13 December 2011

List love: A funny dozen

I present you with a dozen funny novels I have enjoyed through the years. Indeed, some of them are on my perennial re-reading list, e.g. nos. 2, 6, 7 and 10.

Some will have you laughing out loud while others might have you bubbling with barely suppressed laughter through the read. Not all of them may appeal to all of you, as they range from dark satire to  airy parody to pure slapstick, but there is something in there for almost everyone. In no particular order:
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Satire. About the absurdities of army life and war.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. All of the books in the series, but especially the first one. Very good science-fantasy and a parody of the genre, and also very funny.
  • Three Men in a Boat, to say nothing of the Dog by Jerome K. Jerome. A funny collection of the travel misadventurs of three men and a dog on a boating holiday in the Thames.
  • Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis. The adventures of the unflappable Auntie Mame as seen through the eyes of her nephew.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer. A Short stories about a canny old lawyer. If you can find a more humorously cynical old codger than Rumploe, please let me know.
  • Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. Actually, all of Pratchett’s books are funny to some degree, although the humour has become darker as the Discworld series progresses. I decided to pick this one. Because. No, just Because. Oh, all right, I if you must know, it was all the movie references and twists. And the talking dog. And the …. Look it’s a funny book, all right?
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Parody at its best. Gibbons took every cliché from the rural novels so popular at the time and molded them into a classic humorous novel.
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend. Teenage angst has never seemed so funny.
  • Bellwether by Connie Willis. Two scientists investigating trends collide with the assistant from Hell and comedy ensues.
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. His descriptions of people and animals sparkle and he had a wonderful eye for the absurd.
  • The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin. The chase scene is classic comedy gold that I would love to see on the big screen.
  • Appleby’s End by Michael Innes. Innes wrote wonderfully quirky detective stories but this one is probably the strangest of them all, and quite funny in a rather surrealist way.

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