Spring is just around the corner, bringing with it the promise of sunshine, short sleeves, and fresh reading material. From comic characters to farcical facts, here’s a list of fantastic new and upcoming humor books to help you shake off the winter blues! Publishers’ descriptions included.
Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
Swimsuit season is coming up! Better get beach-body ready! Work on those abs! Lift those butts!
… Um, or how about never mind to all that and just be a lump. Big Mushy Happy Lump!
Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.
In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships, and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.
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.
Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg by Todd Barry
From the veteran comedian and actor from The Wrestler and Louie comes a hilarious book of travel essays from his time on tour through secondary markets in the US, Canada, and Israel.
Hello. It’s Todd Barry. Yes, the massively famous comedian. I have billions of fans all over the world, so I do my fair share of touring. While I love doing shows in the big cities (New York, Philadelphia), I also enjoy a good secondary market (Ithaca, Bethlehem). Performing in these smaller places can be great because not all entertainers stop there on tour; they don’t expect to see you. They’re appreciative. They say things like “Thank you for coming to Hattiesburg” as much as they say “Nice show.” And almost every town has their version of a hipster coffee shop, so I can get in my comfort zone.
My original plan was to book one secondary market show in all 50 states, in about a year, but that idea was funnier than anything in my act. So, instead of all 50 states in a year, my agent booked multiple shows in a lot of states, plus Israel and Canada.
Thank You For Coming to Hattiesburg is part tour diary, part travel guide, and part memoir (Yes, memoir. Just like the thing presidents and former child stars get to write). Follow me on my journey of small clubs, and the occasional big amphitheater. Watch me make a promoter clean the dressing room toilet in Connecticut, see me stare at beached turtles in Maui, and see how I react when Lars from Metallica shows up to see me at a rec center in Northern California.
I’d love to tell you more, but I need to go book a flight to Evansville, Indiana.
Release date: March 14
Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson
By peeling back the curtain of her syndicated advice column, Amy Dickinson reveals much of the inspiration and motivation that has fueled her calling. Through a series of linked essays, this moving narrative picks up where her earlier memoir left off.
Exploring central themes of romance, death, parenting, self-care, and spiritual awakening, this touching and heartfelt homage speaks to all who have faced challenges in the wake of life’s twists and turns. From finding love in middle-age to her storied experience with step-parenting to overcoming disordered eating to her final moments spent with her late mother, Dickinson’s trademark humorous tone delivers punch and wit that will empower, entertain, and heal.
Release date: March 14
How to Be a Bawse by Lilly Singh
From the 2017 People’s Choice Award winner for Favorite YouTube Star comes the definitive guide to being a bawse: a person who exudes confidence, hustles relentlessly, and smiles genuinely because he or she has fought through it all and made it out the other side.
Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman — which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart, and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky — she had to work for it. Hard.
Now Lilly wants to share the lessons she learned while taking the world by storm, and the tools she used to do it. How to Be a Bawse is the definitive guide to conquering life. Make no mistake, there are no shortcuts to success, personal or professional. World domination requires real effort, dedication, and determination. Just consider Lilly a personal trainer for your life — with 50 rules to get you in the game, including:
- Let Go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Temptation will try to steer you away from your goals. FOMO is just a test of your priorities, a test that a bawse is ready to pass.
- Be Nice to People: Treat niceness like an item on your daily to-do list. People will go out of their way to help and support you because you make them feel good.
- Schedule Inspiration: Lack of motivation isn’t permanent or a sign of weakness. Expect it and proactively schedule time to be creative.
- Be the Dumbest: Challenge yourself by surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do. It’s a vital way to learn and improve.
Told in Lilly’s hilarious, bold voice and packed with photos and candid stories from her journey to the top, How to Be a Bawse will make you love your life and yourself — even more than you love Beyoncé. (Yes, we said it!)
WARNING: This book does not include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms, or cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness, and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In Lilly’s world, there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb.
Release date: March 28
And Then You’re Dead by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty
A gleefully gruesome look at the actual science behind the most outlandish, cartoonish, and impossible deaths you can imagine.
What would happen if you took a swim outside a deep-sea submarine wearing only a swimsuit? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? How far could you actually get in digging a hole to China? Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy explore the real science behind these and other fantastical scenarios, offering insights into physics, astronomy, anatomy, and more along the way.
Is slipping on a banana peel really as hazardous to your health as the cartoons imply? Answer: yes. Banana peels ooze a gel that turns out to be extremely slippery. Your foot and body weight provide the pressure. The gel provides the humor (and resulting head trauma).
Can you die by shaking someone’s hand? Answer: yes. That’s because, due to atomic repulsion, you’ve never actually touched another person’s hand. If you could, the results would be as disastrous as a medium-sized hydrogen bomb.
If you were Cookie Monster, just how many cookies could you actually eat in one sitting? Answer: Most stomachs can hold up to 60 cookies, or around four liters. If you eat or drink more than that, you’re approaching the point at which the cookies would break through the lesser curvature of your stomach, and then you’d better call an ambulance to Sesame Street.
Release date: April 4
When You Find Out the World Is Against You by Kelly Oxford
Kelly Oxford likes to blow up the internet. Whether it is with the kind of Tweets that lead Rolling Stone to name her one of the Funniest People on Twitter or with pictures of her hilariously adorable family (human and animal) or with something much more serious, like creating the hashtag #NotOkay, where millions of women came together to share their stories of sexual assault, Kelly has a unique, razor-sharp perspective on modern life. As a screen writer, professional sh*t disturber, wife and mother of three, Kelly is about everything but the status quo.
Perfect for anyone who ever wished David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling would just finally write a book together already, When You Find Out the World is Against You is filled with the biting, wise, and laugh-out-loud insights that have won Kelly legions of fans. Whether she’s detailing her obsession as an 11-year-old with going to camp so she can become a “kissing bandit,” exploring the bittersweet boredom that so often accompanies parenthood, calling out the insanity of a posse of internet poodle vigilantes, writing bracingly about the anxiety that has plagued her as long as she can remember or taking us to ride shotgun as she stalks her husband on an accidental date with another man, When You Find Out the World Is Against You is Kelly at her most honest and disarmingly funny best. Her comedic skill, down-to-earth voice, and bull’s-eye observations on the absurdity of modern life mean there is nothing quite like seeing the world through Kelly’s eyes.
Release date: April 18
Wherever You Go, There They Are by Annabelle Gurwitch
When Annabelle Gurwitch was a child, surrounded by a cast of epically dysfunctional relatives, she secretly prayed that it was all a terrible mistake. Maybe she was a long lost daughter of Joni Mitchell or a reincarnation of the Russian princess, Anastasia. A family of bootleggers, gamblers, and philanderers, the Gurwitches have always been a bit vague on the standard ideal of a loving and supportive family. Their definition includes people you can count on to borrow money from, hold a grudge against, or blackmail. One day, unfortunately, Gurwitch woke up to realize that she’d made similar, if not the same, mistakes as everyone else before her — just in a new zip code. Wherever she went, there they were.
With her wry wit and hard-learned wisdom, Gurwitch explores the inescapable, yet rewarding, realities of life with her relatives and her southern Jewish roots, as well as her flirtation with surrogate families including theater folk, pet people, the sisterhood, and the ladies who brunch at Tel Aviv Gardens Retirement Home in Miami, Florida. She’s learned that for better or for worse (you can guess which) it’s worth celebrating the traditions, rituals, and recipes that come with a shared mythology and legacy, even if her own inheritance amounts to a small plot of land split between five relatives on an ill-fated sliver of sand known as Massacre Island.
Written with haunting detail, poignant family moments, laugh out loud comedy and social commentary, Gurwitch delivers a provocative treatise on the importance and insanity of family. Wherever You Go, There They Are is a must-read for anyone who’s even occasionally been frustrated by the people they share carbohydrate-laden meals with every year.
Release date: April 18
Oink: A Food For Thought Mystery by J. L. Newton
Emily Addams, foodie professor of women’s studies at Arbor State — a land grant university in Northern California — finds herself an unlikely suspect in the poisoning of a man she barely knows: Professor Peter Elliott of Plant Biology, the hotshot developer of a new genetically modified corn.
How did her cornbread end up in his hand as he lay in the smelly muck of a pig’s pen?
As Emily and her colleagues try to identify who and what has poisoned Peter, they also struggle to keep a new and corporate-minded administration from defunding the women’s and ethnic studies programs.
In the process of solving the mystery, Emily and her network deepen their ties to each other — and uncover some of the dark secrets of a university whose traditionally communal values are being polluted by a wave of profit-fueled ideals.
Oink comes with recipes.
Release date: April 18
I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It by Jess Kimball Leslie
I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It is tech analyst Jess Kimball Leslie’s hilarious, frank homage to the technology that contributed so significantly to the person she is today. From accounts of the lawless chat rooms of early AOL to the perpetual high school reunions that are modern-day Facebook and Instagram, her essays paint a clear picture: That all of us have a much more twisted, meaningful, emotional relationship with the online world than we realize or let on.
Coming of age in suburban Connecticut in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Jess looked to the nascent Internet to find the tribes she couldn’t find IRL: fellow Bette Midler fans; women who seemed impossibly sure of their sexuality; people who worked with computers every day as part of their actual jobs without being ridiculed as nerds. It’s in large part because of her embrace of an online life that Jess is where she is now, happily married, with a wife, son, and dog, and making a living of analyzing Internet trends and forecasting the future of tech. She bets most people would credit technology for many of their successes, too, if they could only shed the notion that it’s as a mind-numbing drug on which we’re all overdosing.
Release date: April 25
This Is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe
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 will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.
Release date: May 1
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell
You may know W. Kamau Bell from his new, Emmy-nominated hit show on CNN, United Shades of America. Or maybe you’ve read about him in the New York Times, which called him “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” Or maybe from the New Yorker, fawning over his brand of humor writing: “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: He treats racial, gay, and women’s issues as inseparable.”
After all this love and praise, it’s time for the next step: a book. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell is a humorous, well-informed take on the world today, tackling a wide range of issues, such as race relations; fatherhood; the state of law enforcement today; comedians and superheroes; right-wing politics; left-wing politics; failure; his interracial marriage; white men; his up-bringing by very strong-willed, race-conscious, yet ideologically opposite parents; his early days struggling to find his comedic voice, then his later days struggling to find his comedic voice; why he never seemed to fit in with the Black comedy scene… or the white comedy scene; how he was a Black nerd way before that became a thing; how it took his wife and an East Bay lesbian to teach him that racism and sexism often walk hand in hand; and much, much more.
Release date: May 2
The Canadaland Guide to Canada by Jesse Brown with Vicky Mochama and Nick Zarzycki
Do you think of Canada as that “nice” country with free health care, majestic woodlands, and polite people?
The Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America) is an outrageous exposé of Canada’s secrets, scandals, and occasional awkward lapses in proper etiquette.
Inside, you’ll find illustrations, maps, quizzes, and charts that answer the most pressing questions about Canadian history, politics, and culture, such as:
- Canadian cuisine and sexuality: Do they exist?
- What does “sorry” actually mean?
- Justin Bieber, Rob Ford, Malcolm Gladwell: Why?
- What is Québec?
- Should I f*** the prime minister?
This absurd guide digs up everything from buried rage to buried oil, uncovering Canada’s bizarre history and shocking present. One thing is certain: You’ll never look at a Canadian the same way again.
Release date: May 2
Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan
There are good moms and bad moms — and then there are hot-mess moms. Introducing Ashley Keller, career girl turned stay-at-home mom who’s trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably.
When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she’s always wanted to be. But will she fly high or flop?
With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother. At its heart, Ashley’s story reminds moms that there’s no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.
Release date: May 2
The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone
Is there a secret to happiness? Beloved comedian Paula Poundstone conducts a series of “thoroughly scientific” experiments to find out, offering herself up as a guinea pig and recording her data for the benefit of all humankind. Armed with her unique brand of self-deprecating wit and the scientific method, in each chapter Paula tries out a different get-happy hypothesis. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter. Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? And more important, can the happiness last when she returns to the daily demands of her chaotic life?
The results are irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and pointedly relevant to our times. The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a a hilarious story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a working mother raising three kids. Paula is a master of her craft. Her comedic brilliance, served up in abundance in this book, has been compared to that of George Carlin, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, and David Sedaris.
Release date: May 9
Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.
It’s no coincidence that the world’s best writers tend to keep diaries. If you faithfully record your life in a journal, you’re writing every day — and if you write every day, you become a better writer. David Sedaris has kept a diary for 40 years. This means that if you’ve kept a diary for a year of your life or less, Sedaris is at least 40 times better at writing than you are.
In his diaries, he’s recorded everything that has captured his attention — overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and with them he has honed his self-deprecation and learned to craft his cunning, surprising sentences.
Now, for the first time, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world in Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002. This is the first-person account of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.
Most diaries — even the diaries of great writers — are impossibly dull, because they generally write about their emotions, or their dreams, or their interior life. Sedaris’s diaries are unique because they face outward. He doesn’t tell us his feelings about the world, he shows us the world instead, and in so doing he shows us something deeper about himself.
Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that there’s no such thing as a boring day-when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, adventure waits around every corner.
Release date: May 30
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. by Samantha Irby
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. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette — she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something” — detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms — hang in there for the Costco loot — she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.
Release date: May 30
Touch by Courtney Maum
Sloane Jacobsen is one of the world’s most powerful trend forecasters (she was the foreseer of “the swipe”), and global fashion, lifestyle, and tech companies pay to hear her opinions about the future. Her recent forecasts on the family are unwavering: The world is over-populated, and with unemployment, college costs, and food prices all on the rise, having children is an extravagant indulgence.
So it’s no surprise when the tech giant Mammoth hires Sloane to lead their groundbreaking annual conference, celebrating the voluntarily childless. But not far into her contract, Sloane begins to sense the undeniable signs of a movement against electronics that will see people embracing compassion, empathy, and “in-personism” again. She’s struggling with the fact that her predictions are hopelessly out of sync with her employer’s mission and that her closest personal relationship is with her self-driving car when her partner, the French “neo-sensualist” Roman Bellard, reveals that he is about to publish an op-ed on the death of penetrative sex — a post-sexual treatise that instantly goes viral. Despite the risks to her professional reputation, Sloane is nevertheless convinced that her instincts are the right ones, and goes on a quest to defend real life human interaction, while finally allowing in the love and connectedness she’s long been denying herself.
A poignant and amusing call to arms that showcases her signature biting wit and keen eye, celebrated novelist Courtney Maum’s new book is a moving investigation into what it means to be an individual in a globalized world.
Release date: May 30
Which of these books are you excited to read? Share with us in the comments!
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