Books that made us laugh in 2019

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

“I finally got around to reading We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby this year, and I’m so glad I did. This is an extremely funny book – Irby has a sort of cantankerous tone that never fails to crack me up. She’s also very good at writing about bodily fluids and what happens when they go awry.

I also cackled quite a bit at The Witches are Coming by Lindy West. These essays are smart and sensible in many ways, but there is also one that rates every Adam Sandler movie, asking whether any of them were actually funny at all. Another is a hysterical take-down of Gwyneth Paltrow and the bland, beige horror of her wellness empire Goop.”

Ellen Cregan

“Of all the categories of books, picture books are the most likely to trigger belly laughs, and the funniest this year was Brenda is a Sheep by Morag Hood. Contrary to the title, Brenda is not a sheep – she’s a very shady wolf with dinner plans that involve all the real sheep. This is the most delightful and hilarious book to read with kids who will love being in on naughty Brenda’s evil ways.”

Leanne Hall

The Nancys. How a book based around a scalping could make me laugh, I will never know – but it did.”

Rosalind McClintock

Customer Service Wolf is pitched absolutely too perfectly at me personally, and I’ve been following Barnetson’s gloriously rendered sketches of relatable retail life for a long while. I’m stoked that they’re finally collected in one place, and looking forward to keeping this on the counter where I can snicker at this whenever I want. ”

Fiona Hardy

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett was my laugh out loud title for this year. A hilarious and gorgeously well imagined introduction to the world of Tiffany Aching and her adventures. Dare I say, more entertaining and far funnier than Harry Potter.”

Tye Cattanach

“Nina Kenwood’s It Sounded Better in My Head is a gorgeous, tender and funny story about growing up, falling in love and self-acceptance. Her whip-smart dialogue made me laugh out loud multiple times, and one scene was so funny that even thinking about it now makes me smile.

Another book that made me feel more hopeful about the world was Melina Marchetta’s The Place on Dalhousie. Marchetta is a brilliant storyteller and her second work of fiction for adults is emotionally resonant and very heartfelt.

I’m also a big picture book reader and this year two were especially hilarious. In the delightful Brenda Is a Sheep, the nefarious dinner plans of a wolf-in-disguise are thwarted by the sweetness of her prey. And The Sniffles for Bear – in which a curmudgeonly bear suspects his friend mouse is downplaying the seriousness of his illness – so perfectly depicted my own self-pitying misery when I have a cold that I felt a cold chill down my spine.”

Bronte Coates

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The Witches Are Coming

The Witches Are Coming

Lindy West

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