So, you’re PMSing. You’re bloated, yet you just want a big pile of orange chicken and a few Tylenols on the side. You’re cramping, you feel like shit, and the last thing you feel like doing is carrying on with business per usual. But you do, because you’ve gotta let bygones be bygones and uteruses be uteruses.
One of the best remedies for a bad case of PMS is a good pile of books. Seriously. The last thing you need is ordering The Fault in Our Stars on demand, because you don’t want your heart to experience someone else’s unbearable pain right now. No dramatic romance novels. No Titanic (because no matter how cheesy that movie has become, there’s something about Jack floating away into the icy Atlantic that brings you to tears EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN TIME) especially. Stick to light-hearted stories. Stories that make you feel good and laugh and naturally increase those dopamine levels. Stories that make you feel comfortable. And most of all: distracted.
Make yourself a mug of hot chocolate with extra cinnamon and marshmallows and cuddle up with these 15 insanely amazing reads that will make you forget all about your dumb period:
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
If you’ve seen the movie, then you know just how amazing this book is. You might wonder why you would ever read the book when you've already been wow'ed by a film, but trust me. The book is even better. More bitchy Miranda Priestly. More helpless Andy quips. And more of the psychotic demands Miranda makes of Andy. You will be thanking the universe you are not Andy’s place while also laughing your guts out.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by Davis Sedaris
I can always count on Sedaris’ wit and hilarious self-deprication to make me feel better about anything. In this collection, he reveals embarrassing stories of his youth, his early 20s, and a few recent experiences he's had in French class. Other include “The Learning Curve,” where Sedaris somehow lands a teaching position he isn’t the least bit qualified for, and “Big Boy,” which is about being forced to take accountability for a poop someone else had not flushed.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Goon Squad follows the troubled Sasha, the music producer she works for, Benny, and the people they know. Switching perspectives from chapter to chapter, Egan delves into the lives of flawed individuals, tears them apart a little, but then lets you know that everything will be okay in the end.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone is a 15 year-old autistic kid, and he’s brilliant. Told from the perspective of Christopher, The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time follows the odd death of a dog, and how Christopher uses his ingenuity to solve the mystery — Sherlock Holmes-style. You will be sucked in up until the very last page.
No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay
I don’t think I’ve ever read a happier collection of poems that still retain meaning, depth, and enviable talent. Sarah Kay finally released her debut book of poems — poems that deal with family, love, inanimate objects that just seem mundane, and the way we're all so very human. As an added bonus, YouTube videos of her performance. Get ready to be floored.
Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford
Reading about Kelly Oxford’s escapades to L.A. in search of Leonardo DiCaprio, or that time she threw up McDonald's all over her outfit on her way to a party remind us all that we do stupid shit. But that one day we get to look back on it and crack up. Or write a memoir.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Ignatius O’Reilly is the worst. He’s lazy. He’s mean to his mom. He’s got an equally terrible girlfriend. And he’s probably the best literary character to have ever been thought of. Every sentence sent me into hysterics, whether it was because Ignatius starts a riot at a pants factory because he doesn't want to work, or because he’s lying to his mother about a prostitute he got into a fight with (he tried to capture a stray cat).
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I know I said no romance novels, but this one is different. The Jessica Darling series pretty much shaped my tweenhood. I wanted to be Jessica Darling because she was witty and sarcastic, and I wanted to be Marcus Flutie’s girlfriend, because Marcus Flutie was hot. For a person who doesn't actually exist, that is. Jessica’s lively accounts of high school and college are exactly what you need when a pick-me-up is necessary.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the normal person's experience dealing with extraordinary, bizarre events. You get to see the universe through Arthur Dent's eyes, and although he is generally frustrated and just wants things to go back to the way they were, you learn that in an infinite universe anything is possible, and isn't that exactly what you want to hear right now?
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
And then sometimes you just want to read about a woman just trying to shake up her life a little bit by deciding to cook every single iconic Julia Childs recipe. Is this the best read ever? Not really. Is it funny, relatable, and a definite distraction from life? Certainly. I loved Julie’s narration and how the whole story transcended cooking. Julie is a person who feels bored and frustrated with her New York life, so she sets doable goals for herself. She may get a little out-of-hand with them, but the intent to change her life (even if it’s just by cooking) is there, and I think it resonates with all of us on some level.
Cowboys are My Weakness : Stories by Pam Houston
This book is also technically a romance novel, but it’s Pam Houston, you guys. I read Pam Houston whenever I’m feeling gross and sad, and her prose just makes me feel better. In Cowboys are My Weakness , you follow the stories of gung-ho women who are on the prowl for some rustic dudes. It's funny, tender, and kind of imperfectly perfect.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Hyperbole and a Half is Allie Brosh's blog come to life (err... book) and it's AMAZING. Funny, and filled with those quirky illustrations you have to come to love, you get to experience Hyperbole and a Half all over again, plus a handful of new stories. Tales of cake, fish, her crazy dogs, and then some, Allie Brosh will definitely make you feel warm and fuzzy and wonderful.
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
When all else fails, at least you have Chelsea Handler. Absolutely ridiculous and totally a “guilty” pleasure, Are You There, Vodka? is exactly what you need after a long day of bullshit. Or week of bullshit. Or any bullshit at all. Because if Chelsea can handle what life throws at her, you can, too.