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Who doesn’t love a good laugh? While I’ve read plenty of funny books that have made me smile, it’s less common for them to make me burst out laughing. Those that have, I remember fondly and am tickled to share with you now.
All Creatures Great and Small. By James Herriot. 1972. St. Martin’s.
Based on Herriot’s experiences as a country animal vet, this title is filled with quirky, small-town characters and incredible situational comedy.
Blue Heaven. By Joe Keenan. 1988. o.p.
A marriage scheme (i.e., getting hitched for the gifts) between a gay man and a conniving female acquaintance goes spectacularly awry, as lies and mob ties spin out of control.
Drinking at the Movies. By Julia Wertz. Illus. by the author. 2010. Koyama.
In this graphic memoir, Wertz’s candid reflections on her youthful struggles to find her path and function as an adult will resonate with many, as will her foibles and missteps.
Hard Eight. By Janet Evanovich. 2002. St. Martin’s.
Any Stephanie Plum mystery could have qualified for this list, but this one features a hilarious run-in between the inept bounty hunter and a vicious flock of geese that won’t soon be forgotten.
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened. By Allie Brosh. Illus. by the author. 2013. Gallery.
Despite touching on serious topics, such as depression, this comics-memoir mash-up will have you weeping with laughter, especially the stories involving Brosh’s dogs and her struggle to master writing the letter “R” as a child.
Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. By Christopher Moore. 2002. Harper.
Delightfully irreverent, this account of Jesus’ life by forgotten disciple Biff stays on the right side of blasphemy, while eliciting an ungodly amount of laughter.
Me Talk Pretty One Day. By David Sedaris. 2000. Little, Brown.
Guaranteed to make you burst out laughing while on public transit, essayist Sedaris’ observational humor, attempts to learn French, and cutting insights make this collection a winner. Also a treat on audio, which Sedaris narrates himself!
Oreo. By Fran Ross. 1974. New Directions.
Fiercely intelligent and fiercely funny, Ross’ account of a young woman grappling with her identity (half Black, half Jewish) and searching for her father is a book to savor, as it melds classic themes and contemporary issues while having a field day with form and language.
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