The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Welcome to our funny fiction series. We're highlighting a variety of appeal factors commonly found in humorous or funny fiction to help our readers find that next great read (and hopefully a few laughs along the way).
Believe it or not, it’s not easy to find a funny book to recommend, because people have different ideas about what’s truly funny. When we’re talking about funny fiction there’s a lot to consider. For the purposes of readers’ advisory, I’ve found that it’s best to start by asking the following questions:
- What was the last book you read that really made you laugh out loud?
- What type of humor do you prefer (farce, satire, observational, situational or anecdotal)?
- What is your favorite writing style (conversational, compelling, engaging, gritty or witty)?
- Do you have a favorite genre (mystery, crime, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, thriller or suspense)?
Browsing popular categories like farce, satire and humorous fiction can help you explore options you may have overlooked.
This blog post features funny fiction novels that fall under farcical fiction and/or satirical fiction.
What is Farcical Fiction?
The exact origins of farce as a genre are debatable. It may have originated during the time of ancient Greeks with the tragicomedy, which were often filled with mocking forms of humor, gags, pranks and wackiness. Farce, as it is known today, with its ridiculous characters and improbable situations, may date back to the Middle Ages. As a way to lighten the mood during more serious plays, interludes featuring far-fetched or absurd comedic storylines were used to entertain the audience. Modern examples of farce may include movies like "National Lampoon's Vacation" or television shows like "Monty Python's Flying Circus."
According to Novelist, "this genre places exaggerated characters into improbable, over-the-top situations for comic effect. Ranging from the charming to the raucous, farce promises lots of laughs."
Learn more about farce:
Farce - Encyclopaedia Britannica
History of Dramatic Farce - Study.com
The Absurd History of the Farce - Theatre Tulsa
What is Satirical Fiction?
The term satire originated from the Latin satura. While Latin authors may have played a key role in developing the genre, the official founder of the Roman genre is Lucilius. Modern examples of satire include films like "Doctor Strangelove" or "Idiocracy," which are chock full of political satire. And let's not forget popular late night talk shows like "The Daily Show" or sketch comedy shows like "Saturday Night Live." Satirical films and television shows like these use biting or mocking humor to bring attention to things that are believed to be ridiculous.
According to Novelist, "these works use humor, sarcasm, or irony to critique society’s flaws -- you’ll find expert purveyors of mockery and social commentary here."
Learn more about satire:
History of Satire - Study.com
Roots of Satire - ThoughtCo.
Satire - Encyclopaedia Britannica
While I do enjoy a good satirical novel, my favorite of the two genres is most definitely farcical fiction. The ridiculous situations make me laugh every time. Hopefully, you'll find that perfect chuckle-worthy book for yourself or someone else by exploring our funny fiction series.
Farcical and Satirical Fiction Novels
1. Noir by Christopher Moore
On the streets of post-World War II San Francisco, a smitten barkeeper and unofficial fixer-for-hire investigates his paramour's disappearance amid a series of weird events involving an unidentified flying object and a mysterious plane crash.
Amazon: 4.5* | Goodreads: 3.86*
If you enjoyed Noir by Christopher Moore, you may also like:
2. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
After his down-trodden hometown is removed from the map of California to save the state further embarrassment, a young man undertakes a course of action to draw attention to the town, resulting in a racially charged trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
Amazon: 4* | Goodreads: 3.77*
If you enjoyed The Sellout by Paul Beatty, you may also like:
3. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk
A timely satire by the best-selling author of Fight Club lampoons the absurdities in society with a depiction of a world where politician warmongering, erupting economic divides and melodramatic doomsday predictions culminate in the rise of a mysterious book that issues directives for the approaching Adjustment Day.
Amazon: 3.6* | Goodreads: 3.27*
If you enjoyed Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk, you may also like:
4. A Little More Human by Fiona Maazel
A mind reader who moonlights as Brainstorm, a costumed superhero, Phil Snyder, a new father whose life is falling apart, soon discovers that even his superpowers won’t help him when he wakes up from a blackout drunk and is confronted with photos of him assaulting an unknown woman. Also available in eAudio from hoopla.
Amazon: 3.6* | Goodreads: 3.18*
If you enjoyed A Little More Human by Fiona Maazel, you may also like:
5. Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Forging a life together after being abandoned by their parents, half sisters Eva and Iris share decades in and out of the spotlight in golden-era Hollywood and mid-twentieth-century Long Island.
Amazon: 3.4* | Goodreads: 3.22*
If you enjoyed Lucky Us by Amy Bloom, you may also like:
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