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What is Humorous Fiction? Recommended Best Humorous Fiction Books

Recommended Best Humorous Fiction Books

Okay, let’s take a deep dive into the world for humorous fiction. And along the way, I’ll share some of my thoughts on the best humorous fiction books.


The Link Between Humor and Fiction:

For me, the best writers manage to tell a compelling, touching story and still lace it with humor. My hero in this area is Charles Portis, who is best known for the book True Grit. You care for his characters, even the bad ones, but you’re also smiling and occasionally laughing out loud as you turn the pages.

That’s what I tried to do with my debut novel, Florida Hustle. Some have called it “dark humor” but for me, it’s just humor. As my characters set off on their rollicking adventure from Palm Beach to the Everglades, pathos and humor exist side by side and often on the same page. For me, that’s like life.

What is Humorous Fiction About?

It’s like the old adage – a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Humor, in service of a fictional story, let’s the author explore even the toughest subjects while bringing the reader along for the ride with wit and humor. That’s what humorous fiction is all about!

I find the authors of today’s best humorous fiction books can write in any style and on any topic. Like Kristen Arnett’s lesbian taxidermist in Mostly Dead Things. Or Keven Wilson’s igniting children in Nothing To See Here. And just about anything by Stephen King. Humor is the leavening agent that makes the story palatable.

Instinctive Aspects of ‘Humorous Fiction’

Writing humorous fiction is not really about set ups and punch lines. It’s about characters and situations that make sense in the story but also are funny. Pairing up a grumpy Cuban detective and a Christian woman searching for her lost father, as I do in Florida Hustle, generates both drama and humor.

Same with a horror movie fanatic and his favorite scream queen. You know something dramatic is going to happen, but it is also going to be funny. Readers tell me it’s the combination of a compelling story and the humor that made them fall in love with Florida Hustle.

Recommending Best Humorous Fiction Books

Florida Hustle’ by Paul Wilborn:

In 1980s Florida, an aspiring filmmaker, obsessed with a B-movie scream queen, flees his family’s Palm Beach mansion, teams up with an aging con man and his ambitious girlfriend and heads to a film set in the Everglades, only to find himself mired in a swamp of competing cons and hustles.

The story goes like this:

Aspiring filmmaker Michael Donnelly has two obsessions. One is Mario Bava’s Italian horror movies and the other is Dawn Karston, a teen-age scream-queen, known for dying horribly in a string of cheap slasher flicks.

Michael, who shares a Palm Beach mansion with his defense contractor father, believes Dawn deserves better material and that he is just the man for the job.

But obsession, like filmmaking, is a risky business. To Dawn and her LA manager, Michael’s comic book story boards, rendered in blood-red ink and mailed to the actor’s home address, look more like death threats than movie pitches.

With Dawn’s new project, Swamp Fiend 2, about to shoot in the Florida Everglades – just an hour from Michael’s house – the producers convince Michael’s family that something must be done.

When Michael gets wind of a plan to lock him up at a plush retreat for the rich and deranged he flees to a sketchy motel in West Palm Beach. There, he enlists an aging con man and his fiercely ambitious teenage girlfriend to help him reach the set of Swamp Fiend 2. Michael doesn’t realize his new partners see him as an opportunity to satisfy their own obsessions.

Florida Hustle is set in 1982, when America was led by a celebrity president, when the phenomenal success of Friday the 13th has spawned a string of slasher-film copycats, and when Florida was morphing from a low-rent vacationland into a mega-state famous for sprawling theme parks, bizarre crimes, and a flourishing B-movie industry.

Mostly Dead Things’ By Kristen Arnett

What does it take to come back to life? For Jessa-Lynn Morton, the question is not an abstract one. In the wake of her father’s suicide, Jessa has stepped up to manage his failing taxidermy business while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the taxidermy shop to make provocative animal art, while her brother, Milo, withdraws. And Brynn, Milo’s wife―and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with―walks out without a word.

It’s not until the Mortons’ reach a tipping point that a string of unexpected incidents begins to open up surprising possibilities and second chances. But will they be enough to salvage this family, to help them find their way back to one another? Kristen Arnett’s breakout bestseller is a darkly funny family portrait; a peculiar, bighearted look at love and loss and the ways we live through them together.

Are you ready to discover your next comedic audiobook adventure?, Let’s explore the diverse world of Best Humorous Audiobooks for Different Tastes

Nothing To See Here – Kevin Wilson

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang, a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with a remarkable ability.

Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.

Madison’s twin step-kids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth.

Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn’t this be the start of the amazing life she’d always hoped for?


My favorite humorous fiction novels are the most obvious ones. I’m a fan of the quirky Florida novelists Carl Hiaasen and the late Tim Dorsey, a former colleague of mine at the Tampa Tribune, but their books tend to be all about the humor and strangeness of Florida. Where what draws me are more character driven stories like Florida Hustle and Mostly Dead Things, where Florida is a strange and quirky place, but it’s also just a backdrop for a compelling and often funny story.

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