Our humour section is filled with books that contain elements of humour, from hints of smiles and smirks through to full on giggles and guffaws. Do bear in mind though, that while some of these books are pure sunshine and glee, along the way you will meet books that contain all the other emotions too. We’ve included novels from romance, crime, and even horror genres, as well as the more obvious humour tales. A writer who can make you smile and cry in the same book even the same paragraph, is to be treasured indeed. We do realise that humour can be very personal, and what makes one person roar with laughter, will only evoke a raised eyebrow in someone else. So, these are novels that we believe contain some form of humour and even if it lurks in the most unlikely of places, it will be waiting for you.
Brimming with of-the-moment one-liners from two protagonists, Laura Clark’s This Diary (World) Belongs to Molly and Jonny presents pithy observations on the trials, tribulations and tingles of modern life in a slick package - perfect for fans of knowing confessionals in the tradition of Bridget Jones. Meet Dr Molly Beaujolais and Dr Jonathan Nylon, colleagues and office neighbours at a London university. On the surface, they’re very different creatures. While Molly, a lecturer in performing arts and applied theatre, has flung herself into internet dating and enjoys the resulting flings, Jonny, a lecturer in history, is rather more concerned with the subject of medieval diseases and has little luck when it comes to love and lust. That is, until Molly catches his eye, and expands his horizons. Not that she’s necessarily aware of her impact… Will they? Won’t they? As their respective diary entries play out against a backdrop of Brexit and the 2019 election, their story takes unexpected turns, much like the course of many relationships (and Brexit negotiations).
When school teacher Rose loses her dream job at a London primary school, her self-confidence takes a knock. Worse still, her stockbroker fiancé, Ollie, sees it as the perfect opportunity for her to join his firm, which only adds to the feelings Rose has that their relationship might be coming to an end. An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt who’s taken a fall, means Rose must drop everything – including Ollie - and return to Blossom Heath, the Sussex village she grew up in. With no job to rush home to, Rose decides to stay in Blossom Heath for the Summer, trading London for the idyllic countryside. Here Rose finds herself reconnecting to the village life of her childhood in more ways than one, including falling head-over-heels for local farmer, Jake. So when her London life comes calling, Rose is faced with an impossible choice… to return to the high-pressure life of her past, or embrace the joy of a new life in the country. Bursting with romance and charm, Always By Your Side is the perfect uplifting Summer read for fans of The Switch and Rescue Me, from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction.
Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STAEDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She's hard-working, obsessive and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It's been years since she's let anyone in. But when Ava's new boss - the young and magnetic Mat Putnam - offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up - and, despite her hesitancy, she starts to fall for him. But what if Mat isn't who he claims to be? The Very Nice Box is a darkly comic and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its gripping finale. It's at once a satire of toxic masculinity and a big-hearted account of grief, friendship and trust.
Clive Hapgood is feeling stuck. The private school he teaches at is consuming his life, no thanks to wretched headteacher Julian Crouch. The gentle country life Clive envisaged has stifled him and left his marriage on the brink. What he needs is a holiday - something to remind him and Helen what life used to be like. But when things don't go to plan, and an incident at school begins to weigh heavy on his head, Clive's life starts to unravel in front of him. Has he got it in him to turn things around, whatever the cost? After all, it's his own time he's wasting... Wonderfully funny and often moving, this brilliant novel by star of The Durrells and Would I Lie To You? Miles Jupp is set to be the stand-out book of the summer.
The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?
The irresistible new novel by the Booker-longlisted author Ned Beauman - a darkly funny and incisive zoological thriller for the age of Extinction Rebellion. The venomous lumpsucker is the most intelligent fish on the planet. Or maybe it was the most intelligent fish on the planet. Because it might already be extinct. Nobody knows. And nobody cares. Except for two people. Mining executive Mark Halyard has a prison cell waiting for him if that fish has gone for good. And biologist Karin Resaint needs it for her own darker purposes. They don't trust each other, but they're left with no choice but to team up, pursuing the lumpsucker across the strange landscapes of near-future Europe. On the way, they are drawn into a conspiracy far bigger than one ugly little fish. Gripping and singular, Venomous Lumpsucker is a comedy about environmental devastation that asks: do we have it in us to avert the tragedy of mass extinction? And also: do we really need to bother?
Stories do not have to be long. In the space of a couple of sentences - or even a page or two - we may see the human heart exposed in a way that is more powerful than occurs in many much longer narratives. In Tiny Tales Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness and happiness in thirty short stories that range in length from the short to the minuscule. The settings are as diverse as the characters - Scotland, England, Australia, the United States - combining to create a rich and surprising tableau. An Australian pope?. A persuasive cosmetic surgeon? The world's laziest cat. A group of students living together and getting romantically entangled? All human and animal life is here - in miniature. These stories are inspired and accompanied by the thirty magnificent strip Tiny Tales created by McCall Smith and illustrated by the brilliant Iain McIntosh - each cartoon a little gem of observation.
Written by the co-creator of TV hit How I Met Your Mother, Carter Bay’s The Mutual Friend is an original, thought-provoking debut that captures the complex webs of modern living and loving with heart, humour and a whole lot of meaningful observations. Behind the huge cast of characters is a backdrop of two lived worlds – one physical, the other lived through phone screens, and this sets the stage for a multi-layered story that plays out against this duality of modern life – the Age of Distraction. It’s the summer of 2015 in New York, and 28-year-old Alice is determined to finally make something of her life. After enrolling to take the MCAT exam that’ll set her on a path to becoming a doctor, she resolves to accept no distractions. But the problem is, everything is a distraction, not least her unruly new roommate and the possibility of love. Meanwhile, Alice’s hugely wealthy brother is setting out on a spiritual journey, with the narrative perspective jumping back and forth many times over. Indeed, one of this novel’s defining characteristics - and triumphs - is how it skips points of view. While this is a little disorienting to begin with, it’s not long before this structure feels right. Characters pop on and off the page as they do in life, with deep, idiosyncratic human connections revealed alongside satirical commentary on what it means to live online, and through social media. Moreover, this structure also cleverly exposes and subverts its subject matter through jumpy distractions that demand attention.
Kiki Banjo is an expert in relationship-evasion. In fact, she has made it her mission to protect the women of Whitewell University from the dangers of players and heartbreak, supplying advice, tips and essentials to paying men no mind on her student radio show, Brown Sugar. And then Kiki meets distressingly handsome newcomer Malakai Korede, who threatens to tear apart the community of women she's fought so hard to protect. Kiki publicly declares Malakai the 'Wasteman of Whitewell' on Brown Sugar and brings a stop to her girls chasing his attentions. But when she and Malakai suddenly find themselves shackled into a fake relationship to salvage their respective reputations and save their academic futures, she is in danger of falling for the very wasteman she warned her sisters about. With her heart compromised and defences weakened, Kiki has to learn to open herself up to the perils of love... and face up to a past that forced her to close down in the first place. A funny and sparkling debut, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.
Heralding the arrival of a new, crisply lyrical voice in fiction, devotees of novels that centre women’s experiences with wisdom and fresh, thoughtful perspectives will find Tomi Obaro’s Dele Weds Destiny debut utterly un-put-down-able. It follows the interlocked lives of Zainab, Funmi and Enitan, who first meet as students at university in northern Nigeria. Bound by this seminal experience, a time when all three young women made huge leaps in discovering who they were, their lives diverge on different paths around the world, and they’re now reunited at the wedding of Funmi's daughter, Destiny, with each character brilliantly nuanced. As for those divergent paths, which we follow alongside the 2015 context of Destiny’s wedding, Funmi lives in luxury as the wife of a big businessman, New York-based Enitan is separating from her husband (a white man she eloped with), and Zainab is a single mother to four sons. As seen during their reunion, the women exemplify tremendous differences in status and experiences, and yet their connections still hold, with their daughters further revealing generational connections and divergences that ring with universal truths about life, experiences of friendship, and what it means to feel at home.
A ravishing riff on the real-life relationship between writer George Sand and composer Frédéric Chopin, Nell Stevens’ Briefly, A Delicious Life glows with Mediterranean heat, avant-garde verve, and a yearning that burns. Set in 1838, and narrated by Blanca, the ghost of a witty, whip-smart fourteen-year-old girl who died in a Mallorca monastery in 1473, this character-driven charmer is suffused in beauty, and casts a captivating spell. Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her children have travelled to a monastery in Mallorca to convalesce and create. Sand is a striking woman in man’s clothes, whose arrival incites a stir on the island as it stirs Blanca’s heart and desires. As the unconventional couple struggle with the villagers’ judgements, and to find creative satisfaction, Blanca recounts her story, her experiences of falling for the beauty of women. And now she’s in love with Sand, who doesn’t know she exists, and cannot reciprocate. This wildly inventive scenario plays out ingeniously — though outlandish, through Blanca’s age-old wisdom and youthful spirit, and through the visual, sensual language, it feels real. We see and sense flurries of birds and leaves. We feel the prickle and heat of flesh and the sun. What a moving, magical, hauntingly memorable story.
Of the many books birthed in the pandemic, Lily Lindon’s Double Booked is perhaps one of the funniest. Dubbed a queer romcom, the book is also a coming-of-age story for those who’ve outgrown their teens and are well on the way to adulthood. It makes Double Booked a refreshing take on self-discovery, a subject normally the preserve of the very young. We follow Gina as she takes on another self, George, in an attempt to live two different lives. Alongside the funnies is plenty of fizz. There’s an infectious energy to Lindon’s writing and every pages brims with real-life chat/goss/angst/love. As an editor working in publishing and someone who honed her comedic chops at Cambridge’s famous Footlights, the author is somewhat ‘double booking’ herself – and it’s paid off wonderfully. The LoveReading LitFest invited Lily Lindon to the festival to talk about Double Booked. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.