congratulations, I’ve read only its most famous work, The name of the Rose.

Unfortunately, most of the books I read are tech or programming stuff. Not so funny…

the Hap & Leonard series from Joe Lansdale cracked me up. Not continuously, but a lot. The funniest were “bad chili”, “rumble tumble” and especially “captain outrageous”. (the first two books , ‘savage season’ and ‘mucho mojo’, are the least funny, strangely). Plus, they are good books regarldess.

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I have not read many books of this kind and you already cited some of those that I read (Adam’s and “Three men in a boat”) so I can’t suggest you any other good book of this genre but “The Martian” is a sci-fi novel that made me laugh several times because the protagonist continuously uses irony to comment his journey and to write his diary. I enjoyed this novel not only because it’s targeted at people who like nerd technicalities but also because of the humorous way the main character behaves.


Yes, the Hap & Leo series is very funny. Notice that other books by the same author are usually more serious and dark.

Try a chap named Max Barry. He writes satire and I find it very funny.

For example, one of his books is Company, which deals with the idiocy of a corporate environment in which people just follow the rules and processes regardless of how insane or stupid they may seem.

The hero, who just joined the company, is so bewildered by the policies and procedures that he comes to believe there is a conspiracy behind it all. Eventually, he learns that it is even crazier than that!

Another novel called Jennifer Government describes a weird dystopian future in which for-profit corporations control the world, and the people who work for them identify so much with their brands that they change their names to the trademarks and even brand themselves with company logo tattoos.

In the case of the titular character, Jennifer obviously works for the Government (which has less power than the corporations), and so that’s her name.

These are crazy, wacky, witty stories told in a very interesting way. :slight_smile:


I second this! The Martian is not a “comedy novel,” but it is very interesting, exciting, and very, very funny! :slight_smile:


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His non-travel ones are really good too.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a hilarious account of Bryson growing up in 1960s America.

If you’re interested in language then Mother Tongue is great too.

As an example of the satiric absurdity, consider this brief synopsis of the initial plot of Jennifer Government:

Hack, a low-level employee at Nike, is contracted by one of his higher ups, John Nike, Vice President of Guerrilla Marketing, for an ambitious marketing campaign. The company is planning to release the new Nike Mercurys — which sell for thousands of dollars but cost pennies to manufacture — and in order to drum up interest in the items, John Nike plans to increase “street cred” in the worst way possible — by having Hack kill people who try to buy them. Hack, bound by his contract, but unable to contemplate murder on his own, subcontracts to the Police, now a mercenary organization, beginning a chain of business transactions that could land Nike in hot water should word of the plot leak.

The Ascent of Rum Doodle:

I tried twice to read The color of magic, but I really couldn’t like it.

I read Thunderbolt Kid in Italian, it was very nice, it was my first Bryson book. Then I found on the street Mother Tongue and another travel book of his, which were written in English (yes, they were in a box in the street, somebody was getting rid of them along with other books), and I loved them too. Especially Mother Tongue, it was extremely interesting and that’s a book that wouldn’t make any sense translated.

I’m looking forward to read your other suggestions :smiley:

It’s the first book I’ve ever read :smiley:

I read that, I also read Focault´s Pendulum (aka “the thinking man´s Da Vinci Code”) and Baudolino, which is about the crusades and concidentally starts out in my hometown! :slight_smile:

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