Best Selling Books in Humor - Essays

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release date: Nov 15, 2016
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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews
release date: May 30, 2017
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Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York's "Vulture", The Week, Bustle, BookRiot

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures 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 through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story 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.

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 when you're as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there's no such thing as a boring day.
release date: Sep 01, 2015
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Men Explain Things to Me

"This slim book—seven essays, punctuated by enigmatic, haunting paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez—hums with power and wit."—Boston Globe

"The antidote to mansplaining."—The Stranger

"Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions."—Salon

"Solnit tackles big themes of gender and power in these accessible essays. Honest and full of wit, this is an integral read that furthers the conversation on feminism and contemporary society."—San Francisco Chronicle Top Shelf

"Solnit [is] the perfect writer to tackle the subject: her prose style is so clear and cool."—The New Republic

"The terrain has always felt familiar, but Men Explain Things To Me is a tool that we all need in order to find something that was almost lost."—National Post

In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

This updated edition with two new essays of this national bestseller book features that now-classic essay as well as "#YesAllWomen," an essay written in response to 2014 Isla Vista killings and the grassroots movement that arose with it to end violence against women and misogyny, and the essay "Cassandra Syndrome." This book is also available in hardcover.

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark, both also with Haymarket; a trilogy of atlases of American cities; The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in DisasterA Field Guide to Getting LostWanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper's and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

release date: May 30, 2017
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We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays
*A New York Times Bestseller*

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: Aug 05, 2014
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Bad Feminist: Essays

From the author of Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, the New York Times Bestseller and Best Book of the Year at NPR, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and many more

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.

Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.

release date: Aug 08, 2017
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America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside "The Greatest Country in the World"
A skewering of the American underbelly by the New York Times bestselling author of Seven Deadly Sins, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven, and You're Making Me Hate You

The always-outspoken hard rock vocalist Corey Taylor begins America 51 with a reflection on what his itinerant youth and frequent worldwide travels with his multiplatinum bands Slipknot and Stone Sour have taught him about what it means to be an American in an increasingly unstable world. He examines the way America sees itself, specifically with regard to the propaganda surrounding America's origins (like a heavy-metal Howard Zinn), while also celebrating the quirks and behavior that make a true-blue American. Taylor likewise takes a look at how the world views us, and his findings should come as a surprise to no one. But behind Taylor's ranting and raving is a thoughtful and intelligent consideration, and even a sadness, of what America is compared to what it could and should be.

Expertly balancing humor, outrage, and disbelief, Taylor examines the rotting core of America, evaluating everything from politics and race relations to modern family dynamics, millennials, and "man buns." No element of what constitutes America is safe from his adept and scathing eye. Continuing the wave of moral outrage begun in You're Making Me Hate You, Taylor flawlessly skewers contemporary America in his own signature style.
release date: Jul 12, 2016
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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
The “brilliantly wry” (Lena Dunham) and “lovably awkward” (Mindy Kaling) New York Times bestseller from the creator of HBO’s Insecure.

In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.

I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert (as well as “funny,” according to the Los Angeles Times) in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, the workplace, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this New York Times bestselling debut collection written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.
release date: Oct 11, 2016
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You Gotta Want It
In this extremely positive, motivational, and often laugh-out-loud memoir, Jake Paul pauses long enough from his supercharged day-to-day as a nineteen year old social media heartthrob and costar on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark to share his takes on life, love, fame, and shooting for the moon.

Growing up as a regular kid in Ohio, Jake Paul always knew he wanted to do something big, but he wasn’t sure what that thing was—that is, until he found his calling as one of Vine’s most famous comedians. As a high school sophomore, Jake began making comedy videos with his older brother, Logan, and posting them online. With every carefully staged prank, Jake and Logan’s following grew—and after a few stumbling blocks, Jake finally forged his own way. Eventually, he traded his childhood home in Cleveland for sunny, sparkling Hollywood. In You Gotta Want It, Jake reflects on the path that led him to stardom. From learning the value of a disciplined work ethic, to achieving his goals and aspirations along the way to digital celebrity, to the crazy behind-the-scenes details of his journey as a creator and actor, Jake relates the most hysterical and intimate details of his life thus far—all with the signature humor, honesty, and unstoppable attitude that have won him millions of devoted followers.
release date: Dec 26, 2006
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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

release date: Jun 06, 2017
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Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas

"One of the funniest writers in America."

That’s what The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz calls Jenny Allen―and with good reason. In her debut essay collection, the longtime humorist and performer declares no subject too sacred, no boundary impassable.

With her eagle eye for the absurd and hilarious, Allen reports from the potholes midway through life’s journey. One moment she’s flirting shamelessly―and unsuccessfully―with a younger man at a wedding; the next she’s stumbling upon X-rated images on her daughter’s computer. She ponders the connection between her ex-husband’s questions about the location of their silverware, and the divorce that came a year later. While undergoing chemotherapy, she experiments with being a “wig person.” And she considers those perplexing questions that we never pause to ask: Why do people say “It is what it is”? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half ? And haven’t we heard enough about memes?

Jenny Allen’s musings range fluidly from the personal to the philosophical. She writes with the familiarity of someone telling a dinner party anecdote, forgoing decorum for candor and comedy. To read Would Everybody Please Stop? is to experience life with imaginative and incisive humor.

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