Thursday, March 3, 2011

Literary Book Blog Hop

Literary Blog HopThe Literary Book Blog Hop features book bloggers who focus on books with literary merit. Every week a prompt is presented and bloggers answer it, leaving a link to their post at The Blue Bookcase. This week's prompt is:

Can literature be funny? What is your favorite humorous literary book?

A book can certainly be both serious literature and hilariously funny. Literary books don't even need to confine their humor to highbrow irony; they can be as slapstick as Catch 22 or as sarcastic as Slaughterhouse 5.  It's hard to pick a favorite, but some of great humorous literature that I've reviewed here include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Diary of a Nobody.  I don't think I'd count the Jeeves books as great literature, since they're a bit too light, but I can't let a post like this go by without mentioning Right Ho, Jeeves and Jeeves in the Morning.

If I were to extend the reach to literary short stories, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is quite funny (up until the end), "The Open Window" is a classic short joke, and "Bullet in the Brain" made me laugh out loud. Some literary stories aren't all-out humor writing, but include important elements of humor. Examples include "The Overcoat" (aka "The Cloak") by Gogol, "The Dinner Party" by Joshua Ferris, and "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant. In these stories, humor is used, like in the plays of Shakespeare, to balance out the negative aspects of the stories and make the tragedies that much more tangible.


gautami tripathy said...

Give me P G Wodehouse any day! You mentioned great fun books here!

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

Loni said...

I remember loving Huck Fin as a kid. I should read it again.

Anonymous said...

You listed some great books there. I like that you mentioned that in some of the stories humor is used to balance out the negative aspects.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

HI! Found you on the hop and am now a follower. I agree with you about the Wodehouse books--I mentioned them, too, in my answer.

LBC said...

What an interesting concept for your blog. This is my first visit for the hop.

I've never read any P.G. Wodehouse. Maybe I'll check it out.

See my hop here:

parrish lantern said...

I think that the idea of humour balancing the tragedy is a valid point like light & shade. a fantastic selection of books.

Listener said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

LBC - feel free to pick up the Jeeves series in any order. Right Ho, Jeeves is a great place to start.

gautami - If you're a Wodehouse fan, check out Diary of A Nobody (link in post). It's a under-appreciated comic gem.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I wish you were right, but, no, you are wrong. Literature is never funny. Not even a little bit. It is quite Serious. You would know that if you were really Literary. ;->

Here is my post: