Homes and Other Black Holes
This was the first funny book I ever read. I received it from a really nerdy friend who gave it to me as a going away present when my family and I moved in 1st grade. The book is just a series of disastrous home improvement stories and Dave Barry’s personal hatred of the name Ashley. Sometimes I will just think about the fact that, in this book, Dave Barry says that babies look like Vaseline-smeared ferrets and I LOL. It’s not even a particularly evocative image because they don’t really look like that, but it’s still super funny.
Love and Freindship
The thing about Jane Austen is that while she wrote a good romance, she was actually insanely funny. And people always concentrate on the romance part and don’t really get into the funny part, which is all well and good, but it sort of loses some of her essential appeal as a writer. In her juvenilia, the writings she wrote as a young girl, she was incredibly, incredibly funny. In Jack & Alice, she says a man is “of so dazzling a Beauty that none by Eagles could look him in the Face.” Just as a throwaway line! I was dying when I read that.
Lucky Jim is a fabulous and very short novel. It’s the story of a middling college professor who hates his life. Most of the end of the book describes him doing a public lecture on Merrie England that goes terribly wrong, and it permanently ruined me seeing or listening to lectures ever again! Goodbye podcasts!! I hardly knew ye.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Ok, so hear me out. The first book, Bridget Jones’s Diary, is incredible—but the second one is even better. It’s based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion, it makes immense fun of self-help books, and Bridget doesn’t know where Germany is. Read it! It is far better than the movie.
The Woman in White
Although this was recently made into a very ponderous and dark BBC miniseries about feminism and being scared, in book form, it is actually extremely hilarious. I mean, it’s also a little scary and about feminism inasmuch as a Victorian novel written by a man can be (so, not very), but it has a really funny narrative voice. And the character of the villain, Count Fosco, is simply the best.
The Pursuit of Love
Never have the travails of an eccentric family (a topic I personally despise) been done better or more hilariously than in Nancy Mitford’s novel, The Pursuit of Love, which centers on the wacky and eccentric Radlett family.
I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me over the years, “Millennials have no sense of humor.” One, that’s offensive, especially because I am over here trying to be funny. And two, uh, yes, we do! In our own sincere and god-fearing way, millennials do have a sense of humor. Is it a bit on the polemical side? Sure! But that is what the court jesters used to do in the medieval courts, so maybe it’s fine.
Anyway, because I so believe in our generation’s ability to be funny, I have decided to make a list of funny books for every millennial. Because we like humor! We really do!
Featured image: @brookecagle via Twenty20