Essay collections so funny, you’ll (almost) forget you’re stuck in the house

Lol at how I’m supposed to technically be “at work” right now but trying to work from home during a global pandemic is hard. So, I have decided to write about funny book recommendations because we all could use some humor in our lives right now. Just don’t snitch when my task tracker says that I spent an hour in “Consultation on critical COVID-19 related resources”. Or maybe “professional development opportunity” aka having a webinar playing in the background.

While you’re saving the world by not leaving your house (which you all should be doing), why not add some hilarious stories from people reminiscing on the times where we weren’t in a pandemic? Here is a short list of my favorite funny essay collections.

  1. F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me by Chloé Hilliard

I love that Chloé is a stand-up comedian. That brings me such joy. And I didn’t even know she was until I read her book, but I picked it up because I saw it on #bookstagram and I couldn’t not read it because it references wisdom from a black woman’s thighs and they never lie. We hear a lot about white girls from the suburbs reflecting on their body image growing up, so read this book if you would like a refreshing (and funny) perspective.

2. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

I have a complicated relationship with Aziz Ansari; one that makes me feel a little funny recommending his book on romance after his less-than-consensual allegation that came out a few years ago. The premise of the books is about his frustration with the mechanics of modern dating which seems like he might still need to work on some issues. Disappointed that he may still not have learned from the point of the essay the woman wrote, but I’m adding more nuance to cancel culture and still think this book is pretty funny. Read this book if you want to add some controversy in your life and are also frustrating with the single life.

3. You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

But also Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. Just read both of them, ok? Phoebe is soooo funny. Listening to her read her books is a bonus treat I would recommend. You don’t have to have a PhD and use fancy sociological jargon to write a dissertation on why people suck. This was my gateway into essay collections because I thought sounding smart and not being funny was a requirement. But also, reading in general doesn’t have to be a “smart” activity all the time. Read these books if you want something smart and funny!

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and by Mindy Kaling

I actually read Why Not Me? first.  I picked it up right after my heart imploded from watching the last episode of The Mindy Project. I have no idea what it’s like growing up in an Indian household and then defying all expectations to become a hella successful TV/book writer. Her life episodes are just as funny as her TV ones. Read these books if you want some marvelous misadventures with a healthy dose of social commentary

5. Anything by Samantha Irby

Meaty, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays, or Wow, No Thank You. Read them all. You have to. Samatha Irby is the writer I aspire to be. She’s honest and crass, and so funny. She takes vulnerability to a new level. Samantha is my idol. Read these books if you want gut wrenching transparency and side-splitting laughs.

Have you read any of the books above? What are some other funny essay collections I can add to my “Laugh to Keep from Crying” list?

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