Ten of the Funniest Books

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Hi SEers. John is with you today. I hope your week is going well.

To continue the discussion on humor, I thought it would be fun to isolate ten books that would be guaranteed to cause us to laugh. There are many ways to figure out which books out of all that has been written would qualify. I went to Google, searched, and got hits on several lists. Some books were on all the lists, and some were only on one.

Looking at the lists, there was a definite bias depending on who published the list. Amazon tended to best seller. Penguin books to . . . well, Penguin books. The Shortlist to reader submissions. Readers Digest to current social popularity NPR a panel of author opinions. B&N Reads to who knows. Bestlife to variety.

My decision was to go to perhaps a more objective source. So I signed into ChatGPT and made the query for “Ten of the funniest books.” Lo and behold (gotta wonder where that phrase came from?), the following list was generated. The nice part is some of these books show up on the other lists as well. So here they are in no particular order. The AI system generated the book descriptions, but I thought they were pretty good.

“Catch”22” by Joseph Heller: This classic satirical novel follows the exploits of a World War II bombardier, Yossarian, as he tries to avoid flying more missions. The book is full of absurdity and hilarious characters, making it a timeless classic.

“Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: This book is a collaboration between two of the most beloved fantasy authors ever. The story follows an angel and a demon who team up to prevent the apocalypse, and their bickering and banter make for some truly hilarious moments.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams: This science fiction classic is filled with absurdity and witty humor. The story follows Arthur Dent, a human who is whisked away on a series of space adventures after Earth is destroyed.

“Bossypants” by Tina Fey: This memoir by the beloved comedian is full of hilarious anecdotes from her life and career. From her time on “Saturday Night Live” to her experiences as a mother, Fey’s wit and humor shine through on every page.

“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole: This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows the exploits of Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy and overeducated man living in New Orleans. The book is filled with absurd characters and situations, making it a must-read for fans of comedy.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde: This classic play by the master of wit and satire is full of hilarious one-liners and witty dialogue. The story follows two men who lead double lives, and the chaos that ensues when their secret is revealed.

“Bridgit Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding: This novel follows the misadventures of a single woman in her thirties, as she navigates her way through life, love, and work. The book is filled with humor and heart, making it a favorite of readers all over the world.

“The Princess Bride” by William Goldman: This classic novel tells the story of Princess Buttercup and her true love, Westley, as they navigate a series of fantastical adventures. The book is full of witty banter and hilarious characters, making it a must-read for fans of fantasy and comedy.

“Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris: This collection of essays by the beloved humorist is full of hilarious observations about life, family, and society. Sedaris has a gift for finding humor in the most mundane of situations, making this book a delight to read.

“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson: This memoir by the popular blogger and humorist is full of laugh-out-loud moments. Lawson shares hilarious and embarrassing stories from her life, and her irreverent humor is sure to leave you in stitches.

I think the AI crew did a good job sorting through the possible contenders to narrow it down to ten. There are some books that I would have included on the list but believe this list to be pretty complete. If we extended the list to the top twenty, there would be an opportunity for more.

How about you? Do you have a favorite book guaranteed to make us laugh? Tell us about it in the comments.

129 thoughts on “Ten of the Funniest Books

  1. I rarely agree with top ten lists but I am on board with five of your choices, A Confederacy of Dunces, Hitchhikers Guide, in particular. I would add The Stench of Honolulu, and the original trilogy of short story books by Woody Allen. So far as I am concerned a list without Woody is automatically suspect, (I would add Mark Twain, as well) but, like I said, darn good list, what.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Humor. No -Seriously, Folks. | Chel Owens

  3. A stellar list, John. I’ve read a few of them. I do enjoy a good dose of humor in novel form. I would add The Road to Wellville by T. C. Boyle. I’ve also read some novels that weren’t intended to be humorous but made me chuckle throughout. You’ve written another fine post, sir!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ah, I am obviously growing old as I forgot to add one of the books, I thought incredibly funny and clever at the same time. “Whit” by Ian Banks. Now “Whit” is well worth a read for so many reasons, it’s broad and sometimes, Lewd but always clever funny and innocent.

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  5. I have read all of these with the exceptions of “Bossy Pants” and “let’s pretend that never happened” which I had never even heard of. Sorry.
    I would like to add to the list If I may, “Candide” by FMA De Voltaire, “Interesting Times” by Terry Pratchett, who you did mention. Joe Abercrombie. “The Heroes”, “A Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Gloriana” by Michael Moorcock and I thought to add an odd one. One only to be enjoyed by those of an older generation but apparently it is delete. Sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A great list, John. I’ve read a number of them, my favourite being Bridgit Jones’s Diary which had me laughing out loud. I would add Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. It is a bit dated but still very funny and my go-to book when I’m feeling down.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I haven’t read any from your list, but I have seen a movie or two from it.
    I know I’ve read humorous books in the past, but right now I’m drawing a blank—which tells me I don’t read a lot of it, LOL.
    Great list, John, though ChatGPT totally freaks me out.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I haven’t read any of these books, John. Though I’ve seen a couple of them made into movies. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever read a purely humorous book (????). Something to try, I think. And I enjoyed how you researched the topic. That was interesting too.

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  9. I haven’t read any of these books, sorry to say. Actually, I haven’t searched out humor for a long time. When I did read it, I went to Kurt Vonnegut, Jennifer Crusie, or Dorothy Cannell. Your list makes me want to try it again.

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  10. I’m glad Craig mentioned ChatGPT in his comment, as I have no earthly idea what that is. As for the list, I’ve seen some of these as movies, and they were humorous, but I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read any of these books. Your posts on humor have been fascinating, John. I think it takes a special talent to write humor, and you, kind sir, have that talent in spades. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This is interesting… I’ve seen four of these in movie or series form (Good Omens was FANTASTIC); and I’ve read a few. Humour is so very subjective. What one person finds hilarious, another finds not even droll…
    I can’t blame you for trying out this damn ChatGPT and I suppose the best way of using it, is to generate lists…
    Have you read any on the list?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Interesting list. I’ve got a few books in my collection from humor writers, but my hand’s down favorite is a beat-up, tattered copy of Erma Bombeck’s Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own. IMHO, you can never go wrong with her work.

    Great post, John.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Great list and reminders. I’ve only read a few of these greats, so I’ll need to visit Amazon soon. BTW, this is the first I’ve heard of ChatGPT, so thank you for the nudge to check it out. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I would add anything written by P.G. Wodehouse to the list. For literary humor, I’d go with Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, The Pooh Perplex by Frederick Crews, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Steven Millhauser, Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Peacock, and Voltaire’s Candide. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher is a more recent novel I found hilarious.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I haven’t read Catch 22, but from what I’ve heard about it, I wouldn’t classify it as humor. Maybe dark humor. I haven’t read any comedies, but there are a few books that have made me both laugh and cry.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Don’t worry. I tossed about 3/4s of the text that ChatGPT generated. Was very sophomoric. I only kept the book descriptions even though some were filled with hyperbole. The good part was the AI sifted through all the rankings to come up with ten.


  16. I love all of Terry Pratchett’s books. Catch 22 is sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to it, so I’m sure I’ll approach that with a wider-open eye now! I read The Importance of Being Earnest at school and think the humour might have gone over my head at the time. Perhaps that one will get another look. A book I read recently that was full of wit and humour was ‘Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg’ … a truly ‘magical’ read full of laugh aloud moments.

    Thanks for sharing, John 💕🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Humour is such a subjective thing and, aware of the differences between those of us either side of the ‘pond’, I wasn’t expecting to find some of my favourites here. I was so wrong! Apart from Bossypants, A Confederacy of Dunces and The Princess Bride, the rest are in my bookcase. David Sedaris is a more recent favourite since hearing him on the radio. My mind went blank when I tried to think of others that I love, but Stella Gobbons’ Cold Comfort Farm was a surprise delight and I do love books by David Nicholls. ‘Us’ by David Nicholls epitomises the best in humour for me because it teeters so often on the edge of tragedy. Great post, John, and I’m going to be distracted for the rest of the day trying to drag my favourites up from the mud at the bottom of my brain. 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Pingback: Ten of the Funniest Books | Legends of Windemere

  19. Not a bad list. Good Omens is worth its place. Definitely read it. Catch 22 isn’t funny. Oscar Wilde may have been funny to the Edwardians but he drags out the joke (which is all about handbags). Love Chelsea laughing at ‘witty’ Richard Dawkins. He’s many things but channelling humour isn’t really his thing! Or is she, a committed Mormon, being ironic?! Surely not. I’d recommend PG Wodehouse and his Jeeves and Wooster series for classic humour.

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  20. Hi John, this is an interesting list of books. Catch 22 is definitely dark humour which I appreciated. Bridget Jones is English humour which I really enjoy (Colin Garrow is an Indie author who does English humour very well). I will get the Oscar Wilde book. I really enjoyed The Painting of Dorian Grey so will give this other book a go.

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