5 books that have made me laugh out loud

July 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm 52 comments

Awhile ago, my husband posted on “5 books that have made me laugh out loud.” Here’s my attempt:

Anything Can Happen by George Papashvily and Helen Waite Papashvily
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The fact that I had to really wrack my brain (and use two books by the same author) to get to five books that made me laugh out loud is sad. Clearly I need some recommendations for a funny book. A good funny book can be a great diversion.


Entry filed under: Books, Fun.

These are few of my favorite things… Help me out here, Super Target lovers

52 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jake Meador  |  July 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    P.G. Wodehouse is wonderful, I will forever have memories of the L’Abri workers reading to all of us from Wodehouse. I’d imagine it’d be good for reading to kids too. Don Miller and Anne Lamott both write funny, honest books on spirituality. Douglas Coupland is a hilarious novelist, it’s more of a black humor but it’s quite funny. G.K. Chesterton is always good for a clever line as well.

  • 2. Karla D'Agosta  |  July 7, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    this is my category and I am happy to oblige. First off, I am THRILLED that you have read “Cheaper by the Dozen.” Hysterical book and really very sweet. As far as funny distractions, anything by Laurie Notaro, I prefer the “Idiot Girls Action Adventure.” I am also a fan of Celia Rivenbark who wrote such comedic gems such as “We Are Just Like You Only Prettier” (about the south.) you may borrow any, and all. See you soon.

  • 3. jamsco  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Or maybe you’re not a laugh out loud kind of person. That is not a psychological flaw.

  • 4. Jane Swanson  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    The Last Catholic in America
    and it’s sequel
    Do Patent Leather Shoes Reflect Up? by John R. Powers,
    had this former catholic school girl laughing hilariously through each page.
    Your blog post reminds me that I need to dig them out for another good laugh. It’s been quite awhile since I was entertained by them!

  • 5. maureen willis  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    how about “the best christmas pageant ever”, those herdmans had me laughing out loud every other page!

  • 6. ana lee  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I loved the “Mitford” books by Jan Karon…lots of humorous characters that live in the town of Mitford. The story revolves around Father Tim, the Episcopal rector, and his wife.

  • 7. jamiehartke  |  July 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I love the Mitford series by Jan Karon. My husband makes fun of me if he’s around while I’m reading them because I laugh so randomly. They’re a great mix of humor, tenderness, and encouragement.

  • 8. jennapants  |  July 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Okay. Have you read “The Three-Martini Playdate”? I laughed out loud. Also, I read a book called “A long way from Chicago” by Richard Peck that had me laughing out loud. Both of these are super fast reads. The latter is geared towards a younger audience, but has complexity and comedy enough for me.

    Hey, Molly. What blogs have you laughing out loud?

  • 9. Robyn  |  July 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Tag you’re it! Check http://austinurbangardener.blogspot.com/ to play.

  • 10. Kirstjen Pratt  |  July 7, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    It’s seems ironic that I can much more easily name off the books that I’ve sat and cried my eyes out during, but it’s much harder to list the laugh out loud ones.

    I know I’ve read them, but I’m still thinking…

  • 11. Chaz Vanderford  |  July 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I would highly recommend ‘Catch-22’ by Jospeph Heller, or ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’ by Dave Eggers. Both of them are so, so funny.

  • 12. Janelle  |  July 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    The World of Pooh by AA Milne. I’m sure he put comments in there simply for his adult readers!

  • 13. judith  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Home to Harmony, Philip Gulley
    Dave Barry Does Japan (tho’ maybe not as funny if you haven’t lived here)

  • 14. Larry  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Bill Bryson – his books on england (notes from small country) and America (letters from big nation) are fantastic. Though his language is occasionally un petit peu rude!

  • 15. Cara Herzberg  |  July 8, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger

  • 16. andrea_jennine  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Someone already mentioned Wodehouse, but he is the first comic author to pop into my mind. I laughed out loud at parts of To Kill a Mockingbird; Scout said and did such funny things. Several of the Harry Potter books have made me giggle, too. And, while I haven’t read any of his books (yet), radio pieces by David Sedaris make me laugh.

  • 17. Betsy O  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I was reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom yesterday, and despite its grim subject matter, it has many funny moments. It is a remarkable story!
    I also agree about All Creatures Great and Small! It’s one of the most funny books I’ve ever read! Have you ever seen the BBC TV series that goes along with it, Molly?

  • 18. Ronnica  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I laugh a lot with Jane Austen books and also when I read Tom Jones. Maybe that says something about my sense of humor…it’s 200 years old?

  • 19. C.  |  July 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

    “Flabbergasted” By Ray Blackston. Basic premise: Man goes to church to meet women and gets more than he bargained for. Its cheesy Christian fiction, but with less crying. The sequels arent that funny.

    Anything by Garrison Keillor. But NOT Lake Wobegon 1956. I had to stop reading it becuase it became blasphemous. Garrison Keillor is the first human being that made me want to visit Minnesota, just to see if it is how the his work describes it. I suspect it’s not, but I’d still like to visit all the same.

    I agree with 13 and 16. Home to harmony was funny and touching, and TO kill a Mockingbird is pretty funny. I’d quote my two favorte lines, but that would be sad, admitting that I memorize my favorte lines out of novels. 18 has a point that Henry Fielding (author of Tom Jones)is funny, but I nearly overdosed on him graduate school. My MA is in 18 and 19th Cent. Brit LIt. The Vicar of Wakefield is funny as well in an 18th century way. There are lots of novels from that era that are funny and were considred scandalous at the time.

    Yeah. THis was way too long. Reading is way better than TV.

  • 20. amandaginn  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:24 am

    With #16 and #19, I have really enjoyed David Sedaris’ books, although I do fear recommending his work to most people for two reasons: 1) He’s very crass, often vulgar, and the content of his stories is enough to offend many readers of a more conservative nature, and 2) I wonder what people will think of me. Nonetheless, no other author has made me laugh harder. And as a warning, the more recent the book, the more questionable the content.

  • 21. Jennifer  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:50 am

    The first book I thought of was C.S. Lewis’ “Letters to Children”. It’s a compilation of letters he wrote to his fans throughout his years. I read it in two sittings and laughed through the whole thing.

  • 22. jess  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I love “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery (as well as the seven or so other books to follow it). I try to read it every few years because it does make me laugh so hard. Of course the movies are great too!

  • 23. gloriana  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Celia Rivenbark and Lori Borgman are two of my favorites for laugh out loud reading in short essay format. Sophie Kinsella is another who makes me chuckle with her novels. Lori Borgman is the most wholesome of the three.

  • 24. Myrddin  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, just about anything by Flannery O’Connor, Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy, oh … I’m sure there are more.

    To amandaginn … recommend away!

    Let’s find out what books we feel the need to hide behind the others on the bookshelf (God only knows why) when our Christian friends come over. If we all pulled them from behind our backs at the same time, I suspect there would be a few shocked faces but a whole lot of shouts of “Oh! I love that book!”

  • 25. amandaginn  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks, Myrddin. 🙂

  • 26. Saurabh Chavda  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I am also agree that P.G. Wodehouse is Great. His humour is real Untouchable. Thanks for your information about Good Books.

    If you like reading, I have got something for you. Don’t take me wrong, I am not advertising anything, I just want you take a look at my blog, KathaVarta. I am crazy for Short stories. I love reading sort story, because it gives message very sharply with light and sort way.

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    Happy Reading

  • 27. lieblingartcrafts  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Somebody mentioned Bill Bryson, my favorite by him is “A Walk In The Woods”. Great stuff.

    Also, Tom Robbins never fails to make me laugh. Anything by him is amazingly witty and a great read.


  • 28. anne  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    The Forth Bear…Jasper Fforde. 🙂
    Fun read.. 🙂

  • 29. Chaz Vanderford  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Oh, and if anyone hasn’t mentioned this classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is probably one of the most imaginative, funny books out there. I lol’d at that one many times.

  • 30. Hannah  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I agree with the recommendation of To Kill A Mockingbird–the humor is wicked!

    For a completely different kind of book, try any of Jasper Fforde’s books. I especially like The Big Over-Easy (here’s a hint–it’s about Humpty Dumpty’s murder…:)

  • 31. Kelly  |  July 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    I second the nominations of Austen & Keillor. I laughed a lot at the book Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. It’s a great coming-of-age story set in the deep South.

  • 32. Megan  |  July 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    what precious things you’ve shared in the few posts i’ve been able to read (and how delighted i was to very randomly stumble upon your blog). we are currently reading the wind in the willows! i love the language as i read it out loud.

    our children also have names rich in meaning for each one. we’re in sd, near to mn nice, and the politeness and pause after hearing our second daughter’s name- patience, is common for us too. then there may be a bit of an explanation of it on our part, how we landed upon it, and a saying of, “there is also a patience in pilgrim’s progress” etc.

    i’ve found the Lord has led us to just the right and fitting name for each one! how amazing to see the truth of their names shown so clearly in their lives!

    what a wonderful site. i’m glad i ran in to you!


  • 33. Rocks In My Dryer  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I’m only a couple of chapters in to “We Took To the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich, but it is one of the smartest, funniest things I’ve read in a long time!

  • 34. Talitha  |  July 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I love the book ” cheaper by the dozen” but its sequel has funny parts too! the sequel is “belles on their toes”. There are also movies called the names of these books. Don’t get the first title (cheaper by the dozen) mixed up with the newish movie out about a dozen kids that isn’t so good i have heard…

  • 35. Pink Sunshine  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Anything by Dave Gorman or Danny Wallace, if you fancy a bit of British humour!

    “Yes Man” by Danny Wallace actually changed my life. He makes a resolution that he will say yes to everything for a year. I followed his example (although not as strictly!) and within a couple of weeks I had met the man who would become my husband 🙂 simply because I went out for a meal with friends when I didn’t really feel like it. I’m always recommending this book to people!

  • 36. Liz  |  July 12, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Bill Bryson – “A Walk in the Woods” – I guarantee you will laugh out loud Molly! I cried, I was laughing so much in some parts of the book.

  • 37. JenR  |  July 12, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I am so glad that people recommended the Anne of Green Gables series and Jane Austen. I wanted to recommend them but didnt know if anyone else thought that Austen was funny (I laugh out loud all the time reading her books) or that AoGG is suitable for grown ups:). I also recommend Bill Bryson. “IN a Sunburnt Country” and the book about observations about America are great. Lastly, and these arent books, but Foxtrot and Calvin and Hobbes never cease to tickle my funny bone and the library usually has them.

  • 38. Tara  |  July 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Hey! Just meandered here from “rocks in my dryer” because I’m a Minnesotan too! It was fun to reminisce with the stereotypes (although I think mine were more non-connotative attributes to the culture than stereotypes). I grew up in St. Louis Park, but also lived in Watertown and Edina for little whiles, and attended college in Owatonna. So I guess that makes me a bottom half state resident. Except that I moved to Southern Maryland 3 years ago, met my husband, and still live here. But oh, Minnesota, how I miss thee…except the mosquitoes and long winters. But oh that dill pickle-on-a-stick!!!!!!

    Just wanted to say hi. 🙂

  • 39. Tara  |  July 14, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Nuh uh!!!!!

    Wow I am SO slow.

    First of all, I attended the early Easter service at Bethlehem this past March. I had recently flown in from Maryland to spend a few last days with my father before he went on to his heavenly home just three weeks later. Colon cancer of the worst kind. I recorded some of that short journey on my blog.

    I went to the early service because I always like to “stop by” when I’m in Minneapolis, and because I had planned on attending the “service” at my dad’s care center later on that morning. I was alone and sat in the back, but the whole service ministered to my grieving heart. I had never heard that song, “The Power of the Cross” before, and the choir sang it ever so beautifully. I was not only able to take a sweet Easter lily back to my dad’s room after the service, but also the encouragement of the Resurrection.

    Turned out that due to cases of the flu in the care center, the service was canceled last minute. I was kind of discouraged because my dad hadn’t been to church for two whole months, and rarely left his room, much less his bed. I desperately wanted to bring some sort of hope in the middle of this horrific disease, of which was consuming his life at such a young age.

    The dear people at Desiring God graciously donated “The Blazing Center” to bring some of that hope to him. I am forever grateful. Since the service was canceled, I took out the first DVD and I sat on the bed with my dad and watched/listened to Pastor Piper talk about acne and telescopes and God’s glory.

    A few minutes into the DVD my dad’s roommate rolled his wheelchair up close to watch with us. So precious. I will always hold that memory, and I praise God for allowing the service to be canceled so that we could share this time together.

    About an hour later my mom and a few other relatives showed up after their own church services. My uncle had driven with his family from Nebraska to spend some quality time with my dad, and were about to make the trip back after saying goodbye one more time. There was not enough room in the small room for eight people, so we wheeled my dad into the lobby and chit-chatted for a while. When my family got up to leave he asked if we could all pray together. Everybody stood in a circle and held hands. My uncle prayed first, and nobody expected this but then my dad spoke up and started to pray! Everyone started crying when he thanked His Lord for his life and acknowledged God’s plan in this cancer. He prayed that God would use him, even in his suffering, for His glory. It felt like my dad was reciting everything he had just heard on The Blazing Center! We were all so proud of my dad, and touched by his submissive spirit and amazing God-giving strength amid such weakness.

    I am so grateful for every single one of the ministries that comes out of Desiring God. You truly have a passion for the surpremacy of Christ, and you certainly spread generous amounts of it to my family. I am encouraged with hope that my dad is at this moment experiencing the answer to the couragous prayer he prayed on that beautiful snowy Easter afternoon.

  • 40. Dana  |  July 15, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I don’t know if it’s still out there, but there’s a children’s book that we have loved and loved and laughed over many times, called “The Day the Relatives Came.” The illustrations are so delightful, and make you laugh. Plus, when you marry into the Henry’s, it’s a little like that….

    Plus, I love Mortimer’s Rumpole short stories. They have laugh out loud moments. He doesn’t care much for preachers, though, which is humbling to a preacher.

  • 41. ToilingAnt  |  July 17, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Jeeves Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    The Lemony Snicket books

  • 42. Susanne  |  July 17, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Hi, I came over from a link at Rocks in my Dryer. Thank you for your beautiful post there.

    “These Boots Weren’t Made For Walking” by Melody Carlson had me laughing out loud last summer.

  • 43. jahber  |  July 17, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Someone already mentioned Bill Bryson, and while he can sometimes be a bit risque, I have to agree that he is a very funny writer. “A Walk in the Woods,” about hiking the Appalachian Trail, is one of the few books that actually made me laugh until I cried. The people next to me on the airplane thought I was having convulsions, I think, because I was trying to hold in the laughter. Embarrassing!

  • 44. marigold  |  July 17, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I laughed while reading “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother” by Anita Renfroe. That woman is laugh out loud funny! You’ve heard her mom-tune set to the William Tell Overture, I’m sure!

  • 45. marigold  |  July 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    OH! And I read one or another of the Sweet Potato Queens’ books on an airplane and I laughed so hard the flight attendant asked me to contain myself!

  • 46. Marla Taviano  |  July 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I write funny books. 🙂 Well, not literary-genius funny, more like chatting-with-a-girlfriend funny. So far, they’re about marriage, sex, and babies. If you’re interested, I’ll send you one. 🙂


  • 47. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)  |  July 18, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Goodness, you have a gobzillion comments already, but I wanted to suggest the first book that popped into my mind:

    The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope. It’s a story where ghosts exist as a literary device (each chapter is told from a different 1st-person perspective from the Revolutionary War era) but it’s not weird.

    It’s not a funny book, per se, but it did make me squeee more than I have in years. Very smart for a YA book, and I thrive on that sort of thing.

    Just another flavor to consider, and thank you for your article at Shannon’s blog.

    I don’t want to say anything about your loss for fear of appearing flippant, but I thank you for letting into your head. For someone like me that is the most welcoming and meaningful thing a friend or stranger can do. It is a true service.

    Blessings and peace be yours.

  • 48. Katie  |  July 18, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Bill Bryson is very funny, though somewhat ribald (I think he’s worht it though!). Gerald Durrell tells wonderfully funny stories about his adventures on the island of Corfu in “My Family and Other Animals”. I have read “We Took to the Woods”, too! Also, I recommend Barbara Holland’s “In Private Life”.

  • 49. Rhonda  |  July 19, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    The number series by Janet Evanovich. Hilarious!

  • 50. christa  |  July 21, 2008 at 6:02 am

    I’ll own not reading all the comments, so please forgive me if I ditto suggestions:
    1. A WALK IN THE WOODS Bill Bryson (my husband almost forbid me to read it on the plane b/c of my snorting laughter.
    2. BIRD BY BIRD Anne Lamott. It’s about writing; I loved her searing wit.

  • 51. Paul Van Stralen  |  October 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Anguished English and More Anguished English by Richard Lederer. He’s a high school teacher who collects assaults on the English language. His history according to student bloopers is priceless! Some gems: “Unleavened bread is bread made without any ingredients. David fought the Finkelsteins. Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.”

    I laughed so hard, I started crying.

  • 52. Ruth in MD  |  November 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve been enjoying exploring your blog. I love to read, too! A favorite adage when it comes to choosing books is by C.S. Lewis, who said, “Anything worth reading when you are five is worth reading when you are 50.” There are some kids’ books out there I absolutely love that make me laugh out loud. I hope you can find them at your local library to read with your older son.
    (picture books)
    Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
    Young Larry by Daniel Pinkwater
    and by the same author —
    At The Hotel Larry
    Ice Cream Larry
    Author’s Day
    (Daniel Pinkwater can only be appreciated if you have an off-the-wall sense of humor.)
    And some favorite chapter books that I still enjoy are:
    Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
    Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
    Magical Melons or Caddie Woodlawn’s Family
    Family Sabbatical (sequel to Family Grandstand) by Carol Ryrie Brink
    During the night while feeding my baby I have been reading Reminisce magazines bought from Ebay.


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