Laugh-out-Loud Books

Our Laugh-out-Loud Books Collection highlights titles that bring levity to literature through satire, dark humor, or hilarious dialogue. Representing genres ranging from romantic comedies to classic children's titles, this Collection features titles to tickle every reader's funny bone.

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Humor

John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces was written in the 1960s but only published years after the author’s death. It depicts the adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, an academic but lazy man who, at age 30, lives with his mother in New Orleans in the early 1960s. Forced to find a job, he encounters a string of colorful characters endemic to the city of the time.The novel begins outside the D. H. Holmes... Read A Confederacy of Dunces Summary

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Fantasy, Humor, Animals

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans is a novel by Bruce W. Cameron and is the first in his A Dog’s Purpose series of novels. Written in 2010, the novel was a New York Times bestseller for 49 weeks. The novel is unique in that it is narrated by a dog. The dog lives four lives over the course of the novel, seeking a purpose for his life during each of his incarnations. In... Read A Dog's Purpose Summary

Publication year 1913Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Humor, Grief / Death, British Literature, Victorian Period

Publication year 1972Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags British Literature, Animals, Humor

All Creatures Great and Small is the first in a series of fictionalized memoirs by Yorkshire veterinarian James Alfred “Alf” Wight (1916-1995), writing under the name James Herriot. Originally published in the UK as two shorter volumes, If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet (1972), the US publisher released them as a single volume in 1972 under a new title drawn from the Anglican hymn “All Things Bright and... Read All Creatures Great and Small Summary

Publication year 1986Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: CommunityTags Self Help, Humor, Philosophy, Inspirational

In his compilation of essays, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum studies the simplicity embedded in everyday experiences. First published in 1989, this collection captivated a global audience, becoming a cultural touchstone as a #1 New York Times bestseller and selling over 7 million copies. Fulghum draws from his life experiences to craft this collection of essays. This collection, which falls within the self-help, motivational, and personal transformation genres... Read All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Humor

Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel, A Man Called Ove, tells the darkly humorous story of Ove, a 59-year-old Swedish man struggling to find purpose in his life. When the book opens, Ove’s wife Sonja has recently died. After losing his job, Ove plans to kill himself. Ove seems at odds with the world, constantly angry at the people around him and getting into altercations with shop workers, neighbors, and even other drivers on the... Read A Man Called Ove Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Humor, Immigration / Refugee, Diversity, Race / Racism

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Romance, Humor, Asian Literature

Publication year 1961Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, American Literature, Humor, Class

“A&P” is one of John Updike’s most well-known and celebrated short stories, first published in The New Yorker on July 22, 1961, and later appearing in the author’s short story collection Pigeon Feathers. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Updike populates his realist fiction with small-town, middle-class Americans. Adaptations of “A&P” include a 1966 short film directed by Bruce Schwartz, starring Sean Hayes as Sammy and Amy Smart as Queenie.The protagonist, Sammy, is also the story’s first-person... Read A&P Summary

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Natural World: PlaceTags Satire, Humor, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Business / Economics, American Literature, Reconstruction Era, African American Literature

Apex Hides the Hurt, a 2006 novel by American author Colson Whitehead, follows a nameless, emotionally muted nomenclature consultant, or an expert in creating brand names. The novel toggles between the protagonist’s memories of success at his company, and his current consulting assignment—renaming a town. The novel satirizes contemporary American consumer culture and features themes of race and identity. Whitehead uses humor and revelation as key narrative techniques in this story about a man who... Read Apex Hides the Hurt Summary

Publication year 1997Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Humor, Philosophy, Post Modernism, American Literature

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is a 1997 essay collection by David Foster Wallace. The seven essays explore 1990s US social issues through subjects such as television, tennis, and (in the most famous essay) a Caribbean cruise. The essays have been referenced many times in popular culture, particularly the title essay, which recounts Wallace’s experiences on a cruise.This guide references the 1998 Abacus edition of the collection.SummaryIn the first essay, “Derivative Sport... Read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Summary

Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Irish Literature, Humor, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Satire, Arts / Culture, Class, British Literature

Publication year 1998Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Place, Relationships: Friendship, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: CommunityTags Travel Literature, Humor, Science / Nature, Animals, Anthropology, History: U.S., Relationships, Politics / Government, Sports

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is a 1998 travel book by American-British author Bill Bryson. The book was a New York Times bestseller, and a 2014 Cable News Network (CNN) poll named it the funniest travel book ever written. In addition, it inspired the 2015 film A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford as Bryson, Nick Nolte as Stephen Katz (his primary hiking companion), and Emma Thompson as... Read A Walk in the Woods Summary

Publication year 1982Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Self DiscoveryTags Humor, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Humor, Sports

Beartown is a 2017 novel by Fredrik Backman. It is set in the eponymous town and focuses on the local junior hockey team. Set against the backdrop of a depressed town that is obsessed with the sport, it examines themes of parental control, the cost of keeping secrets, loyalty, family, and regret. The novel unfolds over fifty chapters and is told in brief scenes, with an omniscient narrator occasionally interjecting philosophical maxims and sketching out... Read Beartown Summary

Publication year 1955Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Realistic Fiction, Humor

Publication year 1970Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Satire, Humor, American Literature

Polish-born author Jerzy Kosiński (1933-1991) wrote Being There, published in 1970. The novella satirizes mid-20th-century politics and culture, focusing on the twin pillars of bureaucracy and the media as vehicles for the deterioration of modern thought. Kosiński grew up in Soviet-controlled Poland and came to the United States in 1957. In 1958, he was awarded a Ford Foundation fellowship. He studied at the New School and Columbia University in New York, where he received a... Read Being There Summary

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Natural World: AnimalsTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor, Action / Adventure, Animals

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Humor, Romance

Be More Chill (2004) by Ned Vizzini is a young adult novel about a teenage boy trying to increase his social status in high school. The work employs humor and a science fiction premise to satirize the absurdity of social norms in contemporary youth culture. The main character, Jeremy Heere, is a socially awkward high school student who ingests a pill that contains a quantum supercomputer that advises him on how to modify his behavior... Read Be More Chill Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Graphic Memoir , NonfictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Self Discovery, Society: Class, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Humor, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Music, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Self DiscoveryTags Realistic Fiction, Humor, LGBTQ, Music

Content Warning: Better Nate Than Ever contains sensitive material, such as bullying and LGBTQ-related slurs.Better Nate Than Ever (2013) is the first book in a trilogy about Broadway hopeful Nate Foster; the next two titles in the series are Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (2014) and Nate Expectations (2018). The novel is intended for middle grade and young adult readers but may also appeal to adult fans of theater-related fiction. Author Tim Federle and the fictional... Read Better Nate Than Ever Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Romance, Humor, Relationships, Love / Sexuality, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2010Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: FameTags Humor, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Marriage, Identity: SexualityTags LGBTQ, Love / Sexuality, Romance, Humor

Publication year 1994Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Self Help, Humor

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott was originally published in 1994. Many of Lamott’s books have been on the New York Times bestsellers list, which qualifies her to offer advice about how to write. She also taught at writing conferences and at UC Davis, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Bird by Bird is a combination of memoir, self-help book, and writing... Read Bird By Bird Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Colonialism, Society: EconomicsTags Satire, Humor, Race / Racism

Publication year 2011Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Gender / Feminism, Humor, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Bossypants is a humorous memoir published in 2011 by actor and writer Tina Fey. Fey describes growing up as an awkward, smart-mouthed girl and traces the process by which she enters show business, from working at a theater summer camp, to taking night improv classes, to writing for Saturday Night Live, and finally to creating her own television sitcom, 30 Rock. Fey writes of the discrimination and double standards to which women in show business... Read Bossypants Summary

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: WarTags Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Humor, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, LGBTQ, Military / War, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Irish Literature

Breakfast on Pluto is a novel by the distinguished Irish writer Patrick McCabe, who is known for his experimental style and controversial themes. First published in 1998, the book contains elements of fantasy and historical fiction. It presents the narrative of “the life and times” of Patrick Braden, a transgender person growing up in Ireland and London during the 1960s and 1970s. Through Braden’s journey of self-discovery, McCabe portrays a country amid turbulent political, national... Read Breakfast on Pluto Summary

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Relationships: TeamsTags Humor, Realistic Fiction, Scandinavian Literature

Publication year 1963Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: ClassTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Humor

Publication year 2014Genre Graphic Memoir , NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Aging, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Identity: Mental Health, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Humor, Grief / Death

Publication year 1997Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: FriendshipTags Humor, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

Dav Pilkey’s graphic novel for children, The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997), spawned a long list of sequels and adaptations in other media. The Captain Underpants series has won numerous awards, including the Garden State Children's Book Awards (Children's Fiction) 2000, the Buckeye Children's Book Award (Grades 3-5) 2001, and the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Grades K-3) 2000.Plot SummaryThe story begins by introducing two best friends, George and Harold. They love to pull pranks... Read Captain Underpants Summary

Publication year 1948Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: FamilyTags Classic Fiction, American Literature, Humor, Post-War Era, Parenting

American author Shirley Jackson’s short story “Charles” (1948) was first published in Mademoiselle, then in Jackson’s 1949 collection as well as in her 1953 novel Life Among the Savages. Though “Charles” is not in the horror genre, Jackson is a renowned horror writer and has influenced modern writers like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. The story does, however, have an element of mystery—another genre for which the author is famous. This study guide cites the... Read Charles Summary

Publication year 1964Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Fantasy, Classic Fiction, Humor, Children's Literature, British Literature

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) is a fantasy children’s novel by renowned British author Roald Dahl, a man known for his strange and wondrous imagination. The story follows Charlie Bucket, who wins a tour in a chocolate factory owned by the eccentric Mr. Willy Wonka. In the years following publication, the novel became a classic and spawned two major film adaptations, one starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (1971) and a remake starring Johnny... Read Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Summary

Publication year 1972Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: Aging, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Humor, Children's Literature

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Economics, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Humor, Satire, Romance, Asian Literature

China Rich Girlfriend is an adult novel published by Doubleday in 2015, the sequel to Singapore-born author Kevin Kwan’s internationally bestselling romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians (2013) and second in a trilogy which concludes with Rich People Problems (2017). Billed as a satire, a mock-epic, and a sprawling family saga that peers into the lives of the ultra-wealthy in Asia, China Rich Girlfriend depicts the efforts of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-born American university professor, and... Read China Rich Girlfriend Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor, Action / Adventure, Realistic Fiction, Animals

Written in 2012 by Carl Hiaasen, Chomp is a young adult novel set in Hiaasen’s native Florida (specifically, Everglades National Park). Hiaasen, who began his career as a journalist, is the author of six other books for young readers (as well as numerous adult novels). Because his work blends humor with grim realism, Chomp features characters who are just as “bizarre” as their Florida setting. Primarily known for his crime fiction, Hiaasen also crafts stories... Read Chomp Summary

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction, Humor, Children's Literature

Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine is a short chapter book for elementary-aged readers. Marla Frazee’s black and white illustrations bring the text to life. Clementine and the subsequent books in the series have won numerous awards; notably, Clementine is a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Little, Brown and Company published Clementine in 2006. This study guide refers to the 2008 first trade paperback edition of the book.Plot SummaryClementine... Read Clementine Summary

Publication year 1932Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Humor, Classic Fiction, Satire

Cold Comfort Farm (September 1932) is the first book by British author Stella Gibbons. Upon publication, it became an instant success. The comic novel is a parody of rural romances that were popular in Britain at the time. The story was adapted for two BBC television shows in 1968 and 1981. It was also made into a film starring Kate Beckinsale in 1995. Cold Comfort Farm is classified under the category of Classic Humor Fiction... Read Cold Comfort Farm Summary

Publication year 2004Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Food, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: EconomicsTags Humor, Arts / Culture, Philosophy, Animals, Food

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Class, Relationships: FamilyTags Romance, Humor, Satire, Asian Literature

Crazy Rich Asians is a 2013 romance comedy novel by American author Kevin Kwan about a young Asian American woman who travels with her boyfriend to his native Singapore and finds herself suddenly thrust into the cutthroat world of Asia’s uber-rich. Kwan based the novel loosely on his own experiences growing up in Singapore. It is the first novel in a three-book series, followed by China Rich Girlfriend (2015) and Rich People Problems (2017), all... Read Crazy Rich Asians Summary

Publication year 1921Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Classic Fiction, Humor, Historical Fiction, Play: Comedy / Satire, British Literature

Publication year 1975Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: ClassTags Children's Literature, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Humor, Finance / Money / Wealth

British author Roald Dahl first published Danny the Champion of the World in 1975. This award-winning children’s novel was adapted into a made-for-TV movie in 1989. The story follows Danny and his single-father, William, as they concoct a plan to poach all of the pheasants from a mean, rich landowner’s woods. Dahl’s children’s books are humorous and unsentimental, usually featuring a heroic young protagonist and an obnoxious adult antagonist. Dahl’s other works for children include The Gremlins... Read Danny, the Champion of the World Summary

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Family, Self DiscoveryTags Romance, Humor, LGBTQ

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Romance, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Humor, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Asian Literature

Publication year 2007Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Realistic Fiction, Humor, Relationships, Bullying

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the first graphic novel in the titular series by Jeff Kinney. Since its initial publication in 2007, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has become a New York Times bestseller and 16 sequels have followed in the series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is written in a diary format and documents the misadventures of middle school student Greg Heffley, who longs for popularity and hatches dozens of schemes to achieve... Read Diary of a Wimpy Kid Summary

Publication year 2002Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Language, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Lyric Poem, Humor, Romance, Arts / Culture, Class, American Literature, African American Literature

Harryette Mullen’s “Dim Lady” may remind some readers of 17th century English playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s well-known “Sonnet 130,” in which the speaker of the poem makes a mockery of his beloved’s physical appearance. During Shakespeare’s time, fashion encouraged poets to write flowery poetry that extolled the virtues and the beauty of their beloved. However, the speaker of this sonnet toys with poetic conventions of the time, describing the physical attributes of the speaker’s... Read Dim Lady Summary

Publication year 2016Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Humor, Fantasy, Animals

Publication year 2020Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FathersTags Fantasy, Humor, Action / Adventure, Animals, Children's Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Disability, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Relationships: FamilyTags Humor, Animals, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature