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Ramp Randoms: Twelve Funny Books That You Should Probably Read

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Posted January 25, 2013 by Laura in Ramp Reviews

So you have finished ironically reading the latest 50 Shades of the Twilight Games and you need something else to laugh at. This time, though, you want to read something that makes you laugh because it’s supposed to be funny.

This is where you experience a sharp pain in your arse because Reader, it can be hard to find genuinely funny fiction, the kind that requires you to clutch your sides as your laughing is causing you physical pain. This difficulty has already been discussed before and here at Ramp.ie, we know that bookshops, whilst magnificent, can be overwhelming if your favoured genre is basically non existent. We don’t think you should be left to wander the depressing road of life without a bit of a laugh. Here is Ramp.ie’s Twelve Funny Authors/Books That You Should Probably Read.

Legal Note: Don’t come complaining to us if you didn’t find the following titles particularly funny. It’s not our fault you didn’t read them properly.

Anything by PG Wodehouse

Seriously, anything. You can’t have a list about funny fiction and not include PG Wodehouse.

‘I go in for what is known in the trade as ‘light writing’ and those who do that – humorists they are sometimes called – are looked down upon by the intelligentsia and sneered at.’ – P.G. Wodehouse, Over Seventy (1957)

Just run your finger along his shelf in the bookshop and pick at random – be it from the stories of Blandings Castle or the misadventures of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster – you are guaranteed to enjoy it if you possess even a sniff of a sense of humour.

Anything by Douglas Adams

Seriously, anything. You can’t have a list about funny fiction and not include Douglas Adams. Start at the bottom of a list of his works and work your way up. You are guaranteed to smile throughout, be it at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul. If you don’t, put the books down and go and take a long hard look at yourself.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore

 

Levi bar Alphaeus, a.k.a. Biff, has been resurrected to the present day to complete missing parts of The Bible. In Lamb he recounts his life-long friendship with Himself and the series of events that led to Biff being ‘cut out’ of the Bible in the first place.

Lamb is brilliant. It’s a hilarious take on the story of Jesus without being too disrespectful and it works as a fantastic commentary on how ridiculous humanity can be. If you enjoyed Dogma this should probably go on the aul wishlist.

My God Awful Life – Sunny McCreary (a.k.a Michael Kelly)

 

A blistering satire on the misery memoirs that plague best-selling lists, My Goddawful Life is so funny it brings actual LOLs as the kids say. Without spoiling it too much, in one chapter he gets a baboon’s arse surgically grafted to his face. It’s mental.

Anything by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde books are incredibly creative, playful and are packed to the brim full of literary allusions, word play and genre-bending plots. As most of his books marry parody and fantasy, if you like Douglas Adams and the universes he creates, Jasper Fforde is worth checking out. From his Nursery Crime Division series to his Thursday Next literary detective series to his recent effort, Shades of Grey, Fforde is desperately underrated.

Yes Man – Danny Wallace

 

Danny Wallace decides to say ‘Yes’ to every opportunity, question and offer than comes his way for an entire year.

Yes, just like that terrible Jim Carrey film. No, the book is nothing like that. At all. Yes, some editions of the book now have the movie poster as a cover. Again, no, the book is nothing like the film. We promise.

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Ignatius J. Reilly lives with his Ma in New Orleans in the 1960s. He’s one lazy bastard who, due to a series of narrative events, must find himself a job. The book details his mission for employment and the characters he encounters throughout the city. Tis a classic.

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

Rob, owner of London record store, Championship Vinyl, and creator of lists (!), has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Laura. By recalling his five most memorable breakups, Rob re-examines his fear of commitment, death and stacking records on top of one another. Pfh. Fucking hipster.

You have probably seen the film but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the book. The book is witty, funny and touching. Go and read it.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman (1973)

MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE TO DIE.

Set in the fairytale world of Florin, The Princess Bride tells the story of Buttercup, her one true love Westley and the ridiculous characters they encounter on their quest for their happily ever after etc.

The Princess Bride has everything – adventure, fantasy, romance and, so it’s relevant to this particular list, comedy. This is a very fucking funny book that never seems to get old. If you haven’t read it already, go and sort yourself out for God sake.

John Dies At The End – David Wong

 

When a terrifying substance known as ‘Soy Sauce’ subjects Dave’s – and the aforementioned John’s – mind to a new kind of head fuck, they become increasingly aware that their Midwestern town will never be the same again.

We have been boring people senseless about this book for quite some time. It skillfully blends horror with comedy and the result is one of the most original novels we’ve encountered in quite some time. The sequel, entitled This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Don’t Touch It, is just as entertaining.

Bigot Hall – Steve Aylett

Bigot Hall is the ‘nightmare home of a family most people would rather forget’. Understandably. One Uncle believes his face is made of pasta, Nanny Jack refuses to be buried and our protagonist has fallen for his sister. Yup. It’s a keeper.

Puckoon – Spike Milligan

Put your hand up if you have read Puckoon.

Those with their hands up, you can go home early. Those who haven’t, go stand in the corner. Puckoon is one of, if not the, funniest piece of fiction ever written. You may disagree but this is our list and you can bugger off.

Puckoon is the first full length novel of the comedic legend, Spike Milligan. It’s set in 1924 and it’s about the troubles of a fictional village, Puckoon, following the creation of ‘The Border’ which, thanks to the incompetence of the Boundary Commission, passes right through the middle of their village. We don’t need to convince you that this is hilarious. It’s by Spike-Fucking-Milligan for God’s sake.

One of the most charming elements of Puckoon, is that the protagonist, Dan Milligan, is made aware that he is in fact, a fictional character. Often breaking the fourth wall, he has conversations with omnipresent ‘The Author’, frequently taking the time to complain about the state of his fictional legs, the plot or to give off about said Author’s nagging. We don’t want to flaunt the word ‘genius’ around too much but it’s the only word that is appropriate. It’s genius.


About the Author

Laura

Laura likes stuff, enjoys things and hates surprises.

  • http://www.ramp.ie/ Lisa McInerney

    I am THRILLED to see Bigot Hall on this list. It is an absolute mindfuck of a book, and too funny to handle at times.

    I mean, really, I had to put it down and walk away from it.

    I actually can’t wait to read My Godawful Life. It sounds so wrong and yet so, so right.

  • http://www.emesq.com/ Colm

    The funniest book I’ve read lately is Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s essay collection. So good, and such an interesting man too. The opening essay is online here.

    Right now I’m reading Shalon Auslander’s Hope: A Tragedy, about a man who moves into a farmhouse in Midwest America and finds Anne Frank in his attic. And plots to get rid of her through such means as playing Wagner constantly, and loudly and repeatedly talking about how he’s going to the SHOWER to get a SHOWER and does anyone else need to use the SHOWER. It’s ridiculous and brilliant.

  • http://twitter.com/jymian Mike McHugh

    If I could add one book to the list, it’d be “One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night” by Christopher Brookmyre. An oil-rig is transformed into a luxury resort, and is hosting a school reunion when it’s invaded by super-incompetent terrorists. A policeman in pyjamas, sheep-missiles, a running commentary on action movies and BDQ, reflections on Catholic schooling: the book’s got it all and more.

    An extract: http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/corpus/search/document.php?documentid=1003

  • http://twitter.com/Fearganainim Fearganainim

    For me, Tom Sharpe was someone who could make me laugh out loud with his work.
    Robert Rankin is another favourite of mine.
    I came across a book years ago called Ceremony of Innocence by Anthony James Cassidy. It put me in mind of O’Tooles Confederacy of Dunces, and it is very funny .

  • Tessa

    I read Puckoon many, many years ago. If I remember aright, yer man’s legs developed along with the plot.

    I agree with Fearganainim about Tom Sharpe. His books set in Apartheid Africa are brilliant, but I thought “Wilt” was the funniest.

    I’ve been trying for years to find a book back when I was a slip of a girl. It has the best title ever: “To my nephew Albert I leave the island what I won off Fatty Hagan in a poker game.” I have to find out if it is as funny as I remember.

  • http://twitter.com/CynicalFilm Philip Bagnall

    You can never have enough Wodehouse. Undiluted smile medicine!

  • http://twitter.com/Sarklor Ciaran O’Brien

    Love a bit of Wodehouse, me. It’s just so… Well, clever.

    I’ve not really gotten to reading much non-work stuff lately, although the Hitman comic series was plopped into my lap and proved a very fucking funny look at Gotham City. Section 8 is my favourite crime-fighting team ever.

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