22 March 2022

Books that made me laugh Part 1



Eighteen eighty nine. The Nineteenth Century. And we're in the twenty-first. How can a book so old make me laugh? A hundred and thirty years have passed since it was written and it seems that everything has changed. So, why is it still very very funny?

My answer is that human nature hasn't changed very much at all. Our environment, the way we conduct our everyday lives and the availability of information are very different to the 1880's but people remain people. And humour remains a constant.

It's also heartening in this world of TikTok that books also endure. The written word still provides us with news and entertainment. As a writer, you'll expect me to tell you that nothing beats a good book. So, that's what I'm telling you. Books remain the only way of putting ourselves inside someone else's head. And this is important. Everyone is doing their best, whether we recognise it or not. We can only play the hand that we're dealt. Being party to the thought processes of others is an important route to compassion.

This book is, in the words of the blurb, 'a timeless classic'. More than that, it is laugh out loud hilarious. A remarkable feat that so many aspire towards but fail. Here's the link:


I challenge you to read the first page and not be amused. The bit where he researches diseases at the library mirrors what we all do on the internet these days. He comes to the conclusion:

"I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got."

Next time I'll mention a much more recent book that still makes me laugh. We'll fast forward to 1979!