And now some recommendations by myself. I'm trying to restrict myself to a few books per genre.
Funny science-fiction or alternate history:
- The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. Horror and fantasy mixed with Douglas Adams humor, and satire on office work. It's the kind of book any IT professional will love.
- Making History by Stephen Fry. Switches between the funnily narrated tale of a British student and the horrors of fascism.
- Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslaković. A funny book about two parallel universes.
- Everything by Douglas Adams
- Everything by Terry Pratchett
Other funny books:
- Die schärfsten Gerichte der tatarischen Küche (English: "The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine") by Alina Bronsky. It's about the life of a Tatar woman from her birth in 1978 or '79 until ca. 2007, told by her self-centered, bossy, know-it-all grandmother.
- Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. About teenagers in an Irish boarding school and their problems.
- Die Nachhut by Hans Waal. Old nazis come out of a bunker after 60 years. No one takes them seriously.
- Glennkill (English: "Three Bags Full") by Leonie Swann. Shows you how sheep think, and how they can solve a murder while thinking about food 90% of the time.
Serious science-fiction or alternate history:
- The City & The City by China Miéville. It's a detective story set in a city that is divided in two in a weird way: The same street can have a Besź and an Ul Qoman name because some of its buildings belong to Besźel and some to Ul Qoma. But when you're in Besźel, you are not allowed to see and hear the Ul Qoman people, cars and houses. If you fail to "unsee" and "unhear" them, you commit "breach," the most serious crime in the twin cities...
- The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. The history of a world in which Europe does not play a major role.
- The 1632 series by Eric Flint. A 21st-century American small town that suddenly finds itself in 17th-century Germany. Continued by an on-line community.
- Ein König für Deutschland by Andreas Eschbach. How voting machines can destroy democracy.
Serious stuff set in the real world:
- Room by Emma Donoghue. A thrilling novel with a horrible subject, told by an innocent child. The novel is quite emotional, causing fear and compassion for little Jack and his Ma who has been abducted years ago.
- Four Years from Home by Larry Enright. Sometimes funny, sometimes mystery, family portrait. About two brothers who are quite different and who are treated differently by their parents.
- Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. An amnesiac forgets everything as soon as she falls asleep. She keeps a diary to help her remember not to trust her husband.