Where’s the funny?

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Books, comedy, Novels, Reading is fundamental
Tags: , , ,

During a conversation with a friend the other day, a question came up. What are some of the funniest novels you’ve ever read? We quickly made our lists, and they were surprisingly short.

At the time I was able to come up with three off the top of my head, novels where I actually laughed out loud while reading:

1: How I Became a Famous Novelist
2: Confederacy of Dunces
3: Money

My friend followed suit with his list:

1: Catch 22
2: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
3: Lamb

After whispering a curse to my failing memory (Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore have had me in tears, and deserved better), we came to a not-so-funny conclusion. Neither one of us has read that many funny novels, and the ones that we both really enjoyed were all at least five years-old, some closer to forty-five.

This realization stayed with me. Later, I decided to look back on what I’ve read in the last year or so.

Out of all the books I’ve either listened to or read, about 1%-5% of them could be considered a comedy, or at least comedic in tone. This percentage pales in comparison to my taste in television and film, where I hover closer to the 40-50% mark. Or life in general, where a dick joke, pratfall, or bit of sarcastic flare, can really put a spunk in my step. That’s right… spunk.

Anyhow, I decided to go back and review my overall reading trends in the prior year. Between audible, kindle, and actual print, I read fifty-nine books last year (this is not a humble brag, I swear). Fifty of these books were fiction, nine were nonfiction. To break it down further, fourteen of these books were literature, eleven were thrillers/mysteries/crime, nine were sci-fi, four were westerns, and three were fantasy. Of the nine nonfiction books, most were memoirs, none were self-help (I can neither influence people nor make new friends).

After looking back at this list, I was able find four books that I would consider comedic in tone and funny as a whole. Those would be I Wear the Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman’s meditation on villainy in pop culture and our attraction to it. Bossy Pants, the story of Tina Fey’s rise through the comedy kumite. This Book is Full of Spiders, the funny dystopian sequel to John Dies at the End. And Agent to the Stars, an amusing Hollywood meets E.T. romp.

For the sake of clarity, Both Bossy Pants and I Wear the Black Hat are not novels (I’m talking fiction, yo). So, they’re immediately scratched off this list. Plus, Bossy Pants is at least a couple of year old. Though Agent to the Stars is fiction, it’s also close to ten years old. So, it’s out as well.

This leaves me with one novel out of fifty that I read this year, which I could say was a comedy at its core.

I’m sure many other books came out this year that could be considered comedic novels. I know the aforementioned Christopher Moore had a novel released a few months back (It’s entitled Fool, and I’ve heard it’s hilarious), but there’s only so many hours in the day, and I already spend too many of them reading, listening to, or looking for a book.

I was under the impression that my random tastes in fiction, and my proclivity toward silliness would steer my reading habits to the funny, but apparently it hasn’t. I’m not sure if this is because of my investigative shortcomings, a subliminal change in my tastes when looking for a book, or a scarcity of comedic novels being published. Whatever the case, I assumed the percentage of funny novels I had read in the last year or so, would be much higher, and for some reason I’ve found that it is not. This strikes me as peculiar, and a bit worrisome.

So, I guess what I’m saying is:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a funny novel? One caveat, it has to have been published within the last two years.

If so, let me know. I’m looking for one.

Comments
  1. Bookworm says:

    Have you checked out this political satire yet? It’s written by my friend Mo 😉
    Check it out!
    http://www.amazon.com/Dating-George-Clooney-Maureen-Driscoll-ebook/dp/B005EDQG1K/ref=la_B0051IVT2O_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401731951&sr=1-8

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