50 Funny Books to Read When Life Is Overwhelming and You Need a Laugh

Sometimes you want to delve into a serious, thought-provoking book that makes you question everything you’ve ever known about humanity. This is not one of those times. We present, in no particular order, 50 books that are guaranteed to crack you up (and maybe forget about everything that's stressing you out...for a few hours).

The 31 Best Thriller Books Of All Time (Good Luck Getting a Peaceful Night’s Sleep Again!)

funny books irby

1. we Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays By Samantha Irby

Simply put, this book will make you cackle. In this collection of essays, one of the funniest writers of our time covers how her difficult childhood led to a problem in making "adult" budgets, a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes, how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms and more.

funny books fisher

2. wishful Drinking By Carrie Fisher

The late, great actress and writer Carrie Fisher adapted this, her only memoir, from her smash-hit one-woman show and it's nothing short of wonderful. From growing up with famous parents and achieving massive success at the age of 19 to struggles with mental health and near constant relationship drama, Fisher is candid and laugh-out-loud funny.

funny books nutting

3. made For Love By Alissa Nutting

This hilariously funny and absurd story (from the author of the equally funny and absurd Tampa) is told from the perspective of a woman who moves into a trailer park for senior citizens, where her roommates are her father and Diane—an extremely lifelike sex doll.

funny books arcenaux

4. i Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, And Other Reasons I've Put My Faith In Beyonce By Michael Arceneaux

Growing up black and gay in Houston, Texas, writer Arceneaux had to learn to accept himself in a world that wanted him to change. In his debut book, he touches on everything from coming out to his mom to how he almost ended up in the priesthood.

funny books david sedaris

5. me Talk Pretty One Day By David Sedaris

Any of Sedaris’s fantastic books could’ve made this list, but this one’s titular story (about the author’s attempt to learn French after moving to Paris) puts it over the edge.

funny books bossypants

6. bossypants By Tina Fey

Before she created Liz Lemon or Kimmy Schmidt, Fey was a quirky kid from Pennsylvania who dreamed of becoming a comedian. Her book, about everything that happened in between, is incredible.

funny books toole

7. a Confederacy Of Dunces By John Kennedy Toole

Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy eccentric who lives with his mother, is the unforgettable protagonist of this riotous book about his zany adventures in New Orleans that was published posthumously by Toole’s own mother. (And won a Pulitzer. NBD.)

funny books braithwaite

8. my Sister, The Serial Killer By Oyinkan Braithwaite

Though not short on heart-stopping suspense, this dark comedy is about Korede, a Nigerian woman whose sister, Ayoola, has a nasty habit of murdering her boyfriends.

funny books crosley

9. i Was Told There'd Be Cake By Sloane Crosley

Crosley’s debut essay collection is wry and witty about everything from horrendous first jobs (where she accidentally provokes the ire of her first boss) to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor to the Oregon Trail computer game. (Ford that river!)

funny books robinson

10. you Can't Touch My Hair By Phoebe Robinson

Proof you can be funny and inspiring? Robinson discusses serious issues like institutionalized racism and misogyny along with lighter ones like being U2’s biggest fan and her Magic Mike movie obsession.

funny books silverman

11. the Bedwetter By Sarah Silverman

Candid, poignant and occasionally filthy, Silverman’s memoir covers everything from her childhood penchant for swearing to her unfortunate propensity for bed-wetting.

funny books updike

12. the Witches Of Eastwick By John Updike

The movie version is fabulous, but Updike’s original source material about three spurned women is even more satirical and wonderful.

funny books semple

13. where'd You Go, Bernadette By Maria Semple

Bernadette is a reclusive architect and mother who goes missing. Her daughter tries to find her, compiling a funny portrait of a misunderstood woman along the way.

funny books klein

14. you'll Grow Out Of It By Jessi Klein

The head writer of Inside Amy Schumer muses on everything from being the adult version of a tomboy (a tom-man) to why some women are wolves and others are poodles. (We’ll let her explain.)

funny books ephron

15. i Feel Bad About My Neck By Nora Ephron

From one of our favorite writers of all time, a candid and dryly funny look at women who are aging and dealing with all the stuff that goes along with it.

funny books beatty

16. the White Boy Shuffle By Paul Beatty

A scathingly funny debut novel about an awkward black surfer bum as he transforms from neighborhood outcast to basketball superstar to reluctant messiah.

funny books alderton

17. everything I Know About Love: A Memoir By Dolly Alderton

In this memoir from journalist and former Sunday Times columnist Alderton, she vividly and hilariously recounts falling in love, getting drunk, getting dumped, realizing that Ivan from the corner shop might just be the only reliable man in her life and lots more relatable ridiculousness.

funny books wodehouse

18. the Code Of The Woosters By P.g. Wodehouse

The quintessential British humorist writes about Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves, as the latter saves the former from being arrested, lynched and accidentally engaged.

funny books rae

19. the Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl By Issa Rae

In this book named after her popular web series, Rae writes about what it’s like to balance being an introvert (read: kinda weird) with being black (read: supposed to be cool).

funny books kingsley amis

20. lucky Jim By Kingsley Amis

Jim Dixon is a lecturer at a fancy university. In this laugh-out-loud debut novel, Amis skewers the over-the-top English characters with whom Dixon interacts as he tries to hold on to his cushy job.

funny books branum

21. my Life As A Goddess: A Memoir Through (un)popular Culture By Guy Branum

In this essay collection, comedian Branum talks about everything from the pitfalls of being typecast as the “Sassy Gay Friend” to how going to law school made him decide to try stand-up.

funny books noah

22. born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood By Trevor Noah

Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth (his parents' union was punishable by five years in prison). His moving and searingly funny memoir is about making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.

funny books jerome

23. three Men In A Boat By Jerome K. Jerome

Despite being published in 1899, Jerome’s spectacularly comedic account of a three-man boat journey holds up shockingly well in 2021.

funny books kaling

24. is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

Working alternative title: 242 Pages That Will Make You Want to Become Mindy Kaling’s Best Friend.

funny books adams

25. the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams

The first in a five-book trilogy (no, that’s not a typo), The Hitchhiker’s Guide is one of those rare science fiction-y books that pretty much every reader on earth can appreciate.

funny books waugh

26. scoop By Evelyn Waugh

A satire of sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondents, Scoop is partly based on Waugh’s experience working for the Daily Mail. Ooo, juicy.

funny books mansbach

27. go The F**k To Sleep By Adam Mansbach

OK, you might not want to read this bedtime book to your toddler. But it’s profane, honest and really damn funny for adults.

funny books amy sedaris

28. i Like You By Amy Sedaris

You thought David was the only hysterical Sedaris? Nope. This offbeat guide to entertaining will have you rolling on the floor, then digging your Jell-O mold out of the garage.

funny books gaiman

29. good Omens By Terry Pratchett And Neil Gaiman

This unlikely writing partnership produced an outlandish, fake-serious book about the birth of the son of Satan and the coming of the end of times.

funny books poehler

30. yes Please By Amy Poehler

This book has everything: a haiku about plastic surgery, a satirical birth plan, a brainstormed list of hypothetical books about divorce and tons more.

funny books lawson

31. furiously Happy By Jenny Lawson

A funny and tragic examination of her own severe depression, Lawson’s memoir makes light of mental illness without trivializing it.

funny books oxford

32. everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar By Kelly Oxford

Twitter sensation Oxford chats like your funniest girlfriend about everything from throwing up on Chinese food deliverymen to stalking Leonardo DiCaprio.

funny books brosh

33. hyperbole And A Half By Allie Brosh

Born out of Brosh’s popular blog, this darkly funny book—illustrated with exaggeratedly childish drawings—tackles topics like the author’s depression and the “God of cake.”

funny books klosterman

34. sex, Drugs And Cocoa Puffs By Chuck Klosterman

Whether analyzing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, Klosterman’s funny and discerning take on pop culture is completely one of a kind.

funny books wong

35. john Dies At The End By David Wong

A sarcastic paranormal horror story, John Dies at the End is hard to describe, other than to say that it’s so weird that it somehow works.

funny books golding

36. the Princess Bride By William Goldman

The love story of Westley and Buttercup is well known to anyone who can recite the movie line for line (guilty), but Goldman’s richly satirical original text shouldn’t be missed.

funny books fielding

37. bridget Jones's Diary By Helen Fielding

Same goes for Helen Fielding’s introduction to floundering 30-something Bridget Jones before she was made iconic by Renée Zellweger.

funny books schumer

38. the Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo By Amy Schumer

Schumer's first book doesn't disappoint, as the comic covers everything from dating a personal trainer who turns out to be a hoarder to how she's actually quite introverted.

funny books lindgren

39. pippi Longstocking By Astrid Lindgren

If you have kids, read this to them. If you don’t, reminisce over the outrageous adventures of this red-pigtailed heroine with a horse on her porch and a flair for the absurd.

funny books cervantes

40. don Quixote By Miguel De Cervantes

Let’s bring it back to 1604, shall we? This timeless masterpiece tells the story of madman Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through 16th-century Spain.

funny books roxane gay

41. bad Feminist By Roxane Gay

A self-professed feminist, Roxane Gay loves rap music. Including—especially, even—the aggressive, misogynistic kind. But that, she argues, doesn't mean she isn't a feminist. Rather, it means she's a bad one, and that's OK.

funny books martin

42. born Standing Up By Steve Martin

Before he was the star you know today, Steve Martin was a magician and Disneyland entertainer dipping his toe into comedy. This retelling of his pre-SNL days is fun and endearing.

funny books martin amis

43. money By Martin Amis

John Self is a commercial director who epitomizes the greed and lust of the 1980s. His misadventures and downward spiral would be depressing if Amis’s prose weren’t so darkly funny.

funny books moran

44. how To Be A Woman By Caitlin Moran

Moran is an unapologetic feminist, which is not—as she so delightfully proves in this book—mutually exclusive with being really (really) funny.

funny books kwan

45. crazy Rich Asians By Kevin Kwan

Rachel visits Singapore for the first time with her ultra-wealthy boyfriend. What follows is a super fun romp complete with opulence, social climbing and sabotage (dun dun dun). You've seen the movie, now read the book that inspired it.

funny books jason gay

46. little Victories By Jason Gay

Gay, a newspaper columnist, wrote this book after his father was diagnosed with cancer. Never too earnest, he's always self-deprecating and wry.

funny books ferris

47. then We Came To The End By Joshua Ferris

A satire of the American workplace, Ferris's debut novel concerns the weirdly close bonds that form between people who see more of each other than they see their spouses, families and friends.

funny books gibbons

48. cold Comfort Farm By Stella Gibbons

Gibbons's 1932 book parodies the romanticized accounts of rural life that were popular at the time with the story of Flora Poste, an orphaned teenager who sets out to modernize her traditional town.

funny books novak

49. how To Weep In Public By Jacqueline Novak

Novak’s hilarious and real approach to dealing with her depression is refreshingly frank, with lists like “Ways to avoid charming your therapist,” and “top four tips for crying in restaurants.”

funny books heller

50. catch-22 By Joseph Heller

Widely considered one of the most significant novels of the 20th century, Heller's WWII satire is about a group of airmen's repeated attempts to avoid combat missions that appear to lead to certain death.

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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