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  • Writer's pictureTrish Perry

Laughing With a Good Book: British Novels

Girl reading book

Are you a reader who likes to laugh? I don’t read a lot of funny novels, and I honestly don’t know why. I love good storytelling, and I love to laugh. British humor often does the trick for me. So let’s take a look at a few funny British novels. None of these books, by the way, fall within the Christian fiction genre, as far as I know. But God blessed the authors with talent and humor. I pray they privately embraced (or will embrace) His Son and salvation while alive. It would be great to meet them in Heaven.

That said, some I’ve read:

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K. Jerome, is about a boating holiday on the Thames River taken by three friends (and their dog), full of anecdotes and witty observations. Jerome’s sequel, Three Men on the Bummel, is maybe even funnier. The same three men seek adventure from place to place on their bikes, creating and trying to avoid havoc, which manages to find them anyway.

Decline and Fall, by Evelyn Waugh, is a satirical novel about the misadventures of a young teacher at an absurd private school. The characters and dialogue are dryly funny.

Bridge Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding, maybe one that most readers have read or at least have heard of. Poor Bridget, a young woman in her thirties, tries to navigate life, love, and self-improvement, documenting every hilariously painful step in her diary.

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oliver Wilde. This is actually a play in book form. Wilde was a genius at farcical comedy that poked fun at social conventions of late Victorian London. This story features two protagonists who assume the same false personality to avoid social obligations. When “Earnest” is in the same time and place as “Earnest,” confusion and panic ensues. The play provides lot of fun (and a couple of love stories as well).

A couple I haven’t yet read:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is a classic sci-fi comedy following everyman Arthur Dent’s misadventures as he travels through space after the Earth has been destroyed. This book shows up on every list of “funniest novels ever written.” I watched the 2005 movie version, and it was off-the-wall fun.

Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons, is a parody of rural life and melodramatic literature. The protagonist visits her quirky relatives at Cold Comfort Farm in fictional Howling Village, Sussex. The book features eccentric characters typical in romantic literature of the 19th century, all represented tongue-in-cheek. Again, I watched the 1995 movie version of this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So there’s a short list, if you’re in the mood for laughs while reading. If you’ve already read any of the above, or if you do read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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