Are you looking for a book to read just for fun? I’m talking about funny books, satire, light-hearted reads, and books that will make you literally laugh out loud. Summertime is just around the corner, which means that we will all be turning our eyes to some books that are easy going and funny. Even our current political climate is reason enough to turn to a funny book (because sadly, almost every news story we read is just another heavy dosage of bad news).
Here are some of the best 20 books to read just for fun, helping to make your summer (or Friday night) to become a funny one.
1. The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
This fairy-tale esque novel has the basic outline of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility but set in modern day America. Love vicariously through love affairs, tragedy, luck and happiness. But perhaps the best thing about it? It isn’t all drama, as I actually laughed out loud several times to this witty book.
2. I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman by Nora Ephron
If you know the style of Nora Ephron, the screenplay writer When Harry Met Sally,you know how sassy her writing can be. A New Yorker who is often over the top but always funny, this is a pretty funny book for all things (privileged) women can relate to.
3. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
This is a book about Jenny Lawson’s depression. Doesn’t sound like something to joke about, right? For Lawson, it totally is. If depression is on one end of the emotion spectrum being furiously happy is on the opposite end. And that is exactly where this book falls.
4. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Writing about race in America is very tricky, at best. And Paul Beatty does it. Even more, he writes a whole damn book about it, and makes it funny. Beatty reinstates slavery and segregation in this masterpiece of an incredibly entertaining book.
5. Insane City by Dave Barry
Dave Barry may often go for cheap laughs, but there is no denying he isn’t funny. A trip, wedding, and some groomsmen are the basic ingredients for this book. Even though it isn’t brilliant, I was laughing at every page.
6. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Dry, funny, and always a little cumbersome, this book is full of can’t stop reading essays. Sloane Crosley never overdoes her story telling – they just fall short of feeling ridiculously impossible. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book faster than I’ve read this one, as each story is so deliciously, and sometimes uncomfortably, funny.
7. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)by Mindy Kaling
I love this book. Mindy Kaling takes the reader on a journey of her life – a chubby girl, daughter of immigrants – and constantly makes fun of herself, of situations. Kaling tends to be a little critical of herself, but always in a funny way.
8. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is one of my all time favorite authors. This memoir is one of my all time favorite books. Why? Because it is so ridiculously, constantly hilarious. But being a great writer, Bryson goes beyond the funny and sneaks in nostalgia about his life. Love this book.
9. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Sometimes a bit dumb, sometimes pretty smart, I really love this book because it is always so, so funny. Biff loves Jesus, and is his ultimate pal in all of his shenanigans.
10. You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
This book is all about being black and a woman in America. But since it’s from a stand up comedian, it is so, amusing. For real, my shoulders hurt while reading this, because they were bouncing up and down so much while I was trying to stifle my laughter in a quiet coffee-shop. She talks about being the token black friend, white people and black hair, and the 1990’s pop culture scene. I love how this book tackles important issues, but does so in a very funny way.
11. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This satirical and lively book is ultimately about a loving mother and daughter relationship. This very funny book – which pokes fun at Seattle, among other things – focuses on a smart daughter searching for her smart mother.
12. I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
The reason to read this book is simple: Stephen Colbert. It’s a little eerie reading this book now, as so much of what Colbert satirizes has become a possibility under America’s current administration. Even so, this book is classically Colbert, as he takes on cultural and political issues of today.
13. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
The only repeat author on this list, but it is well deserved. Hysterically funny personal essays. Crosley always finds something to be miffed at, and because of that, I think this book is even better than her “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.”
14. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Almost anything Amy Poehler comes up with is freaking hilarious. Even though this book wasn’t what I expected, it still got the laughs out of me. My favorite part was the surprise haiku. And Amy isn’t the only writer in the book: Seth Meyers and Hillary Clinton also appear.
15. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Love, love, love this book. Travel throughout the universe from the beginning to the end of time. Thrilling, funny, weird, and with very crazy characters and creatures.
16. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Vivid. Crying from laughing. Surprisingly informative. Realistic. And colorful New Orleans. This book has been called a cult classic, and it is so well deserved.
17. How Not To Date by Judy McGuire
Think you have bad dating stories? Read this book to laugh over stories that you are so, so happy never happened to you. As a dating columnist, Judy McGuire has a lot of material to pull from. Is it a little sadistic to find humor from other people’s bad dating experiences? Probably, but that won’t stop you from reading it (didn’t stop me).
18. To Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman is basically Ron Swanson: he loves red meat, carpentry, mustaches, woodworking, and the great outdoors. Fans of Parks and Rec (like myself) will likely like this book, which is basically part memoir and part how-to. However, Offerman is not Ron Swanson, and he definitely has his own voice and own opinions, so read it with a grain of salt.
19. I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence by Amy Sedaris
Think David Sedaris is funny? Then read this book on recipes, hosting, how to be a good guest, and everything else entertaining related! This is one of my favorite books on here, because Sedaris is so honest, so dry, and very funny. I may have peed a little while reading this.
20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
One of the best novels of all time, if you haven’t read this book, do it now. For real. Not only is it a masterpiece, but it is one of the funniest books out there. Taking place during WWII in Italy, it follows Yossarian, and bombarder who wants only to survive, and live. I won’t tell you much more, other than that read this.
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