Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted over on The Broke and the Bookish, challenges bloggers to write a post about ten books (as you can presume from the title) surrounding a certain topic. They’ve covered just about everything under the sun from favorite villain to best debuts. This week however is all about the host of great LOL worthy books out there. I love this theme, not only because it allows me to reminisce on humorous happenings, but because I’ve never honored my favorite laughter-inducing books here on the blog. Most are not strictly funny in the expected way; there’s satire, and self-help, and witty character banter that all made me crack a smile while reading…hence why they made the cut. So if you trust my taste (obviously) and are looking for a bit of sunshine on a gloomy day, keep reading!
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
As my most recent read to make the list, I cannot overstate how much I loved it cover to cover! But to what does it owe the honor? For me it truly does come down to the sharp humor found in the most ridiculous, heartfelt, and sorrowful moments. That is to say, the Turner family never neglects a moment to cause a laugh at their expense. Take for example Anne; dutiful wife, compassionate mother, and semi-tyrannical overlord fueled by the musings of Daily Mail. No joke, Britain’s tabloid fodder/news source is quite literally the woman’s Bible. Much to her family’s chargin that is, as one of the books minor conflicts involves a news article she read on the dangers of video games- causing her to wage a full fledged war on son Frank’s Call of Duty-esque gaming addiction. While all that is hilarious (and I didn’t do it nearly enough justice) the real star is protagonist Audrey’s battle with OCD. Though Kinsella never degrades or exploit the painful topic, it was very refreshing to read an author not afraid to push the envelope on a subject that could always use more humor. There’s much more I could say, but I’ll leave it simply with a call to action saying Read this Book!
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Satirical writing is always tricky to pull off due to the lack of cut and dried formula for it, but Libba Bray hit the nail on the head with Going Bovine; the road trip journey of a garden gnome and a boy dying of mad cow syndrome as they make their way across the country with the guidance of a punk pixie. Ridiculous, I know but if nothing else this 2009 release proves that a book doesn’t have to make any sense to have you bursting out in laughter at every hysterical antic. It’s certainly one of the longer books on this list at over four hundred pages, but I suppose that means you’ll get to experience the surreal dark comedy that is Cameron Smith’s head for twice as long. As I was in the process of writing this post I kept considering what I could best compare this story too (an obviously difficult task for a book with such an outlandish premise) but basically Going Bovine is Donnie Darko without mental illness. Or depressing music. Or a demonized bunny rabbit. But other than that, the exact same thing! There’s a very specific frame of mind you have to be in to truly appreciate this book, but it comes highly recommended from me if you’re in the mood to get random.
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
I was in a heated debate with myself on whether to feature E. Lockhart on this post for her fabulously insightful and sardonic The Indisputable History of Frankie Laundau-Banks or the sugary sweet The Boyfriend List. Know though that I can just about guarantee the ever fabulous Lockhart will stretch a smile as wide as Texas across your face with whatever story she pens. However I obviously went with the latter as I feel it has a humor to it that will strike a chord for a much larger demographic, from female across all ages and walks of life. Because what is the best way to draw a source of inspiration for humor than a rite of passage all girls experience at some point? That’s right, Ruby Oliver is experiencing her first (major) break-up, first ever BFF drama, and quite possibly losing all the things she treasures most. In a way that is so refreshingly real you’ll be both cringing in recollection of past events, and breaking out in gales of laughter; Ruby’s witty insight into the girl code is a tried and tried quick fix when you need a laugh.
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Ben Wolfe is a wise acre in the truest sense of the word. Never without a snide comment to make on anything, he routinely annoyed me as a reader for his callous and brash regard to pretty much everything. No matter how much it pains me to admit it though, he IS kind of funny. And I guess there probably wouldn’t be too much of a book if, after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, Ben just wallowed around his rural Idaho town minding his own business. With that being said his humor is for a very specific reader, one who won’t mind their intelligence routinely being called into question on obscure subject manner. I didn’t start this blog though to share all the books I love (oh…wait??), and judging on the hundreds of four and five star ratings across reading websites citing it as an all around laugh out loud story, I’d say I was in the minority with this one. As such it seems only fair to Deadline for me to include it on a list of funniest books I’ve read. In case your curious and want to read a more in-depth look at my thoughts, I’ll leave the review down below.
For my full thoughts:Deadline Review
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Author Kathleen Hale has had quite the tumultuous experience in her time as a new author. First her debut was commercially panned by Goodreads reviewers, then she took it a step further by stalking said critic and exposing her as a catfish; thereby effectively reaching blackball status on the bookish corner of social media. And all that pales in comparison to the author’s actual fiction. That being because No One Else Can Have You is the single most ridiculous book I have ever read. It started off genuinely funny, as a sharp satirical mystery in the spirit of Fargo. But as the plot thickened so did the ludicrousy, and next thing I knew I’m laughing at the protagonist being committed to a mental asylum. Then escaping. Then discovering a Psycho-esque mystery. And really it just went on and on. It was like Hale started a dream board of every sordid nightmare she had and decided to write it into book form. Probably not her desired reaction, but I was busting out laughing on more than a few occasions.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell’s debut is oftentimes the overlooked big sister to her more well known Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. And while it may not have the self reflection of the first, or the heartbreak of the latter, Attachments is still a favorite of mine. There are so many aspects I love about it, from Rowell’s successful usage of dual perspectives, to the episoltary storytelling. But what really sets it apart is the laugh-out-loud email correspondance between lifelong besties Beth and Jennifer. The two have great chemistry, and their witty banter is seemingly plucked straight from real life. Adding an extra layer of heart is Beth’s love interest and other narrator Lincoln, a hapless IT guy just as invested as us in reading their commentary on all matter of social happenings. Also, Rowell totally nails the late ‘90’s 2k craze, once again proving her prowess in drawing humor and inspiration from her story’s setting. An often over-looked read that deserves a high spot on your TBR.
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
Similar to No One Else Can Have You, Black Ice wasn’t intended to be funny, perhaps even less so than the former. I mean really, it’s about two girls held hostage in the Tetons…not exactly the stuff of Saturday Night Live inspiration. Actually maybe Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would base a skit off Becca Fizpatrick’s painfully clueless heroines Britt and , wannabe Valley Girls ensnared by the hotness of their captors. The former is portayed as “tough”, and Fitzpatrick routinely gves her brownie points merely for possessing the most basic of street smarts (there’s a good girl Britt, way to know which direction is north). This shallow character development nearly drove me to the point of insanity for the first 100 pages, but from there forward I just rolled with the punches and pretended Fitzpatrick intended for it to be so flippant. Because really, if you can’t laugh at a girl for lusting over her kidnapper/maybe boyfriend’s flexing pecs, where is your enjoyment in life? On a more positive note I read Fitzpatrick’s second mystery thriller Dangerous Lies to much better results, and would thoroughly recommend it.
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging is Ruby Oliver for a different generation. Set in 1990’s Britain, the hijinks of Georgia Nicholson are equally humorous as Ruby Oliver’s but bring a whole new set of comedy to the table. Where’s Ruby did occasionally find herself in ridiculous situations, most of the story’s LOL moments came from her snarky quips or rambling anecdotes of high school misfortune. Alternately, the ever lovely Georgia shaves off her eyebrows, stalks her arch nemesis, and is in an unfortunate tussle on the cricket field. These moments are the archetype of Georgia’s character, and simultaneously make our heart cringe at her fifteen year old girls antics. Never change Georgia. Never change. What’s I find even more impressive though, having read the entire thirteen-book series, is that Louise Rennison was consistently able to regenerate fresh and funny ideas that would carry our favorite hot mess through high school. Perfectly hilarious in every way possible.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling is a self-help novel at it’s core, but one always sprinked with a serving of humor for the reader suffering from FOMO. Don’t worry though, crafty funny woman Kaling has been on the receiving end of uncomfortable invites, social awkwardness, besides every other anxiety inducing crowd out there…and she lived to tell about it. I’m willing to bet that not only will you be sufficiently entertained by my dream BFF, but you’ll feel a little bit better about being alone on a Friday night. There may not be any raging parties or hot dates, but through the gift of comedy a night spent at home curled up with a book is hardly the worst thing imaginable. While you’re at it go ahead and binge-watch The Mindy Project on Hulu, and know that you’ll never escape the ensnaring wily of Kaling. Also, if you take this advice (which you obviously should) let me know what you think about her slightly more demure follow-up Why Not Me?.
The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
This quirky little book that I so frequently wax poetic about is thoroughly unrealistic. That’s right, the messages The Porcupine of Truth imparts on readers may be 100% true to life, but the situations that get them there are (unfortunately) not. I don’t read though to see my boring life reflected in ink, and the crazy conundrums Carson and Aisha find themselves in are the stuff of fictious gems. Take when, whilst stranded and strapped for cash, the two perform a Mad Libs-esque skit about the adventures of a bootlegging spy. It’s obviously funny, totally random, and a scene that proves some stories really are meant to debut on the small screen. Or take our main characters, two self-aware pretentious teens always down to poke fun at themselves and their world. Both have hilarious musings that are duelly snarky and sardonic; a perfect capstone to oftentimes serious plot line fodder. An all around amazing book I hardly did justice to, and a great break from our era of moody young adult.
For my full thoughts:The Porcupine of Truth Review
So have you read any of these? What are your favorite humorous reads? Let me know in the comments!
-Keep Calm and Read On