I believe that reading comedic novels can be a form of self-care. Funny books offer a refreshing escape from our worries. But the novels on this list aren’t just hilarious—they also feature characters who survive great difficulties with moxie and grit (and sometimes more clumsiness than grace!) I hope they provide you with a respite, make you laugh, and inspire you to meet your present challenges with—when possible—a sense of humor.
Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman lives and works in the fashion industry in NYC where she fits right in with the swirl of beautiful young people who think they’ll live forever. So, she’s blindsided to discover she has the BRCA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene and will likely need a preventative double mastectomy. She realizes she doesn’t want to lose her breasts before they’ve had their heyday. So she and her pals come up with a “boob bucket list” for her tatas to kick off Lacey’s year of sexual and sensual adventures. People calls it: Emotional, hilarious, and thought-provoking.” The Los Angeles Times describes it as: “Witty, sexy.” I say it’s enthralling and delightful!
“Emotional, hilarious, and thought-provoking.” —People
“Witty, sexy.” —Los Angeles Times
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From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Regulars, comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure.
Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene. Her high hereditary risk forces a decision: increased surveillance or the more radical step of a preventative double mastectomy. Lacey doesn't want to lose her breasts. For one, she’s juggling two career paths. Secondly, small-town Lacey’s not so in touch with her sexuality: she doesn’t want to sacrifice her breasts before she’s had the chance to give them their hey-day. To help her make her choice, she (and her friends) creates a “boob bucket list”: everything she wants do with and for her boobs before a possible surgery.
This kicks off a year of sensual exploration and sexual entertainment for the quick-witted Lacey Whitman. The Bucket List cleverly and compassionately explores Lacey’s relationship to her body and her future. Both are things Lacey thought she could control through hard work and sacrifice. But the future, it turns out, is more complicated than she could ever imagine.
Featuring the pitch-perfect “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) prose of The Regulars, The Bucket List is perfect for fans of Amy Poeppel and Sophie Kinsella.
While I’m a devoted Bridget Jones fan, MAD ABOUT THE BOY is my very favorite of the four Bridget Jones novels. A fifty-something Bridget, widowed with two kids, works to get her groove back with the assistance of her lovable cast of friends and a dating tool that didn’t exist before she and Mark Darcy got hitched—Twitter. This is worth the read for Bridget’s twunking (aka drunk tweeting) alone. Guaranteed to cheer you up and remind you that even life’s worst tragedies can be survived with a sense of playfulness and friendship.
A few years ago, I sent this book to my 15 year-old niece and my 73 year-old father—both of whom are picky about literature—and they both loved it. In fact, my dad said he laughed so hard it made his sides hurt. High school senior Greg Gaines is always committed to remaining at the periphery, refusing to join any high school clique. Instead of friends, he has a low profile “working relationship” with his classmate Earl, with whom he recreates classic films. But when Greg’s mom forces him to befriend a girl with cancer, his best laid plans for anonymity and detachment are totally annihilated.
Twenty-five-year-old Queenie is a Jamaican British woman who can’t catch a break. Between her dating experiences, relationships with friends and family, and a job where she feels undervalued, Queenie feels like her life is falling apart. QUEENIE is a much-needed exploration of mental health and the stress young women face in a modern world. QUEENIE’s amazing main character and warm-hearted ending remind us of the importance of self-care, and that those who truly love us will always have our backs.
Author Picks: 5 Novels That Perfectly Capture the Wonderful and Messy Nature of Complicated Families
Part detective story and part multi-generational saga, WHEN TIME STOPPED is Ariana Neumann’s memoir about her father’s incredible survival in 1940s Berlin. Hans Neumann, whose Jewish family members were beginning to perish in the Holocaust, decided that his best chance at survival was hiding in plain sight in Berlin. Years later, once the war ended and Hans had relocated to Venezuela, he did not share his story with his children but left his daughter clues after his death that would lead her to uncover an inconceivable story of horror and bravery.
In this remarkably moving memoir Ariana Neumann dives into the secrets of her father’s past: years spent hiding in plain sight in war-torn Berlin, the annihilation of dozens of family members in the Holocaust, and the courageous choice to build anew.
In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book.
Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Hans Neumann, who, to escape the German death net, traveled to Berlin and hid in plain sight under the Gestapo’s eyes. What Hans experienced was so unspeakable that, when he built an industrial empire in Venezuela, he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it. All his daughter Ariana knew was that something terrible had happened.
When Hans died, he left Ariana a small box filled with letters, diary entries, and other memorabilia. Ten years later Ariana finally summoned the courage to have the letters translated, and she began reading. What she discovered launched her on a worldwide search that would deliver indelible portraits of a family loving, finding meaning, and trying to survive amid the worst that can be imagined.
When Time Stopped is an unputdownable detective story and an epic family memoir, spanning nearly ninety years and crossing oceans. Neumann brings each relative to vivid life. In uncovering her father’s story after all these years, she discovers nuance and depth to her own history and liberates poignant and thought-provoking truths about the threads of humanity that connect us all.
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Raised by a controversial sociologist, the narrator of THE SELLOUT spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies, believing that his father’s work would solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shootout, all that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral. Paul Beatty’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel showcases comic genius and challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution.
If he hasn’t read it already, President Obama will likely enjoy this Man Booker Prize–winning satire, which centers around a young man’s isolated upbringing and a race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. It’s a perfect blend of politics, civil rights, and—if you can believe it—comedy.
For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules. But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.
Indie Next Pick for February 2020
Book of the Month January 2020
LibraryReads January 2020 Pick
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New York Post “Best Books of the Week”
Goodreads “January’s Most Anticipated New Books”
The Saturday Evening Post “10 Books for the New Year”
PopSugar “The 18 Best New Books Coming Out in January 2020”
Book Riot Best Winter New Releases
A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.
For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:
1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.
But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.
When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all...
We are all legends of our own making.
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