Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this latest Top Ten Tuesday, participants have the fun task of listing their favourite books that made them laugh out loud.
While coming up with list was an enjoyable and entertaining task, this was a topic that I slightly struggled with as I don’t tend to read purely comedic novels. Instead, I usually get my comedic fix through somewhat more serious books that have funny protagonists or are filled with jokes or excellent humour. Nonetheless, I was able to pull together a good list in the end filled with some amazing reads that always leave me laughing. I did end up having to feature multiple books from the same authors to fill this list up, but these guys are just so funny it was hard not to. So, with that, let us get on to the funny stuff.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Sarah Kuhn
Nuking the Moon: And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Best Left on the Drawing Board by Vince Houghton
With luminous foxes and exploding bats, this fun non-fiction book is proof that reality is sometimes stranger, and more hilarious, than fiction.
Footrot Flats by Murray Ball
An amazing comic strip I loved in my childhood thanks to my fun grandfather. This cool New Zealand comic still holds up even after all these years and makes me laugh like crazy every time I read it.
Top Ten List:
Jingo by Terry Pratchett
I do not think that anyone is going to be too surprised that I have featured several books from the utterly hilarious and indefinably clever Terry Pratchett. Pratchett is easily my favourite author of all time, and I have so much love for his amazing Discworld series, the novels of which I have read and re-read time and time again, and each of them always makes me laugh. I ended up including five Discworld books on this list, which I honestly think is me showing restraint, as I could have filled up three separate lists purely with Discworld novels. The first of these books is one I am particularly fond of, Jingo, which sees the Ankh-Morpork City Watch attempt to stop a war. Filled with all manner of jokes about war, political assassinations and jingoism, while also featuring an hilarious boat chase in unusual weather, Captain Carrot turning into Lawrence of Arabia and an entire battlefield arrested for causing an affray, this book never fails to amuse me, and I always laugh while reading it.
The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde
The second entry on this list was last years awesome and captivating release from Jasper Fforde, The Constant Rabbit. Set in an alternate version of England filled with anthropomorphic rabbits, Fforde has come up with an outrageous narrative that is both fantastically funny while also serving as a clever send up of current British politics. I laughed at so many scenes during this book, including a great court sequence, that The Constant Rabbit easily made this list and is really worth checking out.
The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett
The next Discworld novel to appear on this list is The Last Continent, a very amusing novel that pits Pratchett’s main protagonist, the cowardly wizard Rincewind, against the terrors and horrors of that most dangerous of places, Australia (although the author is very clear to state that this is not a book about Australia, it just seems, in some places, very Australian, so no worries, right?). Naturally, Rincewind manages to run into every single dangerous Australian stereotype you can think of, including road gangs trying to steal a mad dwarf’s hay, talking kangaroos, drop bears, a chronic lack of rain and, worst of all, a local delicacy (a pea soup pie floater, shudder!). The Australian jokes and references come thick and fast throughout this book, which become even more entertaining when viewed from the point-of-view of someone born and raised in Australia. At the same time, the wizards of Unseen University engage in their own separate adventure, which sees them lost in the past (potentially killing their own grandparents) and forced to contend with a sex-obsessed god of evolution (once someone explains what sex is to him). All of this makes for a hilarious and captivating read that is easily one of my favourite Discworld books, and one which I will always have a good laugh at.
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K. J. Parker
There was no way that I could not include the impressive and captivating Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City on this list. Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, which was one of my favourite books of 2019, tells the story of a desperate and comical siege of a major fantasy city. Told from the perspective of a very unreliable narrator, this book sees the protagonist defend his city with the most effective weapon he has, bluffs and lies. This is an outstanding book, and readers are guaranteed to giggle at every single manipulation, con and elaborate subterfuge that is deployed to save the city.
Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
A Discworld book that is perfect for movie buffs, Moving Pictures examines what happens when a new form of entertainment comes to this crazy world, giving a whole new meaning to the term “movie magic”. There are so many great jokes and references in this compelling and exceptional book, that multiple re-reads are a must to see just how clever Pratchett really was. Highlights include the introduction of multiple amazing characters, a reverse King Kong moment and a very entertaining Gone With The Wind parody (to this day I cannot hear the words “Blown Away” without thinking about this book and sniggering). An impressive comedic treat.
A Star Trek parody written by science fiction genius John Scalzi was always going to be an amazing read, and it proves to be utterly hilarious. I loved all the fantastic jokes made about Star Trek in this book, and it was extremely funny to see the adventures of an Enterprise equivalent ship told from the perspective of the doomed redshirts. I had some good laughs as I powered through this book and it is an incredible comedy read to check out.
Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
Another long-time favourite Discworld novel of mine is the outstanding Pyramids, which serves as a comedic adventure in an ancient Egyptian facsimile. Pratchett came up with some fantastic sequences for this book, and I always chuckle at the scene with the various sun gods fighting for their prize like a football while a priest does commentary: “It’s noon! It’s noon!”. An utterly hilarious novel.
A Shot in the Dark by Lynne Truss
This next excellent entry on this list is A Shot in the Dark, Lyne Truss’s novelisation of her genius Inspector Steine radio show. This serves as an amazing take on this fantastic radio show and I loved the comical premise which sees a new police constable be reassigned to the seemingly crime free Brighton, only to discover something very sinister is lurking just around the corner, ready to offer him a cup of tea. A very funny and entertaining read that got a lot of laughs out of me.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
The fifth Discworld novel on this list is the exceptional Guards! Guards!, which serves as the introductory book in the City Watch subseries. This is an outstanding read that presents a fantasy parody of classic crime fiction novels, by having a severely understaffed police force attempt to arrest a summoned dragon. There are so many clever comedic scenes in this book, but I personally laughed the hardest as the descriptions of the heroic and naïve Captain Carrot arresting the head of the Thieves Guild. One of Pratchett’s best and funniest books, this is a great one to check out if you want to laugh out loud.
How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It by K. J. Parker
My final entry is How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It, the sequel to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City that I featured above. This excellent and amazing read (which was one of my favourite books of 2020) continues the story started in the first novel, although this time it follows an actor who manages to con his way to the top of the besieged city using stage techniques. This was another hilarious and exceptional read that really made me chuckle multiple times.
That is the end of this list. I think it came together really well and I liked the different novels I decided to feature, even if it was a tad Pratchett heavy (not that there is anything wrong with that). All the above novels come highly recommended and are definitely worth reading if you are in the mood for a funny and laugh provoking read.