Need new comedy books to put on your list? We’ve got em in our 2014 Comedy Summer Reading List! Summertime means outdoor grilling, trips to the beach, road trips and poolside sitting. And summer reading is a mandatory part of all of those things. Let us help you find some great comedy books to take along with you all summer long. This year we are celebrating 42 of the funniest, smartest, and most interesting books that have comedy as a component. A few books written by your favorite comedians, novels from some of the world’s funniest writers past and present, and a few quirky off-beat options thrown in.
Read great books! Support independent booksellers!
All of this years picks were chosen by Liberty Hardy, owner and operator of RiverRun Bookstore, in Portsmouth New Hampsire. Support great authorship by picking your summer reads this year from this great list, and support local independent booksellers by ordering them from our friends at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth New Hampshire. For 12 years RiverRun has been bring great reads, great events, and recommendations to the readers of Portsmouth. RiverRun also hosts amazing author events with incredible guests like David Sedaris, Gloria Steinem, and Mike Doughty.
Liberty Hardy’s Perfect Comedy Summer Reading List: 42 Books
Witty dark comedy about the soldiers in Iraq during the war who were not fighting but instead working desk jobs. Based in part on the author’s own time in Iraq. Perfect for M*A*S*H fans. Order Fobbit by David Abrams from RiverRun Booksellers
Science fiction silliness filled with intergalactic space travel, chronically depressed robots, alien ex-hippies, and the answer to everything. Douglas Adams left us way too soon. Order The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams from RiverRun Booksellers.
My personal hero, this is one of Barry’s newer collections, humorous essays making a case for not growing up as we age. Order I’ll Mature When I’m Dead by Dave Barry from RiverRun Booksellers
An avant-garde set designer in the 1930s Berlin, whose unrequited love for a girl named Adele Hitler (no relation) leads him to have zany adventures in Paris and Los Angeles. Worth it for the iguana scene alone. Order The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beaman from RiverRun Booksellers.
Brosh hilariously illustrates tales from her own life, both old and new. My favorites are “The God of Cake” and anything involving her dogs. Order Hyperbole and a Half from RiverRun Booksellers.
A memoir by one of our undisputed comedic geniuses, Carlin was working on this book up until his death. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up without Carlin. Order Last Words by George Carlin from RiverRun Booksellers.
Colbert’s talk show swagger routine put to page, touting the “Americeptional”-ness of the United States. Order America Again by Stephen Colbert from RiverRun Booksellers
A small comedian with a big heart, Conway recounts funny stories from his life, including his time on The Carol Burnett Show. Order What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life by Tim Conway from RiverRun Booksellers.
One of our favorite funnymen sharing tales from the funnybiz. Does anyone else think it’s a crime that Billy Crystal ages. Order Still Foolin Em by Billy Crystal from RiverRun Booksellers.
The tsar of self-deprecation, and master of overindulgence, Dangerfield talks about his road to stardom, and the wild times he had Order It’s Not Easy Being Me by Rodney Dangerfield from RiverRun Booksellers.
The witty Twitter green-Speedoed phenom proves that he’s not just another pretty 140 character face. Order Rob Delaney by Rob Delaney from RiverRun Booksellers
Forever in our hearts as Liz Lemon, Fey recounts her dream of growing up to be a comedian. From her childhood in Pennsylvania to college to SNL and 30 Rock, she is unfailingly funny and smart. That cover image is super-creepy, though. Order Bossypants by Tina Fey from RiverRun Booksellers
Did you know Jim Gaffigan has five kids?! That amounts to a book filled with endless bits of hilarious material. Children are comedic gold. It’s like he’s breeding comedy routines. Order Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan from RiverRun Booksellers
Yes, this was a Twitter account first, and yes, the television show of the same name did not do well, even with The Shatner, but this book is really funny. Halpern collects his father’s pearls of wisdom, such as “Sometimes life leaves a hundred-dollar bill on your dresser, and you don’t realize until later it’s because it fucked you.” Order Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern from RiverRun Booksellers.
One man attempts to reach literary fame, with funny consequences. If for no other reason, read this to learn how to not behave at your ex’s wedding. Really, really.
A wonderful biography of one of the best. It makes me so sad to think that children are now growing up not knowing about Richard Pryor. Parents, please fix this. Order Furious Cool from RiverRun Booksellers.
One of my favorite comedians, Bill Hicks roused as many tempers as he did laughs with his humor. (Google his Goatboy piece for a taste.) Love him or hate him, he’s cited as a huge influence by a lot of today’s young comedians. Order Love All the People: The Essential Bill Hicks from RiverRun Booksellers.
I only recently read this classic novel from 1889, and am sad that I went so long without it in my life. It’s a laugh-out-loud account of three ne’er-do-wells who take a boating holiday in England. Cannot recommend it enough. Order Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome from RiverRun Booksellers.
Jones has taken advantage to recent technology to take screenshot captures of phone text conversations with his “dog.” Hilariously filthy and funny and full of great four-letter words. Order Texts from Dog by October Jones from RiverRun Booksellers.
Utterly delightful memoir about Kaling’s nerdy childhood, her off-Broadway play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, her time on The Office, and more. Order Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? from RiverRun Booksellers.
Klam is one of the funniest writers working today, and also a champion of rescue dogs. In this book, she talks about her beloved Boston Terriers, and all the crazy things that come with owning a dog, or five. I seem to remember there was a bit with a squirrel that made me snort Diet Coke out my nose. Order You Had Me at Woof from RiverRun Booksellers.
Lawson is better known by her Internet nom de plume, The Bloggess. In this, her first book, she talks about things like growing up in Texas with a taxidermist father, the crazy things she dealt with when she worked in HR at a large company. Order Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson from RiverRun Booksellers.
The first of three hilarious midlife crisis novels on this list, The Ask is about a man trying to make ends meet for his family by taking on a series of strange jobs. This book is the source of one of the greatest sentences in the English language: “I don’t give a slutty snow monkey’s prolapsed uterus what your office politics are.” Order The Ask by Sam Lipsyte from RiverRun Booksellers.
Magary’s refreshingly honest take on parenting and raising a family in the 21st century. His novel, The Postmortal, is also a must-read. Order Someone Could Get Hurt from RiverRun Booksellers.
A great American road trip novel, in which a man agrees to go on a zany trip across the country at the request of his ailing father. More peopel should know about this book. Order Handling Sin by Michael Malone from RiverRun Booksellers.
Biff tells of the adventures he has with Jesus before his rise to fame as the son of God, which include drinking and sex (on Biff’s part), demons, and kung fu. And if you like your funny a little bawdier, check out Moore’s novel “Fool.” Order Lamb from RiverRun Booksellers.
The smartest webcomic going, period. (Who needs drawing skills when stick figures beautifully illustrate your point?) Order xked: volume o by Randall Munroe from RiverRun Booksellers.
A frustrated writer deals with his soul-sucking corporate job and failing marriage, while trying to get out from under the shadow of his famous author father. Despite that description, it’s really funny, I promise. Order Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman from RiverRun Booksellers.
One of the greatest gifts the internet has offered up, this is The Oatmeal’s most recent collection of hilarious and wonderfully disturbing comics. Order Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants from RiverRun Booksellers.
Offerman, who plays manly-man Ron Swanson on “Parks & Recreation” offers up some manly advice interspersed with stories of his own life. Order Paddle Your Own Canoe from RiverRun Booksellers.
People (ie, people under the age of, oh, let’s say forty) often forget that Martin was a wildly successful stand-up comedian before he was a huge movie star. This is his own account of his rise to fame. Order Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin from RiverRun Booksellers.
A collection of unusual facts you’ve probably never thought much about, from the country’s leading satirical news site. Order The Onion Book of Known Knowledge from RiverRun Booksellers.
Charles Portis is one of the greatest American writers (he wrote a little thing you may have heard of called True Grit) and this is his funniest novel, about a man who starts a religion based on a book supposedly from the lost city of Atlantis. Order Masters of Atlantis from RiverRun Booksellers.
The king of comedic essays returns with more tales from his everyday life, told with the wit and perfect timing that has made him famous. Order Let’s Explore Diabetes from RiverRun Booksellers.
A glimpse backstage at one of the longest-running shows on television. Lots of interesting gossip and trivia, and a recurring theme through the show’s years: Everyone thinks Chevy Chase is an asshole. Order Live From New York by Tom Shales from RiverRun Booksellers.
Silverman, one of the nation’s top comics, is frank and filthy in this memoir filled with embarrassing anecdotes and photos. Order The Bedwetter from RiverRun Booksellers.
A teenage boy battles his hormones and giant bugs as man-eating praying mantises threaten to overrun his hometown. Labeled for young adults, but awesome for all ages. Well, not young kids. It’s a little raunchy. Order Grasshopper Jungle from RiverRun Booksellers.
Tyler, a stand-up comedian, talk show host, and actress, smartly doubles her jokes and anecdotes by including footnotes on almost every page. Order Self Inflicted Wounds from RiverRun Booksellers.
All of Vonnegut is wonderful and weird, possibly this one most of all, concerning a teenage boy who accidentally takes a life, combined with the eradication of most of the country. “But…that doesn’t sound funny,” you say. Ah, but when Vonnegut does it, it is. Bonus points: Watch Vonnegut’s cameo in the Rodney Dangerfield film, Back to School. Order Deadeye Dick by Vonnegut from RiverRun Booksellers.
The beginning of this book, where the main character goes out for milk and ends up stoned with a bunch of kids, sets the tone of the novel, about a man trying to keep his life from falling apart, with often disastrous results. Order The Financial Lives of the Poets from RiverRun Booksellers.
Wooo, boy, should everyone read Chuck Wendig! He is funny, profane, and hella talented. This is the first in a series, about a foul-mouthed woman named Miriam Black who has the ability to see how people will die. Come for the awesome story, stay for the wild hijinx.
Author Whitehead documented his time competing in a Las Vegas poker tournament. His humor is often so subtle and sharp, you often don’t even know it has happened until you realize you’re bleeding. Order The Noble Hustler from RiverRun Booksellers.
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