100 books like Three Men in a Boat

By Jerome K. Jerome,

Here are 100 books that Three Men in a Boat fans have personally recommended if you like Three Men in a Boat. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

David Baboulene Author Of Ocean Boulevard

From my list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

David's book list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

I met Bill Bryson once, and we subsequently exchanged a few letters.

‘Knowing him’ gave an extra dimension to his writing and humour, because he’s acerbic with the pen and yet so gentle and shy as a person.

When we met, he was giving a talk on the importance of hedgerows in our ‘Green and Pleasant Land’, and he has always inspired me to appreciate the privilege of being British (He is American).

Sometimes it can be hard to remember..! One thing is for sure: British humour is unique, and I will never fail to appreciate that. Neither Here Nor There was the first Bryson I read, but you could pick any of his travel works.

He’s got such a wonderful style and humour, you can’t really go wrong.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Neither Here Nor There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bill Bryson's first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither Here nor There he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.

Whether braving the homicidal motorists of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and…


Book cover of Anton Chekhov's Masterpieces: Short Stories ( An Avenger, Gone Astray, A Slander, Frost ) - PART 7

Alex Bernstein Author Of Miserable Holiday Stories: 20 Festive Failures That Are Worse Than Yours!

From my list on century old humor that remains funny today.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a humorist and lover of all things comedy, I know how quickly a good joke can feel dated. (Heck, lots of great bits from last year don’t even work anymore.) Drama almost always holds up better than comedy. For example, you can still get swept up in dramatic narratives as ancient as The Odyssey. But do Aristophanes’ or Shakespeare’s “comedies” elicit even the slightest guffaws? Not from me. So, I hear you cry, are there any written works from more than 100 years ago that remain lol funny today? Well, don’t cry. Because yes, there are quite a few literary treasures that are still hysterically funny. The good news is that I’ve done some of that research for you.  

Alex's book list on century old humor that remains funny today

Alex Bernstein Why did Alex love this book?

Hold on! Anton Chekhov? Not that giant of Russian literature who gave us some of the most poignant, brooding, melancholy views of family life in dramatic works like The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard? Probably the biggest surprise on this list, Anton Chekhov wrote comedy for years and as a young adult supported his family by writing humorous sketches about Russian life for the magazine Oskolki. While most famous for his plays, Chekhov was an incredibly gifted short story and humor writer. In one of his tightest yarns, “An Avenger,” confused young Fyodor Sigaev goes shopping for an appropriate revolver to mete out justice after he discovers his spouse cheating on him. But once at the shop, the sheer number of firearm choices he’s presented with quickly overwhelm him. 

“. . . I would advise you, M'sieur, to take this superb revolver, the Smith and Wesson pattern, the…

By Anton Chekhov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anton Chekhov's Masterpieces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anton Chekhov's Masterpieces

Short Stories ( An Avenger, Gone Astray, A Slander, Frost ) - PART 7 -

-  The inspirational short stories of Anton Chekhov are famous around the World. Some of the best loved stories and tales have been penned by this remarkable Russian author considered as one of the best short story writers in history and by some as the founder of short stories! The following selection of his famous short stories will provide hours of reading pleasure.

Read in this issue:

An Avenger Gone Astray A Slander Frost

Book cover of Roughing It

Fedora Amis Author Of Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

From my list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history and I love to laugh. That’s why I brand myself as a writer of Victorian Whodunits with a touch of humor. I’ve spent decades learning about 1800s America. I began sharing that knowledge by performing in costume as real women of history. But I couldn’t be on stage all the time so I began writing the books I want to read, books that entertain while sticking to the basic facts of history and giving the flavor of an earlier time. I seek that great marriage of words that brings readers to a new understanding. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” 

Fedora's book list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West

Fedora Amis Why did Fedora love this book?

Mark Twain is my writing idol. Before Roughing it, I’d never read a book written during the Civil War era which didn’t take sides and grind axes. From it, I learned detachment, that personal adventures can live side-by-side with even the most earth-shattering events. And that hilarious stories like “Bemis and the Buffalo” are the best antidote for the chaos and pain of war.

By Mark Twain,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Roughing It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The celebrated author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn mixes fact and fiction in a rousing travelogue that serves as “a portrait of the artist as a young adventurer.”*
 
In 1861, young Mark Twain found himself adrift as a newcomer in the Wild West, working as a civil servant, silver prospector, mill worker, and finally a reporter and traveling lecturer. Roughing It is the hilarious record of those early years traveling from Nevada to California to Hawaii, as Twain tried his luck at anything and everything—and usually failed. Twain’s encounters with tarantulas and donkeys, vigilantes…


Book cover of The Importance of Being Earnest

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Author Of Wilde Wagers

From my list on historical novels that are light and silly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach writing and children's literature at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and for many years worked as a librarian. (Once a librarian, always a librarian!) First and foremost, I'm a reader. The real world can be an unpleasant and depressing place, so I regularly escape inside books. Although serious books are great, it's also nice to escape to a world where you can laugh and not worry about anything too bad happening.

Elizabeth's book list on historical novels that are light and silly

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Jack pretends to be his brother, Earnest, blaming the made-up man for all mishandled affairs. But when Jack's friend "becomes" the infamous Earnest and begins to woo Jack's ward Cecily, all sorts of craziness ensues. This classic play is perhaps the best example of wacky characters creating mayhem in a world where even bad things turn out to be only silly mishaps.  

By Oscar Wilde,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Importance of Being Earnest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, "The Importance of Being Earnest" has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.


Book cover of The Pirates of Penzance

Alex Bernstein Author Of Miserable Holiday Stories: 20 Festive Failures That Are Worse Than Yours!

From my list on century old humor that remains funny today.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a humorist and lover of all things comedy, I know how quickly a good joke can feel dated. (Heck, lots of great bits from last year don’t even work anymore.) Drama almost always holds up better than comedy. For example, you can still get swept up in dramatic narratives as ancient as The Odyssey. But do Aristophanes’ or Shakespeare’s “comedies” elicit even the slightest guffaws? Not from me. So, I hear you cry, are there any written works from more than 100 years ago that remain lol funny today? Well, don’t cry. Because yes, there are quite a few literary treasures that are still hysterically funny. The good news is that I’ve done some of that research for you.  

Alex's book list on century old humor that remains funny today

Alex Bernstein Why did Alex love this book?

Before sitcoms, stand-up, SNL, and absolutely any great comedy movie you can name – there was Gilbert & Sullivan. Okay, yes they wrote operas (“light operas” technically; really more like our musicals today), but these works were created to be popular, scandalous, funny, and with hummable tunes for the masses. G&S operas were absurd, fantastic, politically incorrect, hysterical, “topsy turvy” extravaganzas that satirized (much like Wilde) the bourgeois mores of the day. Astonishingly, most of it holds up today, which is why you can still see Gilbert and Sullivan's productions being perpetually staged across the globe. If you can see one of their productions live – or on YouTube – go for it. But the libretto’s themselves are highly readable and funny. The Pirates of Penzance is a good gateway to their other works. It’s full of sex, crime, cops, pirates, bathing beauties, and non-stop earworms; and includes two of…

By W.S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pirates of Penzance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a pirate's apprentice tries to leave the high seas and build a new life, his hopes are dashed when a secret comes to light. The man's plans are shattered as he's forced to return to his old stomping grounds. Frederic is a 21-year-old who has spent his life working as a pirate's apprentice. Now an adult, he's free from his commitment and able to venture out on his own. He eventually stumbles across a group of women including the beautiful Mabel. They immediately fall in love and plan to spend their lives together. Unfortunately, Frederic discovers that his birthday,…


Book cover of Vintage Wodehouse

David Baboulene Author Of Ocean Boulevard

From my list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

David's book list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

Wodehouse inspired me to become a writer.

I devoured all of his 108 books. Then one day. Long after his death, they brought out a new Wodehouse! I couldn’t believe it! I rushed out to buy The Pothunters – a collection of works, written before he got published. And to my utter devastation… it was rubbish. 

And then I realised… Once upon a time he was young. And not very good. It was actually a little dismissive to call him a ‘genius’, as if it was effortless for him. He had to work really hard to get where he did, and guess what… I was rubbish.

In that moment, I realised that maybe if I worked hard, maybe I could get published… And my writer’s life began from there.

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vintage Wodehouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A really entertaining selection of some of Wodehouse's best pieces.


Book cover of Round Ireland with a Fridge

David Baboulene Author Of Ocean Boulevard

From my list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

David's book list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

I chose this book because, well, it’s really funny!

Tony Hawks carries a fridge around Ireland for charity and becomes infamous for it on the way round. His style and humour are hugely engaging, and Ireland is so full of character, that by the end of it, I felt as if I had taken every step with him.

I feel as if I have a memory of walking around Ireland with a fridge as if I did it. That is a sign of very good writing! 

By Tony Hawks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Round Ireland with a Fridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whilst in Ireland for an International Song Competition, Tony Hawks was amazed to see a hitch-hiker, trying to thumb a lift, but with a fridge. This seemed amazingly optimistic - his Irish friends, however thought nothing of it at all. 'I had clearly arrived in a country', writes Tony, 'where the qualifications for 'eccentric' involved a great deal more than that to which I had become used'. Two years pass but the fridge incident haunts our author. Until one night, heavy with drink, he finds himself arguing about Ireland with a friend. It is, he insists, a 'magical place', so…


Book cover of Unreliable Memoirs

David Baboulene Author Of Ocean Boulevard

From my list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

David's book list on humorous travel that also deliver great stories

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

Clive James is one of those writers whose voice you hear as he writes.

His journey from childhood in Sydney to adulthood at Oxford University in England is beautifully written and so very funny. The entire trilogy is good, but this first one – it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

And if you have heard him speak, his dry, clever wit, and his ability to pick precisely the right word rides through and adds a lovely Australian spark to it all. A brilliant work. 

By Clive James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unreliable Memoirs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before James Frey famously fabricated his memoir, Clive James wrote a refreshingly candid book that made no claims to be accurate, precise, or entirely truthful, only to entertain. In an exercise of literary exorcism, James set out to put his childhood in Australia behind him by rendering it as part novel, part memoir. Now, nearly thirty years after it first came out in England, Unreliable Memoirs is again available to American readers and sure to attract a whole new generation that has, through his essays and poetry, come to love James's inimitable voice.


Book cover of Sweet Thames Run Softly

Richard Mayon-White Author Of Discovering London's Canals: On foot, by bike or by boat

From my list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love rivers. The flow of water gives a sense of timelessness, the reflection of light from the surface brightens the colours on the banks and the wider stretches make a feeling of space. I have messed about in boats all my life and I am happiest on inland waterways. What I enjoyed as recreation alongside a medical career has grown into a vocation in my retirement. The more people who know about our beautiful rivers, the better the chances that we can protect them from exploitation and carelessness. 

Richard's book list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways

Richard Mayon-White Why did Richard love this book?

Sweet Thames Run Softly is a classic of natural history literature. 

It is reputed to have been read by British servicemen during World War II to remind them of home and peace. It is just as evocative today.  It describes a journey down the River Thames in a punt, and it meanders in the same way as the river does. 

The beauty lies in the text and the charm is in the author’s etchings. This is a book that I read time and again, whenever I want inspiration or solace.

By Robert Gibbings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet Thames Run Softly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Robert Gibbings launched his home-made punt on the River Thames and began a slow journey downstream, armed with a sketchpad and a microscope. From the river's source at the edge of the Cotswold Hills to the bustle of London's docks, Sweet Thames Run Softly is a charming, often eccentric, account of an artist-naturalist adrift in English waters. First published as the Battle of Britain raged overhead, this gentle boating tale was an antidote to the anxieties of wartime and became an immediate best-seller. Our new edition includes the original engravings…


Book cover of Offshore

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

I have always liked the idea of living in a houseboat on the River Thames. This wonderful story simultaneously fed my fantasies and made me realise it might not be as idyllic as I imagined.

The houseboats on Battersea Reach are like a small village–each character is an individual yet integral part of the whole, their fortunes rising and falling with the tide. Through these characters, the book paints a picture of sixties London, swinging yet also unforgiving for those who slip between the cracks. Penelope Fitzgerald lived on a barge in Battersea, and I think much of the story is based on personal experience.

What I particularly liked was the sense of the houseboat dwellers not quite belonging, being offshore in more ways than one. 

By Penelope Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Offshore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
FEATURED ON BBC'S BETWEEN THE COVERS BOOK CLUB

Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames, with an introduction from Alan Hollinghurst.

On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames.

There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in humour books, funny, and London?

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