My Top 5 Funny Books (to cheer you up in this weather)

It won’t stop raining, the news is full of corrupt politicians and press moguls, and apparently we’ve sunk into a double-dip recession. At this point, I think we all need cheering up. So it seems the time is right for my top five funny books, to keep you chuckling as you take refuge from the rain.

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
A comedy classic which makes fun of the ludicrous nature of war – many laughs here alongside the novel’s more serious message.
‘There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions.’

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Of course this one has to be on my list. Utterly surreal and whimsical, this is a good read even for those who don’t usually like science-fiction novels (like myself).
“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
“Very deep,” said Arthur, “you should send that in to the Reader’s Digest. They’ve got a page for people like you.”

3. The Best a Man Can Get by John O’Farrell
The story of a middle-aged man leading an often pathetic double life – I first read this a few years ago and still remember how often I laughed out loud.
‘I found it hard working really long hours when I was my own boss. The boss kept giving me the afternoon off. Sometimes he gave me the morning off as well. Sometimes he’d say, ‘Look, you’ve worked pretty hard today, why don’t you take a well-earned rest tomorrow.’ If I overslept he never rang me to ask where I was; if I was late to my desk he always happened to turn up at exactly the same time; whatever excuse I came up with, he always believed it. Being my own boss was great. Being my own employee was a disaster, but I never thought about that side of the equation.’

4. The World According to Garp by John Irving
I loved this book – it’s a family saga, but it also has a comical side. Perhaps not laugh out loud, but it will move you and make you smile. Beautifully written characters.
‘All men are liars, said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man.’

5. The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
Here’s one for older children and young adults – I absolutely loved this trilogy as a teenager, and even as an adult I’m sure I’d still get many laughs out of it. Set in modern-day London but with a magical twist, the books are narrated by the brilliantly sarcastic djinn Bartimaeus.
‘That did it. I’d gone through a lot in the past few days. Everyone I met seemed to want a piece of me: djinn, magicians, humans…it made no difference. I’d been summoned, manhandled, shot at, captured, constricted, bossed about and generally taken for granted. And now, to cap it all, this bloke is joining in too, when all I’d been doing was quietly trying to kill him.’

Does anyone else have any recommendations for cheerful books to read in this gloomy weather?

Sara Magness, Editorial Administrator

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