I like to read a funny novel once in a while but when I’m in the mood, I never seem to know what I should pick. So when I discovered the ten books you can see on the picture, offered as a collection for only 9£ by the book people (only available in the UK), I had to have them as they were called a “collection of classic funny British and American novels”. One of the books, Lucky Jim, has been recommended to me by a friend as the funniest novel she has ever read.
Here are the ten novels:
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson
Nothing….Except my Genius by Oscar Wilde
Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung
Modern Baptists by James Wilcox
The funniest books I’ve read so far were
John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary
Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,
Erich Kästner’s Drei Männer im Schnee – Three Men in the Snow (oop)
Philippe Jaenada’s Le chameau sauvage (not translated)
I also thought that Janet Evanovitch’s One For the Money was very funny. Other than that, I’m a bit at a loss.
The problem with recommendations for funny novels stems obviously from the fact that the sense of humour of one person is so very different from the sense of humour of another one. I even suspect that relationships have ended due to incompatibilities in that department (following right after incompatible tastes in music). Especially satire and black humour aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. While I consider the movie No Man’s Land to be extremely funny, other people think it’s in bad taste to laugh about three guys trapped between enemy trenches with a bomb strapped to one of them.
What is considered to be funny or comic and why is a topic even great minds deemed worthy of analysis. If you are interested to explore this some more I can recommend two classic essays which are quite interesting, Bergson’s Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic – Le rire: Essai sur la signification du comique and Freud’s The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious – Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten.
While I could make a long list of funny movies and series (and might do so in a future post), I have, as you may have realized, a hard time to come up with a similar book list.
Do you know any of the novels in my collection? Do you consider them to be really funny? Which are the funniest novels you have read?