We can all agree that 2016 was rough. Unfortunately, 2017 isn’t shaping up any better – at least so far. Any hopes of opening the year on a high note now seem to be fading in the rear-view mirror. It’s safe to say that we all look for an escape from time to time – a way to unwind and shrug off the chaotic bombardment of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, our daily commutes, and workplace headaches. Laughter may not always be the best medicine, but it’s certainly cathartic. Thankfully, there are a several books, either on the shelves or about to land, to goad your sense of humor into amping up the dopamine to make this year a tad more bearable.
Stories About My Family You Might Relate To
This wry collection of essays from Annabelle Gurwitch is a perfect reminder that as crazy and dysfunctional as we think our families are, odds are someone else was born into something odder. Gurwitch takes readers on a raucous, insightful journey through stories born from her “family of bootleggers, gamblers, and philanderers.”
A True Story of Weird Politics, Money, Madness, and Finger Food
The business of politics is often one hell of a carnival. Trey Redel’s uproarious and sometimes so-insane-it-must-be-true memoir chronicles his short, scandal-plagued, cocaine-fueled time in Congress as a Republican congressman in Florida with hilarious, self-deprecating candor.
Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep
We all kept our New Year’s resolutions, right? Of course not. Well, maybe you kept one or two. If you are in the statistically probable group of people who let those resolutions fall to the wayside, take heart, my friend: You are not alone. And this hilarious short from Samantha Irby is witty confirmation of that fact.
Speaking of Samantha Irby, obviously it’s great to have something short from her – but even greater to have a full collection. In May 2017, pick up her collection of essays, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. The “Bitches Gotta Eat” blogger tackles all the things you’d want to be tackled from the point of view of a mid-thirties-ish Chicago-based straight shooter with the sharpest of wits – and an even sharper sense of humor.
Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian
W. Kamau Bell
Look no further than the subtitle of W. Kamau Bell’s book to get the gist of who he is: Tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. It’s likely, though, that the Emmy-nominated funnyman has already caught your attention via his CNN show “United Shades of America.” In his first book, W. Kamau will address everything from politics to racism to fatherhood in the voice that – if you don’t already adore – you will come to adore immediately.
It’s nearly impossible not to look at the seemingly idyllic life of another and see the apparently glaring faults in one’s own – a not-so-phenomenal phenomena that social media only amplifies. Such is the case for Katie Brenner in this witty new novel from Sophie Kinsella that is sure to bring a comforting smile or two to your face.
Romance, intrigue, family squabbles, and most importantly humor – it’s hard to go wrong with Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. Rachel Hulin’s delightfully quirky and witty debut is a very modern take on the classic epistolary novel and told entirely through the email correspondence of fraternal twins Harry and Matilda.
from How Proust Can Change Your Life
Alain de Botton
While Marcel Proust – a brilliant writer and world-class sufferer – is not exactly a go-to for a cheerful or humorous read, Alain de Botton’s ingenious take on Proust’s literary legacy certainly is. This short zeroes in on our oft-impulsive need to rush through the rituals of the day and precisely why that impulse should be resisted. And it does so with de Botton’s trademark wit and insight.
In this modern take on The Taming of the Shrew, Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler turns the classic Shakespeare tale into a screwball comedy. Tyler wisely eschews the less politically correct aspects of the original play – including a fairly ingenious and timely workaround for the arranged marriage at the center of the plot – with this irreverent update.
This memoir by Clinton Kelly chronicling his life from “awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult” is precisely as snarky as you’d expect. It’s also hilarious and candid with asides that include Kelly’s finicky pornography tastes (he’s a fan of the 1980s), his issues with New Jersey water parks, and his time on “What Not to Wear.”
All Day. Every Day. About Everything.
That feeling of struggling to get through the day, any day, is universal – and sometimes it’s helpful to realize that everyone else is struggling in the same way you are. If that realization comes by way of a healthy dose of acerbic humor and hilarious illustrations, that’s all the better. With that in mind, we recommend to you Orli Auslander’s I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything.
With her debut collection of essays, Scaachi Koul turns her razor-sharp wit inward and chronicles her life growing up as the daughter of Indian immigrants. In frank and often hilarious terms, Koul delves into sexism, stereotypes, and those sometimes-awkward, sometimes-miserable moments we can all relate to.
What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara
Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty, PhD
Ever wonder what would actually happen if you were swallowed by a whale? Or just how many cookies you could binge before actually dying? What about that old banana peel gag, is that actually dangerous? Writer Cody Cassidy and scientist Paul Doherty gleefully explore these questions and more in the appropriately titled And Then You’re Dead.
A Road Trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama
Roland Merullo is building an interesting niche with humorous spiritual writing that is equal parts affirming, thought-provoking, charming, and comical. His latest imagines an impromptu road trip for Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. Expect both spiritual fulfillment and hijinks.
In this multi-generational novel, Rakesh Satyal explores the cultural divide that immigrants often face with a combination of wit and sly humor. Centering on two Indian immigrants – one living with and taking care of his mother, the other dealing with an empty nest and her potentially crumbling marriage – who find solace in an unlikely friendship. No One Can Pronounce My Name is big-hearted, hopeful, and will hopefully make you laugh.
Untold Stories from American History
Dave Anthony & Gareth Reynolds; Foreword by Patton Oswalt
Fans of the podcast The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds will recognize the brand of history that these two funny guys gravitate toward – and feel compelled to share. Out in early May, this collection, introduced by Patton Oswalt, will touch on everything from Lobster Boy to Lenny Dykstra, and lobotomies to Action Park. This is the stuff the history books never taught you.
Not a Memoir
You probably don’t know much about Canadian comic Norm MacDonald – but you should. He’s played both Burt Reynolds and Bob Dole on “Saturday Night Live.” He pushed the envelope behind the Weekend Update desk from 1994-1997. And followed up the SNL years with a successful comedic writing and acting stretch. As for the memoir, he sequestered himself on a farm in Canada to write it.
Remember the wonder and mystery of the great wide adulthood that spread before you as you were coming of age? An expanse whose draw only deepened by the notion that the world was your oyster, and that anything was possible? As you came to learn, the reality would likely look different. To turn back to an alternate – and more realistic – version of the real world, check out Dr. Suits’s Oh, the Meetings You’ll Go To!
Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman & Martin A. Cohen
For those who need a little to-do with their tittering, we present The Executive Coloring Book. First published fifty years ago, this coloring-for-adults addition will require a palette that incorporates a lot of brown and gray. Take for example the caption: “This is my suit. Color it gray or I will lose my job.”