Last Sunday we discussed Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at the book club (yes, on Towel Day, though I do still prefer the glorious 25th of May as Wear the Lilac Day
, because well, Discworld trumps everything.) But discussing Adams’ zany brilliance was fun and since humour has been on my mind, I decided to list the Top Ten Books that Make Me Laugh Out Loud
for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday
Clicking on the titles will take you to the Goodreads pages. Instead of posting summaries, I’ve posted some of my favourite dialogues – let me just say, though, these are all books I’d recommend you to read. Delightful, witty (some more than others) and the kind that deserve to be taken a lot more seriously than you’d think!
1. Good Omens – The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
2. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
Poets have tried to describe Ankh-Morpork. They have failed. Perhaps it’s the sheer zestful vitality of the place, or maybe it’s just that a city with a million inhabitants and no sewers is rather robust for poets, who prefer daffodils and no wonder. So let’s just say that Ankh-Morpork is as full of life as an old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a cathedral, as bright as an oil slick, as colourful as a bruise and as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness as a dead dog on a termite mound.
3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Arthur: If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it?
Ford: We’re safe.
Arthur: Oh good.
Ford: We’re in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.
Arthur: Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word safe that I wasn’t previously aware of.
4. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
My tooth-brush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it. And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and have to unpack again to get it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief.
5. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met within the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader’s imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them.
6. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C. when Saul and Delilah Korn’s inadvertent discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy, because although everyone agrees with the formula of affection times purity times intensity times duration, no one has ever been completely satisfied with how much weight each element should receive. But on any system, there are five that everyone agrees deserve full marks. Well, this one left them all behind.
7. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Lady Bracknell: I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
8. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
She was used to apologizing for her use of language. She had been encouraged to do a lot of that in school. Their English teachers would wince and cover their ears and give them flunking grades and so on whenever they failed to speak like English aristocrats before the First World War. Also: they were told that they were unworthy to speak or write their language if they couldn’t love or understand incomprehensible novels and poems and plays about people long ago and far away, such as Ivanhoe.
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.
10. A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain
There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the silliest ever known among men. They are books showing men how to succeed in everything; they are written by men who cannot even succeed in writing books. To begin with, of course, there is no such thing as Success. Or, if you like to put it so, there is nothing that is not successful. That a thing is successful merely means that it is; a millionaire is successful in being a millionaire and a donkey in being a donkey. I really think that the people who buy these books have a moral, if not a legal, right to ask for their money back.
I had an amazing time making this list. Mostly because I went through all the quotes on each of their Goodreads pages and was laughing all the way through. I’m sure I’ve missed some and do encourage recommendations. Which books make you literally laugh out loud?