Hello my little handles of humor (it’s a bit like love handles but it’s funnier), imagine that after all these years exploring the world of humor, we don’t never before had the brilliant idea of presenting you with the funniest novels to read. But we’re talking about really funny novels. Kind of books that we read and that really make us laugh.
This top is based on the editor’s recommendations, but we have no doubt that there are plenty of other hilarious books, so give us your advice because it will make good Christmas gift ideas.
The Conspiracy of Fools (John Kennedy Toole)
It tops all the rankings of the funniest books and for good reason, this novel by J.K. Toole is a world-renowned masterpiece of hilarity. In a deliberately bombastic language, we follow the adventures of Ignatius, a funny guy who is undrinkable and above all full of himself (“Decided to only associate with my equals, I obviously only associate with no one since I am without equal »), antisocial, hypochondriac. He still lives with his mother. He is unable to keep a job for more than a few days because he is so incompetent but pours all his anger into the correspondence he conducts with his ex and into his diary.
A little morbid joke about the history of this book: Toole sought in vain to get published with this novel. Unable to do so, he ended up committing suicide. It was his mother who recovered the manuscript and continued her search for a publisher. This genius novelist will therefore never have achieved his success during his lifetime. It’s ugly.
This Book is Full of Spiders (David Wong)
David Wong may not mean anything to you, but you should know that he is the founder of the humorous site Cracked, a sort of American counterpart to Topito that we appreciate like a cousin across the Atlantic. Well this David had the good idea to also write totally crazy novels among which I cite my favorite with a particularly seductive title. As announced, Dave finds himself attacked by a giant spider. After an ultra-gory fight, Dave understands that the world is being attacked by these monsters that only a few people can see with their own eyes. The arachnoid attacks create a whole bunch of mutated zombies that are sure to cause a mess.
A totally crazy book whose atmosphere you can capture with the film John Dies at the End adaptation of the novel of the same title including this book is the sequel. Yes because we don’t want to start with the first volumes actually.
The end of the world is late (J.M. Erre)
It’s impossible not to mention good old J.M. Erre when we talk about funny books since this contemporary author (who occasionally works for the magazine Fluide Glacial) has become an expert in literary humor. We could have quoted Who killed the lobster man?, Made in China< a i=4> or Happiness is at the end of the corridor on the left but the simplest thing is that you read everything that comes out of this incredible feather.
This novel tells the story of a chase between two patients in a psychiatric hospital who have fled their establishment. Julius believes that a global conspiracy threatens the survival of humanity while Alice suffers from very debilitating amnesic episodes. Not easy in these conditions to save the world, a mission to which they are convinced they have the keys. And when it comes to writing, there are passages as hilarious as “As expected, the intelligence and composure specific to human beings were expressed by hysterical cries, frantic running and much zeal in the art of trampling others. »
Journal d’un scénario (Fabcaro)
How could we forget Fabcaro? For several years now, we have only sworn by this brave man and his now cult hit Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï (not to mention the many other hilarious comics that he has since been released). The author/designer has now lent himself to the exercise of the novel. We owe him some gems such as The Discourse, Samurai or even < /span> a>Figurec surpasses all.Journal d’un scenario but his latest novel Figurec
As its title indicates, it is written in the form of a diary of a screenwriter, Boris, who is about to see his screenplay brought to the screen. Unfortunately, the vagaries of production led him to make terrible compromises on his initial project to such an extent that he completely distorted it. But Boris continues to naively believe in this artistic project which, once crushed by the investor machine, will become an ultra vulgar comedy the opposite of his initial project. And imagine that it’s hilarious, that’s good otherwise I don’t see why we would talk about it in this top.
The speech (Fabcaro)
Yes, listen, it’s stupid, I know we just talked to you about Fabcaro but we can’t ignore this other novel which has had phenomenal success and has been adapted for cinema and theater.
While he is in the middle of a family dinner, Adrien, a depressed forty-year-old, waits for his ex’s response to the text he has just sent him. No answer. And yet the dishes parade. Adrien wonders. Why this silence ? The opportunity for him to dive back into the twists and turns (most often absurd) of this relationship and imagine that it’s a fool’s errand.
Underdog Samurai (Romain Ternaux)
Romain Ternaux is a downright funny writer. After a few novels like The story of the loser who became a guru, I am Vampire or Success Story which he co-wrote with Johan Zarka, this novel is his latest work released in 2023 and it is a little nugget that fits into the genre of Bizarro Fiction.
Imagine a guy who’s more of a slacker type who orders a Japanese sword on the dark web and finds himself with a crappy fake sword made in China that falls apart at the first blow. It took no less for our loser hero to undertake a vendetta on Japanese soil against the yakuza team behind the scam. It’s completely stupid and that’s why it’s completely hilarious.
Be merciful, beautiful animal (Benjamin Planchon)
Believe it or not, the story of this novel released in 2023 is quite close to that of Fabcaro already cited above (Journal d’un scenario< a i=2>) and yet its treatment has nothing to do with it. In any case, this is again a writer confronted with the tragic adaptation of his first novel on the big screen (a reference to Benjamin Planchon’s real first novel Le Domaine des Douves< /span> which we also recommend you read). For the naive author, full of admiration for the director in charge of the project, it is the opportunity to set foot in an outrageous world that is as superficial as it is crazy. A mixture of strange and funny that does not lack inventiveness. Be careful not to confuse the author with Benjamin Plancton, the name of my fishmonger who sells very good oysters that are not too milky (possibility of giving the contact by pm if interested).
H2G2, the best trilogy in 5 volumes (Douglas Adams)
Arthur is an Englishman who doesn’t do much with his life apart from trying to defend his house which must be destroyed to make way for a highway. But the day the inevitable demolition arrives, his best friend admits to him that he is an alien and that planet Earth is going to be destroyed so… That a galactic highway will be built instead. He then finds himself thrown into a completely absurd space adventure where we often find ourselves laughing. “The best trilogy in five volumes” which we obviously recommend if you like space opera and English humor. In fact, we even gave you the best quotes from Douglas Adams, which could serve as an appetizer.
Lord of the Ringards (Henry Beard et Douglas Kenney)
A novel that has become cult in the genre of parody since it managed to disguise Tolkien’s work by repeating the plot of Lord of the Rings except that here Sauron becomes Salkon and Frodo transforms into Trickster. French translation obliges, we really like the original English title Bored of the Rings. In short, it’s a very stupid parody novel but which will not fail to appeal to Tolkien fans while expanding its universe towards somewhat more humorous regions.
The Bourbon Kid (Anonymous)
It all begins in a dirty bar in the fictional town of Santa Montega when a sinister guy starts killing all the customers after drinking a glass of bourbon. An investigation begins by the local police as we gradually discover that the town is a haunt of vampires and werewolves. A saga that often hits below the belt with colorful characters and super violent shootout scenes, as if the novels had been written by Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Zombies, vampires, monks super strong in martial arts, an Elvis lookalike hitman and a biker who works for God himself will cross paths with the Bourbon Kid, and it’s often explosive. In addition, the author is one of the rare personalities who has managed to maintain his secret identity.
Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome)
A classic that has spanned the decades since it was published in England in 1889. This comic novel tells the story of George, Harris, Jérôme and the dog Montmorency who all four undertake a journey on the Thames. What’s more classic you ask me? The humor of the novel arises from the anecdotes and digressions which are sprinkled throughout the story and sometimes take on the appearance of philosophical reflections that are as confusing as they are amusing.
Orgasm in Moscow (Edgar Hilsenrath)
Great German author of the 20th century Edgar Hilsenrath is best known for his great literary success The Nazi and the Barber but we wanted you talk about this other novel which plunged us into total hilarity from start to finish (if you like the genre, we also recommend Fuck America< a i=4> from the same pen, a promising title).
This takes place in the middle of the Cold War while the daughter of a mafia godfather experiences her first orgasm during a trip to the Russian capital. Scandal. Who is this Jewish dissident rabbi with this extraordinary ability to give orgasms? It was enough for the whole mafia to get involved and try to get their hands on this penis hero in order to marry him to the lucky lady. And there are funny sentences like “The jets flew faster, the washing machines washed whiter, but the day still had 24 hours. » If you’re not convinced with that, I wonder what more you need.
Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)
Charlie Nancy is a discreet and uneventful, somewhat reserved accountant who works for an entertainment company. When his father died, whom he had not seen for years, he returned to the region of his childhood and met his former neighbors who told him that his father was in fact the god Anansi, an ancient African spider god. Charlie then understands why his father was so extravagant and took pleasure in ridiculing him quite often, which explains why he preferred to cut ties with him. But he also learns that he has a brother: the very attractive and self-confident Mygal, who has inherited all of his father’s confidence and who risks making a mess of his life. Charlie’s life changes in all directions, a novel which takes place in the universe of “American Gods” but which is much more comical than its predecessor.
Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)
As the Apocalypse arrives, an angel and a demon who are the representatives of God and the Devil on Earth must take care of making the antichrist grow among humans. Only small problem: the kid was changed in the maternity ward by nuns and they therefore watched the bad child for several years. Then begins a race against time to prevent the end of the world involving a witch and a gang of four bikers who could well be the horsemen of the apocalypse. A good absurd book adapted into a series on Amazon Prime (and the series is worth it).
The Wrench Gang (Edward Abbey)
If you’re the type who wants to slash SUV tires or sabotage a Total production site, this cult novel should end up in your hands at one point or another. A great manual of industrial sabotage, it tells the story of four rebels against the destructive industry of the beautiful landscapes of the American West who decide to fight against this invisible machine. And here they go to screw up everything with wrenches: bridges, roads and railways while trying to escape the police.
Sort of eco-friendly Thelma and Louise, with a good dose of humor as evidenced by this short extract: “Page, Arizona: 13 churches, 4 bars. Any town with more churches than bars is a town with a problem. This is a city that looks for problems. And they even try to Christianize the Indians. As if the Indians weren’t already annoying enough. » or « Violence is as American as pizza. »
The end of Coquillettes, a story of pasta and swords (Klaire makes Grr)
We’ve been following the adventures of Klaire fait Grr for a long time (we already loved her menstrual essay co-written with Louise Mey Chattologie), with this new novel she offers us an unusual adventure story where interweaving the cooking time of the eponymous and patriarchal shells. It’s funny and fresh, you can enjoy it endlessly (don’t really eat the book though).
The Wild Camel (Philippe Jaeneda)
When the hero of a novel has the astonishing ability to cause disaster after disaster, it inevitably gives rise to funny situations. This is the case of Halvard Sanz, the least fortunate person on earth who, despite all the troubles that happen to him, manages to adopt a rather inspiring philosophy of existence. And if I haven’t convinced you, this short extract should finish the job for me:
« TIPS FOR APPEARING COMFORTABLE IN AN ELEVATOR
Acting impatient and tapping your foot makes you look ridiculous like an overexcited businessman. On the other hand, looking at someone else in the eyes, face to face a few centimeters away, worries them. As for wanting to start a conversation with him, it’s a mistake: even for a very trivial discussion, the travel time is too short. »
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Stuck in an Ikea Wardrobe (Romain Puértolas)
Present in all existing lists of funny novels, we could not ignore this enormous literary success which tells us the story of the lowest-cost trip in the history of low-cost for the undocumented. Ajatashatru Lavash Patel. And as the title of the novel already spoils it, this fakir will travel in a wardrobe of the Swedish brand in search of landing in a royalty-free country. Said like that, it doesn’t sound crazy, but it seems like it is.
The Old Man who didn’t want to celebrate his birthday (Jonas Jonasson)
Surprising how this book shares so many points in common with the previous one, starting with its long title but also the fact that it is in all the recommendations for funny novels to read while being a worldwide literary success. Personally I haven’t read it but as a good servant, I have to tell you about it straight away.
Allan Karlsson celebrates his 100th birthday in a retirement home. Except that he has no desire to celebrate this event and therefore ends up fleeing from Charentaise to other Swedish lands. This escapade gives us the opportunity to delve into the past of this genius artificer, whose story allows us to cross the 20th century through the prism of his personal journey.
Wilt, Volume 1: How to Get Out of an Inflatable Doll and Many Other Troubles (Tom Sharpe)
Definitely what prolixity in the choice of titles! That said, this one is pretty mouth-watering, right? “A snail’s poop makes you feel like the Andes mountain range. » I no longer know what this quote refers to in the novel but I find it really tempting.
This novel centers on a G culture teacher in a technical high school who doesn’t cope very well with the concept of quarantine. His students do nothing to hinder his lessons and his wife leads him a hellish life. One evening he screws up and crosses the impassable… I put an ellipsis to make you want to read more, does it work?
Fan man (William Kotzwinkle)
Most often presented as a text that is not necessarily obvious, it nevertheless has something between The Big Lebowski and a celestial tramp from Kerouac, which makes it a hilarious book. There is no doubt that you will end up loving this funny loser that is Horse Badorties like us.
The sex of women (Anne Akrich)
Certainly we are taking a step aside to talk to you here more about an essay than a novel, but it still deserves its place in this top because Anne Akrich shares in a cruelly funny tone what many women think and feel. Without setting herself up as a spokesperson, she evokes traumatic events very far from anything funny but her treatment makes this book strangely delectable.
War and Peace (Tolstoy)
LOL, not at all. Or maybe it’s War and Fart.