In these trying times of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: we all need a little time to unwind, relax, and relieve some stress. One of our favorite ways to rest and rejuvenate our spirits is to disappear into a good book and it’s even better if that book is one that will make us smile. When we read Helen Ellis’s Southern Lady Code, it did exactly that. While Helen may have left Alabama for New York City, she clings to her Southern accent like mayonnaise to white bread, and offers readers a hilarious, completely singular view on womanhood for both sides of the Mason-Dixon. After we wiped our tears and finally stopped giggling, we were hungry for more. Not only that, we thought that a side-splitting collection would be the perfect thing to breathe new life into our lives and our book club meetings. To help make your next (virtual) get-together especially enjoyable, we gathered together a list of books by women who confront life’s ups and downs with hilarity and wit. Fame, motherhood, aging and more are explored in these personal essays and memoirs by writers whose raw, personal stories are deeply funny and true.
“As close to perfect as an essay collection can get.” —Roxane Gay
Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Through personal essays that cover topics as far-ranging and intimate as embarrassing bodily functions and online dating, Irby tells stories that made us laugh and cry and want to be her best friend.
“Schumacher blends satire with righteousness. . . . The Shakespeare Requirement imagines the work of teaching with compassion and urgency.” —The New Yorker
Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly.
Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire.
“Mollen employs her singular wit to confront the anxieties of motherhood and finally growing up.” —People
By the author of I Like You Just the Way I Am and a frequent Chelsea contributor, an outrageous collection of personal stories about motherhood, responsibility, and other potential disasters.
“Wickedly witty. . . . Crackling sharp. . . . Fireworks shoot out [of this collection].” —The Boston Globe
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older.
“Will make you wish Greer was your wacky best friend.” —People
Judy is a refreshingly honest, self-deprecating, and totally relatable guide to Hollywood life, speaking candidly about what it’s really like to shoot on location, to go to the Oscars, and to feel like you’re building a tortoise career in a town full of hares.
“Gut-wrenching, life-affirming . . . show[s] how powerful good writing can really be.” –New York Post
Shiksa Goddess collects thirty-five of playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s urbane, inspiring, and deeply empathic essays–all written when she was in her forties, and all infused with her trademark irreverent humor.
“A self-deprecating, wickedly funny and mildly philosophical reflection on marriage, mothering, middle age and the march toward life’s meaning.” —Bookpage
Melanie Gideon’s hilarious memoir is a disarmingly honest take on marriage and motherhood by a woman who realized she was sleepwalking through life and decided she needed to do something about it.