Woman World and Hark! A Vagrant voted onto NPR's 100 favorite funny books list

“We Did It For The LOLs: 100 Favorite Funny Books” / NPR / Petra Mayer / August 20, 2019

The news cycle is driving us to the edge of madness, so why not switch off, unplug and pick up a book? We know you could use a laugh right now — and luckily, several thousand of you told us all about the books, stories and poems that make you laugh. We took your votes (more than 7,000 of them!) and with the help of our panel of expert judges — people so cool and so hilarious I'm surprised they even talked to me — created this list of 100 reads designed to make you laugh out loud. Want slice-of-life essays? Loopy poetry? Surreal one-panel cartoons? Blackly comic novels? Texts from famous literary figures? Scroll down — we've got it all. As with all our reader polls, this is a curated list and not a straight-up popularity contest; you'll see that the books are grouped into categories rather than ranked from one to 100. 

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Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton History and literature (even Canadian history and literature) were never more fun than in Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton's loose, rubbery and incredibly expressive renderings of the Kennedy family, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, and Odysseus encountering Sirens posing with Facebook duck lips will make you laugh for sure — and you might even learn something. (For example, she was way ahead of the rest of us on Rosalind Franklin.)

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal There are grim, dystopian visions of what life would be like if one gender went missing — think Y: The Last Man — and then there's Aminder Dhaliwal's gently goofy Woman World. Human males are mysteriously extinct in her world, and the women really aren't all that worked up about it. Our critic Etelka Lehoczky says their comfortable, uninhibited, matter-of-fact (and occasionally nude) lives make for a "remarkably sly and devastating critique of patriarchy."

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