Raise your hand if you need a laugh right now. Guess what, if your hand is up, you’re in the right place! We have plenty of laugh-inducing material in the following essay collections. Dive into one and let the giggles, guffaws, snorts, and uncontrollable belly laughs commence!
The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser
“Funny, exciting, vulnerable—truly visionary.” —Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night
In this intimate, frank, and funny memoir-in-essays, Hauser releases herself from traditional narratives of happiness and goes looking for ways of living that leave room for the unexpected, making plenty of mistakes along the way. Told with the late-night barstool directness of your wisest, most bighearted friend, The Crane Wife is a book for everyone whose life doesn’t look the way they thought it would; for everyone learning to find joy in the not-knowing; for everyone trying, if sometimes failing, to build a new sort of life story, a new sort of family, a new sort of home, to live in.
“Despite how often I type the letters ‘LOL,’ it actually takes a lot for me to laugh out loud. But I found myself doing so at least once a chapter… Hilarious.” —Amanda Heckert, Garden and Gun
In these twelve gloriously comic and moving essays, Helen Ellis dishes on married middle-age sex, sobs with a theater full of women as a psychic exorcises their sorrows, gets twenty shots of stomach bile to the neck to get rid of her double chin, and gathers up the courage to ask, “Are you there, Menopause? It’s Me, Helen.” A book that reads like the best cocktail party of your life, Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light is alive with the sensational humor and ferocious love for her friends that won Helen Ellis legions of fans. This book has a raw vulnerability and an emotional generosity that takes this acclaimed author to a whole new level of accomplishment.
“Tacky is a very funny book. Not just funny, I mean, SERIOUSLY FUNNY. King has the power to trick you into thinking you’ve got the joke all figured out, then suddenly reveals that you’re going to experience a wealth of tender, thought-provoking emotions and guess what? You’re gonna like it!” —Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
Tacky is about the power of pop culture—like any art—to imprint itself on our lives and shape our experiences, no matter one’s commitment to “good” taste. These fourteen essays are a nostalgia-soaked antidote to the millennial generation’s obsession with irony, putting the aesthetics we hate to love—snakeskin pants, Sex and the City, Cheesecake Factory’s gargantuan menu—into kinder and sharper perspective. Each essay revolves around a different maligned (and yet, Rax would argue, vital) cultural artifact, providing thoughtful, even romantic meditations on desire, love, and the power of nostalgia. The result is a collection that captures the personal and generational experience of finding joy in caring just a little too much with clarity, heartfelt honesty, and Rax King’s trademark humor.
“Truly funny and wonderfully wise.” —Chicago Tribune
This edition brings together two collections of Nora Ephron’s uproarious essays on a generation of women (and men) who helped shape the way we live now, and on events ranging from the Watergate scandal to the Pillsbury Bake-Off. In these sharp, hilariously entertaining, and vividly observed pieces, Ephron illuminates an era with wicked honesty and insight. From the famous “A Few Words About Breasts” to important pieces on her time working for the New York Post and Gourmet Magazine, these essays show Ephron at her very best.
“Stark and riveting . . . searingly honest and often painfully funny.” —Leah Mirakhor, The New York Times Book Review
As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. It wasn’t until she finally left for good that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond “The Family.” Along the way, she’s loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. As she sweeps through the underbelly of America, she begins to excavate a new identity even as her past continues to trail her and color her world, relationships, and perceptions of self. At once razor-sharp, profoundly brave, and often very, very funny, the essays in Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future.
“Stay-up-all-night, miss-your-subway-stop, spit-out-your-beverage funny.” —Jia Tolentino
Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “tv executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life. s is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.
“You’re about to ungraciously snort with laughter in a public place…. Every paragraph is like doing a shot with a friend. A double.” —Caitlin Moran, New York Times bestselling author of How to Be a Woman
Joel Golby’s writing for Vice and The Guardian, with its wry observation and naked self-reflection, has brought him a wide and devoted following. Now, in his first book, he presents a blistering collection of new and newly expanded essays–including the achingly funny viral hit “Things You Only Know When Both Your Parents Are Dead.” In these pages, he travels to Saudi Arabia, where he acts as a perplexed bystander at a camel pageant; offers a survival guide for the modern dinner party (i.e. how to tactfully escape at the first sign of an adult board game); and gets pitted head-to-head, again and again, with an unpredictable, unpitying subspecies of Londoner: the landlord. Through it all, he shows that no matter how cruel the misfortune, how absurd the circumstance, there’s always the soft punch of a lesson tucked within. This is a book for anyone who overshares, overthinks, has ever felt lost or confused–and who wants to have a good laugh about it.