Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.
The topic this week is Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud (Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza). There aren’t many books that make me laugh out loud, although plenty make me chuckle or smile. Maybe that’s because most of the books I read are crime or historical fiction.
Gone Fishing by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse is probably the only book recently that has made me laugh out loud – well, actually it was the audiobook, although I have also got the e-book version. But listening to the two of them is so much better than reading the book. I loved the BBC’s Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series, which made me want to get the book. It’s a joint memoir and about life and the love of fishing all rolled into one hilarious laugh-out-loud book.
The rest of the books didn’t make me laugh out loud but made me chuckle or smile and were entertaining.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend. I read this years ago but remember it and the other Adrian Mole books as very funny. ‘Adrian Mole is a hapless teenager providing an unabashed, pimples-and-all glimpse into adolescent life. Writing candidly about his parents’ marital troubles, the dog, his life as a tortured poet and ‘misunderstood intellectual’.
Remembering Sue Townsend’s books made me think of Adrian Plass, who writes really funny books about Christianity and he’s even funnier in person. I went to a talk he gave at a local church and he had the whole church in hysterics. I was laughing so much that tears were running down my face. I can’’t remember any other time when I have laughed so I cried – my face was aching. He hardly ever cracked a smile and delivered his talk in such a deadpan way that made it even funnier. A link to his website is here. He’s written many books, perhaps the most well known is The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass aged 37 1/2 and I think my favourite book is Alien at St Wilfred’s. It’s very funny, about a small alien, calling himself Nunc who comes to live in a parish church and learns to speak Prayer Book English. His effect on the vicar and the congregation is hilarious.
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. When Jerome began writing this book he intended it to be a serious travel book about the Thames, its scenery and history, but, as he wrote, it turned into a funny book. The Thames remains at the centre of the book but it is also full of anecdotes about the events that happened to him and his friends whilst out on the river, interspersed with passages about the scenery and history. It’s a gentle, witty book that kept me entertained all the way through.
Reading The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke was a complete change of genre for me. It’s funny, a bit silly, a pastiche of American gumshoe crime fiction, and a fantasy – indeed it’s a fairytale detective story. I did enjoy recognising all the fairy tale characters Bob Burke throws into the mix.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. It tells the story of Her Majesty, not named, but she has dogs, takes her summer holiday at Balmoral and is married to a duke. She comes across the travelling library, thanks to the dogs, parked next to the bins outside one of the kitchen doors at the palace and ends up borrowing a book to save the driver/librarian’s embarrassment. It’s not a laugh out loud book but it is very amusing and did make me chuckle. My favourite story by Alan Bennett is a novella, The Lady in the Van, the true story of Miss Shepherd who lived in her van in Alan Bennett’s front garden. A sympathetic and amusing account of an eccentric old lady.
Old Filth by Jane Gardam. It’s funny, warm and tells the story of a retired QC. I became very fond of him. Sir Edward Feathers, variously known as Eddie, The Judge, Fevvers, Master of the Inner Temple and Teddy. Not a dirty old man, he is ‘spectacularly clean. You might say ostentatiously clean.’ Filth is his nickname standing for Failed In London Try Hong Kong.
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson – about his trip around Britain in 1995, described as ‘laugh out loud funny’ and ‘a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey.’ I didn’t laugh out loud, but I did find his observations and wit amusing and it did make me smile! I read this years ago and since then I have bought but not read yet The Road to Little Dribbling and Notes from a Big Country.