Make yourself laugh all the way to The End.
I love reading funny books. Properly funny books. The ones that make me snort and guffaw loudly. The ones that I have to tell everyone about and reread as soon as I reach the end.
The books that make me laugh are a varied bunch. The most recent laugh out loud read was Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, which is a book as brilliantly plotted as it is hilarious. I gifted so many copies of this book, hoping to relive the humour with everyone I bought it for. It’s one of my all-time favourites. As is Shalom Auslander’s audacious Hope: A Tragedy, a book that I know I consistently fail to describe well, despite the fact that I’ve been banging on about it for years. It’s a one-off and I think you just have to read it to understand how funny it is. I also love PG Wodehouse and beam when my partner (a huge Wodehouse fan, too) and I share jokes and riff on characters and their incredibly convoluted ‘pickles’. And I have a huge soft spot for Dav Pilkey’s poignantly comic Dragon books which I read to my children when they were small. We have them in the Italian translation; I've never read them in English. I wonder if the humour comes across differently.
I love reading books where the characters are awkward and make mistakes. When they can’t see what’s in front of their nose. When they are messily human (and messily dragon).
I think my huge love of comic books is one of the main reasons I tend to veer towards humour in my writing. It’s also because I feel very strongly that there just aren’t enough funny books in the world. When I write, not only do I get to work on farcical situations and write comic dialogue – which is always fun, especially acting out the dialogue parts – but I get to spend time with people that amuse me. I’m currently at various stages of three novels that feature characters who make me laugh, even though I’ve written them myself and know the punch lines and the outcome of the comedic set-ups. (Humour is very personal!) It’s wonderful spending time with these funny people.
Even when I intend to write something serious humour always makes its way onto my pages. I write emotionally driven stories with characters who feel a little on the outside but they always laugh at themselves or at their life and hopefully they make the reader smile about life as well.
With humour at the forefront of what I’m writing, I’m always very keen to get to my laptop and create something funny. For me, smiling when I reach The End is what writing is all about.
If you have love funny books, please (please, please) let me know what they are so I can read them too.