Thursday, September 18, 2008

Funniest Ever?

What's the funniest novel ever? David Kelly on the New York Times' Paper Cuts blog is asking for readers' opinions and starts us off by contributing a few titles from the editors at the Book Review :

“Lucky Jim” (which got the most votes), David Lodge’s “Small World,” “The Code of the Woosters,” “Leave It to Psmith,” “Bech: A Book,” “Sabbath’s Theater,” Carl Hiaasen’s novels, Jim Harrison’s early novels (“Warlock,” “A Good Day to Die”), Richard Russo’s “Straight Man,” Michael Chabon’s “Wonder Boys,” “Catch-22″ and “Candy.” Waugh, Gogol and John Mortimer received votes, too, and one colleague who is usually not given to laughing out loud while reading said, “‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ and ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ both made my stomach hurt.”
The book that made me laugh aloud the most is Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat which I read more decades ago than I care to remember(!) and still remember clearly. (ebook fans can download it here.)

What would you add to the list?


Yusuf/Martin said...

I think what concerns me the most is the lack of contemporary writers considered 'funniest ever'. Why do we think that is?

Is this a victim of retrospective illusion or can't modern writers write 'funny' anymore?

Anonymous said...

How about Terry Pratchett ? or Roald Dahl ? they're funny.

Anonymous said...

The Malay Dilemma, by Dr Mahathir.

That coffeetable book on Samy Vellu

Anwar's diaries (unpub. as yet)


confessions of a medical student said...

will add Three Man in a Boat to my to read list... just downloaded the ebook :)
loved your blog!

KayKay said...

Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole series. A little patchy after the hilarious first book but a guranteed chuckle-inducer for me whenever I re-visit them.
Yusuf/Martin, Carl Hiassen is pretty contemporary, no?

Anonymous said...


You're right, I forgot about Adrian Mole. I think Sophie Kinsella must be pretty hilarious too, but I haven't read any of her books though :)

Anonymous said...

Haha! I was going to say Lucky Jim -- I read it years ago and still quote lines and remember scenes -- but I really like PPDD's choices :-) . If I owned the coffee table book about Samy Vellu I think I'd be opening it every morning just for a good laugh before breakfast. I don't own The Malay Dilemna either, but Mahathir's blog does in a pinch -- I can visit whenever I need that thigh-slapping, stomach-paining mirth.

I haven't read Three Men in A Boat, must check it out!

-- Preeta

Yusuf said...

My personal choices would be -
G.K Chesterton, works like The man who was Thursday.

Evelyn Waugh - Black Mischief

P.G.Wodehouse - The Blandings novels and short stories.

Tom Sharpe - for Wilt and the Porter House series.

Kingsley Amis

Keith Waterhouse

Douglas Adams


Jaroslav Hasek - for good soldier Svejk

Terry Pratchett

Eoin Colfer

ps god rid of the yusuf/martin it was too confusing for people

Anonymous said...

none can beat mario vargas llhosa's aunt julia and the scriptwriter...

and i hand to thank amir muhammad for this.

ah pong

bibliobibuli said...

i read a comment the other day about "the politician with road kill hair" and that was so apt!

vovin said...

Love Three Men in A Boat

pussreboots said...

I agree that Three Men in a Boat is very funny. Have you read To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis? It is a scifi time-travel story about the Jerome K Jerome boat trip.

Anyway, the silliest book I've ever read is Moby Dick. Meville cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

Lewis Caroll.. Alice is a hoot :) okay not so much Alice, but Hunting of the Snark, Phantasmagoria especially, those are great :) and yes Douglas Adams of course :) and Terry Pratchett.

jawakistani said...

Terry Pratchett.

But the book that made me laught he hardest was Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

miaomiao said...

ben elton's inconceivable

funniest book i've ever read. someone told me there's a motion picture made based on that book.

LibrariAnon said...

A Confederacy of Dunces--John Kennedy Toole

A Short History of a Small Place--T. R. Pearson

donplaypuks® said...

Like u I read Jerome K Jerome's '3 Men In a Boat' years ago and would recommend it to anyone. Simple yet hilarious never to be forgotten humour.

For modern books, I would recommend any of Ben Eltons 'Stark', 'Gridlock' 'Post Mortem' etc etc etc. For a 1 off, Let There be Lite' by Rupert Moorgan.