Books that made us laugh in 2018

Our staff share the books that made them laugh this year.

‘On the recommendation of several great colleagues, I read the graphic novel Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver, which follows the adventures of a young delusional lit-bro as he tries to make it in the scene. Fante is a horrible person, which makes for delightful reading – his high opinion of himself, his work, and what it means to truly be a writer had me giggling pretty much non-stop. If you’re after a funny reflection on the bottom feeders of the literary world, please get your hands on a copy of this book.’

Ellen Cregan

‘Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers has a scene in it at the beginning of the novel that made me laugh so much I cried. It has everything to do with being a woman and menopause and shame. Completely and utterly delightful.’

Chris Gordon

‘With the release of the short-lived TV series breathing down my neck, I finally got around to reading Dietland this year. This brilliantly subversive novel about a woman who gets swept up in an underground terrorist organisation of women determined to upset the status quo was the perfect #MeToo book for 2018. I found it galvanising, heartfelt, and genuinely very funny.’

Lian Hingee

‘Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera gave me many much-needed laughs this year! If you can picture Douglas Adams and David Bowie collaborating on a gender-bent love-letter dedicated to Eurovision, then you’ll be about halfway prepared for this sci-fi romp. Valente’s originality and imagination sparkles off the page, and will leave you feeling a little better about humanity in spite of our many foibles.’

Ele Jenkins

‘It is extremely rare that a book makes me laugh. As author Sheila Heti suggests in a recent interview, reading alone doesn’t tend to lead to laughter. But Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer-winning novel, Less, broke through that natural reserve to have me laughing and crying from page to page. Arthur Less’s tragicomic world literary tour in aid of avoiding his ex-lover’s wedding is just what’s needed for a weekend off – or on a week that won’t end.’

Marie Matteson

‘I absolutely could not stop showing everybody the adorable Puppy Styled – a book of before and after pictures of freshly groomed dogs. Seeing these scruffy pooches turned into mohawk-wearing or side-swept trendsetters made me laugh every time I passed the shelves where it sat. And I’m not even a dog person!’

Fiona Hardy

‘I never fail to laugh somewhere in a Liane Moriarty book, and so was the case with her novel, Nine Perfect Strangers. Moriarty is particularly skilled at capturing a wry truth about the world that will bring a smile to your face, no matter how dark her subject matter.’

Nina Kenwood

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais – I haven’t felt this much Girl Power since I was five-years-old, dancing to the Spice Girls on top of the living room table with a broom-mic. This seriously kooky adventure is driven by the flamboyant, unflappable and utterly one-of-a-kind main character, Mirielle Laplanche. After coming third in the infamous Pig Pageant (yep… it’s as bad as you’re imagining) at her rural French high school, she ropes the other two ‘winners’ into an epic cycling adventure to crash the garden part of the president in Paris. Why? How? You’ll have to read to find out.

One thing I will tell you is that when I finished this book I felt like I had lost my best friends. Piglettes is a novel for young readers but it will appeal to older readers too – I actually gifted it to my grandma. Beauvais deals wonderfully with bullying, social media, body image and learning to embrace your nerdiness.’

Britt Munro

‘I’ve been lucky this year in my reading to have come across a regular slew of funny books. Most simply made me smile, either from happiness or mirth, but four genuinely made me laugh out loud.

Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Less is witty, charming and brimming with joy. Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, is crisp, wryly ironic and occasionally excruciating. Mackenzi Lee’s historical YA novel, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, is flamboyant, romantic and an utter romp. And Patricia Lockwood’s memoir, Priestdaddy, is simply one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for a book to make you laugh, I recommend all four of these ones wholeheartedly.’

Bronte Coates

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Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

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