The 10 Best Books with Dark Humor – Favbookshelf

“My grief counselor died. He was so good; I don’t even care!” If you’re wondering why the joke is dark and even a little mean, you are right! Dark humor is, well, dark and attempts to talk about uncomfortable or devastating things like war, diseases, and other injustices in the world through a humorous lens.

Dark humor uses satire, sarcasm, and wit to create situations that make readers chuckle. This article recommends ten books that deal with complicated things but with a sense of humor—sure to make you smile and introspect.

10 Best Books with Dark Humor
10 Best Books with Dark Humor

#1 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 

About the book:

Catch-22 Joseph Heller, dark humor
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Title: Catch-22

Author: Joseph Heller

Genre: Satire, War drama

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 453

Goodreads rating: 3.98/5

Captain John Yossarian, a bomber pilot in World War II, thinks war is bizarre. He aims to survive and do anything to not go on his missions. He even requests a doctor to declare him mentally unfit to fly. The doctor tells him his situation is a “Catch-22”: because he is sane enough not to want to participate, he is the fittest to do the job and must fly. As his General eccentric increases the number of missions, his fellow pilots begin losing their lives. Now, not just his own but also their survival matters to John. Will he be able to escape this tangled situation?

Why do we recommend this book? 

Every character in this dark humor book, except Yossarian, wants the war–for personal reasons. These reasons highlight how selfish human nature can be even when the entire world is on the brink of ruin. The book combines a deadly war with insightful humor to make us uncomfortable about finding such a situation funny, but that’s the thing about war–it is a nonsensical concept! This classic should be a masterclass in a dark satire on readers’ dark humor reading lists.

To buy/gift Catch-22 , click on the below link:

#2 Animal Farm by George Orwell 

About the book:

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell

Title: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

Genre: Satire, Allegory

Publisher: Penguin India

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 141

Goodreads rating: 3.97/5

A group of animals on a farm rebel against their tyrannical human owner and establish their order on “Animal Farm.” The most important rules they create are that “all animals must be equal” and that they must never behave like humans. After a disagreement between the new animal leaders, Napoleon the pig begins dictating life around the farm. Whoever disagrees is slain. Ultimately, the animals live in a world identical to the one where humans bossed them around–there is no distinction between animals and humans.

Why do we recommend this book?

Another all-time classic, George Orwell, narrates his story about a bunch of animals, which is not about animals. It is all a metaphor for Joseph Stalin’s Russian Revolution and the disastrous effects of absolute power. Political satire and humor are utilized to underline the actions of the animals on the farm. With cleverly written characters and a plot with a moral, it is a fable for our times when so many powers threaten to snatch equality and individuality. This is a must-read dark humor book!

To buy/gift Animal Farm, click on the below link:

#3 My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

About the book:

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, dark humor
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Genre: Satire, Thriller

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 226

Goodreads rating: 3.70/5

The sis-code dictates that sisters stand up for each other no matter what. This dark humor novel takes this thought to a criminal extent. Korede, a nurse, helps her staggeringly beautiful sister Ayoola cover up the murders she commits against her love interests. But Korede is in a fix when the man she has been in love with forever–Dr. Tate–begins dating her sister. This highly stressful situation makes her confess her feelings to an unconscious patient daily. What happens when this patient wakes up one day, having heard everything? Who does Korede save? And how does she sort out this messy situation?

Why do we recommend this book?

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s writing is deliciously dark. The premise of a casually murderous woman is chilling and outlandish. The mystery is pulse-quickening. One understands that men worship Ayoola because she’s beautiful, but why does her sister? The cold, selfish character of Ayoola is contrasted with the loyal Korede. Unexpected alliances and coincidences add to the brilliance of the plot. The question of why a nurse like Korede, who saves lives, agrees to clean up killings is a question that is beautifully answered. To find out, read it!

To buy/gift My Sister, the Serial Killer, click on the below link:

#4 The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 

About the book:

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Title: The White Tiger 

Author: Aravind Adiga

Genre: Epistolary fiction, Mystery

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 276

Goodreads rating: 3.76/5

Balram–the protagonist, recounts his life story via letters to a Chinese Premier. Belonging to a lower caste, Balram is named the ‘white tiger’ because of his intelligence. When he is taken out of school to earn money, he becomes a chauffeur to an elite albeit shady family. Balram wishes that his master–Mr. Ashok and Pinky Madam will help him make something of himself. However, when their marriage falls apart, Balram strikes a golden opportunity to kickstart his escape from poverty. Suddenly, he is successful and the owner of an enormous taxi chain in India, but he carries a grave secret with him. What is this secret, and will he be caught?

Why do we recommend this book?

2008’s Man Booker Prize winner, this dark humor book focuses on two Indians–the India of the poor and that of the rich. This is the ultimate rags-to-riches story, told in a matter-of-fact, satirical way. The steps Balram takes to reach the top are shocking. Yet, surprisingly, Balram lives unscathed after all he has done to get his dream, and this element fills the narrative with intrigue.

To experience a deeply comical yet thrilling story, readers should read The White Tiger.

To buy/gift The White Tiger, click on the below link:

#5 If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

About the book:

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin, dark humor
If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Title: If I Can’t Have You

Author: Charlotte Levin

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Pan Macmillan UK

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 416

Goodreads rating: 3.83/5

Constance has been unlucky in life and loves both–leaving her significantly scarred. But this turns for the better when the hunky doctor at the clinic she works takes an interest in her, and they start seeing each other. Attached to him, Constance is heartbroken when the man breaks up with her. She is in therapy for her obsessive tendencies, but that only fuels her to create an intricate plan to bring the doctor back. Constance has found the love of her life, and this time she will not let him leave–she will be lucky in love.

Why do we recommend this book?

An intriguing and sometimes frightening portrayal of what obsession makes you do makes Constance and the plot unique and appealing. Obsessive lovers are usually male characters; thus, it is interesting to see a woman take matters into her own hands. While portraying mental health through dark humor, it also explores the deep cracks failed relationships leave in people. It is intriguing, perplexing, and very entertaining—a perfect read for those who enjoy psychological thrillers.

To buy/gift If I Can’t Have You, click on the below link:

#6 Club You To Death by Anuja Chauhan

About the book:

Club You to Death by Anuja Chauhan, dark humor
Club You to Death by Anuja Chauhan

Title: Club You to Death

Author: Anuja Chauhan

Genre: Mystery, Comedy

Publisher: HarperCollins

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 432

Goodreads rating: 3.56/5

The posh Delhi Turf Club–also called the haven for the impossibly rich, is only immaculate superficially. Internally, it is a hub of deceit and crime. When a famous fitness trainer’s mysterious demise is ruled death due to asphyxiation, the investigator in charge realizes the criminal is one of the club’s elite members. Akash Dogra–a human rights lawyer, takes a particular interest in the case and suspects his ex–Bambi Todi, is involved. As the investigation gets murkier and more convoluted, the secrets of the elite and the victim are revealed.

Why do we recommend this book? 

Anuja Chauhan returns in her signature sarcastic style, satirizing the rich and their customs in the book. This dark humor book is a cozy mystery–never too serious or graphic. The novel keeps you guessing until the end, which is very satisfying. The narrative never forgets to infuse humor–through the broken English the police speak or the awkward relations the characters share. It is an underrated whodunnit and is recommended to all readers who enjoy mysteries in urban Indian settings.

To buy/gift Club You to Death, click on the below link:

#7 Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 

About the book:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, dark humor
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 

Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Author: Maria Semple 

Genre: Humorous Fiction 

Publisher: Back Bay Books

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 330

Goodreads rating: 3.88/5

Bernadette and Elgin’s daughter Bee wants to vacation in Antarctica to reward her academic achievements; Bernadette is afraid she will get seasick on the cruise and asks for potent medication. But Elgin is fearful that she’s the other kind of sick and needs to be admitted to psychiatric care. On the day of her intervention, everyone is left baffled when Bernadette disappears into thin air. Elgin and Bee are told she might’ve drowned in a drunken stupor. Nothing is certain but that Bernadette has found her long-lost freedom wherever she is. Maybe she has found it in death, but if not, where is she?

Why do we recommend this book?

The novel is funny and hooks you into the mystery from the word go. Bizarre events happen throughout this dark humor book, and till the end, one is never sure where the climax is leading. Full of quirky characters and even more peculiar twists, it is a story about looking for a lost woman who had been internally lost for quite some time. Equal parts mystery and equal parts character drama with humor interwoven, it is an absolute must for readers who enjoy this genre.

To buy/gift Where’d You Go, Bernadette, click on the below link:

#8 Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

About the book:

Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman
Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

Title: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Bachman

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Publisher: Simon and Schuster 

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 336

Goodreads rating: 4.20/5

An unsuccessful money heist leads a desperate robber into an open house. Full of singles and couples in the apartment for very different reasons–reasons that have to do with their baggage, are immediately held hostage by the robber. As a father-son cop duo attempt a negotiation, a request for some pizza by the hostages gives the father a glimpse into the actual situation. The problem seems in control. But a few minutes later, a ringing gunshot is heard, with blood splatters all over the house. What exactly is going on, and is the explanation for all the bloodshed as simple as it initially seems?

Why do we recommend this book?

The explanation for the bloodshed is ingenious. From the beginning, the premise of a failed robbery for a silly reason is rib-tickling. As each character’s background is revealed, the group begins to feel like a family–albeit in a tense environment. Symbols are connected in unbelievable ways, and the revelations are surprising. Once again, humor conveys emotional things–making this dark humor book a delightful read.

To buy/gift Anxious People, click on the below link:

#9 Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

About the book:

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne
Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

Title: Am I Normal Yet

Author: Holly Bourne

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Type: The Spinster Series: #1 Am I Normal Yet, #2 How Hard Can Love Be, #3 What’s a Girl Gotta Do

Pages: 434

Goodreads rating: 4.19/5

Evie suffers from OCD and generalized anxiety disorder, for which she is slowly coming off medication. As she begins a new life at her college, she is determined to be brand new and so regular that even she can no longer spot her mental health issues. She’s partying it up with her girlfriends and experiencing the bittersweet nature of teen love–an experience that doesn’t let go. Guess what else doesn’t let go? Her OCD and anxiety. As she figures life out amidst the chaos of being a teen, does she find out what ‘normal’ really is, or is it just a myth?

Why do we recommend this book?

In the first book of The Spinster Club series, Holly Bourne’s writing is a sensitively witty exploration of teens’ mental health. The notion of being normal is questioned–what is expected when everyone grapples with their troubles? However, the book never becomes offensive or detached from reality and creates a protagonist one would want to see flourish. It will be a relatable, validating, and educational read for anyone who has been a teenager and experienced the roller coaster ride it is.

To buy/gift Am I Normal Yet, click on the below link:

#10 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

About the book:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars 

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance

Publisher: Dutton Books

Type: Standalone 

Pages: 313

Goodreads rating: 4.16/5

Hazel-Grace Lancaster thinks her depression has more to do with her dying of cancer than cancer itself. But, at her mother’s behest, when Hazel attends a cancer support group meeting, she meets a fellow cancer survivor–the charming Augustus Waters. They have great chemistry instantly and indulge in a heartwarming, sweet romance. Each other’s company helps them through the arduous journey of cancer. But they always knew their romance was short-lived; maybe that is why it was so unique–they lived every day like it was their last. But is it so easy to move on when things begin to unravel? Doesn’t it feel unfair?

Why do we recommend this book?

Why is TFIOS on a comedy list?! That would be the obvious question. But it is because John Green uses his unique humorous style to light and normalize a heartbreaking disease like cancer. The characters often joke around–about things like their sex lives and how cancer has affected that. The humor ensures we remember that these are ordinary teens with a great sense of humor and acceptance who happen to be extraordinarily sick. If you’ve already read the book, revisit its spirit; if you’ve never read it, try it out immediately!

To buy/gift The Fault in Our Stars, click on the below link:

Wherever you decide to travel through the page, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it. Happy Reading!

To conclude, here are the 10 best books with dark humor you must have on your wishlist.

1.Catch-22 by Joseph HellerBuy Now
2.Animal Farm by George OrwellBuy Now
3.My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan BraithwaiteBuy Now
4.The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga Buy Now
5.If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte LevinBuy Now
6.Club You To Death by Anuja ChauhanBuy Now
7.Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria SempleBuy Now
8.Anxious People by Fredrik BachmanBuy Now
9.Am I Normal Yet by Holly BourneBuy Now
10.The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenBuy Now
10 Best books with dark humor

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