Funny Books

I’m looking for some humorous novels, like Poole’s A Confederacy of Dunces or Ludlum’s A Road to Gandolfo. One caveat: they can’t be Sci Fi / Fantasy, as I’ve read or will read most of those.

I’m looking for novels/novellas that are deliberately funny/farcical throughout, as opposed to, say, Elmore Leonard’s books, which have a humorous subtext (not that that is bad).

I’m sure someone here must have some ideas. I’ll check back before lunch so I can head on over to Borders to see if anyone’s suggestions catch my fancy.

Thanks SDMB

Donald Westlake’s caper books, such as DANCING AZTECS or THE HOT ROCK.

From olden days, Leo Rosten’s THE EDUCATION OF HYMAN KAPLA*N, about educating immigrants in English. A trifle dated, but still very funny. One quick never-to-be-forgotten sample, when Mr Kaplan asks the teacher about the meaning of “big department”, it’s like when you bump into someone and sometimes you say “excuse me” and other times you say “I big department.”

If you like mystery-like books, Janet Evanovich’s series about Stephanie Plum, the first one is ONE FOR THE MONEY.

Richard Russo, Straight Man. I, literally, would laugh out loud while reading this.

I would second the Janet Evanovich suggestion. Very funny books.
The similarly-themed Sue Grafton books (A Is For Alibi, B is Burglar, etc.) are good, too, but the later books aren’t as funny. Up to H Is For Homicide they were really good, but then dropped off a bit.

I know you said novels, but Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s his account of trying to hike the Appalachian Trail with an old college buddy.

I love the stuff by Christopher Moore like “Lamb. aka The gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood bud” and “Fluke”.

Also Carl Hiasson’s stuff like “skinny dip” and “basket case”.

A lot of Tom Robbins’ stuff makes me laugh out loud too.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sock by Penn Gillette (of Penn & Teller), and I’ve just begun How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which, so far, is quite funny.

Dave Barry’s Big Trouble. The movie was pretty lame, but the book was a riot.

A third vote here for Janet Evanovich. Very funny stuff.

The single funniest book I’ve ever read may fall into the SF/F category, but just in case you haven’t read it, let me recommend Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman.

I’ve read Good Omens and readily enjoyed it.

Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming. Maybe my used book vendor will have some and save me big bucks. 3 books for $5, can’t beat that, even if I don’t like them.

If you like detective books try Carl Hiassen. If you’ve ever seen the movie Striptease, he wrote the original book, which was a riot.

Try Tim Dorsey’s novels. Set in Florida, they are like Hiassen on acid . Very funny. If you laughed when Vincent shot Melvin in the face, then you will like Dorsey.

Florida Roadkill
Hammerhead Ranch Motel
Orange Crush
Stingray Shuffle
Triggerfish Twist

I don’t think it’s in print, so some searching would be required, but a copy of Loyd Little’s *Parthian Shot * would be well worth the effort, IMHO. Before I read it, i wouldn’t have believed anyone who tried to tell me that a hilarious novel set in the Vietnam War even existed.

Not sure if this counts as a novel, but Ring Lardner’s *You Know Me Al * is damn funny, I’d say, particularly for baseball fans.

I know you said no fantasy, but this is one that relatively few people have read (though several of us here have). Maybe it’ll be new to you:

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. The other two books in the series are funny as well, but not as funny as Bridge. They’re collected in an omnibus edition, The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.



Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 still remains the funniest book I ever read.

Matthew Beaumont’s
e and it’s follow-up, The e Before Christmas.

Literally laugh-out-loud funny. Read them in order.

Ditto. And I’d like to add it’s alot more amusing than Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear.

I’d like to nominate ‘Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,’ a book of essays by David Sedaris.

His brother is a riot. The stuff he says as his first child is born & the fact he’s trained his great dane to eat the turds of his smaller dog so he doesn’t have to pooper-scoop them just killed me.

Mikael Bulgakov’s ‘The Master & Margarita’ is really funny, and way ahead of it’s time. Sometimes funny in a delirious, mind-bending way too…

(and the cat would tear Red Dwarf’s to shreds with his wit)

Jasper fforde. His Thursday Next novels:

The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book

The Well of Lost Plots
Something Rotten

They are wildly hilarious. Technically, they’re science fiction (set in a weird alternate universe where there’s time travel, cloned dodos, migrating mammoths, and the Crimean War is still going on). But if you’re a book lover, you will love them.

*The title is meant literally. :slight_smile: