Top 5 Funniest Books

In which we select a choice assortment of the funniest books ever written.

1. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day is my favourite David Sedaris book, and also the first  I read. Okay, technically I heard it before I read it (on a car tape deck no less) but that’s not the point. I can read, and anyone who says otherwise is a rotten liar man.

No matter which way you choose to swallow it, Me Talk Pretty One Day is ball-achingly funny. “I’ll Eat What He’s Wearing,” (the story of David’s frugal dad, Lou, economising by buying vegetables even Morrissey wouldn’t go near) makes me laugh just to think about. The imagery Sedaris is able to summon in this essay alone is indelible, hilarious and altogether gross; particularly the part where he describes his family wincing at the unnatural silence of his father biting down on a carrot with the consistency of an overcooked hot dog.

2. Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason, by Mike Sacks

Mike Sacks is one of the funniest writers still drawing breath (unless he died while I was writing this, in which case condolences to his family and a basket of delicious muffins for his nearest and dearest). Sacks is a true original with an incredible flair for absurdity. The man is stupid funny.

Like the previous offering, Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason is another collection of short humour pieces, though Sacks doesn’t draw inspiration from his own life as Sedaris does. At least I hope not. That would imply he’d harangued poor Thomas Pynchon to blurb his book, or live tweeted every aspect of his wedding day. Every aspect…

3. Bossypants, by Tina Fey

A woman!

According to the Sunday Telegraph, this book hooked them from the first word. The first word of this book is “Welcome.” Apparently a little bit of politeness goes a long way with the Telegraph. 

Tina Fey is a ridiculously funny human with a magical way with words. She’s able to spin even the most well-trodden of subjects -weight gain, motherhood, turning forty, internet trolls- into goddamn comedy gold. As a matter of fact, the chapter where Fey responds to her online attackers is the real highlight of the book. On top of everything else, you also get to learn how she got that facial scar (spoiler: it’s not in the least bit funny, unlike the rest of the book which is guaranteed to make you snort your cognac over the nearest passing colonel).

4. I’ll Go Home Then; It’s Warm and Has Chairs, by David Thorne

You know David Thorne. You might think you don’t, but you do.

I’ll Go Home Then… is a mish mash of email correspondences, missives and anecdotes with nary a weak offering among them. There’s stuff in this book that will make you sore from laughing. The email chain between Thorne and a co-worker looking to mooch his design expertise for the sake of a missing cat poster is simply one of the funniest things I’ve ever read (and possibly cruelest if you’re unlucky enough to be possessed of a conscience).

5. Mountain Man Dance Moves, by the Editors of McSweeney’s

Mountain Man Dance Moves is a collection of lists. If that doesn’t sound funny then you can forget about coming around my place for tea and crumpets. This book is bonkers funny, and includes lists that will make you laugh with their title alone, such as Eight Reasons Why a Tyrannosaur Caught in a Tornado is a Funny Thing to Think About. My personal favourite is the list comparing the shared characteristics of the singer Shakira to a unicorn as described by the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, which includes the killer line, “Shakira cannot be tamed!”

So what did I miss? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. Just try to keep the race hate to a minimum.


David Bussell has written a collection of 99 funny flash fictions called Bad Endings, which you can get by clicking the cover image below:

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