The Greatest "Contemporary, Humor" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 315 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Contemporary

Contemporary books are a genre that focuses on stories set in the present day, often exploring current social, cultural, and political issues. These books are typically written in a modern style and often feature relatable characters dealing with real-life situations. Contemporary books can cover a wide range of topics, from romance and family drama to coming-of-age stories and thrillers. The genre is constantly evolving to reflect the changing world we live in, making it a popular choice for readers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and issues.

Humor

Humor is a category of books that is characterized by its ability to make readers laugh or feel amused. These books often contain witty dialogue, clever wordplay, and humorous situations that are designed to entertain and delight readers. Humor can be found in a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and graphic novels, and can range from light-hearted and silly to dark and satirical. Whether you're looking for a quick laugh or a more in-depth exploration of the human condition through humor, there is something for everyone in the world of humorous books.

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  1. 1. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

    The novel is a first-person narrative, a monologue by a young Jewish man, Alexander Portnoy, who is speaking to his psychoanalyst. He shares his struggles with his identity as a Jewish man in America, his sexual fantasies and frustrations, his complex relationship with his overbearing mother, and his experiences of guilt and shame. The book uses humor and frank language to explore themes of identity, sexuality, and the Jewish experience in America.

    The 165th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of two friends, a working-class Englishman and a Bangladeshi Muslim, living in London. The story explores the complex relationships between people of different races, cultures, and generations in modern Britain, with themes of identity, immigration, and the cultural and social changes that have shaped the country. The narrative is enriched by the characters' personal histories and the historical events that have shaped their lives.

    The 186th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

    The book follows the lives of two Jewish cousins, one a skilled escape artist and the other a talented artist, before, during, and after World War II. They create a popular comic book superhero, which brings them fame and fortune. However, their success is complicated by personal struggles, including the escape artist's attempts to rescue his family from Nazi-occupied Prague and the artist's struggle with his sexuality. The narrative explores themes of escapism, identity, and the golden age of comic books.

    The 227th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. White Noise by Don DeLillo

    The novel is a postmodern exploration of death and consumerism in the United States. It follows a year in the life of Jack Gladney, a professor who has made his name by pioneering the field of Hitler Studies at a small liberal arts college in Middle America. Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, are afraid of death and are obsessed with finding a cure for their fear. Their lives are disrupted by an airborne toxic event, which forces them to confront their mortality and the toxic effects of modern life.

    The 389th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Money by Martin Amis

    "Money" is a darkly humorous novel that follows the life of John Self, a hedonistic, self-destructive director of commercials, as he navigates the excesses and depravities of 1980s New York and London. His life is filled with overindulgence in food, alcohol, drugs, and women, leading to a downward spiral of self-destruction. The novel is a satire on the excesses of capitalism and the obsession with wealth and materialism, and it also explores themes of identity, self-loathing, and the destructive power of addiction.

    The 420th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

    Set in post-World War II England, the novel centers around a spinster named Mildred Lathbury, who lives a quiet life, devoted to her church and helping others. Her life is disrupted when a young couple moves into her building and she becomes embroiled in their marital troubles. The novel explores themes of societal expectations for women, the role of religion in everyday life, and the complexities of human relationships.

    The 588th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

    "Tales of the City" is a collection of interconnected stories set in 1970s San Francisco, focusing on the lives and experiences of a diverse group of residents living in the same apartment complex. The narrative explores various themes such as love, friendship, sexuality, and identity, providing a vivid snapshot of life in this iconic city during a transformative period of social change. The book is known for its candid portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters and issues, a groundbreaking approach at the time of its publication.

    The 650th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

    The novel centers around a retired doctor's obsession with the life and works of Gustave Flaubert, a 19th-century French writer. The doctor's fascination leads him on a quest to find a stuffed parrot that once belonged to the writer. The novel is a blend of biography, literary criticism, and personal memoir, and it explores themes such as the nature of art and the difficulties of interpreting the past.

    The 680th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

    This novel explores the friendship between a successful writer and his mentor, a once-celebrated poet now living in poverty and mental instability. As the protagonist navigates his own existential crisis amidst a life of material success, he reflects on the ideals of his mentor and the nature of art and personal ambition. The narrative grapples with themes of materialism, the purpose of art, and the spiritual emptiness of modern life.

    The 718th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

    This novel revolves around the life of a record store owner in his mid-thirties who is obsessed with pop culture, particularly music. He has just been dumped by his long-term girlfriend and begins to question his life choices. As he revisits his top five breakups, he decides to get in touch with the exes to find out what went wrong in each relationship. Throughout this process, he learns a lot about himself, his fears, and his shortcomings while trying to make sense of his life.

    The 738th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

    The book is a humorous and touching glimpse into the life and mind of a British adolescent boy, navigating the challenges of teenage life. Written in diary format, the protagonist grapples with everything from acne, unrequited love, school bullies, family issues, and his aspirations of becoming an intellectual. His misinterpretations of the adult world around him, coupled with his overly serious and introspective nature, provide plenty of comedy and make for an endearing and relatable coming-of-age story.

    The 773rd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

    The book is a humorous and honest portrayal of a single woman's life in London. The protagonist, a 30-something year old woman, struggles with her weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption, all while trying to navigate her love life and career. The story is told through her personal diary entries, which include her daily calorie counts, number of cigarettes smoked, and other personal anecdotes. It's a modern take on romantic relationships and self-improvement, with a healthy dose of comedy.

    The 793rd Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Sellout by Paul Beatty

    This satirical novel follows the story of an African-American man living in a small, agrarian town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. After his father's death, he attempts to reinstate slavery and segregation in his town as a means of creating a sense of identity for himself and his community. The novel explores themes of racial identity and equality in America, challenging societal norms and expectations through its provocative narrative.

    The 829th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

    "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" is a collection of seven essays that blends humor, insight, and philosophical pondering. The author explores a wide range of topics, from the impact of television on contemporary literature to the despair of the American cruise industry, and even the nature of David Lynch's films. The book is a brilliant showcase of the author's unique ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, all while using his sharp wit and expansive intellect to explore the complexities of modern life.

    The 1078th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. London Fields by Martin Amis

    The novel is a darkly comic, murder mystery set in London at the end of the 20th century. The story follows three main characters: a terminally ill American writer, a petty criminal, and a beautiful but doomed woman who predicts her own murder but not the murderer. The narrative is filled with satirical social commentary, exploring themes of love, lust, greed, and deception.

    The 1261st Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

    The novel follows a young man living in Manhattan as he tries to navigate his way through the fast-paced and drug-fueled world of the New York City nightlife during the 1980s. He is struggling with his job at a prestigious magazine, his estranged wife who has left him for another man, and his growing addiction to cocaine. As he spirals further into self-destruction, he must confront his problems and make choices about the person he wants to be.

    The 1383rd Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe

    This satirical novel follows the story of the Winshaw family, a wealthy and corrupt British family who have a significant influence on British society in fields such as politics, business, media, and the arts. The narrative is presented through the eyes of a commissioned biographer who is trying to make sense of the family's history and their impact on society. As he delves deeper into the family's affairs, he uncovers dark secrets and becomes entangled in a complex web of deceit and murder.

    The 1437th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Towards The End Of The Morning by Michael Frayn

    The book is a satirical glimpse into the fading world of a British newspaper in the 1960s, focusing on the misadventures of the staff working on the obscure pages dedicated to crosswords and nature notes. As they navigate the mundane and often absurd aspects of their jobs, they confront the looming changes of the industry, personal ambitions, and the comical yet poignant realities of their everyday lives. The narrative is a humorous yet bittersweet reflection on the decline of traditional journalism and the eccentricities of office life amidst the shifting tides of modernity.

    The 1728th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa

    The novel is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young man in Peru who falls in love with his divorced aunt, Julia, while working at a radio station. Their scandalous romance unfolds amidst the backdrop of a chaotic radio station run by a brilliant but unstable Bolivian scriptwriter who churns out daily soap operas. The narrative alternates between the protagonist's real life and the melodramatic world created by the scriptwriter, blending reality and fiction in a humorous and poignant exploration of love and creativity.

    The 1993rd Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Women by Charles Bukowski

    "Women" is a semi-autobiographical novel that explores the chaotic love life of an aging writer. The protagonist, a hard-drinking and crude poet, navigates through a series of relationships with a variety of women, each with their own eccentricities and troubles. The narrative delves into the gritty, often sordid details of these relationships, depicting the protagonist's struggle with his own demons and the complexities of his romantic entanglements. Despite the seemingly bleak tone, the novel is punctuated with moments of raw humor and profound insight into human nature.

    The 2066th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Bad News by Edward St Aubyn

    "Bad News" is the second novel in a series that follows the life of Patrick Melrose, a man from a wealthy but deeply troubled family. In this installment, Patrick, now 22, must travel to New York to collect his father's ashes. As he navigates the city, he struggles with his addiction to drugs and alcohol, and grapples with the traumatic memories of his abusive father. The narrative provides a darkly comic and deeply poignant exploration of addiction, trauma, and the struggle for redemption.

    The 2237th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Some Hope by Edward St Aubyn

    "Some Hope" is a darkly humorous novel that delves into the life of a man who struggles to overcome his traumatic past and drug addiction. He is invited to a lavish party filled with Britain's aristocracy, where he must confront his past and deal with the pretentious and shallow society he is part of. The narrative explores themes of abuse, recovery, and the struggle to find redemption and hope amidst despair.

    The 2318th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. No Laughing Matter by Angus Wilson

    "No Laughing Matter" is a satirical novel that charts the lives of the six children of the Matthews family, from World War I to the 1960s. The narrative is a social commentary on the changing face of Britain during this period, with each child representing different aspects of the British society. The book highlights the family's struggles with their own personal issues, as well as broader societal changes, such as the decline of the British Empire and the rise of modernity.

    The 2823rd Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

    "The Commitments" is a humorous and uplifting tale set in the working-class Northside of Dublin, Ireland. The story follows a group of young, passionate individuals who form a soul band, despite their limited musical experience. The band, managed by two ambitious music enthusiasts, navigates the highs and lows of the music industry, dealing with personal conflicts, romantic entanglements, and the challenges of finding their sound. The book offers a raw and honest perspective on music, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams.

    The 2893rd Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Anagrams by Lorrie Moore

    The novel revolves around the complex relationship between Benna Carpenter, an aerobics instructor and Gerard, a college professor. Benna constantly imagines different scenarios and alternate lives for herself and Gerard, including one where they have a daughter. The narrative structure of the book is unique, with each chapter presenting a different 'anagram' or version of Benna's life, reflecting her chaotic and imaginative inner world.

    The 2975th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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