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Read ‘Em & Laugh: A Sparkler’s Guide to Funny Books

With a name like banana_shortcake, we figured this Sparkler would know her way around funny books. Turns out we were right. —Sparknotes editors

Presenting: The best of side-splitting literature:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Oh my goodness gracious. This book is hilarious, but ONLY if you’ve read the actual Pride and Prejudice. The more you love Jane Austen, the funnier it is. I bought it this summer and read it with my friend, and we almost peed our pants. (Don’t read this if you are a literary purist who can’t take a joke, though). It includes zombies, ninjas, and *gasp* a kicking and punching fight scene between Lizzy and Darcy.

Letters from a Nut: Ted L. Nancy is an extremely creative man who wrote ridiculous letters to hotels, companies, and the King of Tonga, then published the letters in a book, along with the responses he received. It’s fantastic (I started giggling after the first few sentences), and it’s short! You can read a pair of letters while you wait for all the slowpokes who haven’t finished their precalculus quiz yet.

The Phantom Tollbooth: I realize this book is at about a 4th or 5th grade reading level, but it’s so darn clever! If you are even a little bit of a nerd, you will enjoy reading this, because most of the characters and places are based on witty puns.

The Vicar Of Nibbleswicke: This novel by Roald Dahl is only about 50 pages, and it is SO FUNNY. The vicar has a disease that, unbeknownst to him, makes him turn some of his words around backwards, so the sermons and conversations are hilarious. Roald Dahl has also written some fantastic short stories for adults that are funny in a darker, often morbid way. I love “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “Vengeance is Mine, INC,” and “William and Mary.” (These last two just happen to be reputable pieces of literature that you can use for a book report. :D)

Northanger Abbey: Jane Austen books always have funny moments, but Northanger Abbey was written to poke fun at the conventions of commercial fiction in her day. If you ever get frustrated at stereotypical or formulaic fiction, you will love it. Plus, the heroine is a teenager, which means you can relate to her struggles easily.

Candide: Before I read it, I thought Candide was a philosophy book.  Imagine my happiness and surprise when I found myself laughing aloud at Voltaire’s acerbic satire! One of my favorite parts involved an old woman telling Candide about her adventure with cannibals, which left her with only one butt cheek.

What funny books would you add to this list?

Related post: Summer Reading: Not all that Lame

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