Ring in the new year with peals of laughter! From knee-slapping to rip-roaring, 2017 promises a wide range of fresh humor books. With fact, fiction, and even a little bit in between, here are the books we’re most excited to laugh over (with publishers’ descriptions included)!
I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly
Bestselling author and television host Clinton Kelly pens a hilariously candid, deliciously snarky collection of essays about his journey from awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult.
Clinton Kelly is probably best known for teaching women how to make their butts look smaller. But in I Hate Everyone, Except You, he reveals some heretofore-unknown secrets about himself, like that he’s a finicky connoisseur of 1980s pornography, a disillusioned critic of New Jersey’s premier water parks, and perhaps the world’s least enthused high-school commencement speaker.
Whether he’s throwing his baby sister in the air to jumpstart her cheerleading career or heroically rescuing his best friend from death by mud bath, Clinton leaps life’s social hurdles with aplomb. With his signature wit, he shares his unique ability to navigate the stickiest of situations, like deciding whether it’s acceptable to eat chicken wings with a fork on live television (spoiler: it’s not). Clinton delves into all these topics — and many more — in this thoroughly unabashedly frank and uproarious collection.
Release date: January 10, 2017
The Actual One by Isy Suttie
A hilarious, razor-sharp debut memoir about the moment when you realize that your friends have all grown up and left you behind, for readers of Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and Kelly Williams Brown’s Adulting.
Isy Suttie wakes up one day in her late twenties to discover that the deal she’d struck with her friends, to put off growing up for as long as possible, had been entirely in her head. Everyone around her is suddenly into mortgages, farmers’ markets, and going off the Pill, rather than running naked into the sea or getting hammered in a country pub with eighty-year-old men.
After a particularly crushing breakup precipitated by Isy’s gifting of a human-size papier-mâché penguin to her boyfriend, her dearest friend advises Isy not to worry: the next guy she meets will be The Actual One.
Heartened by this promise, Isy decides to keep delaying the onset of adulthood, whether that means standing on the side of a highway in nothing but an old fur coat and sneakers, dating a man who speaks only in rhyme, or conquering her fears of Alpine skiing by wildly overestimating her athletic ability. Insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, The Actual One is an ode to the confusing wilderness of your late twenties, alongside a quest for a genuinely good relationship… or at the very least, a good story to tell.
Release date: January 31, 2017
This Is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir — wise, complex, smart, funny — a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read.
Gabourey Sidibe — “Gabby” to her legion of fans — skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.
Release date: May 1, 2017
Are You Anybody by Jeffrey Tambor
It’s rare that an actor embodies even one memorable character over the arc of a career. Jeffrey Tambor has managed to create three, beginning with Hank “Hey Now!” Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, the series created by Garry Shandling, Jeffrey’s first mentor in television. He went on to find two more show creators, Mitch Hurwitz of Arrested Development and Jill Soloway of Transparent, who shared a love of actors and taught him a lot about acting along the way.
Are You Anybody is Tambor’s chance to discuss his creative process and immense accomplishments from a life lived onscreen. Drawing from his formative childhood years, in which he describes himself as a fat Hungarian-Jewish kid with a lisp and a depressive father to how he drew inspiration from his life to create these characters, Tambor’s memoir is funny, insightful, and uplifting, touching on comedy and the enduring chutzpah required to make it through life.
Release date: May 9, 2017
Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From deeply poignant to laugh-out-loud funny, these selections reveal with new intimacy a man longtime readers only think they know. Tender, hilarious, illuminating, and endlessly captivating, Theft by Finding offers a rare look into the mind of one of our generation’s greatest comic geniuses.
Release date: May 30, 2017
Nature is the Worst by E. Reid Ross
Five hundred of the most absurd and horrifying things that happen in nature!
Crashing waves, stunning sunsets, sprawling landscapes. Nature is beautiful, right? Wrong. Nature Is the Worst. Need proof?
- The giant pitcher plant not only eats bugs, it’s large enough to trap small mammals.
- Almost 90 percent of the koala population in Australia has chlamydia.
- A hailstorm in Bangladesh in 1986 killed 92 people with giant balls of ice weighing more than two pounds apiece.
- Crocodiles can climb trees.
- The poisonous Dracunculus vulgaris, or voodoo lily, smells like rotting flesh, looks like it’s splattered in blood, and features a central black spike that can grow up to four feet tall.
- Cats often kill their first litter.
- A “haboob” is a biblically-huge wall of dust that can reduce visibility to zero, reach a height of 5,000 feet and stretch as far as 100 miles wide.
- Vampire bats are totally real, and yes, they love blood.
Nature Is the Worst contains hundreds of cringe-worthy, shocking facts you never knew about nature that prove the world is a terrifying ― and sometimes very strange ― place.
Release date: January 2, 2017
It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot
Explore the highs and lows of modern life through the sharp, dark wit of Ruby Elliot — creator of the massively popular Tumblr account, Rubyetc, which has over 210k followers and growing. Ruby’s simple drawings of not-so-simple issues capture the humor and melancholy of everyday life. Her comics appeal to both new adults who are beginning to explore these subjects and to battle-tested veterans of the daily struggles of life with mental illness.
It’s All Absolutely Fine is an honest and unapologetic account of day-to-day life as a groaning, crying, laughing sentient potato being for whom things are often absolutely not fine. Through simple, humorous drawings and a few short narratives, the book encompasses everything from mood disorders, anxiety, and issues with body image through to existential conversations with dogs and some unusually articulate birds.
With each chapter a particular set of struggles is picked up, looked at, and squished about a bit using visuals before being put down again with a little more resolve. Problems related to mental health that can be very devastating and even isolating are discussed openly in a way people are often told not to, but this is as much a book about the human emotional experience that touches all of us as it is about mental health. Through the drawings, the reader is shown that it is okay to struggle, and that it is okay to talk about struggling, to not undermine oneself by yelling ‘it’s fine’ when it isn’t, and while all this is going on to know that it is absolutely possible to hold on to hope, and of course humor.
Building on Rubyetc’s huge online presence, It’s All Absolutely Fine includes mostly new material, both written and illustrated, and is inspirational, empowering, and entertaining. Hope and tenacity abound in this book that is as heartening as it is hilarious.
Release date: January 31, 2017
Schadenfreude, A Love Story by Rebecca Schuman
You know that feeling you get watching a pompous jerk whine into his cell as he’s booted out of a restaurant? When the elevator doors slide shut just before your sadistic boss can step in beside you? There’s a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It’s Schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others’ misfortune, and with Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman, the Teutons have a stern, self-satisfied blast at her expense.
Rebecca is just your average chronically misunderstood 90’s teenager, with a passion for Pearl Jam and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites, until two men walk into her high school Civics class: Dylan Gellner, with deep brown eyes and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan’s backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen sea that is Rebecca’s spirit, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German (even though, as everyone is quick to remind her, Kafka wasn’t German at all). Dreamy Dylan might leave the second he gets accepted to a better college than Rebecca does, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive love she will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through broken German sentences, trying to win over a people who don’t want to be bothered.
At once a snapshot of a young woman finding herself, and a country slowly starting to stitch itself back together after nearly a century of war (both hot and cold), Schadenfreude, A Love Story is an exhilarating, hilarious, and yes, maybe even heartfelt memoir proving that sometimes the truest loves play hard to get.
Release date: February 7, 2017
You Are Here by Jenny Lawson
When Jenny Lawson is anxious, one of the things she does is to draw. Elaborate doodles, beautiful illustrations, often with captions that she posts online. At her signings, fans show up with printouts of these drawings for Jenny to autograph. And inevitably they ask her when will she publish a whole book of them. That moment has arrived.
You Are Here is something only Jenny could create. A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with Jenny’s amazingly intricate illustrations, all on perforated pages that can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared. Drawing on the tenets of art therapy ― which you can do while hiding in the pillow fort under your bed ― You Are Here is ready to be made entirely your own.
Some of the material is dark, some is light; some is silly and profane and irreverent. Gathered together, this is life, happening right now, all around, in its messy glory, as only Jenny Lawson could show us.
Release date: March 7, 2017
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi Koul deploys her razor-sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages, and mortifying moments of her life. She learned from an early age what made her miserable, and for Scaachi anything can be cause for despair. Whether it’s a shopping trip gone awry; enduring awkward conversations with her bikini waxer; overcoming her fear of flying while vacationing halfway around the world; dealing with Internet trolls, or navigating the fears and anxieties of her parents. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color: where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn; where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, leaving little room for a woman not solely focused on marriage and children to have a career (and a life) for herself.
With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.
Release date: May 2, 2017
Can I Borrow That? by Jenny Allen
In Can I Borrow That?, a collection of first-person essays and humor pieces, Jenny Allen asks the tough questions: Why do people say “It is what it is”? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half? Why don’t the women detectives on TV carry purses, and where are we supposed to think they keep all their stuff? And haven’t we heard enough about memes?
Reporting from the potholes midway through life’s journey, Allen addresses these and other more serious matters, like the rude awakenings of being single after 25 years, of mothering a teenager, and of living with a serious illness. She also discusses life’s everyday trials, like the horrors of attempting a crafts project, the anxieties of being a houseguest, and the ever-changing rules of recycling.
Allen is a performer at heart — her one-woman show I Got Sick Then I Got Better premiered in 2009, and she regularly acts in other plays — and she brings that same spirit to these 35 short essays, which read like the work of a female Dave Barry. Writing on places both real (like a swag den for celebrities at Sundance and the parking lot at L.L.Bean’s flagship store) and imaginary (a Buddhist retreat attended by Martha Stewart, Elmer Fudd’s psychotherapy appointment), Allen’s wit and compassion give a fresh slant on the vicissitudes of day-to-day, and not so day-to-day, life.
Release date: June 6, 2017
I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Lisa and Francesca are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This seven book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron.
Release date: July 11, 2017
No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal
In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can’t pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Harit, a lonely Indian immigrant in his midforties, lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of Harit’s sister, Swati. In a misguided attempt to keep both himself and his mother sane, Harit has taken to dressing up in a sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana, also an Indian immigrant in her midforties, has just seen her only child, Prashant, off to college. Worried that her husband has begun an affair, she seeks solace by writing paranormal romances in secret. When Harit and Ranjana’s paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears.
Reminiscent of Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House, Ayad Akhtar’s American Dervish, and Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. the World, No One Can Pronounce My Name is a distinctive, funny, and insightful look into the lives of people who must reconcile the strictures of their culture and traditions with their own dreams and desires.
Release date: May 2, 2017
The Last Laugh by Lynn Freed
Since their children left home, Ruth, Dania, and Bess have grown used to living wonderfully free lives. Only now they’re beset by children again ― this time, their grandchildren. In order to escape, they decide to run away to Greece together for a year.
At first, settled on a glorious island, barefoot and contented, they think they’ve rediscovered the wheel. But then things begin to go awry. Dionysus, a local poet, takes up with Bess, at least until his wife gets wind of things. Dania, a therapist, is being stalked by one of her patients. And Ruth’s ex-lover turns up out of the blue, closely followed by the man who lost Bess her fortune. It doesn’t help when the children and grandchildren also start turning up whenever they feel like it. As Bess writes in one of Ruth’s weekly “Granny à Go Go” columns, this is not an Enchanted April sort of year.
Lynn Freed’s previous novels have received rave reviews everywhere from The New York Times Book Review (“Makes us laugh while packing, finally, a punch”), to the Los Angeles Times Book Review (“Deeply absorbing and ambitious… Astonishingly vivid”). In The Last Laugh she returns with a beautifully written and funny novel about money, sex, friendship, and the pleasures and perils of children.
Release date: July 4, 2017
Nuclear Family by Susanna Fogel
From filmmaker and New Yorker contributor Susanna Fogel comes a comedic novel about a fractured family of New England Jews and their discontents, over the course of three decades. Told entirely in letters to a heroine we never meet, we get to know the Fellers through their check-ins with Julie: their thank-you notes, letters of condolence, family gossip, and good old-fashioned familial passive-aggression.
Together, their missives — some sardonic, others absurd, others heartbreaking — weave a tapestry of a very modern family trying (and often failing) to show one another they care.
The titular Nuclear Family includes, among many others:
A narcissistic former-child-prodigy father who has taken up haiku writing in his old age and his new wife, a traditional Chinese woman whose attempts to help her stepdaughter find a man include FedExing her silk gowns from Filene’s Basement.
Their six-year-old son, Stuart, whose favorite condiment is truffle oil and who wears suits to bed.
Julie’s mother, a psychologist who never remarried but may be in love with her arrogant Rabbi and overshares about everything, including the threesome she had with Dutch grad students in 1972.
Release date: July 18, 2017
Gone Gull by Donna Andrews
Meg is spending the summer at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center, helping her grandmother Cordelia run the studios. But someone is committing acts of vandalism, threatening to ruin the newly-opened center’s reputation. Is it the work of a rival center? Have the developers who want to build a resort atop Biscuit Mountain found a new tactic to pressure Cordelia into selling? Or is the real target Meg’s grandfather, who points out that any number of environmentally irresponsible people and organizations could have it in for him?
While Meg is trying to track down the vandal, her grandfather is more interested in locating a rare gull. Their missions collide when a body is found in one of the classrooms. Can Meg identify the vandal and the murderer in time to save the center’s name ― while helping her grandfather track down and rescue his beloved gulls?
Gone Gull brings readers yet another knee-slapping adventure filled with Andrews’ cast of wacky characters.
Release date: August 1, 2017
Dog Dish of Doom by E. J. Copperman
Kay Powell wants to find that break-out client who will become a star. And she thinks she’s found him: His name is Bruno, and he has to be walked three times a day.
Bruno’s humans, Trent and Louise, butt in a lot, and Les McMaster, the famous director now mounting a revival of Annie, might not hire Bruno just because he can’t stand Trent in particular.
That becomes less of an issue when Trent is discovered face down in Bruno’s water dish. With a kitchen knife in his back.
Laugh-out-loud funny, this series debut is a delight.
Release date: August 15, 2017
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
This Jersey girl hits hard — twenty-four seven. The blockbuster Stephanie Plum series continues with Hardcore Twenty-Four from #1 New York Times bestselling Janet Evanovich.
Release date: November 21, 2017
What funny books are you looking forward to in 2017? Tell us about them in the comments!
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