The Greatest "Contemporary, Humor" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 '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. 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 247th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. 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 279th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. 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 421st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. 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 440th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. 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 713th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. 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 782nd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. 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 986th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. 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 859th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. 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 1057th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. 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 1156th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. 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 1353rd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. 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 1421st Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. 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 1584th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. 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 2410th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. 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 2530th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. 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 2948th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. 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 3386th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Riders by Jilly Cooper

    "Riders" is a racy novel set in the competitive world of show jumping. The story revolves around a handsome, ambitious protagonist who is determined to reach the top of the sport, even if it means bending the rules. His life becomes complicated when he falls in love with a beautiful woman who is also a talented rider. The novel is filled with passion, rivalry, and the glamorous, high-stakes world of international show jumping.

    The 3704th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Out Of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer

    In this unconventional work, the author grapples with his own writer's block and the overwhelming challenge of articulating his thoughts on a literary figure he admires. Oscillating between a travelogue, memoir, and a study in procrastination, the narrative takes the reader on a journey through various locations and states of mind. The author candidly shares his struggles with the creative process, his distractions, and his personal life, all the while reflecting on the nature of writing and the difficulties of completing a project. The book is as much an exploration of the author's internal landscape as it is an homage to the elusiveness of the artistic endeavor.

    The 5000th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Van by Roddy Doyle

    The Van is a humorous and touching tale of two friends in Dublin, Ireland, who decide to start a fish and chips van business during the 1990 World Cup. The book explores their trials and tribulations as they navigate the unpredictable world of small business, all against the backdrop of Ireland's football frenzy. Their friendship is tested as they experience the highs and lows of their venture, providing an insightful and entertaining look at the human condition.

    The 5023rd Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie

    This novel presents the intertwined stories of two American academics in London. Virginia Miner, a fifty-something, unmarried tenured professor, is in London for a six-month sabbatical to research children's folk rhymes. Despite her work, she increasingly finds herself drawn into a spiraling relationship with a young man from Oklahoma. In contrast, Fred Turner, a young assistant professor in the English department, leaves his wife and children behind in the States to conduct research on John Gay. He finds himself taken up by the very English and very upscale family of a fellow researcher. Their parallel experiences reflect their shared foreignness and alienation in the UK.

    The 5071st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. There But For The by Ali Smith

    There But For The is a novel that explores the interconnectedness of people's lives through the story of a man who locks himself in a room of a house he was invited to for dinner, and refuses to come out. The man's actions cause a media frenzy and bring together four individuals who have links to him, each revealing their own stories and perspectives. The book is a commentary on contemporary life, exploring themes of identity, memory, time, and the nature of connection and disconnection in society.

    The 5377th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Going Native by Stephen Wright

    "Going Native" is a darkly surreal journey through the underbelly of late 20th-century American life. The protagonist, a seemingly ordinary suburban man, abandons his life to embark on a disturbing cross-country odyssey. The narrative unfolds through a series of interconnected vignettes, each exploring a different aspect of American society from the perspective of various eccentric and often dangerous characters. The novel is a disturbing exploration of identity, alienation, and the dark side of the American dream.

    The 5887th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov

    "The Good Life Elsewhere" is a darkly humorous and satirical novel that follows a group of Moldovan villagers who embark on a chaotic journey to Italy in search of a better life. Through their misadventures, the author exposes the harsh realities of poverty, corruption, and the desperate measures people are willing to take in pursuit of a brighter future. With a blend of absurdity and poignant social commentary, the novel offers a compelling exploration of the human condition and the universal desire for a better life.

    The 6108th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

    The book centers around a curmudgeonly widower whose strict routines and grumpy demeanor hide a deep sadness after the loss of his wife. His solitary existence is disrupted when a boisterous young family moves in next door, leading to a series of comedic and heartwarming events that gradually thaw his icy exterior. Through these interactions, the protagonist's past is revealed, and he forms unexpected friendships that give him a new lease on life, showing that even the most steadfast loner can find community and purpose when least expected.

    The 6626th 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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