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By: Unknown

Humour of the North by Unknown Humour of the North

Some day an enterprising editor may find time to glean from the whole field of Canadian literature a representative collection of wit and humour. . . . The present little collection obviously makes no such ambitious claim. It embraces, however, what are believed to be representative examples of the work of some of our better-known writers, many of which will no doubt be quite familiar to Canadian readers, but perhaps none the less welcome on that account.

By: Richmal Crompton (1890-1969)

Just William by Richmal Crompton Just William

William is a mischievous eleven year old who is puzzled by the adult world, which is no less puzzled by him. The humor is gentle and pleasing. The series of books is better known in the United Kingdom than in the U.S. (

By: Chester K. Steele (1862-1930)

Book cover The Diamond Cross Mystery

Colonel Ashley is confronted with a difficult case: The proprietor of a jewelry shop is found murdered, and a valuable diamond cross is stolen. Whodunnit, and how can the Colonel's expertise in fishing help to solve the case?

By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)

The New Swiss Family Robinson by Owen Wister The New Swiss Family Robinson

A parody of its famous predecessor, this short piece was written by Owen Wister for the Harvard Lampoon

By: Anonymous

Irish Wit and Humor by Anonymous Irish Wit and Humor

Excerpted anecdotes from the biographies of Swift, Curran, O'Leary and O'Connell, relating humorous snippets of politics in 18th and 19th century Ireland. For some these may be poignant in addition to being humorous and for others they may be humorous in addition to being poignant. (

By: Joel Chandler Harris (1845-1908)

Book cover Uncle Remus & Friends: 17 Great Stories

Uncle Remus, that genial old storyteller, knows how to spin these wonderful tales about the 'criteers' that the little 6 year old boy (and many of us adults!) love to listen to. Yet the 'Brer Rabbit and 'Brer Fox and the others sound a lot like the people all around us. They tell stories about personalities and faults and virtues in a way that is unique to Uncle Remus. As the shadows grow longer outside, draw up a rocking chair next to the little boy, settle back and listen to the wise old man tell these stories...

By: Carroll Watson Rankin (1864-1945)

The Girls of Gardenville by Carroll Watson Rankin The Girls of Gardenville

It is pleasant to have another book about a group of merry, natural girls, who have the attractions of innocence and youthful faults. "The Sweet Sixteen" Club made fudge, and went on picnics, and behaved just as jolly, nice maidens should. (The Outlook, vol. 82, Mar. 24, 1906)

By: Barry Pain (1864-1928)

Book cover Eliza

A gentle, yet deliciously humourous series of anecdotes following the life of the main character and his wife, Eliza.

By: Richard Marsh (1857-1915)

Book cover Amusement Only

This is a collection of 12 short stories of mystery and humor, which are, as the title says, for amusement only.

By: A. A. Milne (1882-1956)

Book cover The Sunny Side

The Sunny Side is a collection of short stories and essays by A. A. Milne. Though Milne is best known for his classic children's books, especially Winnie The Pooh, he also wrote extensively for adults, most notably in Punch, to which he was a contributor and later Assistant Editor. The Sunny Side collects his columns for Punch, which include poems, essays and short stories, from 1912 to 1920. Wry, often satirical and always amusingly written, these pieces poke fun at topics from writing plays to lying about birdwatching. They vary greatly in length so there is something for everyone.

By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing by Arnold Bennett Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing

Bennett's essays always provide food for thought and bring a wry smile to the lips. Human nature, it appears, changes little over the ages, and Bennett's writing stands the test of time, though in the case of some of the essays in this eclectic collection, it is well to remember that they were written at the time of the First World War and the fight for women's suffrage.

By: Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937)

Philo Gubb, Correspondence-School Detective by Ellis Parker Butler Philo Gubb, Correspondence-School Detective

Philo Gubb, not being content with his job as wallpaper-hanger, has higher aspirations: to become a detective, just like Sherlock Holmes. To that end, he enrolls in a correspondence course, where he gets lessons through the mail as well as the necessary disguises for a detective. Philo Gubb, not being really clever or intuitive, or even looking good in those disguises, gets involved in one case after the other - and sooner or later happens to stumble on and solve the crime... Each of these stories...

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Book cover The Toys of Peace

This is the fifth collection of short stories by Saki (H.H. Munro), and was published posthumously in 1923. Even so, many of the stories are quite up to the standard of those collected earlier.

By: Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

Book cover The Make-Believe Man

Adventure was what our protagonist was looking for, when he boarded the steamer "Patience" for his holiday, and when one has a man with such a vivid imagination like Joseph Forbes Kinney as a travel companion, who seems to find adventures at every turn of the road (and if not, he manufactures them), the two travellers are sure to stumble into trouble...

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Wit and Wisdom of Chesterton by G. K. Chesterton Wit and Wisdom of Chesterton

In this collection, Bevis Hillier has put together some of Chesterton's essays in "The Defandant", "Varied Types" and "Tremendous Trifles". These 12 pieces were chosen to giving a peek into the margins of Chesterton's work and give a sense of the distinctive flavor of his mind. They were also chosen with an eye to showing what a complex and fascinating character he was.

By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Book cover The Hand of Ethelberta

Ethelberta was raised in humble circumstances but became a governess and consequently, at the age of 18, married well. However, her husband died two weeks after the wedding. Her father-in-law, Lord Petherwin, died shortly afterwards. Ethelberta (now 21) lives with her mother-in-law, Lady Petherwin. In the three years that have elapsed since her marriage, Ethelberta has been treated to foreign travel and further privileges by Lady Petherwin but restricted from seeing her own family. The story follows Ethelberta's career as a famous poetess and storyteller...

By: Joel Chandler Harris (1845-1908)

Book cover Uncle Remus Returns

Uncle Remus tells these 11 stories but to the son of the original "little boy" who is visiting his grandmother on the plantation. As always Uncle Remus can be relied upon to provide funny and pointed insight into human personalities through his story telling. These were all published in the Uncle Remus magazine from 1905 and 1906 and gathered together in this book by the author. Note that these stories are reflections of another period in time and some of the language used would definitely be considered rude and/or offensive now. In keeping with the desire to present the text as the author wrote it, nothing has been changed or edited.

By: A. A. Milne (1882-1956)

Book cover Once a Week

A collection of short stories by famed Winnie the Pooh author, A.A. Milne. This charmingly humorous work from Milne's earlier writing period was first published in Punch magazine.

By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The Feast of St. Friend by Arnold Bennett The Feast of St. Friend

In The Feast of St. Friend, a Christmas book, Arnold Bennett shares his views on Christmas as the season of goodwill. As always, Bennett's writing includes some thought-provoking ideas liberally spiced with his wry sense of humour, and as always too, you can barely believe it was written so long ago. This was published exactly 100 years ago, in 1911. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)

By: Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958)

Book cover The Bent Twig

Semi-autobiographical series of incidents in the life of an intellectual American family in the late 19th - early 20th Century as seen by favored daughter, Sylvia Marshall. Her father is an economics professor in a Midwestern state university and she is following in his inquisitive footsteps. Canfield writes this in a matter-of-fact manner with Tarkingtonesque good humor.

By: Cal Stewart (1856-1919)

Book cover Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

A collection of comedic short stories from the perspective of an old country man.

By: George Horace Lorimer (1869-1937)

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son by George Horace Lorimer Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago, familiarly known on 'Change as "Old Gorgon Graham," to his Son, Pierrepont, facetiously known to his intimates as "Piggy." George Horace Lorimer was an American journalist and author. He is best known as the editor of The Saturday Evening Post.

By: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Kathleen by Christopher Morley Kathleen

A group called the Scorpions, eight Oxford undergraduates, find a letter Kathleen wrote a letter to Joe at Oxford. They build up an image of Kathleen and Joe from the letter and set out to find and meet Kathleen. The competition between them leads to many entertainingly funny scenarios.

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Book cover My Discovery of England

"In the course of time a very considerable public feeling was aroused in the United States and Canada over this state of affairs. The lack of reciprocity in it seemed unfair. It was felt (or at least I felt) that the time had come when some one ought to go over and take some impressions off England. The choice of such a person (my choice) fell upon myself. By an arrangement with the Geographical Society of America, acting in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society of England (to both of whom I communicated my proposal), I went at my own expense."And from thence follow the impressions of Canadian political economist and humourist, Stephen Leacock, after a lecturing visit to England.

By: Agnes Repplier (1855-1950)

Book cover In Our Convent Days

With her usual wit and charm, Ms. Repplier recalls her days at Eden Hall, the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Torresdale, north of Philadelphia. She shares the highlights (and some of the low lights) of her time there. Perhaps this sharp eye, nurtured by her willfulness and independent spirit, was the reason she was not invited to return to Eden after her second year. Not only Catholics or boarding school alumnae will find this book entertaining; anyone who went to school or who looks back on their childhood will see their own experience somewhere in this memoir.

By: Imogen Clark

Rhymed Receipts for Any Occasion by Imogen Clark Rhymed Receipts for Any Occasion

In addition to being amusing, recipes written in a poetic form were easy to remember and used as learning tools for the young housekeeper. Many of the poems in this 1912 publication were originally published in Woman's Home Companion, Good Housekeeping Magazine, the Housewife, Table Talk, and the Boston Cooking School Magazine.

By: James Thomson (1834-1882)

Book cover Satires and Profanities

"Believing as I do that James Thomson is, since Shelley, the most brilliant genius who has wielded a pen in the service of Freethought, I take a natural pride and pleasure in rescuing the following articles from burial in the great mausoleum of the periodical press. There will doubtless be a diversity of opinion as to their value. One critic, for instance, has called “The Story of a Famous Old Jewish Firm” a witless squib; but, on the other hand, the late Professor Clifford considered it a piece of exquisite mordant satire worthy of Swift...

By: Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Book cover Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent.

The Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent. (1824) is a compilation of eight humorous and observational letters written by American writer, Washington Irving, under the pseudonym, Jonathan Oldstyle. These eight letters and one additional were first published as a series of "Letters to the Editor" of the New York paper, The Morning Chronicle, between 1802 and 1803. In them Oldstyle skewered the local New York social scene on the topics of etiquette, marriage, fashion, and other particulars of human interaction...

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Book cover Unbearable Bassington

The Unbearable Bassington was the first novel written by Saki (H. H. Munro). It also contains much of the elegant wit found in his short stories. Comus (The Unbearable) Bassington, is a charming young man about town. His perversity however thwarts all his mother’s efforts to advance his prospects and lands him in hot water. Like many a “black sheep” he ends up being sent off to one of the colonies to fend for himself. This book showcases Saki’s wonderful writing and that ability to be so very funny and terribly sad at the same time.

Book cover Unbearable Bassington

The Unbearable Bassington was the first novel written by Saki (H. H. Munro). It also contains much of the elegant wit found in his short stories. Comus (The Unbearable) Bassington, is a charming young man about town. His perversity however thwarts all his mother’s efforts to advance his prospects and lands him in hot water. Like many a “black sheep” he ends up being sent off to one of the colonies to fend for himself. This book showcases Saki’s wonderful writing and that ability to be so very funny and terribly sad at the same time.

By: Anonymous

Jokes For All Occasions by Anonymous Jokes For All Occasions

JOKES FOR ALL OCCASIONSPREFACEThe ways of telling a story are as many as the tellers themselves. It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which any one may perfect himself in the art, but it is possible to offer suggestions by which to guide practise in narration toward a gratifying success. Broadly distinguished, there are two methods of telling a story. One uses the extreme of brevity, and makes its chief reliance on the point. The other devotes itself in great part to preliminary elaboration in the narrative, making this as amusing as possible, so that the point itself serves to cap a climax...

By: George Calderon (1868-1915)

Book cover Cinderella

If you are expecting glass slippers and pumpkin coaches, look elsewhere... This is "a pantomime as Ibsen would have written it, if only it had occurred to him to write one." Set on a "bleak and cheerless heath overlooking the fjord" we meet Ibsenesque heroine Mrs. Inquest, her step-daughter Hilda, and her daughter Hedda, who is engaged to be married to the unfortunate Tesman. Thus begins Calderon's hilarious Ibsenesque version of Cinderella. NOTE from the editor of the volume, published in 1922 after Calderon's death: This play is hardly more than a rough draft, written when the idea was fresh and put aside to be worked on when the right moment should come...


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