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By: Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826-1889)

Book cover Family of Noblemen

Meet the Golovliovs, the ultimate dysfunctional family. In the difficult transition years before and after the liberation of Russia’s serfs, the Golovliovs are a gentry family ill-equipped to face the adaptations necessary in the new social order. Petty, back-biting, greedy, rigid, ignorant, and cruel, their personalities are captured in the array of nicknames they themselves give each other: The Hag, Little Judas, Simple Simon, Pavel the Sneak, the Orphans, the Blood-Sucker. They hate each other ferociously and utterly despise the peasants around them, who are gradually awakening to the potentialities of their new freedoms...

By: Molière (1622-1673)

Book cover School for Husbands

In 1661 and 1662 Moliere presented the plays The School for Husbands and then The School for Wives. "The central situations of the two have much in common: the arbitrary and jealous lover to whom circumstances have given almost the authority of a husband: the simple ward rescued from physical constraint by the unfettered cunning of love." In between writing the two plays he got married. Listen to both and see if this comedic genius of the farce changed his attitude. - Summary by ToddHW and The Translator Cast...

Book cover School for Wives

In 1661 and 1662 Moliere presented the plays The School for Husbands and then The School for Wives . "The central situations of the two have much in common: the arbitrary and jealous lover to whom circumstances have given almost the authority of a husband: the simple ward rescued from physical constraint by the unfettered cunning of love." In between writing the two plays Moliere got married. Listen to both and see if this comedic genius of the farce changed his attitude. - Summary by ToddHW and...

Book cover Impromptu of Versailles

The setup here is that Moliere and his troupe have been sent for by the King to come perform at Versailles. But instead of the piece they had prepared, the King has just asked for an entirely new piece - to be ready later that same day! So all the action of the play takes place backstage as Moliere has to come up with a story and the troupe has to select and prepare roles in a mad panic. Many of the comments in the banter between actors concern personages from Moliere's time - we don't necessarily know them but the biting of the satire still comes clearly through...

By: Montague Glass (1877-1934)

Book cover Abe and Mawruss: Being Further Adventures of Potash and Perlmutter

Montague Glass was a lawyer who eventually abandoned the practice of law to write full time. He wrote a series of stories in the New York Post about a pair of popular characters in the predominantly Jewish garment trade. Many of the plots were derived from trade problems he saw as a lawyer. This is the second book of the collected stories; his Potash and Perlmutter stories were also made into stage plays and even movies that were very popular in their time. - Summary by ToddHW

By: Nathan Dane Urner (1839-1893)

Book cover Never: A Handbook For The Uninitiated And Inexperienced Aspirants To Refined Society's Giddy Heights And Glittering Attainments

An 1883 tongue-in-cheek spoof of manners and mannerisms of “society”. ‘the “Open Sesame” to that jealously-guarded realm,—good society,—in which you aspire to circulate freely and shine with becoming luster…. And I, the author of this code of warnings, as truly say unto you, that a contemptuous disregard of the same will be likely to lead you into mortification and embarrassment, if not into being incontinently kicked out of doors…. It will be, in truth, a bosom companion in the happiest sense of the term, a mutely eloquent monitor of deportment, a still, small voice as to what is in good form and what is not.’ - Summary by Book Preface and david wales

By: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol Dead Souls

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer, was first published in 1842, and is one of the most prominent works of 19th-century Russian literature. Gogol himself saw it as an “epic poem in prose”, and within the book as a “novel in verse”. Despite supposedly completing the trilogy’s second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne’s Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form. In Russia before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, landowners were entitled to own serfs to farm their land...

By: Noah Lott

Book cover The Silly Syclopedia

A Terrible Thing in the Form of a Literary Torpedo which is Launched for HILARIOUS PURPOSES ONLY. Inaccurate in Every Particular Containing Copious Etymological Derivations and Other Useless Things by Noah Lott (an ex-relative of Noah Webster)

By: Norman Lindsay (1879-1969)

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay The Magic Pudding

Bunyip Bluegum the koala sets out on his travels taking only a walking stick. At about lunchtime, feeling more than slightly peckish, he meets Bill Barnacle the sailor and Sam Sawnoff the penguin who are eating a pudding. The pudding is a magic one which, no matter how much you eat it, always reforms into a whole pudding again. He is called Albert, has thin arms and legs and is a bad-tempered, ill-mannered so-and-so into the bargain. His only pleasure is being eaten. The book is divided into four "slices" instead of chapters. (Introduction by Wikipedia)

By: O. Henry (1862-1910)

Book cover Gentle Grafter

If Jefferson "Parleyvoo" Pickens had appeared in print just a few years later, he might have been the "Gentle Grifter" instead of the "Gentle Grafter", the name O. Henry picked for him. His situation as an ethical graft artist gives Jeff an extra impediment in pursuing his craft, but he never wanted it to be too easy. The result is fourteen delightful tales for us and a number of new partners for him. With those partners (he always has at least one) he works his way through a number of confidence games...

Book cover O. Henryana

A book of poems and short stories. - Summary by Fritz

By: Oliver Herford (1863-1935)

This Giddy Globe by Oliver Herford This Giddy Globe

Is there a genre called FUN? Yes, and this is it! Insanely humorous geography that will have you rolling on the floor laughing with your sides hurting.

By: Oliver Onions (1873-1961)

Book cover Compleat Bachelor

George Oliver Onions (1873 – 1961) was a British writer of story collections and over 40 novels…. Onions wrote detective fiction, social comedy, historical fiction and romance novels. This social comedy of late Victorian England is among his first published materials. Rollo Butterfield, the compleat bachelor, looks upon his family and friends with an affectionate, gently humorous eye.

By: Oliver Wendell Holmes

The One-Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes The One-Hoss Shay

This is a small collection of whimsical poems by the American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. "The Deacon's Masterpiece" describes the "logical" outcome of building an object (in this case, a two-wheeled carriage called a shay) that has no weak points. The economic term "one hoss shay," referring to a certain model of depreciation, derives its name from this poem. "How the Old Horse Won the Bet" is a lighthearted look at a horse race. Finally, "The Broomstick Train" is a wonderfully Halloween-y explanation of how an electric tram really works.

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Le Gallienne) - Version 2

One of the greatest works of poetry in history, this lyric poem presents the deep feelings and emotions of the poet on subjects such as life, death, love, God and destiny.

By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde The Canterville Ghost

An American diplomat's family moves into an ancient stately mansion. They're warned by the owner that it is haunted by a most horrifying and gruesome spirit who had once cruelly murdered his own wife. The story progresses with creaking floor boards, mysterious passages, dark attics, clanking chains, and weird howling. Yet, the reader is totally unprepared for Oscar Wilde's brand of tongue in cheek humor as he takes all the ingredients of a traditional ghost story and turns it on its head, and creates a hilarious parody instead of a morbid saga! The Canterville Ghost was the first of Oscar Wilde's short stories to be published...

Aphorisms by Oscar Wilde Aphorisms

In 1894, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) published two short collections of aphorisms: “A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated”, in the Saturday Review newspaper, and “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young”, in the Oxford student magazine The Chameleon. By turns witty, intellectual, counter-intuitive and obtuse, the collections came to be seen by many as emblematic of Wilde’s style, and countless collections of Wildean aphorisms have since been published.

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: P. G. Wodehouse

The Adventures of Sally by P. G. Wodehouse The Adventures of Sally

Pretty, charming, but impoverished Sally Nicholas' humdrum life is turned upside down when fate decides to step in. In this breezy, romantic comedy, PG Wodehouse delights readers with his portrayal of a charming young American girl who unexpectedly inherits a fortune which changes her life forever. The story follows Sally's fortunes and is told in Wodehouse's typical humorous style and keeps the reader thoroughly entertained to the very end. First published in 1921 as a serial in Collier's Magazine in the US and in 1922 in the Grand Magazine, UK it appeared in book form titled Mostly Sally in 1922...

Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves

If you're encountering the zany Bertie Wooster and his exceptionally astute Man Friday, Jeeves, for the first time, be assured that you're embarking on a lifetime of fun and laughter! On the other hand, for eternal Wodehouse fans, Right Ho Jeeves provides more glimpses of the delightful world created by one of the best loved English writers. It is the second in the series of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves novels and features some of the regular characters of Brinkley Court, the country seat ruled over by Bertie's much-loved Aunt Dahlia...

My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse My Man Jeeves

First published in 1919, My Man Jeeves is a collection of short stories featuring the well known fictional characters Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. The compilation consists of eight stories, of which four feature the popular duo while the other four stories feature Reggie Pepper, an early model of Bertie Wooster. Set in the early 20th century, the stories carry much humor, wit, and charming mischief as the characters seem to attract trouble wherever they go. Wodehouse sets the stories in the early 20th century and allows the audience to enter the world of the upper-class establishments, and experience the many awkward situations the characters find themselves in...

Love Among the Chickens by P. G. Wodehouse Love Among the Chickens

A young, but not too brilliant writer is conscripted by a ne'er-do-well friend to help out on a chicken farm in remote Dorset. While traveling to the country, the writer encounters a lovely young girl and her academician father on the train. He is delighted to discover that she is reading a copy of his latest book. In the countryside, he also discovers that the professor and his daughter are neighbors. However, over dinner one night, he gets into an acrimonious debate with the elderly scholar who storms out, furious with his daughter's potential suitor...

The Clicking of Cuthbert by P. G. Wodehouse The Clicking of Cuthbert

The first of two books that he wrote on golfing themes, The Clicking of Cuthbert by PG Wodehouse sparkles with typical Wodehousian wit, humor and general goofiness! An avid golfer himself, Wodehouse published the ten stories in this volume in 1922. In 1924, an American edition titled Golf Without Tears was published. Since then it has enjoyed undimmed popularity among both Wodehouse fans and golfing enthusiasts. Nine of the stories contained in this book are narrated by the Oldest Member, a character who has become a cult figure among Wodehouse fans...

Something New by P. G. Wodehouse Something New

When the absent-minded Earl of Emsworth wanders off with the pride of his scarab collection, American millionaire J. Preston Peters is willing to pay $5000 to the person who can get it back for him. Discretion is necessary since Peters’ daughter is engaged to Emsworth’s son. Joan Valentine and Ashe Marson both decide to go after the reward—she as Aline Peter’s ladies maid, and he as Mr. Peter’s valet—and they all end up at Blandings Castle. But is it possible for anyone to steal back the scarab with The Efficient Baxter ever vigilant? This is, IMHO, one of Wodehouse’s funniest novels. –Debra Lynn

Psmith in the City by P. G. Wodehouse Psmith in the City

Mike’s dream of studying and playing cricket at Cambridge are thwarted as his father runs into financial difficulties. Instead, Mike takes on the job of clerk at the “New Asiatic Bank.” Luckily, school friend Psmith, with his boundless optimism and original views, soon joins his department, and together they endeavour to make the best of their new life in London.

A Wodehouse Miscellany; Articles and Stories by P. G. Wodehouse A Wodehouse Miscellany; Articles and Stories

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success for more than seventy years. Best known today for the Jeeves and Blanding Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of fifteen plays and of 250 lyrics for some thirty musical comedies.

A Damsel in Distress by P. G. Wodehouse A Damsel in Distress

A Damsel in Distress is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the U.S. on October 4, 1919 by George H. Doran, New York, and in the U.K. by Herbert Jenkins, London, on October 17 1919. It had previously been serialised in The Saturday Evening Post, between May and June that year.Golf-loving American composer George Bevan falls in love with a mysterious young lady who takes refuge in his taxicab one day; when he tracks her down to a romantic rural manor, mistaken identity leads to all manner of brouhaha.

Three Men and a Maid by P. G. Wodehouse Three Men and a Maid

This book with two titles, Three Men and a Maid in the USA and The Girl on the Boat in the UK is a typical P.G. Wodehouse romantic comedy, involving, at various times: a disastrous talent quest, a lawyer with a revolver, a bulldog with a mind of his own and a suit of armour! The maid, or marriageable young woman, of the American title is red-haired, dog-loving Wilhelmina “Billie” Bennet. The three men are Bream Mortimer, a long-time friend and admirer of Billie, Eustace Hignett, a poet of sensitive disposition who is engaged to Billie at the opening of the tale, and Sam Marlowe, Eustace’s would-be-dashing cousin, who falls for Billie at first sight...

Indiscretions of Archie by P. G. Wodehouse Indiscretions of Archie

It wasn’t Archie’s fault really. It’s true he went to America and fell in love with Lucille, the daughter of a millionaire hotel proprietor and if he did marry her–well, what else was there to do?From his point of view, the whole thing was a thoroughly good egg; but Mr. Brewster, his father-in-law, thought differently, Archie had neither money nor occupation, which was distasteful in the eyes of the industrious Mr. Brewster; but the real bar was the fact that he had once adversely criticised one of his hotels...

Mike: A Public School Story by P. G. Wodehouse Mike: A Public School Story

This novel introduces the characters Mike Jackson and Psmith, who are featured in several of Wodehouse’s later works. It shows how the two characters first met each other as teenagers at boarding school. As Psmith doesn’t appear until about halfway through this book, it was later released as two separate books, Mike at Wrykyn and Mike and Psmith. There’s lots of cricket, but you don’t need to understand the game to enjoy the antics of these public school boys as they "rag" each other and the authorities.

A Man of Means by P. G. Wodehouse A Man of Means

A Man of Means is a collection of six short stories written in collaboration by P. G. Wodehouse and C. H. Bovill. The stories all star Roland Bleke, a nondescript young man to whom financial success comes through a series of “lucky” chances, the first from a win in a sweepstake he had forgotten entering. Roland, like many a timid young man seeks love and marriage. In this pursuit his wealth is regularly a mixed blessing. The plot of each story follows its predecessor, sometimes directly, and occasionally refer back to past events in Bleke’s meteoric career...

Selected Short Stories by P. G. Wodehouse Selected Short Stories

"A miscellaneous collection of short stories, not featuring any of Wodehouse's regular characters, most concern love and romance and, being Wodehouse, all are amusing."

The Swoop! by P. G. Wodehouse The Swoop!

The Swoop! tells of the simultaneous invasion of England by several armies — “England was not merely beneath the heel of the invader. It was beneath the heels of nine invaders. There was barely standing-room.” (ch. 1) — and features references to many well-known figures of the day, among them the politician Herbert Gladstone, novelist Edgar Wallace, actor-managers Seymour Hicks and George Edwardes, and boxer Bob Fitzsimmons.

Uneasy Money by P. G. Wodehouse Uneasy Money

Uneasy Money is a romantic comedy by P.G. Wodehouse, published during the First World War, it offers light escapism. More romantic but only a little less humorous that his mature works, it tells of the vicissitudes of poor Lord Dawlish, who inherits five million dollars, but becomes a serially disappointed groom. When the story opens Bill (Lord Dawlish, a thoroughly pleasant man) is engaged to a demanding actress. His first thought when hearing of his massive legacy from a stranger whose tendency to slice he once cured on a West Country golf course is of the disappointed relatives...

The Intrusion of Jimmy by P. G. Wodehouse The Intrusion of Jimmy

The action begins with playboy bachelor Jimmy Pitt in New York; having fallen in love on a transatlantic liner, he befriends a small-time burglar and breaks into a police captain's house as a result of a bet. The cast of characters head to England, and from there on it is a typically Wodehousian romantic farce, set at the stately Dreever Castle, overflowing with imposters, detectives, crooks, scheming lovers and conniving aunts.

The Man With Two Left Feet, and Other Stories by P. G. Wodehouse The Man With Two Left Feet, and Other Stories

The Man With Two Left Feet, and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United Kingdom on March 8, 1917 by Methuen & Co., London, and in the United States in 1933 by A.L. Burt and Co., New York. All the stories had previously appeared in periodicals, usually the Strand in the UK and the Red Book magazine or the Saturday Evening Post in the US. It is a fairly miscellaneous collection — most of the stories concern relationships, sports and household...

Jill the Reckless by P. G. Wodehouse Jill the Reckless

Jill had money, Jill was engaged to be married to Sir Derek Underhill. Suddenly Jill becomes penniless, and she is no longer engaged. With a smile, in which there is just a tinge of recklessness, she refuses to be beaten and turns to face the world. Instead she goes to New York and becomes a member of the chorus of "The Rose of America," and Mr. Wodehouse is enabled to lift the curtain of the musical comedy world. There is laughter and drama in _Jill the Reckless_, and the action never flags from the moment that Freddie Rooke confesses that he has had a hectic night, down to the point where Wally says briefly "Let 'em," which is page 313...

Not George Washington by P. G. Wodehouse Not George Washington

It has been said that behind every successful man is a good woman. This is certainly true in the case of James Orlebar Cloyster. However, some funny things happened on his road to success. His story is humorously told from the point of view of several parties involved.According to Wikipedia, the book is a humorous, fictionalized account of Wodehouse's early years as a journalist, with Wodehouse being portrayed by the character of Cloyster.

The Prince and Betty by P. G. Wodehouse The Prince and Betty

The Prince and Betty is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse. It was originally published in Ainslee's Magazine in the United States in January 1912, and, in a slightly different form, as a serial in Strand Magazine in the United Kingdom between February and April 1912, before being published in book form, in the UK only, by Mills & Boon, London, on 1 May that year. A substantially different version, which incorporated the plot of Psmith, Journalist, was published in the US by W. J. Watt, New York on 14 February 1912, and is the only version now widely available...

The Coming of Bill by P. G. Wodehouse The Coming of Bill

The Coming of Bill tells the story of Kirk Winfield, his marriage to Ruth, and their child called Bill. Bill's upbringing is threatened by the interference of Ruth's busybody writer aunt, Mrs Lora Delane Porter.

Psmith, Journalist by P. G. Wodehouse Psmith, Journalist

Psmith takes over editing a paper while the usual editor is away on vacation. He takes on a local slum lord, and divers alarums ensue. (description by Psuke Bariah)

William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse William Tell Told Again

This is the classic story of William Tell - Swiss patriot and great apple-shooter - as seen through the eyes of English humorist P.G. Wodehouse. No Swiss were (permanently) injured in the telling of this story; however, results differed for Austrian tyrants. The original volume also included a humorous poem encapsulating the whole Tell legend, written by John W. Houghton to accompany the sixteen color illustrations. For this audiobook, the stanzas have been collected and read as a single poem. (Introduction by Mark F. Smith)

The Girl on the Boat by P. G. Wodehouse The Girl on the Boat

Also published as "Three Men and a Maid". The maid of the title is red-haired, dog-loving Wilhelmina "Billie" Bennet, and the three men are Bream Mortimer, a long-time friend and admirer of Billie, Eustace Hignett, a lily-livered poet who is engaged to Billie at the opening of the tale, and Sam Marlowe, Eustace's dashing cousin, who falls for Billie at first sight. All four find themselves on an ocean liner headed for England together, along with a capable young woman called Jane Hubbard who is smitten with Eustace, and typically Wodehousian romantic shenanigans ensue. (Introduction by wikipedia)

Book cover Little Nugget

Mrs Nesta Ford, in her London hotel room, reveals to her new friend Lord Mountry that she hopes to take her son Ogden on a yachting trip proposed by Mountry, despite her ex-husband having won custody of the boy. As Mountry leaves, Cynthia Drassilis arrives with Ogden, whom she has led away from his father's country house. Mrs Ford rewards Cynthia, but soon Mr Ford's secretary, a Mr Minnick, arrives to recover the stolen child. Cynthia tries to bribe his colleague, Mrs Sheridan, but to no avail, as she believes Nesta's influence has spoiled the boy...

Book cover Wodehouse in the Strand - Short Story Collection

This is a collection of P.G. Wodehouse's short stories published in The Strand from 1918 to 1922. (kirk202) Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years, and his many writings continue to be widely read.

Book cover Inimitable Jeeves

When either Bertie Wooster or his friends found themselves in the soup or in dangerous proximity to the tureen, the instinct of one and all was to turn to Jeeves - Bertie's Man. He understood human nature, especially that of gilded youth. It did not matter if the hope of an ancient house had fallen in love with a waitress, or if Bertie's cousins Claude and Eustace had been playing dido; Jeeves never failed. His was a sound brain. The only thing in which Jeeves failed, that is in his master's eyes, was that he could not always go the whole way with him in the matter of spats, socks and ties, particularly in the Spring - Jeeves was a purist...

Book cover Bill the Conqueror

Hailed as one of the funniest writers of the 20th century, P. G. Wodehouse cheerfully radiates humor that is both sophisticated and popular. In Bill the Conqueror, Wodehouse creates an array of entertaining characters who gallop around England and America in quest of love and money. Our far-from-perfect hero Bill is a dissipated American former football player and man of action, who tangles with odious relatives, bumbling gangsters, suave white-collar crooks, and even his exasperating but well-meaning friend Judson, as he seeks to become worthy of the woman of his dreams, whichever one she might be. As you might expect, the course of true love never did run smooth.

Book cover Ukridge

“Do not count your chickens before they are hatched” is a classic saying that might well have been remembered by Ukridge. Ukridge is always on the verge of making a fortune and counting his thousands before they are made. But Dame Fortune is a fickle jade. She eludes him in his great scheme about the dog college, wherein he was to turn out a world supply of trained dogs, and likewise in his backing of Battling Billson, the tender-hearted pugilist. But hope and George Tupper keep Ukridge going. He is ever ready for the next assault. First published as short stories. - Summary by From the introduction

Book cover Gentleman of Leisure

A wealthy, love-sick bachelor, crooks, and card-sharps ensconced in an English castle make for a classic Wodehousian comedy of star-crossed lovers, imposters and stolen jewels. It all gets a bit thick, what? - Summary by Mark Nelson

Book cover Sam In The Suburbs

A young and somewhat eccentric American named Sam Shotter is sent by his uncle, a wealthy businessman, to England to get him out of his hair. Sam's uncle sends him to work for Lord Tilbury's well known Mammoth Publishing Company, much against Lord Tilbury's better judgment. Sam accidentally comes to reside in Valley Fields, that peaceful suburb of milk and honey, where many complications of romantic, business, social and criminal natures ensue. This book also marks the first appearance of Chimp Twist, "a man so crooked he could hide behind a spiral staircase", and his associates and rivals in misdoing, Dolly and Soapy Molloy...

Book cover Carry On, Jeeves

"Leave it to Jeeves" was Bertie's motto, be the question one of a colour of a tie, the style of a hat, the cut of a coat. Jeeves was always right. There was no one like him to placate rich uncles or indignant mammas. He said just the right thing at just the right moment. What did it matter that Jeeves was somewhat of a tyrant, and that without his approval Bertie could not grow so much as a moustache? Was he not always there to lean on in moments of stress? And moments such as these were frequent in the life of Bertie and his friends...

By: P. T. Barnum (1810-1891)

The Humbugs of the World by P. T. Barnum The Humbugs of the World

P. T. Barnum exposes some of the chief humbugs of the world with his usual entertaining style. He looks at medicine and quacks, ghosts, witchcraft, religious humbugs, money manias, adventurers, personal reminiscences, and much more.

By: Palmer Cox (1840-1924)

Book cover Frontier Humor in Verse, Prose and Picture

Also known for his "Brownies" books, Canadian humorist Palmer Cox give us a delightful collection of humorous verse and short prose vignettes. From the publisher's preface, "thrice happy is the man who, having seen, can tell the fun; and having told, can picture it for others’ eyes and so roll on the rollicking humor, for the brightening of a world already far too sad." - Summary by Larry Wilson

By: Pedro Carolino (1788-1866)

Book cover English as She is Spoke

English as She is Spoke is a 19th century Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that has become a classic of absurdist humor, owing chiefly to the apparent fact that its writer had absolutely no knowledge of English. It is thought that for utterly obscure reasons its unknown author, Pedro Carolino, used a dictionary to translate Portuguese words to French, then a second dictionary to convert French to English, producing an incoherent but hilarious result. Mark Twain said of this book, "Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect." - Summary by J A Carter

By: Peter Newell (1862-1924)

The Slant Book by Peter Newell The Slant Book

The Slant Book is literally the shape of a parallelogram, with the spine of the book running down one side. When opened, facing pages form a “V” shape. All the pictures on the slanted recto pages show a way-too-precocious infant in a carriage [the "go-cart" of yesteryear] racing downhill who has somehow gotten away from his nanny, gleefully creating havoc all along the way! The facing verso pages contain two stanzas of commentary on the charming –if alarming!– illustrations. This book pioneered the “special format” children’s literature of today, such as pop-up books or cutout books like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar...

The Rocket Book by Peter Newell The Rocket Book

The Rocket Book begins when the son of a building superintendent sets a match to a rocket he discovered in the basement. Suddenly, the rocket blasts its way up through apartment after apartment in a high-rise, disrupting and transforming the humdrum goings-on of twenty families till it is finally stopped cold by something in the attic. An elliptical hole is punched in each of the book’s pages and illustrations to signify where the rocket passed through every apartment! As in all of Newell’s books, the verse on the verso-page provides commentary on the recto-page illustration...

By: Philander Misaurus

Book cover Honour of the Gout

This droll and 'enflammatory' pamphelet doth be a grondebreaking worke of musing upon a great aflicktion of Man, upon the better nature of that aflicktion, and upon the vain and mischievous cheats who affeckt to cure it. The gauntlet here so-toss'd by Philander Misaurus was later pick'd up by surgeon John Marten in his rejoinder, titled by the name–"The Dishonour of the Gout". Which seeketh to shew all minds swayed by Philander's prettie words that—indubitably—Gout is misfortune. - Summary by Alasdair

By: Q. K. Philander Doesticks (1832-1875)

The Witches of New York by Q. K. Philander Doesticks The Witches of New York

A humorous account of visits to various fortune tellers, card readers, seers, and other "witches" of New York. Written by Q.K. Philander Doesticks (a.k.a.Mortimer Thomson).

By: Ralph Keeler (1840-1873)

Book cover Vagabond Adventures

Ralph Keeler failed as a novelist, but this autobiography reflects a life well-lived with humor and adventure. Keeler was in the same literary circle as satirist Bret Harte, novelist Charles Warren Stoddard, editor Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and essayist William Dean Howells. He so impressed Mark Twain that Twain wrote an essay about him called "Ralph Keeler". In 1873, on his way to Cuba, he reportedly was thrown overboard by a Spanish loyalist who objected to his backing of the revolutionary, anti-Spanish movement. - Summary by John Greenman

By: Richard Barnum

Squinty the Comical Pig by Richard Barnum Squinty the Comical Pig

"This comical children's tale about the funny adventures of a funny pig written by an unknown author. The publisher has hired authors to write children's tales, and gave them "house names". The "name" of the author who wrote this tale is Richard Barnum. It became very successful, the most well known of Richard Barnum's tales. So, if you want to laugh a little, even if you are not a child, read this book".

By: Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)

Book cover School For Scandal

Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy was first performed in 1777 and focuses on the intrigues and scandals of the British upper classes. Lady Sneerwell wants to marry Charles Surface, while Joseph Surface wants to marry Maria, an heiress and ward of Sir Peter Teazle. Maria, however, prefers Charles over Joseph. In order to detach her from Charles, Lady Sneerwell and Joseph spread rumors about an affair between Charles and Lady Teazle, Sir Peter's new young wife. Meanwhile, Sir Oliver Surface, newly returned from the East Indies, assumes various disguises to test his nephews' characters. Misunderstandings, mistaken identities, gossip, and bad behavior abound in this uproarious comedy.

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...

The Princess Aline by Richard Harding Davis The Princess Aline

Morton Carlton, an easy-going, rich young artist, has never taken the concepts of love and marriage all that seriously -- until by accident a copy of an English illustrated paper falls into his hands, which contains a photograph of the young Princess Aline of Hohenwald. Instantly, Carlton is captivated by the princess, and decides that he must meet her. But how to get close to a princess, who lives in a small German duchy well protected by guards and etiquette? Carlton decides to travel to Europe and try his luck...

My Buried Treasure by Richard Harding Davis My Buried Treasure

"This is a true story of a search for buried treasure. The only part that is not true is the name of the man with whom I searched for the treasure. Unless I keep his name out of it he will not let me write the story, and, as it was his expedition and as my share of the treasure is only what I can make by writing the story, I must write as he dictates. I think the story should be told, because our experience was unique, and might be of benefit to others. And, besides, I need the money." (From the text)

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: 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. (

Book cover Still - William

More humorous adventures by the world’s most misunderstood English boy. - Summary by david wales

Book cover William -- The Fourth

The world’s most confident, most chaos-creating eleven year old boy is at it again in these fourteen glorious and funny 1924 short stories. - Summary by David Wales

By: Ring Lardner (1885-1933)

Gullible's Travels, Etc. by Ring Lardner Gullible's Travels, Etc.

Humorous stories of social climbing in America's "classless" society.

By: Robert Barr (1850-1912)

The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont by Robert Barr The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont

Short stories by a colleague of Jerome K. Jerome, and friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Barr probably wrote the first parody of Sherlock Holmes (included in this collection). He co-edited “The Idler” with Jerome. [written by Czechchris]

Book cover In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories

Thirteen short stories by one of the most famous writers in his day. Robert Barr was a British Canadian short story writer and novelist, born in Glasgow, Scotland. In London of the 1890s Barr became a more prolific author - publishing a book a year - and was familiar with many of the best selling authors of his day, including Bret Harte and Stephen Crane. Most of his literary output was of the crime genre, then quite in vogue. When Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were becoming well known,...

By: Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley Love Conquers All

Sixty-three essays on a variety of topics as wide apart as Family Life in America, Opera Synopses, Bigamy, International Finance and many more, Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley strangely enough does not touch upon romance at all! However, these delightful notes provide hours of browsing pleasure for young and old readers alike. Robert Benchley was a well-known humorist and newspaper columnist, radio and television presenter, actor, scriptwriter and broadcaster. He is also credited with creating the first ever television entertainment show and one of his iconic short films, How to Sleep won an Academy Award in 1936...

By: Robert C. Benchley (1889-1945)

Book cover Of All Things

A collection of amusing essays satirizing serious consideration of topics including natural history, social etiquette, or indeed, civilized behavior (especially of the upper classes).

By: Robert Copland (fl. 1515)

Book cover Jyl of Breyntfords Testament

Introduction - This is a collection of ten comic pieces from the 16th century and earlier, as compiled and edited by Frederick Furnivall for private circulation in 1871. Only the first is by Copland. (Introduction by Grant Hurlock)

By: Robert Henry Newell (1836-1901)

Book cover The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers

These are a collection of humorous "letters" written by a fictional character to a relation in the north during the Civil War. They were published regularly in the New York Mercury Sunday newspaper for the four years of the war. In the letters, Newell pokes fun at northern generals, politicians, and has hard things to say about southerners. Although Newell is rarely serious, I imagine the letters reflect the bitterness and frustration of many northerners at the time. (Introduction by Margaret)

By: Robert J. Burdette (1844-1914)

Chimes From A Jester’s Bells by Robert J. Burdette Chimes From A Jester’s Bells

Part I. The Story of Rollo; Mr. Holliday knows all there is to know about raising children, or at least he thinks he does. His attempts to train his son, Rollo, "in the way he should go," are well-meant, but hilariously unsuccessful--or are they? I believe this is a sort of spoof of the “Rollo” series for children, that was written by Jacob Abbot in the mid 19th century. The characters have the same names and the chapters have a little Q&A at the end like the Abbot books, except these are definitely tongue-in-cheek...

By: Robert Jones Burdette (1844-1914)

Book cover Chimes From A Jester’s Bells

Part I. The Story of Rollo; Mr. Holliday knows all there is to know about raising children, or at least he thinks he does. His attempts to train his son, Rollo, "in the way he should go," are well-meant, but hilariously unsuccessful--or are they? I believe this is a sort of spoof of the “Rollo” series for children, that was written by Jacob Abbot in the mid 19th century. The characters have the same names and the chapters have a little Q&A at the end like the Abbot books, except these are definitely tongue-in-cheek...

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson The Wrong Box

The Wrong Box is a comedy about the ending of a tontine (a tontine is an arrangement whereby a number of young people subscribe to a fund which is then closed and invested until all but one of the subscribers have died. That last subscriber then receives the whole of the proceeds). The story involves the last two such survivors and their relations, a train crash, missing uncles, surplus dead bodies and innocent bystanders. A farce really.

By: Robert Pitcher Woodward (1866-)

Book cover On A Donkey's Hurricane Deck

" A Tempestous Voyage of Four Thousand and Ninety-Six Miles Across the American Continent on a Burro, in 340 Days and 2 Hours - starting without a dollar and earning my way." The journey could be accomplished in 5 days by train, but the author took close to a year to work his way across the country. This is a witty and amusing account of one man (and his donkey)'s adventures crossing the American continent from New York to San Francisco.

By: Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955)

How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers by Robert Williams Wood How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers

How do you tell apart a parrot from a carrot? A plover from a clover? A bay from a jay? Although there are several ways of differentiating, R. W. Wood’s use of pun and rhyme is one of the most entertaining!

By: Rudolf Erich Raspe (1737-1794)

The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolf Erich Raspe The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen

The stories about Münchhausen were first collected and published by an anonymous author in 1781. An English version was published in London in 1785, by Rudolf Erich Raspe, as Baron Munchhausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia, also called The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen. It is not clear how much of the story material derives from the Baron himself; however, it is known that the majority of the stories are based on folktales that have been in circulation for many centuries before Münchhausen's birth.

By: Rudyard Kipling (1868-1936)

Book cover Letters of Travel

By: Rupert Hughes (1872-1956)

Book cover Excuse Me! (Dramatic Reading)

What happens when a mix of lovers get stuck together on a coast-to-coast train? Mainly hilarity. There is every kind of couple imaginable. One serviceman and his bride-to-be are trying desperately to get married but can't find a clergyman to perform the rites. They don't know that right in their midst is a preacher disguised as a man of the world so he and his wife can enjoy a carefree vacation. Then there is a drunk mourning his separation from the wife who just happens to be on the same train. There is even a confirmed bachelor who discovers that a confirmed spinster is his long-lost love from years ago...

By: S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

Book cover Pennycomequicks

The Pennycomequicks is the charming and witty story of a dysfunctional English family in the late 19th century, scattered to the winds, scarred and battered by human and Divine tragedy, struggling for sustenance of the material and / or immaterial kind.

By: Saki (1870-1916)

Reginald by Saki Reginald

Saki was the pen name of the British author Hector Hugh Munro (1870 – 1916). His witty, biting and occasionally odd short stories satirised Edwardian culture. Saki is considered a master of the short story and has been compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker as well as Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde (who clearly influenced Saki). His first collection of short stories, Reginald, was published by Methuen Press in 1904 though these stories first appeared in the ‘Westminster Gazette’. The stories...

The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki The Chronicles of Clovis

This is the third collection of short stories by Saki, following on from “Reginald” and “Reginald in Russia”. Although some of the stories have characters that do not appear elsewhere in the collection, many of them are loosely centred round the young Clovis Sangrail (effectively a reincarnation of Reginald).

Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki Beasts and Super-Beasts

Saki (December 18, 1870 – November 14, 1916) was the pen name of British author Hector Hugh Munro. Saki’s world contrasts the effete conventions and hypocrisies of Edwardian England with the ruthless but straightforward life-and-death struggles of nature. Nature generally wins in the end.

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: Sara Ware Bassett (1872-1968)

Flood Tide by Sara Ware Bassett Flood Tide

Willie Spence may have been a bit eccentric by most standards, but he had a knack for creating gadgets in his small workshop at his home on Cape Cod. Whenever he was 'ketched' by an 'idee' he had to see it to completion, and always did. His small cottage on the Cape had become a labyrinth of string and wires tacked here and there so as to make life a bit challenging for his housekeeper Celestina. But she and most everyone else among the coastal towns and villages loved the old man for all his eccentricities as Willie spent his waning years just waiting for his ship to come in.

By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The Adventures of Gerard by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Gerard

These lesser known stories were penned by Conan Doyle during the period between killing off Sherlock Holmes in 1893 and reluctantly resurrecting him some ten years later. The swashbuckling, eponymous hero, Etienne Gerard, is one of Napoleon's gallant French Hussars, who considers himself the finest of them all. Through these "Boys Own Adventures", Conan Doyle pokes gentle fun at both the French and the English. This is the second volume containing eight adventures.

By: St. John Emile Clavering Hankin (1869-1909)

Book cover Mr. Punch's Dramatic Sequels

A collection of short and humorous one-act "sequels" to 14 major plays (many already in the catalog). Plays end too soon. They never show the whole of what I want to know. The curtain falls and I'm perplexed with doubts about what happened next. Did HAMLET'S father haunt no more the battlements of Elsinore? Does LADY TEAZLE never call at LADY SNEERWELL'S now at all? Was BENEDICK'S a happy marriage? And will the MELNOTTES keep a carriage? Will AUBREY take to wife one day another MRS. TANQUERAY? Do ECCLES and his stepson wrangle? Has anything been heard of DANGLE? What has become of MRS...

By: Steele Rudd (1868-1935)

Book cover On Our Selection

The humorous account of Dad and Dave and the rest of the Rudd clan as they attempt to carve a farming 'selection' out of the Australian wilderness in spite of fire, famine, snakebite, and a loony hired hand.

Book cover Dad's Trip to Brisbane (from Our New Selection)

Chapters XV through XIX of "Our New Selection" "The wheat was in, and Dad decided to take a trip to Brisbane. For seven or eight years he had been thinking of that trip, but something or other always came to prevent his going. According to Dad himself, the farm would suffer if he went away for a month; there would be no one to look after it, no one to manage. According to us there would be no one to look on while the cows were being milked; no one to stand in the paddock all day while the hay was...

Book cover Dave Brings Home A Wife (dramatic reading)

This is a self-contained story-arc over eight chapters from the pages of Steele Rudd's book "Back At Our Selection". The Synopsis: After being a shy bachelor for a number of years, Dave has finally got married. To a "Girl from Town" named "Lily White". When she first arrives at "Ruddville", she and Dave's sister Sarah get on wonderfully. But after some months, friction between the two young woman sets in, and Dave and Lily seek to have a separate house of their own on the extensive Rudd property...

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Frenzied Fiction by Stephen Leacock Frenzied Fiction

From the cave man to Santa Claus; spies, know-it-alls, and journalists: all are fair game for Leacock’s special brand of humor. He touches on the changes time has brought about in the city, education, and work habits. Among the other topics in this work are nature, fishing, gardening, success, and spirits–both of the departed and of the variety Prohibition prohibited. Each chapter of this book is a standalone story and if you love a good laugh, these stories are for you. In me, Leacock’s wit produced the full range of laughter: smiles, chuckles, guffaws, and some uncontrollable giggles. Also, occasionally, I found myself shedding a tear or two. (Review by Debra Lynn)

Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

“Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich” is a work of humorous fiction by Stephen Leacock first published in 1914. It is the follow-up to his 1912 classic “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.” Like that work, it is a sequence of interlocking stories set in one town, but instead of focusing on a small Canadian town in the countryside, it is set in a major American metropolis and its characters are the upper crust of society. Although currently not as well-known as the earlier book, “Arcadian Adventures” was extremely popular in North America at the time of its publication and for a while was considered the greater success...

Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels

Eight silly stories by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

Further Foolishness by Stephen Leacock Further Foolishness

Seventeen goofy stories and essays by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock. "Professor Leacock has made more people laugh with the written word than any other living author. One may say he is one of the greatest jesters, the greatest humorist of the age." – A. P. Herbert (Introduction by TriciaG & Wikipedia)

Literary Lapses by Stephen Leacock Literary Lapses

Short sketches relating the humourous side of life in 1910. "Professor Leacock has made more people laugh with the written word than any other living author. One may say he is one of the greatest jesters, the greatest humorist of the age." – A. P. Herbert

The Hohenzollerns in America by Stephen Leacock The Hohenzollerns in America

More stories by Canadian Stephen Leacock. Some of these stories carry over characters introduced in Further Foolishness. Some stories are humourous; some are more thoughtful. It helps to be familiar with WWI-era European politics to catch much of the humour. Full title: The Hohenzollerns in America With the Bolsheviks in Berlin and Other Impossibilities


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