I've always loved fairytales. My dad bought me The Reader's Digest Collection of Fairy Stories in two volumes. Both are pretty well read (and taped up to stop them falling apart, always a sign of a good book I think!). Little did I know when Dad got me these, that they could act as research material for me! The great thing is the collection contains the original versions of the stories. No sanatized Disney versions here. The original tale of The Little Mermaid is pretty bleak in its outcome. And as for The Little Match Girl it never fails to move me to tears. Social commentary was around before Dickens and this story is one proof of that.
I prefer overall stories with humour in them (even if their main genre is something else) though the humour must never be forced (and boy can you tell when it is!).