2015 Books Every Funny Woman Should Read
2015 has been a great year so far for funny women. We’ve seen the Ghostbusters ladies looking fierce as hell in their jumpsuits, we’ve celebrated a hat-trick of female Thurber Prize finalists — and, well, it’s pretty much been Amy Schumer’s year. I mean, the woman wrote a screenplay so laugh-out-loud hilarious that Judd Apatow agreed to direct it (which he has never ever done before for a film he didn’t write himself); she befriended fellow funny woman Jennifer Lawrence; even Woody Allen thinks she’s great. It’s taken long enough to get here, but at last — women are officially funny. (We’ve been telling you all along, guys!)
So, to celebrate our long-awaited comic status, here’s a countdown of 2015’s best offerings of hilarious books that we funny women will enjoy. Some of them are written by funny women themselves; some of them have funny women as the main characters; some of them are just plain funny, because who says women can only enjoy books about other women?!
Although Inside Out taught us this year the incredibly valuable lesson of allowing yourself to feel bad, these 12 books will teach you another equally great life skill: seeing the funny side in whatever life throws at you.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby’s latest offering follows a young woman in the 1960s pursuing her dream of making people laugh on TV. In the first few pages, she renounces her Miss Blackpool title (which she just won 15 minutes earlier) and heads to London to become a star. Sophie Straw is beautiful, curvy, and clever — but it’s when she makes people laugh that she wins them over forever.
Unabrow by Una LaMarche
This year, columnist Una LaMarche released a collection of 20 hilarious essays which she describes as “life lessons for her future children” — but that shouldn’t be read by children until they’re old enough to “use the F word at least three ways in a sentence.” For those who can swear creatively, LaMarche has some helpful and humorous lessons in store, like how to build a log cabin from Tootsie Rolls, or how to clean a stairway while listening to "Stairway to Heaven."
Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas
Annie Liontas grew up within the sexism of a traditional Greek family, and had to struggle to be accepted as gay. In her debut novel, she makes the Greek patriarch the butt of the joke. Stavros Stavros “Steve” Mavrakis is the hilarious caricature of an insufferable Greek father: he’s the kind of man who patronisingly asks his daughters if they’re on their “Woman Thing” when they don’t comply with his wishes. In mocking Steve, Liontas allows his strong but troubled daughters to come out as the novel’s heroines.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
The central character in Kitchens of the Great Midwest is the 6’2" food prodigy Eva, who once wrecked a vegetable stand when she was three months old, looking for the perfect tomato. Although she’s the protagonist, we rarely hear her point of view — and in fact, we rarely see her at all as the book goes on. Instead, she is the larger-than-life link between every other character that forms part of J. Ryan Stradal’s satire.
Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell
The fashion industry has a giant reputation — but not generally for its comedy. Such is Amy Odell’s comic talent: through her eyes, fashion shows, photoshoots, and paparazzi make us laugh out loud. Odell’s collection of essays is a brave and funny commentary on our desire to belong.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Depression and comedy don’t sound like they’d mix, but Jenny Lawson pulls it off. Furiously Happy is a hysterically funny exploration of mental illness; beyond the crippling anxiety, Lawson finds ways to embrace joy in brand new ways.
The Clasp by Sloane Crosley (Oct. 6)
This October, we’ll get the chance to read Sloane Crosley’s The Clasp , and I for one cannot wait. Crosley described her upcoming novel as a “comedy of manners … smushed together [with] a light-hearted, madcap action-adventure,” which just sounds too intriguing for words.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling is without a doubt the funniest woman on the entire planet, so it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited for her essay collection to come out on September 15 — which, incidentally, is the same day that the new season of The Mindy Project hits Hulu. I’m going to have a real struggle to know which to dive into first on that day, but I know for sure that work will not be taking priority.
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
The Internet may be a pretty scary place, but there’s no denying it’s provided a great platform for hilarious women to make each other laugh. Felicia Day is one of these women, and her memoir will inspire all you funny women to let your freak flag fly online.
Making Nice by Matt Sumell
While reading Making Nice, you’re never quite sure if you should be laughing or crying, so most of the time you end up doing both. A lot. The book is angry and depressing and intense, but it’s also slapstick and witty and goofy all at the same time.
Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes
Isn’t that such a great name for a book? This collection of short stories introduces a whole range of sassy and hysterically funny characters, who deal with their painful lives with strength and humor.
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
I never doubted Judd Apatow was hilarious (we’ve all seen Knocked Up), but Sick in the Head still manages to be even funnier than I’d dared to hope. This collection of intimate conversations with some of the biggest names in comedy, from Lena Dunham to Amy Schumer, is essentially one long love letter to the art of making people laugh — and boy, does it succeed.
Image: Ashley Webb/Flickr