Books Which Make Authors LOL

Maria Semple says:

"A raffish satire of the publishing world that shines with a love of books. The satire leaping from these pages is deft and exuberant."
Geoff Dyer says:

"The Ask is full of high-voltage, high-quality wisecracks, but it’s more than that, of course. (The funny book that is only funny is rarely worth reading.) What cracks me up is the sheer energy and inventiveness of the prose."
Matt Ruff says:

"There’s a lot to love in this story about Zal, an Iranian feral child who thinks he’s a bird, but the scene that won my heart is the one in which our hero indulges a secret taste for insects. Ordinarily, this would involve Chuck Palahniuk levels of grossness, and there’s certainly an element of that, but in Porochista Khakpour’s hands it's also moving, sweet, sad, and incredibly funny. Any writer who can make me feel all that about a kid who snacks on crickets is the real deal."
Christopher Moore says:

"From the opening scene, with our loopy, unreliable narrator starting the story in a mental ward after being arrested for murder, Bad Monkeys is a unique exercise in social satire that pokes fun at conventions of all sorts of traditional and nontraditional science fiction. It’s a fun ride with a snarky, entertaining lead character."
Don Noello says:

"There’s a Serpent lurking in Christopher Moore’s minestrone of The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and Edgar Allan Poe. Like all of his imaginative, wild, ingenious novels, it’s like a beacon in the night coming from a lighthouse that moves with the wind—Unmoored!"
Roy Blount Jr. says:

"Jack Pendarvis’ books are goofy, goofy, goofy.
How goofy are they?
Goofy in a new and luminous way.
But how goofy?
As goofy as you can imagine."
Casper Kelly says:

"Does your brain offer a quiet but nonstop monologue of observations, ruminations, and questions that you alternately indulge in and try to escape? Then this book, about an office worker's thoughts while riding an escalator after a lunch break, will delight you with a shock of recognition. What could have been a stream-of-conscious jumble is, under Baker's pen, both a precise and beautiful look at the chatter of the mind as well as a deeeeep dive into the mundane and largely overlooked parts of daily life around us. If Seinfeld was the show about nothing, this is the ultimate book about nothing. But nothing, obviously, can be quite a lot."
Marie Semple says:

"Brainy, breezy, raunchy and pure heart. I find myself picking up this little gem just to clutch it to my heart. Trapido's dialogue is as shocking and funny as any I’ve come across."
John O'Farrell says:

Comedy in all its forms seems to date much more quickly than other genres, so it is something of a miracle that an unambitious travelogue published in 1889 should still feel so fresh and funny today. Like the Thames navigation itself, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) is unchallenging, charming and meandering; the narrator disappears up anecdotal backwaters and lingers at riverside inns to spin another irrelevant yarn. You can smell the river on every page.

There is also a great humanity to the narrator: if he is critical of others, he is equally critical of himself. His exasperation with his friend Harris performing a comedy song is hilarious. Harris can never remember the words, and the description of the assembled party guests, so eager to laugh uproariously at the end of each verse but then denied the moment because the singer keeps stopping, is a window into the determination of Victorian England to remain jolly no matter what.
Deborah Moggach says:

"Richmal Crompton was a peerless writer who understood that the basis for comedy is the disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. William’s older brother Robert considers himself to be a suave man about town but what we see is a hapless and humourless young chap, struggling to maintain his dignity, whose efforts to engage with the opposite sex are constantly sabotaged by his infuriating little sibling. Ditto Ethel, the vain and beautiful older sister, who also comes a cropper through William’s often well-meaning efforts to help her or, more often, get himself out of a scrape.

And the most important thing is that we mind about them. Great comedy isn’t heartless – far from it. When we laugh at its protagonists, we also laugh at ourselves. I’m 68, but there’s still a part of me who’s an 11-year-old crashing around the countryside, unwittingly causing mayhem from often the best intentions."
Just William, Richmal Crompton
David Nicholls says:

"So many of my early reading memories involve hysterical laughter. There was Adrian Mole, of course, and Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Monty Python books, Woody Allen’s Without Feathers, Geoffrey Willans’s How to Be Topp, Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Books were prized for being shocking or funny or, even better, both, and the promise that a book would make the reader “laugh out loud” seemed entirely plausible. Why not? It happened all the time.

Less so now perhaps, but a book that consistently makes me laugh is Penelope Fitzgerald’s At Freddie’s, a comic masterpiece from 1982 that really should be better known. It’s set in the early 60s, in a shabby, crumbling stage school in Covent Garden, full of terrifyingly precocious child actors and inept, downtrodden teachers, all presided over by the infamous Frieda “Freddie” Wentworth. Manipulative, enigmatic, sharp-tongued, opinionated, she’s an extraordinary comic creation; imagine Miss Jean Brodie played by Alastair Sim."
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