21 Books To Read When You Need A Laugh, Because We've All Been There

Books have the power to do so many magical things. They can transport you to new and exciting places. They inspire your creativity. They teach you the most important life lessons. Books can make you think, smile, and weep, but the best kind is the ones that can make you laugh.

Sure, it's great to read the tear-jerkers, the thought-provokers, and the literary classics. But sometimes, there's nothing better than setting down to a good book and finding yourself doubled over, laughing aloud. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine, and humorous reads are a great way to fill the prescription. Whether you prefer the real-life antics of a bumbling 20-something or the mishaps of under-qualified detective types, there is a book out there with your name on it.

No matter what kind of sense of humor you have, you'll be able to find something to make you LOL in one of these 21 books.

Image: Tom Tetro/Flickr

'I Was Told There'd Be Cake' by Sloane Crosley

Sometimes, nothing is more hilarious than real life, especially if real life is that of a lost, confused, struggling twentysomething-year-old. Such is the case with Sloane Crosley’s collection of essays, which document the author’s all-too-relatable misadventures being a modern girl in a modern world. From what was supposed to me an innocent trip to a museum to locking herself out of her apartment on moving day, Crosley’s observations about her life might make you feel better about yours.

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'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk

If you thought Hell would be a scary place, think again. OK, Chuck Palahniuk’s version of Hell is dark and twisted. But more than anything, it’s uproarious — a landscape of dandruff and dirty diapers populated with Breakfast-Club-style misfits, infamous bad guys, and outrageous forms of punishment, including but not limited to working as a telemarketer. Raunchy, inappropriate, and just the right amount of nasty, Damned is not a humor novel for those with weak stomachs.

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'Bridget Jones's Diary' by Helen Fielding

You’ve probably seen the movie. But if you haven’t read the book, then you’re missing out on the real hard-hitting humor. The type of book that will make you squirm in your seat and turn red in the face because you’re so embarrassed for someone else, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a ridiculous but accurate portrayal of what it’s like being a woman trying to find love, keep a job, and impress her family. You know, standard stuff.

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'The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl' by Issa Rae

Everybody is a little bit awkward, but Issa Rae proves she is the reigning queen of the uncomfortable in this cringeworthy collection of essays. Self-deprecating but charming, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girlis as funny as it is inspiring. If you need more convincing, check out Rae’s YouTube videos, on which the book is based.

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'Home Land' by Sam Lipsyte

Most of us want to show up to a high school reunion with life figured out — great career, hot partner, perfect kids. But Lewis “Teabag” Miner could not care less. Home Land chronicles Teabag’s uncensored letters to his alumni newsletter, in which he writes about everything from his legwarmer-laden fantasies to his utterly pathetic life. And you thought the townies from your high school were good for a laugh.

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'One for the Money' by Janet Evanovich

One of my favorite fun reads, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels are the kind that actually get you laughing out loud. From gunslinging grandmas to Spandex-clad hookers to hot naked cops to handcuffs in the shower, the larger-than-life mishaps of Stephanie Plum (which now span 21 novels) are worth reading. Just make sure you’re not in the quiet floor of the library when you do it.

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'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)' by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is a genius,. Not only is she smart, feisty, and stylish, but she is also honest and hilarious in the best way. I mean, you’ve seen her Twitter account, right? Part autobiography, part advice column, part observation, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is everything you could want out of a best friend. Er, I mean a humor book.

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'Don Quixote' by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra

The classics can elicit laughter too. And none do it better than the outlandish tale of self-proclaimed knight Don Quixote. Sure, it’s one of the most influential works in Western literature, but a crazy old man mistaking windmills for dragons? You have to admit, that stuff is hilarious.

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'Assassination Vacation' by Sarah Vowell

You know what else can be funny? History. At least, it can be when told by Sarah Vowell, who makes the attempted and successful murders of American politicians a hoot. Factual, bizarre, and maybe a little inappropriate, Assassination Vacation will give you a fun-filled history lesson you won’t learn from any curriculum.

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'I've Got Your Number' by Sophie Kinsella

We all know and love Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, but her stand-alone I’ve Got Your Number shows an even funnier side to her writing. A missing wedding ring, a phone number mixup, and a whole lot of miscommunication make for an unpredictable and riotous series of events in this breezy read.

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'Dear Committee Members' by Julie Schumacher

Your stomach will hurt from laughing by the time you’re through with Dear Committee Members. It’s a novel told in a series of ridiculous, critical, and biting series of recommendation letters from a failed writer and bitter college professor to the admissions committee at his less-than-prestigious college. Smart and witty, Julie Schumacher’s new book is a thing of comic beauty.

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'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' by Junot Diaz

Tragedies have the capacity for humor, and Junot Díaz’s heartbreaking tale of love and loss proves it. Poignant and touching as it is, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is also quirky and fun. I mean, Oscar is out-of-shape, obsessed with sci-fi and fantasy, and falling in love — the perfect formula for a lovable but funny leading man.

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'China Rich Girlfriend' by Kevin Kwan

Kevin Kwan’s crazy Asians are back and more outrageous than ever in this second book featuring Rachel Chu. Scandal, theft, social climbing, family secrets, lovesick billionaires — the hijinks and humor of China Rich Girlfriend will keep you entertained (and keep you laughing) until the very end.

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'Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal' by Christopher Moore

It’s hard to pick just one Christopher Moore book, but Lambis the satirist at his best. Clever and imaginative, it’s Jesus’ missing years as told by his childhood pal, and it’s just as ridiculous as the premise sounds. If you ever wanted to see what Jesus is like drunk, look no further.

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'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde

It may be more than 120 years old, but Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest can still cause all-out belly laughter. Absurd and mocking, it makes the traditions and customs of the Victorian times the butt of all the jokes.

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'Hyperbole and a Half' by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh’s book takes all of the genius of her wildly popular website and packages it into a beautiful, amusing mashup of pictures and words. Honest and heartfelt, yet utterly silly — what more could you ask for?

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'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris

Told by the collective “we,” Then We Came to the End is the hapless, hilarious narrative of office work life. Deadlines, work gossip, and the kind of long chain emails you wish your coworker would stop sending — this is cubicle culture at its finest.

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'Cold Comfort Farm' by Stella Gibbons

If you thought that Paris Hilton in The Simple Life was funny, then Cold Comfort will have you in stitches. A former spoiled socialite is forced to move in with her country relatives after the death of her parents. Hilarity ensues.

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'I Am Not Sidney Poitier' by Percival Everett

“Not Sidney Poitier” is his name. And if that is confusing to you, imagine how Not Sidney feels. While he struggles to survive the social hierarchy of the world he was thrown into following his mother’s death, Not Sidney also has to face the challenges of race, class, and constantly explaining who he is. Save the jokes — he’s heard them all.

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'Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls' by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is another author who can make you laugh with any number of his books, but Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is my favorite. Snarky, witty, sometimes gross, but always thought-provoking, Sedaris’s essay collection will give you all the feels — including the feeling of coffee squirting out your nose because you were laughing too hard.

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'Double Whammy' by Carl Hiaasen

Introduced in Double Whammy, Skink, Carl Hiaasen’s roadkill-eating, shower-cap-wearing hermit, is one of the funniest characters ever written. Filled with a sense of justice but lacking the appropriate amount of morals, Skink is at his best in this adventure through murder and sports fishing. This, folks, is how satire is done.

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