The Funniest Books of 2020, recommended by Pippa Evans

Comedy offers escapism and a way of processing our emotions during stressful times, says the comedian Pippa Evans—who this year served as a judge for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Here she talks us through the books shortlisted for the title of the funniest book of 2020, and explains how she found herself researching pig deliveries.

The Best Political Satire Books, recommended by P. J. O’Rourke

Satire is humour used for a moral purpose, explains American political satirist P.J. O’Rourke—though it doesn’t have to be particularly funny and can be quite dark. Here, he chooses five classic works of political satire, books that lay bare the shortcomings of not only communism and fascism but also the two-party system and the quest for a perfect society where everyone is happy.

The Best PG Wodehouse Books, recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe

A prolific writer sometimes oblivious to events going on around him, PG Wodehouse remains so well loved because of his enduring characters and inimitable style, says Sophie Ratcliffe, associate professor of English at Oxford University and editor of his letters.

The best books on Jewish Humour, recommended by Ruth Wisse

Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature Emerita at Harvard and author of No Joke: Making Jewish Humour, identifies Tevye the Dairyman as the first standup comic and Sigmund Freud as Jewish humour’s greatest analyst.

The best books on Comedy, recommended by Maz Jobrani

Actor and comic chooses five books on comedy. One choice is The Comedy Bible, which explains that every comedian is either saying, “It is hard to…” or, “I love being…” – and you need to fill in the blanks.