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MWF Seeks 5 Books to Make Me Laugh Out Loud.

I am searching for a belly laugh.
Not a smirk, nope. Not a smile or giggle.
I want a deep snarky chuckle and a big guffaw.
Out loud.

A list of 5 books that gives you a belly laugh is not an easy task.
I definitely have some ideas…but I know this is a place you can help.

I have been suffering through my husband’s reading of Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You. (Suffering, as in: he is reading it and I am not. It’s pretty obvious he’s enjoying himself.)

After I have long turned out my nightstand light, he lets me know he is going to read ‘just a few more pages’.
And then proceeds to snort, laugh, exhale, chuckle.
And, frankly, it is really starting to bother.

He reads me lines like these:
“Both the size of her heels and the size of her breasts were inappropriate for both her age and the occasion.” The occasion by the way, is a family funeral. A non-practicing Jewish family comes together after their father’s death, only to learn that his dying wish is that they all sit shiva for seven days.

He keeps referring to it as the Arrested Development book. Which, admittedly, is an outrageously funny show to me.

When I go on vacation, Ken Follett never makes the trip. Perhaps as you think about your own spring break, you’ll think about books that make you laugh out loud.

Here’s my contribution:
Then We Came To The End
(Check out the very cool online marketing of this book)

For those of you who have been following Joshua Ferris, who has a new book out called the Unnamed, ATWCTTE was his debut novel. And, it was smartly chosen as a finalist for the National Book Award. It is dark, wildly inappropriate and deeply funny. It is “The Office” type view of the workplace, taking place at an unnamed advertising agency at Chicago.

What is funny, like what’s a good read, is intensely personal.
So this is risky.
(See? Funny.  Truly how risky is this???)

But throw your best pitch. Give me the biggest belly laugh book. Ever.

Collectively, we’ll laugh all the way from our lounge chairs.


27 Comments Post a comment
  1. mb #

    Holidays on Ice-David Sedaris. Hysterical, outrageous, totally inappropriate. Perfect read for when the holidays have you stressed. You will be thankful for your own family’s brand of craziness and holiday chaos. Also by Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Naked. Sedaris is always funny, irreverent, brash, a little uncomfortable. Also check out his very humorous sister, Amy Sedaris. She has a great entertaining guide: I like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. (Probably not a true BookSnob book, but laugh out loud funny which counts for a lot).

    The Straight Man-Richard Russo. Very funny take on academia – the politics, the professors, the curriculum. Additionally funny insights on family life.

    March 16, 2010
  2. Not sure I’d categorize it as funniest book *ever* (there’s plenty of dark stuff in there too) but I really enjoyed Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. On a completely different (non fiction) note, I’m currently reading Michael Kinsley’s collection of essays, Please Don’t Remain Calm. In addition to offering a host of insights into political developments in the US in the past 15 years, you will – I guarantee – laugh out loud while reading it.

    Delia Lloyd

    PS – I really liked Then We Came To An End as well!

    March 16, 2010
  3. Calvin Trillin’s “Travel With Alice” always makes me smile. The man can sure turn a phrase.

    March 16, 2010
  4. I think the Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is pretty hysterical – at least the beginning of it made me cry I laughed so hard. My in-laws thought I was insane as I was reading it at their house.

    Also the Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the best books I have read and it is also hilarious.

    As you will notice both are in the teen fiction section of the book store a section I highly recommend even for book snobs. You just have to be discerning.

    March 16, 2010
  5. Jazzie #

    This question made me realize that I don’t read a lot of humour. Hmmmm…might have to remedy that.

    #1. Me Talk Pretty One day by David Sedaris. The single funniest story (and we listen to it EVERY easter… is called “Jesus Shaves”.) But I think you have to get the CD version read by David…

    #2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. The hardest I’ve ever laughed whilst reading.

    #3. The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. My notes to this say: We laughed ’til we cried over the model airplane glue.

    #4. Dress Family in Courdery and Blue Jeans by David Sedaris. Really ANYTHING by David Sedaris will do the trick.

    #5. The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle. Though I have lent this one to people who did not see the humour. As you said, it’s a very personal thing!

    March 16, 2010
  6. Kathy in Great Falls #

    True, he’s more widely known for his Miami Herald column (“Wit’s End). And perhaps not a literary genius, but you must admit he’s high on hilarity: Dave Barry.

    Specifically his “Book of Bad Songs.” Don’t think too hard … just read it.

    March 16, 2010
  7. This is Where I Leave You is definitely laugh-out-loud funny. Deadwood by Pete Dexter made me laugh, but the humor is not sustained throughout the whole novel. Forced Entries by Jim Carroll, who recently died unfortunately, is laugh-out-loud funny in a bizarre kind of way. It is nonfiction and includes characters like punk icon Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan.

    March 17, 2010
  8. Mary Turner #

    Hi Katy: One of the books I read recently was That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. It makes you laugh out loud and really pokes fun at the world of academia. If you ever thought you had any kooks in your family, they could not compare to some of the characters in this book. Great fun!

    March 17, 2010
  9. Ok, so it turned out he couldn’t find enough humor in the world, and its 13 years old these days, but David Foster Wallace’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” has its absolutely hysterical moments. I’ll specifically recommend “Getting Away From Pretty Much Being Away from it All” and the title essay as guffaw inducing. “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley” is hypnotic if you grew up in the Midwest.

    Sedaris, obviously.

    Jazzie’s right. Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” made me laugh hard enough to cry.

    March 17, 2010
  10. MLM #

    “Welcome to Higby” by Mark Dunn. Now I want to go read it again…

    March 17, 2010
  11. Kelly Fordon #

    Julie Hecht, “Do the Windows Open?” is hilarious and neurotic. LOL funny

    March 17, 2010
  12. david fellows #

    I’ll go with “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore. The explanation of the origins of Judo alone is worth it. Hope you have a great getaway!

    March 17, 2010
    • I typically try to respond to every commenter–but you all starting loading on the comedy too quickly!!!(A friend drove by me today and yelled out the window: “I have five good books for youuuuuuuuu…” I think I expected (was hoping!) some Sedaris, Wallace, Russo, Bryson–but thank you for pointing me to specific titles. As for the collection of other titles…I had never heard of many of these before. What a great surprise.I looked on Google Books for quick passages to see if I got a spontaneous laugh. This one here that David mentions, Lamb, made me literally laugh out loud in the first few pages. Anyone have a suggestion to how to narrow this down to BookSnob’s five funniest selections? ten?It would be great if we can start capturing different lists. No matter. I am sure *everyone* on the site appreciates a great list of funny titles. Nicely done BookSnobs!

      March 17, 2010
  13. Roxy #

    My favourite is A boy of Good Breeding by Miriam Toews, which is funny in the manner of Stephen Leacock. (Her first one – not quite as dark as her subsequent ones, but full of hilarity.) The prime minister of Canada decides to award recognition to the country’s smallest town and come to visit it. The town’s mayor (who also happens to think he’s the PM’s illegitimate son and is desperate to prove it to him) goes through all sorts of hi-jinx to keep the population count down (including discouraging people from moving in and trying to ‘hurry along’ some elderly people.)Hilarity ensues…

    March 18, 2010
  14. easyreader #

    Academics and recovering ones like me can’t get through Jane Smiley’s Moo without laughing out loud. Previous commenters mentioned A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and I concur; with my fondness for Great Britain, I love Notes From A Small Island too. And Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck is pretty funny too, if perhaps a bit melancholy in stretches. Finally, Calvin Trillin really is funny, and so literate too. But not About Alice; try The Tummy Trilogy instead.

    March 18, 2010
    • Thanks for your additions. I tried to find so many of these titles today at the library and only lucked out with A Walk in the Woods. (Apparently, they aren’t very funny in my neighborhood, of the 15+ books readers posted, they had only 2!)

      March 18, 2010
  15. Peter #

    Ok, thought I add a couple of others. Mikhail Zoshschenko’s Scenes from the Bathhouse, detailing everyday life in Communist Russia, is far and away the funniest I’ve ever read. For those with any remembrance of the Big Bear that was Russia, it is priceless. 1066 and All That (by Sellar and Yeatman) is another phenomenal read (along with Manning’s follow-up, 1984 and All That), which shows how one can make history much more entertaining. . . .

    March 18, 2010
  16. carole sinclair #

    I like EVERYTHING by the Sedaris Siblings. EVERYTHING! War and Peace was HIGHlarious too! (HA!)

    March 19, 2010
  17. mary #

    I am currently reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and have had numerous bust a gut moments….fyi

    March 21, 2010
    • Thanks for this recommendation Mary. I thought all would appreciate that the NYT review said: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is snort-up-your-coffee funny, breezy yet profound, and poetic without trying.”

      March 22, 2010
  18. Carol Gelbard #

    “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU….is pretty funny and has a lot of Jewish humor!! A very dysfunctional family who is grieving and reconnecting after losing their father.”

    March 24, 2010
  19. Fernanda #

    Hey! I stumbled upon your snob website this afternoon and I just loved it!

    I’m, unfortunatelly, not what you can call a book warm… I’ve got a hard time trying to hold on to one single activity, so a book has to be outrageously gripping and inteligent to keep me interested all the way through…I’ve GOT to feel like I’m taking something out of it or I’ll just drop it! On the other hand if the book’s got what it takes it can be a 3.000 pages book, I don’t care. But, I just can’t seem to find these!

    So I’ve come to you because I thougth, maybe, you could help me growing out of this “inpacience” and then finally grow the habit of reading in my life. Any Idea how should I get started?

    Thank you so very much! And, of course, I’m sorry to bother you with my problems but I read your nice sarcastic comments and I just thought… Why not?! ;o)

    Fernanda Calábria.

    December 8, 2010
  20. Mark #

    I would like to suggest my very own creation: ‘The Occasionally Disgusting Adventures of Brian and Sprig’, available through Amazon as either a physical book or a Kindle surprise. It’s a ribald fantasy tale that will hopefully make you laugh, guffaw and occasionally hoot! without necessitating a change of pants. You can read the 1st few chapters on Amazon and decide if it is your cup of tea.

    June 4, 2012
  21. Fiona Rose #

    I suggest “The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild.” It is the height of quirky and made me laugh out loud on several occasions. Fast-paced plot, hysterical characters, and witty dialogue. Just pure fun.

    July 17, 2013
  22. Dan #

    Here’s a great LOL book for ya, “Money Prick – the harsh truth your friends don’t have the balls or brains to tell you” by Taylor Young. This is how Amazon describes it “The short and sweet, in-your-face, bitch slap innuendos of the Money Prick will drill home must-know personal finance tips in such a way that you won’t want to put the book down. If you ever read and loved that sassy book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, then you’ll totally get the fun, insulting nature of how Money Prick makes points in a way that is impossible to forget.”

    August 20, 2013
  23. Charlotte P. #

    Do you want a good laugh featuring several different subjects.Check out Laff out Loud on Amazons Kindle . I know this book has worked on my daughter when her mother passed away. It really helped her prior to the funeral.

    October 4, 2014
  24. Paul Mint #

    The funniest book I have read in years is Ungentelmanly Conduct by someone called Andy Dunn. Very very funny

    May 28, 2015

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