Need a Good Laugh? Here are 10 Reads to Tickle Your Funny Bone


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I don’t know about you, but all my life I have considered books to be my therapy.  There are certain books that I go to when I’m feeling happy, certain books I turn to when I’m feeling sad, or even if I need a good cry.  I’m definitely what you would call a mood reader and, fortunately, there are plenty of books out there to fit pretty much any mood I happen to be in.

Since I’m sure I’m not the only mood reader out there and definitely not the only one out there who enjoys a humorous read, I thought it would be nice to share my go-to list of books for when I need a good laugh to cheer me up. Some of these, like the Stephanie Plum series, are just pure comedic gems with guaranteed laughs from start to finish, while others like The Help tackle serious issues but still manage to infuse their stories with plenty of humor so that the overall impact is very uplifting. I even threw in a Roald Dahl book, The B.F.G., because its pure whimsy is guaranteed to make you smile no matter how old you are.

Ten Reads That Will Tickle Your Funny Bone

1. The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich


Goodreads Synopsis: Pestered by her close New Jersey family, Stephanie Plum offers to catch high-school crush Joe Morelli, cop turned bail jumper, for her cousin Vinnie’s company. She questions “working girls” to find the missing girlfriend of vicious prizefighter Benito Ramirez while Joe secretly watches her back. Ranger mentors her and supplies vehicles when hers explode.  (Read more…)

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2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


Goodreads Synopsis:  Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.  (Read more…)

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3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Goodreads Synopsis:  Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.  Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.  Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women–mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends–view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope,The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.  (Read more…)

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4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


Goodreads Synopsis:  Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.   (Read more…)

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5. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse


Goodreads Synopsis: Who can forget our beloved gentleman’s personal gentleman, Jeeves, who ever comes to the rescue when the hapless Bertie Wooster falls into trouble. My Man Jeeves is sure to please anyone with a taste for pithy buffoonery, moronic misunderstandings, gaffes, and aristocratic slapstick. (Read more…)

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6. The B.F.G. by Roald Dahl


Goodsreads Synopsis: Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast.

When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!  (Read more…)

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7. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons


Goodreads Synopsis:  Winner of the 1933 Femina Vie Heureuse Prize, COLD COMFORT FARM is a wickedly funny portrait of British rural life in the 1930’s. Flora Poste, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, and becomes enmeshed in a web of violent emotions, despair, and scheming, until Flora manages to set things right.   (Read more…)

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8. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding


Goodreads Synopsis:  Meet Bridget Jonesa 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

“123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)…”

Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you’ll find yourself shouting, “Bridget Jones is me!”  (Read more…)

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9. High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby


Goodreads Synopsis:  It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but the very funny novel High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby’s narrator is an early-thirty-something English guy who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way-on vinyl-and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music.  (Read more…)

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10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson


Goodreads Synopsis:  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken (Read more…)

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Question: Are you a mood reader too?  What are some of your favorite funny reads?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

8 replies
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I love them too, and that whole Stephanie Plum series is just guaranteed to crack me up, especially any scenes with Grandma and Lula. Sitting here laughing now just thinking about those two, haha! I haven’t tried any memoirs by comedians, but I’ve been eyeing Amy Schumer’s new book and the one that Anna Kendrick has coming out.

  1. verushka
    verushka says:

    Humour, for me, is the hardest thing for authors to get right. I sort of like it to be effortlessly part of a narrative, but most books reach snark levels of humour and not laugh out loud, giggling humour for me. I shall have to check these recs out!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I agree with you. I would say the Stephanie Plum series definitely reaches the laugh out loud level of funny, especially if you get one of the books that has lots of scenes with Stephanie’s grandmother, who is a real firecracker, and Lula, a former prostitute turned office worker/assistant bounty hunter. You just never know what those two are going to do but it’s guaranteed to be a wild and crazy ride, haha. A few of the others on my list are probably a little more subtle with their humor.

  2. Resh Susan
    Resh Susan says:

    Great list. I have watched Bridget jones. Jeevs is always ‘the man’. I have read Help, but right now I cannot recollect any funny portion. Cold Comfort farm is on my TBR. Glad to know it is a fun read

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one familiar with Jeeves. I wondered when I chose that title if anyone else would have heard of that one. I think most of the funny parts of The Help revolved around the sassy, outspoken maid Minnie Jackson. As serious as the overall tone of the book was, she definitely added a little humor into the mix with her antics 🙂

  3. Diana
    Diana says:

    Great list. I recently bough Bridget Jones Diary and can’t wait to read it. I read The Help sometime back.Loved the book though I found it a bit sad due to the heavy themes.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Thanks! I really hope you enjoy Bridget Jones’ Diary. And yes, I agree, overall The Help was a serious read because of all of the issues that it tackled, but I did very much enjoy the humor that characters such as Minnie Jackson, and even Skeeter at time, infused into the narrative. The movie is fantastic too, one of my favorites.

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