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By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

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

Behind the Beyond by Stephen Leacock Behind the Beyond

A collection containing a parody on Problem Plays, as well as humorous anecdotes from Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy by Stephen Leacock Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy

Humorous, ironic, and sometimes cynical observations of life in 1915 from Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

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.

Book cover Essays and Literary Studies

A collection of wry looks at literature, education, and other social phenomena by Canadian humourist and economics professor, Stephen Leacock.

Book cover Garden Of Folly

A 1924 collection of essays by the celebrated Canadian humorist, popular in the first half of the twentieth century throughout the English speaking world. - Summary by david wales

By: Stuart Mason (1872-1927)

Book cover Oscar Wilde Calendar

A compendium of Oscar Wilde's wit, including some of his most famous epigrams as well as unpublished quotations supplied by his friends. The book is formatted as a calendar, with one saying for each day of the year, and was edited by Wildean scholar, Stuart Mason . - Summary by Rob Marland

By: Susan Edmonstoune Ferrier

Book cover Marriage, Volume 1

“Love!–A word by superstition thought a God; by use turned to an humour; by self-will made a flattering madness.” – Alexander and Campaspe. Lady Juliana, the indulged and coddled seventeen (”And a half, papa”) year old daughter of the Earl of Cortland, is betrothed by her father to a wealthy old Duke who can give her every luxury. She instead runs away and marries her very handsome but penniless lover. Very soon, they are forced to travel to Scotland to live with his quirky family in a rundown “castle” in the barren wilderness. Can this marriage survive?(Summary by P.Cunningham)

By: T. W. H. Crosland

Book cover Egregious English

This 1903 book is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of English people and subjects. Within the humor , the listener may be surprised by some diamond-hard observations. The listener is also alerted to some attitudes of a different time that would not be acceptable in today's polite discourse. Here writing as “Angus McNeil”, a Scotsman, Crosland was a British author, poet, and journalist .

By: Thomas A. Janvier (1849-1913)

Book cover Uncle Of An Angel

In what I have read so far this book appears to be a humorous character study on two levels. That between the uncle and niece and that of polite society in the 19th century. Anything can happen. I for one want to find out what will happen!!

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: Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

Book cover Workhouse Clock

There were scarcely any events in the life of Thomas Hood. One condition there was of too potent determining importance—life-long ill health; and one circumstance of moment—a commercial failure, and consequent expatriation. Beyond this, little presents itself for record in the outward facts of this upright and beneficial career, bright with genius and coruscating with wit, dark with the lengthening and deepening shadow of death.

By: Thomas Love Peacock

Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock Nightmare Abbey

Deep in the fens of the British coast sits the gloomy mansion that goes by the name Nightmare Abbey. It is inhabited by persons of very low opinion of the human race, and in fact they pride themselves in the depths of their detestation. Others of its denizens believe the ultimate exercise and product of the human mind ought to be chaos. Now let the young master of the house get snared by the wiles of a beautiful young lady. And for good measure, toss in another beautiful young lady. Now Scythrop...

By: Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965)

The Adventures of Mr. Mocker by Thornton W. Burgess The Adventures of Mr. Mocker

When an innocent blue jay starts talking in his sleep, it’s up to him to find out what’s going on in this fun, naturalistic, Southern-style children’s story.

By: Timothy S. Arthur (1809-1885)

Off-hand Sketches by Timothy S. Arthur Off-hand Sketches

The reader cannot but smile at some of the phases of life presented in this volume. Yet the smile will, in no case, the author thinks, be at the expense of humanity, good feeling, or virtue. Many of the incidents given, are facts embellished by a few touches of fancy. In all, lessons may be read that some, at least, will do well to lay to heart.

By: Tobias Smollett

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was the last of the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett, and is considered by many to be his best and funniest work. Published in London on 17 June 1771, it is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters written by six different characters: Matthew Bramble, a Welsh Squire; his sister Tabitha; their niece and nephew, Jery and Lydia Melford; Tabitha’s maid Winifred Jenkins; and Lydia’s suitor, Wilson. Much of the comedy arises from differences in the descriptions of the same events by different participants...

By: Unknown

Poems Every Child Should Know by Unknown Poems Every Child Should Know

A treasure trove of more than two hundred poems, this gem of an anthology compiled by Mary E Burt is indeed a most valuable set of poems to read or listen to. Published in 1904, Poems Every Child Should Know contains some well-loved verses like Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Lewis Carroll's delightful parody Father William, Felicia Hemans' deeply-moving Casablanca and other favorites. It also has lesser-known but equally beautiful pieces like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Arrow and The Song, Robert Browning's The Incident of the French Camp, Eugene Field's nonsense lyrics Wynken, Blynken and Nod and a host of other wonderful verses...

Vice in its Proper Shape by Unknown Vice in its Proper Shape

Cautionary tales of the transmigration of the souls of naughty boys and girls, as elucidated by the mysterious Bramin, Mr Wiseman: “Having been gifted with the faculty of distinguishing those animals which are now animated by the souls of such human beings as formerly degraded themselves to a level with the unthinking brutes, I have taken the pains to provide a collection of beasts, birds, &c. most of which are inhabited by the souls of some naughty masters or misses, who died in the neighbourhood.” (David Barnes, quoting the Introduction)

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: Various

Coffee Break Collection by Various Coffee Break Collection

If you find yourself with nothing particular to do in an airport, train or bus or you've got a quiet evening to yourself in a hotel room or you're facing the delicious prospect of an extended lunch or tea break, why not pick up Coffee Break Collection 001 and enjoy the experience? This anthology has a selection of humorous pieces guaranteed to keep you entertained. Opening with a master of the genre, PG Wodehouse, the first story is a pseudo-scholarly treatise on football captains! A delightful piece follows – Beyond Pandora by RJ Martin with its memorable opening line, “The ideal way to deal with a pest...

Brazilian Tales by Various Brazilian Tales

“Brazilian Tales” is a collection of six short stories selected by Isaac Goldberg as best representative of the Brazilian Literature of his period – the end of the 19th century. His comprehensive preface aims at familiarizing the reader with a literature that was – and still is – virtually unknown outside the boundaries of its own land, and the pieces chosen by Goldberg to be translated belong to writers that reached popularity and appreciation while still alive. This “pioneer volume”, as the translator himself puts it, still keeps its charm and interest as a way of offering to the English speaking public some “sample cases” of Brazilian Literature.

Short Humor Collection by Various Short Humor Collection

This is a collection of short humorous works first published before 1923.

Book cover Anzac Book

A collection of prose, poetry, jokes, special orders, et cetera written by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps combatants of the Gallipoli Campaign . - Summary by KevinS

By: W. H. Fawcett (1885-1940)

Book cover Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol 1, No. 11, August, 1920

"Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" was an iconic magazine of wit and humor launched by W.H. Fawcett in 1919. Each 64-page issue was packed with jokes, quips, and humorous bits of writing. Each year it grew in popularity, and Fawcett’s success lead to the formation of the well-known Fawcett Publications, which issued Whiz Comics and introduced Captain Marvel. The magazine was immortalized in a line in the song “Trouble” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” - Summary by Larry Wilson

Book cover Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol. 3, No. 28, December, 1921

"Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" was an iconic magazine of American wit and humor launched by W.H. Fawcett in 1919. Each 64-page issue is packed with jokes, quips, and humorous bits of writing. Each year it grew in popularity, and Fawcett’s success lead to the formation of the well-known Fawcett Publications, which issued "Whiz Comics" and introduced Captain Marvel. The magazine was immortalized in a line in the song “Trouble” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” - Summary by Larry Wilson

Book cover Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol. 2, No. 23, August, 1921

"Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" was an iconic magazine of American wit and humor launched by W.H. Fawcett in 1919. Each 64-page issue is packed with jokes, quips, and humorous bits of writing. Each year it grew in popularity, and Fawcett’s success lead to the formation of the well-known Fawcett Publications, which issued "Whiz Comics" and introduced Captain Marvel. The magazine was immortalized in a line in the song “Trouble” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” - Summary by Larry Wilson

Book cover Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol. 2. No. 13, October, 1920

"Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" was an iconic magazine of American wit and humor launched by W.H. Fawcett in 1919. Each 64-page issue is packed with jokes, quips, and humorous bits of writing. Each year it grew in popularity, and Fawcett’s success lead to the formation of the well-known Fawcett Publications, which issued "Whiz Comics" and introduced Captain Marvel. The magazine was immortalized in a line in the song “Trouble” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” - Summary by Larry Wilson

Book cover Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Vol. 2. No. 16, January, 1921

"Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" was an iconic magazine of American wit and humor launched by W.H. Fawcett in 1919. Each 64-page issue is packed with jokes, quips, and humorous bits of writing. Each year it grew in popularity, and Fawcett’s success lead to the formation of the well-known Fawcett Publications, which issued "Whiz Comics" and introduced Captain Marvel. The magazine was immortalized in a line in the song “Trouble” from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” - Summary by Larry Wilson

By: W. S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Bab Ballads by W. S. Gilbert The Bab Ballads

The Bab Ballads are a collection of light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing the Bab Ballads, Gilbert developed his unique “topsy-turvy” style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert’s cynical and satirical approach to humour. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas...

Book cover More Bab Ballads

This is a subset of the first twelve poems from the second collection of Gilbert’s “Bab Ballads” – light verses poking fun at the life and people of his time in Gilbert’s unique “topsy-turvey” style. The epitaph on his memorial on the Victoria Embankment in London is “HIS FOE WAS FOLLY AND HIS WEAPON WIT”, an epitaph amply exemplified in these verses.

Book cover Pinafore Picture Book: The Story Of H.M.S. Pinafore (Version 2)

Pinafore’s sublimely silly story is made even sillier by this 1908 story version of the 1878 Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Gilbert, the author of the operetta’s lyrics, writes this version of the story with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. Most adults and children will find this version vastly amusing. - Summary by David Wales

By: Walter Hamilton (1844-1899)

Book cover Parodies on Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade

This extract, taken from Parodies of the works of English and American Authors, vol 1, of parodies of Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade covers such topics as the Clergy, the Fairer Sex, Doctors, Engineers and many others. - Summary by Kim

By: Washington Irving (1783-1859)

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

Apart from "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - the pieces which made both Irving and The Sketch Book famous - other tales include "Roscoe", "The Broken Heart", "The Art of Book-making", "A Royal Poet", "The Spectre Bridegroom", "Westminster Abbey", "Little Britain", and "John Bull". His stories were highly influenced by German folktales, with "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" being inspired by a folktale recorded by Karl Musaus. Stories range from the maudlin (such as "The Wife" and...

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: William Combe (1742-1823)

Book cover Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque

“To bury these, to christen those, And marry such fond folks who chose To change the tenor of their life And risk the matrimonial strife.” This was the humdrum life of Dr. Syntax before he set out on his bizarre and hilarious adventures, presented here in the form of satirical poem in 26 cantos. It’s a lot of fun!

By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

Five O'Clock Tea by William Dean Howells Five O'Clock Tea

A light-hearted romantic comedy in twelve short scenes, set during a tea party in the home of Mrs. Amy Somers, a widow who is courted by the ingenuous and delightful Mr. Willis Campbell.

By: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray The Book of Snobs

The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley.

Book cover Our Street

Written as an autobiographical sketch of a Mr. M.A. Titmarsh, Our Street is a tongue-in-cheek look at English society and the characters who live in the street where he finds himself. It is the second of five "Christmas Books" written by Thackeray under the pseudonym of M.A. Titmarsh.

By: William S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Pirates of Penzance by William S. Gilbert The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year...


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