Every so often, a truly funny book comes along. Not just one you chuckle over or one that garners a smile every so often, but one that makes you laugh out loud, giggle uncontrollably or snicker repeatedly. You know the ones: books so hilarious that you find yourself laughing aloud even when you're sitting by yourself in the lunchroom when no one else is even close to your table and all your co-workers turn around to stare at you while you try (usually unsuccessfully) to contain your giggles (not at personal experience). Sometimes these so-called 'funny' books are suspiciously hard to explain to spouses, parents, and random passer-bys. You may actually try reading aloud a particularly humorous passage but when your unappreciative listener only gives you a courtesy laugh, you try and explain (usually unsuccessfully) why you were snickering uncontrollably moments before, "and then Pam's creepy-deadpan voice comes on the answering machine and she's like 'we know where to find you'! Hah! Get it?...cause she's a vampire and they know?....oh, never mind." (definitely not a personal experience either). If you've ever been in one of these situations, this list is for you.
Without further ado, these are the books that I find to be Pure Comedy, A Rollicking Good Time, and Unusually and Unquestionably Funny.
Clarice Bean series by Lauren Child
You've probably seen Charlie and Lola on the Disney Channel, but did you know Lauren Child has also penned a series of chapter books about one Clarice Bean who loves the spy Ruby Redford and dreads school more than a dentist appointment. She's constantly at odds with her teacher, Ms. Wilberton and her younger brother Minal Cricket. That's not even mentioning the clever illustrations and text art. Let the British hilarity ensue!
The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison
Journal-style entries from one insecure yet completely bonkers teen in Britain keep me coming back for more in this series. I love Georgia's pranks, her helpful glossary for everything she's happened to rename, and her constant usage of fabbity, fab, fab.
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
Hmmm. This is the third British book on my list. Can you tell my preferred type of comedy? Bridget has been immortalized on the silver screen but you must read her diary entries on losing weight, getting drunk (alone), and finding love. Mr. Darcy himself (Colin Firth) actually makes an appearance in The Edge of Reason and I was literally rolling around the floor as Bridget quizzed him about emerging from the pond in Pride and Prejudice...wet. *snort*
A Rollicking Good Time
Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich (particularly High Five)
Stephanie Plum has to be one of my favorite fast-talking heroines at the moment. She gets into some doozies and has a full complement of friends and family who never fail to keep things interesting. My personal favorite happens to be Grandma Mozer - give that woman a gun and I know serious comedy will follow.
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Please be warned, there is some serious hilarity in these little gems which have been mistakenly marketed to grade-school children only. My favorite Junie B.-ism? "Band aids! I love those little guys!"
Unusually and Unquestionably Funny
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
Awkward Kate is about to embark on her own real, live romance starring her brother's best friend which she describes in classic Harlequin cliches in this quirky teen novel I could not get enough of.
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
I am a Jane Austen enthusiast myself and I couldn't have loved Julie more as she sets off to find her own Mr. Darcy - especially when her best friend calls dibs first and she discreetly tries to steer her in another direction. Teenage drama and hilarity at it's finest.
Chuckle Your Way Through or honorable mentions:
Sookie Stackhouse mysteries by Charlaine Harris
This blond and perky waitress can not only read your mind, but she can deal with vampires, fairies, and shape faster than you can say "gumbo." I find the unintentional comedy of the vampires (primarily Pam) at the top of my list.
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
What started out as a fondness for the Disney movie, has escalated into a full blown love-affair with these classic books. Pooh and (my personal favorite) Piget trying to get out of a pit while fearing the presence of Heffalumps is a hoot.
Patrick McManus - if you happen to be married to a Idaho farm-boy, then chances are, these gems have found their way into your hands over the years. All are extremely funny and usually deal with hunting, fishing or camping incidents or just small town life in general - making your husband's stories exponentially more hilarious. I particularly recommend A Fine and Pleasant Misery for beginners.
This list is ever-expanding so please, please tell me if I missed out on your favorite funny book. I am particularly interested in reading more humorous YA books since I seem to be lacking in that department but any other suggestions would be welcome too. I do have a reputation to keep up and co-workers to make curious people.