The Last Minute Gift Guide of Funny Books

Whilst completing the first draft of my book, I read a lot of humor books. Memoirs, satirical essays, and some estranged fiction. The majority of which, I absolutely loved!

So if you’re running around, still trying to find gifts for everyone on your list, (or a few for yourself), look no further.

Jess’s Last Minute Gift Guide of Funny Books for Funny People!

For the Coworker With the Same Sick Sense of Humor As You or the Family Member You Want to Shock Most:

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

There has to be some Sedaris on the list! I’m also a big fan of Holidays on Ice and Me Talk Pretty One Day. This book is full of childhood tales from Sedaris, as well as travel essays illuminating you on topics like healthcare and Santa Claus. The latter of which is by far my favorite chapter, titled Six to Eight Black Men, which made me laugh so much, I called my mother and did a dramatic reading over the phone for her.

For the Person Who’s Having a Hard Time Embracing Their 30’s

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I LOVED this book because I felt like I shared so many of the same experiences growing up as Ms. Crosley did. We both loved My Little Pony, we both hated bugs, and we both thought summer camp was overrated. Clearly we were soulmates.

I loved reading about Sloane maneuvering her way into adulthood with witty quips and full-fledged childish behavior! “Can I get you anything?  Coffee? Tea? A pony?”

For the Celebrity Obsessed Friend Who’s Never Missed an Episode of The Office

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I appreciated learning more about The Office’s Kelly Kapoor before she was Kelly Kapoor. For instance, did you know Mindy Kaling spent a substantial amount of time impersonating Ben Affleck on an off-Broadway stage? True story.

I enjoyed her conversational style and willingness to bare all her insecurities over dieting, diversity, and writing. Definitely excited for her that she has her own show now, that girl worked for it!

For Your Most Sarcastic Friend or the One Who Says They Hate Going Out But In Fact Go Out All Of the Time

The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

This book was recommended to me by an agent at DFWcon. She told me if I was writing comedy, I needed to read Laurie Notaro, who has quite the list of popular titles to her name, but this is the one I picked up.

In The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, Laurie regales us with apartment story horrors dealing with fumigators and children, spending the last bit of your paycheck at the bar, and knowing who your true friends are. It’s a guidebook for living life on the accident-prone, awkward moment, laugh with your besties side!

For Explaining to Strangers Why You Are the Way You Are

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Some of you may know Jenny Lawson as The Blogess. In this “mostly true” memoir, she recounts her bizarre childhood which included loose bobcats in her house as a highlight!

From first jobs to dating to married life to giant metal roosters, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is hilarious! And get the book because the pictures are worth it! Her dad was a taxidermist so there’s lots of pictures of animals!

Another example of very conversational (blog like) style writing in which you feel like you are in cahoots with the author.

For the Commuter or Traveling Friend (Get the audio book!)

Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits and You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning by Celia Rivenbark

I’m serious, y’all. Get the audiobooks! Celia Rivenbark reads them herself and her no-nonsense, southern charm just bites with hilariousness!

She covers everything from home entertainment to how to make Miley Cyrus shaped pancakes for your daughters sleepover.

I’m telling you, this woman is a genius and I wish she was my neighbor.

For Your Book Club

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

My book club read this one and had a great discussion. Bonus – it’s lighter fare in terms of book club reads, in that the author uses humor to tell a story. So if you want a book with guts for the story, but dressed up in a…little black dress…then this is definitely the book for you!

At the time the book takes place, the author is newly divorced, after her husband left her for a man named Bob. The she suffers in a horrible car accident. She ends up moving in with her mennonite parents and finding a way to move forward while acknowledging her past.

For the College Student or Mentor

I’m Down by Mishna Wolff

A tale of finding one’s own. Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor, Black neighborhood with her single, white Dad who believed he was Black. Except that he wasn’t. And neither was her mom. Yet her father did everything he could to make Mishna “down”.

Struggling to fit in, Mishna practices basketball almost as much as her playground insults. But all she really wanted to do was stay in and read a book.

The author has been a public speaker at universities since her memoir’s release and it’s both a humorous and poignant tale about coming of age and coming to terms with your family.

For the New Mom/Aspiring Career Woman

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I mean really. Tina Fey’s book is for everyone.

But I think it will especially appeal to new moms and women struggling to climb the ladder. Fey’s memoir shares funny stories from her childhood about summer theater as well as her honeymoon disaster of a cruise.

But best of all are her tales about her improv days in Second City and breaking into Saturday Night Live. She’s both a risk taker and an insecure actress. She shares the ups and downs of doing a photo shoot, working with mostly men, and how she only lasted 72 hours when it came to breastfeeding.

There’s no subject left untouched. And she’s ok with that. She’s bossy. 🙂

Those were some of my very favorite reads this year!

What funny books do you love? What title do you want wrapped under your tree this year? Are you done shopping?

11 responses

  1. Thank you! I’m staring at the gift list over coffee this morning and you’re a big help!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad! Have fun shopping! Be sure and pick up something for you!

  2. Perfect timing, Jess! I’m heading out to shop and I have a friend in her 30s (a baby like you) who would love, “I Was Told They’d Be Cake”. 🙂

    1. The author has another book out called How Did You Get This Number? It’s on my Christmas list! 🙂

  3. “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” is hilarious – I’ve read most of Sedaris’s books, and they’re great. Thanks for the reminder about Jenny Lawson’s book. I’ve wanted to read that for quite a while, so I’m adding it to my list.

    1. I love that she has zero sense of direction. She uses life events and landmarks to map her route to places. It’s so funny.

  4. I’ve read Jenny Lawson’s book and then passed it on to my 31yr old daughter who also found it hilarious and very relateable. I’m going to get I Was Told There’d Be Cake, Sedaris’ book and The Idiot Girls Action and Adventure book for my daughter. She’s read Tina Feys book and loved it.
    For myself, I’m going to get Celia Rivenbarks book.

    I love book recommendations from you, Jess. Thanks for sharing these. My TBR is about to topple over but I don’t care. 🙂

    1. Piles be damned right?!! My TBR stack toppled over long ago! I did horribly on my TBR challenge! I read all of these funny ones instead! Research. 😉

  5. These look like hilarious books. The audiobooks are the ones that most piqued my interest. Some years back, my book club read a book I recommend to moms like me: Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-ferro. And if I don’t read Leanne Shirtliffe’s parenting book, Don’t Lick the Minivan, in 2014, I’m going to make myself lick a minivan. Seriously.

    Great list, Jess!

    1. Lol! Tell Leanne that! I’m right there with you. I plan on reading Don’t Lick the Minivan in 2014 too!

      And you’re gonna love Celia Rivenbark’s books. I’ll be reading more of her in 2014 too.

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