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: May 01, 2017
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This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read

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: Apr 18, 2017
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Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories About My Family You Might Relate To
A hysterically funny and slyly insightful new collection of essays from New York Times bestselling author Annabelle Gurwitch, about her own family of scam artists and hucksters, as well as the sisterhoods, temporary tribes, communities, and cults who have become surrogates along the way.

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 the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess. A family of bootleggers, gamblers, and philanderers, the Gurwitches have always been a bit vague on the 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. Thus began a lifetime of Annabelle seeking out surrogates. If she’s learned anything, it’s that no matter how hard you try to escape a crazy family, you just end up in another crazy family.
 
With a wry wit and healthy dose of irresistible self-deprecation, Gurwitch asks: Who and what makes a family in our modern society? Is it our blood relations, the people we work with, the people we pray with, our pets? Gurwitch delves into her Shalom Y'all tribe's southern Jewish roots, along with the confederacies she’s joined by accident or on purpose, and treats us to a glimpse of life with theater folk, a band of cosplaying Furries, pet people, a UFO cult, and secular humanist fellowships while exploring the fragility of sisterhood and the spec­tacularly daunting search for the community where her aging parents will spend the last chapter of their lives.
 
By turns hilarious and deeply moving, 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: May 09, 2017
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The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness
“A remarkable journey. I laughed. I cried. I got another cat.”  —Lily Tomlin

“Paula Poundstone is the funniest human being I have ever known.” —Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! and author of The Book of Vice


“Is there a secret to happiness?” asks comedian Paula Poundstone. "I don’t know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really . . . Where could  it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after?” In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights—the pursuit of happiness.

Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? You may be laughing too hard to care.  

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a single working mother of three children (not to mention dozens of cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a lop-eared bunny, and one ant left from her ant farm) who is just trying to keep smiling while living a busy life.

The queen of the skepticism-fueled rant, Paula Poundstone stands alone in her talent for bursting bubbles and slaying sacred cows.

Like George Carlin, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris, she is a master of her craft, and her comedic brilliance is served up in abundance in this book. As author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. notes, “Paula Poundstone deserves to be happy. Nobody deserves to be this funny.”
 
release date: May 02, 2017
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Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You
"A hilarious guide to help young workers not be idiots....The book is, truly, a guide to being an adult in the modern age." --Chicago Tribune


The life-survival guide you didn't know you needed. But you do.

As any current or former twentysomething knows, adulthood can be kind of awkward because no one tells you what to expect. Most people spend a decade or more figuring out the unwritten rules of life, the hard way.

Does Andy Boyle have everything figured out? No. But the honest and good-natured advice in this genuinely helpful book will help any newly minted adult get through the hard parts faster, guaranteed. (Note: not literally guaranteed.)

Topics include:

* The A**hole Test
* "Friend Zone," "Adulting," and Other Things to Stop Saying
* Should I Get Back with My Ex? (Spoiler: No)
* Networking Like a Not Gross Person
* Failing Isn't Failure, and Other Mostly Good Rules to Live By
* Don't Be Creepy

Perfect for anyone who's ready to graduate into adulthood, or at least out of their mom's basement.
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: Apr 25, 2017
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Lessons from the Prairie: The Surprising Secrets to Happiness, Success, and (Sometimes Just) Survival I Learned on America's Favorite Show
"Lessons from the Prairie delivers one belly laugh after another as Melissa tees up an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to tackling life's toughest challenges, and making your life happier." - Megyn Kelly

For fans of the beloved TV show Little House on the Prairie, a self-help book by Melissa Francis, bestselling author of Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter and child star of Little House, revealing important life lessons inspired by a childhood on set.

Melissa Francis was only eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world's most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.
Now in Lessons from the Prairie, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, and lessons learned from the show's dynamic creator, Michael Landon, that have echoed throughout Melissa's adult life. With novel insights on hard work, making mistakes, and even spirituality, Francis shares inspirational and practical life lessons that will appeal both to her current TV fans, and fans of one of the most adored TV shows of all time.
release date: Mar 05, 2013
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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
From the New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy...

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

Includes a new chapter!

Readers Guide Inside
release date: Aug 05, 2014
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Bad Feminist: Essays

New York Times Bestseller

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.

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