Looking for a laugh? We've got you.

Al Woodworth on January 14, 2021

Need a laugh? We've got you.

Here's the thing: sometimes you just need a laugh.

Whether you’re looking for relief from the mundane (or the insane), a fun pick-me-up, or just a much-needed belly-laugh, we've got the book for you. Here are some of our favorite novels that are sure to bring a smile and a cackle of laughter to your day.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This is a wildly funny and exuberant page-turner, a mash-up between the humor of the everyday and the insanity of start-up culture. The novel follows Darren Vender, a Starbucks employee who joins a new tech company and quickly transforms into “Buck,” the company’s best salesman—and only Black salesman. You’ll root for Buck, his neighborhood, and his mission—just hang on to your hat.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Charles Yu’s bitingly comic novel Interior Chinatown will make your head spin, in the best way. The novel is set in Chinatown—specifically in a Chinese restaurant—where a cop show called Black and White is filmed. The stars are black and white cops, but the novel is told through “Generic Asian Guy” who aspires to be “Kung Fu Guy.” The reality, of course, is that no matter the role (mostly minor, never a reoccurring), Willis Wu is always typecast into the Asian stereotype, diminishing his personhood, denying him the truth of his American citizenship. Told as the script of the TV show, Charles Yu’s novel is pure entertainment but it’s also a daring and eviscerating portrait of racism in America.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces is a madcap, riotous novel about Ignatius J. Reilly, who is teeteringly off-kilter, self-absorbed, and one hundred percent hilarious. He can rarely hold on to a job, lives with his mother (despite being a grown man), and wanders the streets of New Orleans starting up arguments and conversations about the inane and the farcical. The physical comedy, and his piercingly delusional observations on his place in life, make not just for entertainment but also a break from the rational. I first read A Confederacy of Dunces a decade ago and let’s just say Ignatius J. Reilly with his protruding tummy, ferocious zeal, and lumbering walk is unforgettably comic.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Andrew Sean Greer's funniest novel yet, Less tells the story of a soon to be 50-year-old writer, who in an effort to dodge his ex-boyfriend's wedding, travels the world for different writing gigs. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Greer's novel is a romp through the hilarities of love, work, loss, and aging.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

A Seattle author, a Seattle setting, and plenty of snarky humor. Bernadette Fox is a successful architect who's fallen into a creative black hole, and her daughter—pretty much her raison d'etre—is about to go away to school. So Bernadette runs away and her family sets out to find her. Later made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett, Where'd You Go Bernadette is a laugh-out-loud look at motherhood, ambition, neurosis, and annoying neighbors.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Seira Wilson wrote: “A wickedly funny satire of an uber-rich and extremely nosy family in Singapore and what happens when the family's prized son brings home an average girl. Rachel Chu has no idea that her boyfriend Nick comes from money. And not just big mansion, fancy car, money. Nick's family home is a palace and it turns out he's the country's most eligible bachelor. Rachel's naiveté clashes with the savvy social climbers and busy-body aunties of Nick's life in Singapore to hilarious result. Delightful skewering of materialism and romantic antics abound—it's no surprise that this debut novel spawned a blockbuster motion picture and inspired three more books (and counting) from author Kevin Kwan.”

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

A rowdy cast of beguiling, booze-filled, and larger than life characters collide in 1960s Brooklyn in this unforgettable, laugh-out-loud novel. Deacon King Kong tells a broader story of race and religion, getting by and getting out, and how grudges and alliances become embedded in the foundations of our neighborhoods.

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