Top 20 Funny Books You Must Read

Top 20 Funny Books You Must Read

Why aren’t you reading more funny books?

Writing funny books isn’t easy. But what about reading them?

Whether it’s satire, cozy mystery, feel-good romance, comic sci-fi, social comedy, or just generally witty reads, funny books have arguably never captured people’s attention in the same way that films, TV series, and comedy gigs have.

‘Why?’ – you may ask. Maybe reading funny books isn’t as easy as watching funny people on a screen or a stage? Perhaps comedy is more accessible, or acceptable, when you’re sharing laughter with others? If you’re thinking ‘yeah, they’re good points, Farrago’ or ‘wow, Farrago, you’re so deep’ then give yourself a slap. The real answer: you’re not reading the right books.

A truly funny book will have you howling on the bus, giggling in the doctor’s waiting room, crying with laughter in McDonalds, inadvertently spitting coffee at your partner as they lay next to you in bed, or – something we find super cute – catching yourself smiling when you least expect it. Put simply, a genuinely comical book will make you laugh whether you want to or not.

Reading funny books is easy, you just need to find the right one for you.

That’s where we can help. We’ve selected twenty of the funniest books out there. Books that make you smile, snort, splutter, cackle, howl, guffaw, chuckle, chortle, roar, bust a gut, snigger, giggle, and have your sides splitting like never before

Social Comedies

Some of the best comedies are simply those about the different lives we choose to lead.

1. A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman

Is Ove is the grumpiest man in the world? He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, and shop assistants who talk in code. In the end, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…

A bittersweet delight, Fredrik Backman’s heartwarming debut is a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Man called over front cover
Grown Ups Marian Keyes cover

2. Grown Ups

Marian Keyes

Described by the Guardian as “comic, convincing and true”, Marian Keyes’ Grown Ups is a clever and honest look at family relationships – secrets, betrayal, turmoil, the whole shebang.

This subtle and sophisticated saga centres around the Casey brothers – Johnny, Ed and Liam – and their glamorous partners, whose experiences encompass life at its most painful, occasionally joyful, and dull.

Follow the author on Twitter.

3. The Flatshare

Beth O’Leary

Shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020

Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met…

“Bright, feel-good and quirky” (Irish Times), Beth O’Leary’s wonderfully uplifting debut is a spirited concoction of comic misunderstanding and endearing romance between two residents of the same flat who happen to have never met.

Visit the author’s website.

The Code of the Woosters cover

4. The Code of the Woosters

P. G. Wodehouse

In this classic piece of Wodehouse silliness, Bertie Wooster, his formidable Aunt Dahlia and (obviously) Jeeves scheme to steal an 18th-century cow-creamer during a weekend party at an English country house.

“Flexible, fresh and fun” (Guardian), The Code of the Woosters fizzes with memorable characters, ingenious slapstick, preposterous plots and nostalgic settings. Cow-creamers, Aunts and ersatz Fascists combine to create a sublime slice of classic Wodehousian farce.

5. Mr Finchley Discovers His England

Victor Canning

In Mr Finchley Discovers His England, Mr Edgar Finchley, aged 45, is told to take a holiday for the first time in his life. He decides to go to the seaside. But fate has other plans in store…

Victor Canning‘s gentle comedy was a runaway bestseller on first publication in the 1930s, has been dramatized twice for BBC Radio, and retains a timeless appeal today.

Cozy Mysteries

Cozy crime comes in all shapes and forms. Here’s a few classic, funny cozies – perfect reading for an evening on the sofa, with Kindle in one hand and a glass of wine (or bottle, we don’t judge) in the other.

Thursday Murder Club cover

6. The Thursday Murder Club

Richard Osman

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Crime & Thriller Book of the Year 2021

From the creator of popular BBC quiz show Pointless, this bestselling “cozy crime caper” (Guardian) sees amateur sleuths in an upmarket retirement village investigate a murder a bit too close to home…

One for cozy crime readers who are fans of mysteries laced with killer one-liners and artfully constructed twists.

7. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

M. C. Beaton

M. C. Beaton is one of the finest modern proponents of light-hearted, village whodunnits and the first of her Agatha Raisin books finds our eponymous sleuth moving to the Cotswolds and promptly being arrested for murder.

Written with great charm and ingenious plotting Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death is just one “delicious romp” (Publishers Weekly) in what really is a wonderfully entertaining series.

Discover the TV series.

picture miss seeton heron carvic cover

8. Picture Miss Seeton

Heron Carvic

The classic British cosy mystery series from Heron Carvic – Meet Miss Emily Seeton, an art teacher with an unexpected talent…

“A most beguiling protagonist” (New York Times), Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. Armed with only her sketch pad and umbrella, she is every inch an eccentric English spinster and the most lovable and unlikely master of detection.

9. Death and Croissants

Ian Moore

The first unputdownable mystery in the enthralling Follet Valley series by TV/radio regular and bestselling author Ian Moore.

In this wonderfully witty whodunnit, a peace-loving British B&B owner in rural France turns sleuth when one his guests disappears. Optioned for TV by the producers of Sky One’s Agatha Raisin and described by Alan Carr as “a joyous read”.

death croissants ian moore cover

10. A Quiet Life in the Country

T. E. Kinsey

Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life…

Set in Agatha Christie country but with a more modern, egalitarian air, this is a well-paced read with sparky humour and intriguing characters.

Follow the author on Twitter.

Satirical Crime

“If satire is to be effective, the audience must be aware of the thing satirised.” – Gore Vidal

Luckily for us, humorous fiction readers are a knowledgable bunch… *coughs and splutters out tea awkwardly*

11. One for the Money

Janet Evanovich

Meet Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.

“Funny, self-assured, astute and raunchy” (Publishers Weekly), first novels with this much savvy are rare. This is one for readers who love a feisty and funny heroine.

Follow the author on Twitter.

One For the Money janet evanovich
My Sister the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite

12. My Sister, the Serial Killer

Oyinkan Braithwaite

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019

As smart and murderous as Killing Eve, My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

But this isn’t just an inventive take on the serial-murder thriller. Braithwaite’s blistering debut is also a tender examination of sibling relationships in an oppressively patriarchal and a story which turns the tables on the woman-as-victim trope.

13. A Man With One of Those Faces

Caimh McDonnell

A Man With One of Those Faces is the first book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

With the help of a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence, Paul Mulchrone must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history… or else he’ll be history.

Follow the author on Twitter.

A Man With One of Those Faces cover
tropic of stupid tim dorsey cover

14. Tropic of Stupid

Tim Dorsey

Part spree killer, part local historian, Serge Storms has carved a trail of destruction through Florida, and he’s just getting started.

Described by Independent as “a wacky celebration of violence, depravity and the weirdness of Florida”, Tim Dorsey will appeal to readers who think that Carl Hiaasen is too (yes, too) subtle.

15. Squeeze Me

Carl Hiaasen

From the bestselling author of Bad Monkey and Razor Girl comes this hilarious new novel of social and political intrigue, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida’s gold coast.

Irreverent, ingenious, and highly entertaining, Squeeze Me perfectly captures the absurdity of our times. As Janet Maslin writes in The New York Times, “if you could use some wild escapism right now, Hiaasen is your guy.”

Follow the author on Twitter.

Comic Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Tired of this insincere and predictable world? We are too. That’s why we throw ourselves recklessly into the enigmatic realms of these funny science-fiction and fantasy reads. Join us.

16. Mort

Terry Pratchett

Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job.

Death is the Grim Reaper of the Discworld, a black-robed skeleton who must collect a minimum number of souls in order to keep the momentum of dying, well… alive. But to do that, he’ll need to hire some help… it’s an offer Mort can’t refuse.

“Cracking dialogue, compelling illogic and unchained whimsy” Sunday Times

17. Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

An international phenomenon and pop-culture classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been a radio show, TV series, novel, stage play, comic book and film.

Following the galactic (mis)adventures of Arthur Dent, Hitchhiker’s in its various incarnations has captured the imaginations of curious minds around the world.

“To read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is to step into the garden shed of a maverick genius while he’s out” Guardian

a night in the lonesome october cover

18. A Night in the Lonesome October

Roger Zelazny

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite.

“The last great novel by one of the giants of the genre.” George R. R. Martin

19. Darkwood

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

A witty, modern retelling of classic fairy tales, albeit with storylines and characters a little different than we’re used to.

But it’s also more than that. Gabby Hutchinson Crouch has created a series with a strong heart and social conscience, interspersing laugh-out-loud humour, seat-of-your-pants adventures, and a scorching social commentary.

darkwood cover
To say nothing of the dog connie willis cover

20. To Say Nothing of the Dog

Connie Willis

Winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, 1999

Gleeful fun with a serious edge” (Kirkus), Connie Willis offers a completely different kind of time travel adventure: a delightful romantic comedy.

When too many jumps back to 1940 leave Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities make Ned’s holiday anything but restful with the entire course of history at stake.

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