I think it’s safe to say that most of us could use more laughter in our lives these days. But regardless of how scary or uncertain times may be, these make for great reading anytime really. Be sure to save one or two for your next vacation, whenever it may be…
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1. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The first time I read this, I was on a packed train and I’m sure a few folks thought I was a little loopy because I spent a lot of time trying to keep myself from howling with laughter every few pages. I wasn’t very successful. One of Sedaris’s earliest and best works, full of stories about his early days in show business, learning French after moving abroad and, of course, his wonderfully eclectic family.
2. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
For those who enjoy some science fiction with their comedy, this 1963 masterpiece follows a group of crazed characters around a sordid Carribbean island where one writer’s desire to document atomic bomb stories crosses paths with high-stakes political intrigue. Sublimely absurd on all levels.
3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
If you love David Sedaris’s irreverent humor and family stories, Jenny Lawson has written a memoir you won’t be able to put down.
4. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak
Pensive and wryly funny, Novak’s anecdotes are all linked together by his musings on what people search for to make themselves feel complete. Even if you never really watched The Office, show writer and actor Novak delivers with this one.
5. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Named after her wildly popular web series, the star and creator of HBO’s “Insecure” posits on topics from cybersex and eating alone, to rapping and PDA.
6. McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes by McSweeney’s Editors
For a meta and somewhat highbrow laugh, McSweeney’s satire can’t be beat. Bits such as “Ikea Product or Lord of the Rings Character?”, “Chuck Norris Erotica” and “To Catch a Predator: Humbert Humbert” will appeal to casual and voracious readers alike.
7. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
A collection of essays on the absurdities of city living and the people you meet (for better or worse) along the way.
8. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
A curated round up of essays and witty, pithy poems from the eminently quotable and still relevant Mrs. Parker.
9. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
Subtitled “A low culture manifesto”, Klosterman eviscerates modern pop culture while still admitting to being somewhat in its thrall and lets us in on the random thoughts that drift in and out as he falls asleep.
10. No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal
An Indian-American mother in the Ohio suburbs tries to find meaning in her life after ending up with an empty nest. So she takes a job as a receptionist in a proctologist’s office…and moonlights writing erotic supernatural fiction.
Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are the funniest books you’ve read that aren’t included in this list? Leave it in the comments below!