Lockdown laughs: our favourite mood-lifting reads

07/04/2020 | POSTED BY Abbie

Here at Farrago, we specialise in fiction to make you smile, and our mission feels more important than ever at the moment. The news is scary, we are worried about our loved ones, and a lot of what we thought of as normal everyday life has changed beyond recognition.

This is when books can really come into their own. When you’re immersed in a story, everything else in the world drifts away just a little – reading can provide a holiday for your mind. And that’s what drives us at Team Farrago. We look for the funniest, most imaginative and enjoyable stories, and we bring them to you, to give you a break from the everyday and, we hope, make you laugh along the way.

There are plenty of titles to choose from in our book list, but here are ten highlights to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Cherry Slice

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. But Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye.

‘If you’re in need of comic distraction (as we all are…) this is extremely funny.’ Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

(find out more here)

Battlestar Suburbia

When Darren Stubbs accidentally short-circuits a robot lamppost, life on the Dolestar Discovery changes forever – for everyone. This anarchic comic adventure travels from the shining skyscrapers of Singulopolis to the hidden depths of the internet, and reveals what happens when a person finally puts down their mop and bucket and says ‘No.’

‘McCrudden’s debut is festooned with cunning punnery, sharp turns of phrase, and jokes about emojis and the internet, making this very much a comic novel of our times.’ James Lovegrove, Financial Times

(find out more here)

The Ice Maid’s Tail

The town is gripped by a big freeze, leaving shops and businesses snowbound. Hettie Bagshot and her sidekick, Tilly Jenkins, are called to investigate the disappearance of the town’s kittens as – one by one – they are taken in the snow. Join them in another frost-biting case for The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency.

‘I loved it. The whole concept is just so “real”!’ Barbara Erskine

(find out more here)

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

When Sir Humphrey Strange, squire of Batch Magna, departs this world, his estate passes to distant relative Humph, a short-order cook from the Bronx. Humph is persuaded to make a killing by turning the sleepy backwater into a theme-park image of rural England. Will the long-time residents of Batch Magna manage to put a stop to his plans?

‘I loved this book. It’s lyrical and very amusing, with all the charm of an old Ealing comedy. … More please Mr Maughan!’

(find out more here)

Life, Death and Cellos

The Stockwell Park Orchestra is in trouble – could this be their final performance? In a tale marrying the insight of Sue Townsend with the farcical humour of John O’Farrell, a priceless cello is abducted, a conductor is stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and Erin the cellist stumbles (eventually) on her true calling in life.

Life, Death and Cellos is that rare thing – a funny music book. Rogers knows the world intimately, and portrays it with warmth, accuracy and a poetic turn of phrase. Sharp, witty and richly entertaining.’ Lev Parikian

(find out more here)

The Great American Cheese War

A mysterious illness afflicts friends of Governor Bill Hoeksma of Michigan, and his conspiring advisors point to a rumoured viral weapons attack by the Wisconsin government. When the conspiracy runs out of road, and guns are drawn in a showdown outside a Cracker Barrel, will anyone emerge victorious from the Great American Cheese War?

‘A rollicking riot of insanity and I mean that in the most wonderful sense! I laughed my way through this story.’

(find out more here)


Magic is forbidden in Myrsina, along with other abominations such as girls doing maths. This is bad news for Gretel Mudd, who doesn’t perform magic but does know a lot of maths. When her inventions prompt the sinister masked Huntsmen to accuse her of witchcraft, Gretel must act fast to help the Witches save the Darkwood and her home village.

‘…very funny. If you like Terry Pratchett, or think gothic fairytales should have more LOLs, ’tis the book for ye.’ Greg Jenner

(find out more here)

Christmas Secrets by the Sea

Tansy Merriweather has lost her business and her relationship, and her home is now a campervan on a Dorset beach, with a scruffy dog called Brian as her only friend. When she finds a job as a location scout for a new TV show, things start looking up. But with the grumpy star Davin O’Riordan to work with, storms are certain to follow…

‘It’s a wonderful story, fully of whimsy and gentle humour, a terrific story and wonderful characters, all wrapped up in a very satisfying ending.’

(find out more here)

The Truth About Archie and Pye

Join disillusioned junior PR exec Tom Winscombe and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations, involving internet conspiracy theorists, hedge fund managers, the Belarusian mafia and a cat called µ.

‘Funny, clever, and sometimes brilliantly daft.’ Scott Pack

(find out more here)

Mr Finchley Discovers His England

Mr Edgar Finchley, unmarried solicitor’s clerk, aged 45, is told to take a holiday for the first time in his life. He decides to go to Margate. But Fate has other plans in store…

‘Quite delightful, with an atmosphere of quiet contentment and humour that cannot fail to charm … The longer we travel with Mr Finchley, the better we come to love him. He makes us share his bread and cheese, and beer and pipe. His delight at the beauties of the countryside and his mild astonishment at the strange ways of men are infectious.’ Daily Telegraph

(find out more here)

Let us know your favourite humorous reads! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re always ready for a chat.

Covers of featured books

Related articles