7 Offbeat Funny Fiction Novels Featuring Quirky Characters

Posted on September 24, 2018

by April S

Welcome to our funny fiction series. We’re highlighting a variety of appeal factors or elements of humorous fiction to help our readers find that next great read (and hopefully a few laughs along the way).

What are you in the mood to read right now? Do you like entertaining books that are less mainstream? If so, you’re in luck, because the books in this blog post feature quirky characters with an offbeat tone.

Exploring Appeal

What are Quirky Characters?

A quirky person is someone who is thought of as unusual – in an interesting way. Quirky characters are typically eccentric and idiosyncratic. They add charm and humor to the stories they appear in and their behavior often ranges from the peculiar to bizarre to whimsical.

What’s an Offbeat Tone?

Offbeat means different from the ordinary, usual or expected. An offbeat tone is conveyed through plot twists, off the wall humor and unique personalities. Books with an offbeat tone include stories that are unconventional or unusual in some way.

Humorous Books to Read

Quirky Characters / Offbeat Tone

1. The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

The book of Polly : [a novel] / Kathy Hepinstall

Ten-year-old Willow Havens resolves to keep up with her aging, crazy-as-a-fox mother in order to keep them both alive and learn the truth about her mother’s long-secret past.

Amazon: 4.6* | Goodreads: 4.04*


Genre: Humorous fiction Characters: Quirky, Sassy Tone: Offbeat Writing style: Engaging

If you enjoyed The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall, you may also like:

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Roseborough by Jane Roberts Wood
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
The Granny by Brendan O'Carroll

2. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen: 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen ; translated by Hester Velmans

The riotous journal of an octogenarian who is far from reaching the end of his life traces a year in his care home in Amsterdam, revealing the ups and downs of his misadventures with the anarchic “Old-But-Not-Dead Club” and a longtime crush whom he courted to devastating effect.

Amazon: 4.5* | Goodreads: 3.88*


Genre: Humorous fiction Characters: Quirky Writing style: Engaging

If you enjoyed The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen, you may also like:

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde

3. The Relive Box: And Other Stories by T. Coraghessan Boyle

The Relive Box: And Other Stories by T. Coraghessan Boyle

A collection of one dozen short stories includes the title piece, in which a “relive box” allows users to re-experience almost any moment from their past, and “The Five-Pound Burrito,” in which a man aspires to make the town’s largest burrito.

Amazon 4.5* | Goodreads 3.69*


Genre: Humorous stories Character: Quirky Tone: Offbeat

If you enjoyed The Relive Box by Coraghessan Boyle, you may also like:

Uncommon Type : Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Viral : Stories by Emily Mitchell
Notwithstanding : Stories from an English village by Louis de Bernieres
100 years of the best American short stories / edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor

4. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world. “New York Times” bestselling author Sophie Kinsella has written her most timely novel yet.

Amazon: 4.4* | Goodreads: 3.81*


Genre: Humorous stories Genre: Romance Characters: Quirky Tone: Offbeat Writing style: Witty

If you enjoyed My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, you may also like:

Britt-Marie was here : a novel / Fredrik Backman
Young Jane Young : a novel / Gabrielle Zevin
Still me / Jojo Moyes
The windfall : a novel / Diksha Basu

5. Swimming With Bridgeport Girls by Anthony Tambakis

Swimming With Bridgeport Girls by Anthony Tambakis

Fired from his ESPN job after one too many public humiliations, a charismatic gambler reevaluates his circumstances while outmaneuvering the police and a murderous bookie, only to receive an unexpected inheritance that triggers his effort to win back his ex in accordance with a misremembered ending of “The Great Gatsby.”

Amazon: 4.3* | Goodreads: 3.59*


Genre: Humorous fiction Character: Flawed Tone: Offbeat Writing style: Engaging

If you enjoyed Swimming with Bridgeport Girls by Anthony Tambakis, you may also like:

Dorothy Parker drank here : [a novel] / Ellen Meister
Then we came to the end : a novel / Joshua Ferris
A Long way down / Nick Hornby
The Last Time I Saw You : a novel / Elizabeth Berg

6. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Izzy Spellman, a twenty-eight-year-old amalgamation of Nancy Drew and Bridget Jones, launches her career as a private investigator while working for the firm of her outlandishly dysfunctional family.

Amazon 4.1* | Goodreads 3.88*


Genre: Humorous Stories Genre: Mystery Character: Quirky Storyline: Character-driven Tone: Funny, Offbeat, Upbeat

If you enjoyed The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, you may also like:

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum novels, book 1
Liar Liar by K.J. Larsen
The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
Dating Dead Men by Harley Jane Kozak

7. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

Dirk Gently's holistic detective agency by Douglas Adams

There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently’s bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.

Amazon: 4.3* | Goodreads: 3.97*


Genre: Science Fiction Genre: Humorous stories Characters: Quirky Tone: Funny Writing sytle: Witty

If you enjoyed Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, you may also like:

How to live safely in a science fictional universe / Charles Yu
The Big over easy : a nursery crime / Jasper Fforde
Space opera / Catherynne M. Valente
The peripheral : a novel by William Gibson

You May Also Enjoy

How to Find a Good Book to Read Includes tips on how to find books you’ll truly enjoy.

Clever With A Side of Sarcasm Books for fans of clever, absurd and sarcastic humor.

5 Funny Fiction Novels Chock Full of Farce and Satire A selection of humorous stories full of farce and satire that are sure to tickle your funny bone.

10 Entertaining Novels That Will Put a Smile on Your Face Novels with light humor and likable characters.

10 Genuinely Funny Funny Fiction Books You’re Sure to Love A variety of funny fiction books – we hope they’ll make you laugh out loud!

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