Dear County Agent Guy


Jerry Nelson - 2016
    These are stories of courtship; childbirth—he offers the delivery room doctor the use of his calf puller; family; neighbors; chores; and the duties of a father—why is it that a man who spends his days in cow manure can't change a baby's diaper? Knee-slappingly funny one moment, poignant the next, it's a very special look at a distinctly American way of life.

Tropical Attire Encouraged (and Other Phrases That Scare Me)


Alison Rosen - 2018
     Alison wants to be living a fabulous life filled with myriad social engagements. She just also wants to not shower, put on a bra or leave the house. Plus, she dislikes dancing, the Fourth of July and costume parties that involve skimpy attire. Basically, if it’s fun, count her out, which is too bad, since she so desperately wants you to think she’s fun. "Tropical Attire Encouraged” came to be on her birthday a few years ago, when her husband, Daniel Quantz, presented her with a hand-bound book of her columns from the first year she was syndicated. He worked late at his office to keep it a surprise. At the top of each one, he included a hand-drawn illustration. Daniel told her he made it because he wanted her to know he believed in her and felt she should be published in book form. Also because one year she gave him an over-the-cabinet-door organizer, and he wanted her to really know—like, on a visceral level—just how crappy her gift was in comparison. (He didn’t say this, but it was implied.)

Full Support: Lessons Learned in the Dressing Room


Natalee Woods - 2018
    Concerns about our age, body type, family expectations, jobs, and romantic partners crowd into the dressing room with us. The result is a bra that fits other people’s standards instead of our own bodies.As a bra-fitter at a high-end department store for more than a decade, Natalee Woods watched women bravely facing down their fears and embracing what worked for them. Full Support shares their stories alongside judgment-free secrets for a good fit.

Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection


Barbara Venkataraman - 2014
    What a collection! If this doesn't make you smile, then you're not even trying. "A Trip to the Hardware Store" These humorous essays explore such quirky topics as: disastrous home repairs, ("A Trip to the Hardware Store"), an unfortunate dinner party ("Dinner is Served"), the truth about lazy people ("Lazy Bones"), the weird life of a debt collector ("Your Account is Past Due") and obsessions with gadgets ("Gadget Girl"). Other essays examine how surreal the aging process is ("Where Did the Time Go?"), why you shouldn't judge a person by their job ("Beyond Belief"), and how to complicate simple transactions ("High Finance"). "I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course" A collection of humorous insights into important topics ranging from annoying pet people ("I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course"), to analyzing your inner child ("Irrational Fears"), to living like the Amish in the aftermath of a hurricane ("A Jolt of Electricity"). Other essays examine just how much damage can be caused by a sneeze ("It All Started with a Loud Sneeze"), why it is so complicated to buy a tube of toothpaste ("Ask Me No Questions"), how a parent's obsessive hobbies can become an inescapable vortex ("Crazy Hobbies"), and why spending the night in a sleep clinic is like being abducted by probing aliens ("Nightmare at the Sleep Clinic"). If you don't see yourself in each of these entertaining essays, then I'm not talking about you, of course.

The Muse Is Always Half-Dressed in New Orleans and Other Essays


Andrei Codrescu - 1993
    In twenty-six essays, Codrescu turns his skeptical, amused gaze to such topics as Plato's effect on American sex, the cultural meaning of Ed McMahon, baseball's literary underpinnings, his own conception in a Romanian darkroom, an cuisine under the Ceausescu dictatorship, as well as to larger subjects, including the suicide of communism, American culture and politics, and his adopted city of New Orleans.

Up the Down Volcano


Sloane Crosley - 2011
    Literally. Crosley’s “Up the Down Volcano" delivers a hilariously honest account of her trip to South America to climb one of the highest volcanoes in the world. Armed with a prescription for malaria pills, a fleece vest, and a few feminine hygiene products, Crosley’s attempt to channel her inner Jon Krakauer doesn't go exactly as planned. As she experiences the effects of altitude sickness on her way up the volcano, her guide tells her to simply be “tranquillo.” Crosley expertly describes the misunderstandings that arise through interacting with another culture in another language, turning the classic adventure story on its funny bone. The results are, of course, touching and amusingly disastrous.

Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut: Essays and Observations


Jill Kargman - 2011
    Hedgefund and Wolves in Chic Clothing firmly believes in Woody Allen’s magical math equation: Comedy = Tragedy + Time. Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut is a delightful collection of essays and observations based on Jill Kargman’s family, her phobias (vans, mimes, clowns), and her ability to use humor as a tool to get past life’s obstacles, making the fun times funnier and the tough times bearable. Fans of David Sedaris, Sloane Crosley, and Nora Ephron will rejoice, howl, and sympathize

Lipshtick


Gwen Macsai - 2000
    NPR writer Gewn Macsai gives you some lip on chin hairs, bad boys, sagging breasts, going to the bathroom in twos, and many other rites of womanhood...

Not That You Asked: Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions


Steve Almond - 2007
    What we do know is that Almond has a knack for converting his dustups into essays that are both funny and furious. In "(Not that You Asked)," he squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, nearly gets arrested for stealing "Sta-Hard" gel from his local pharmacy, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of the Red Sox Nation. Almond is, as they say in Yiddish, a tummler. Almond on personal grooming: "Why, exactly, did I feel it would be 'sexy' and 'hot' to have my girlfriend wax my chest? I can offer no good answer to this question today. I could offer no good answer at the time." On sports: "To be a fan is to live in a condition of willed helplessness. We are (for the most part) men who sit around and watch other men run and leap and sweat and grapple each other. It is a deeply homoerotic pattern of conduct, often interracial in nature, and essentially humiliating."On popular culture: "I have never actually owned a TV, a fact I mention whenever possible, in the hopes that it will make me seem noble and possibly lead to oral sex." On his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut: "His books perform the greatest feat of alchemy known to man: the conversion of grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination."On religion: "Every year, when Chanukah season rolled around, my brothers and I would make the suburban pilgrimage to the home of our grandparents, where we would ring in the holiday with a big, juicy Chanukah ham." The essays in "(Not that You Asked)" will make you laugh out loud, or, maybe just as likely, hurl the book across the room. Either way, you'll find Steve Almond savagely entertaining. Not that you asked. "A pop-culture-saturated intellectual, a kindly grouch, vitriolic Boston Red Sox hater, neurotic new father and Kurt Vonnegut fanatic... [Almond] scores big in every chapter of this must-have collection. Biting humor, honesty, smarts and heart: Vonnegut himself would have been proud." ---- "Kirkus Reviews "(starred review)

Daddy Needs a Drink: An Irreverent Look at Parenting from a Dad Who Truly Loves His Kids—Even When They're Driving Him Nuts


Robert Wilder - 2006
    Waxing both profound and profane on issues close to a father’s heart—from exploding diapers to toddler tantrums, from the horrors of dressing up as Frosty the Snowman to the moments that make a father proud—Robert Wilder brilliantly captures the joys and absurdities of being a parent today.With an artist wife and two kids—a daughter, Poppy, and a son, London—Robert Wilder considers himself as open-minded as the next man. Yet even he finds himself parentally challenged when his toddler son, London, careens around the house in the buff or asks the kind of outrageous, embarrassing questions only a kid can ask. A high school teacher who sometimes refers to himself jokingly as Mister Mom (when his wife, Lala, is busy in her studio), Wilder shares warmly funny stories on everything from sleep deprivation to why school-sponsored charities can turn otherwise sane adults into blithering and begging idiots.Whether trying to conjure up the perfect baby name (“Poppy” came to his wife’s mother in a dream) or hiring a Baby Whisperer to get some much-needed sleep, Wilder offers priceless life lessons on discipline, potty training, even phallic fiddling (courtesy of young London). He describes the perils of learning to live monodextrously (doing everything with one hand while carrying your child around with the other) and the joys of watching his daughter morph into a graceful, wise, unique little person right before his eyes.By turns tender, irreverent, and hysterically funny, Daddy Needs a Drink is a hilarious and poignant tribute to his family by a man who truly loves being a father.From the Hardcover edition.

Telling


Marion Winik - 1994
    Now, in Telling, she takes us on a journey both personal and universal, a tour of the minefield of chance and circumstance that make up a life. Along the way, she offers razor-sharp takes on everything from adolescence in suburban New Jersey ("Yes, I wanted to be a wild teenage rebel, but I wanted to do it with my parents' blessing") to hellish houseguests and bad-news boyfriends; from the joys of breastfeeding in public to the sometimes-salvation of motherhood.Candid, passionate, and breathtakingly funny, Marion Winik maintains an unshaken belief that following one's heart is more important than following the rules -- and a conviction that the secrets we try to hide often contain the deepest truths."A born iconoclast, an aspiring artiste, a feminist vegetarian prodigal daughter, from early youth I considered myself destined to lead a startling life far outside the bounds of convention. I would be famous, dangerous, brilliant and relentlessly cool: a sort of cross between Emma Goldman, Jack Kerouac, and Georgia O'Keeffe.... So where did this station wagon come from?" -- from Telling

Spiral Bound


Dessa - 2008
    File Under:Life,Death,Vertigo.Sparrows,Saints,and Morphine.

Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life


Quinn Cummings - 2009
    Former child star, mother, and modern woman, she just wants to be a good person. Quinn grew up in Los Angeles, a city whose patron saint would be a sixteen-year-old with a gold card and two trips to rehab under her belt. Quinn does crossword puzzles, eats lentils without being forced, and longs to wear a scarf without looking like a Camp Fire Girl. And she tries very hard to be the Adult--the one everybody calls for a ride to the airport--but somehow she always comes up short. In Notes from the Underwire, Quinn's smart and hilarious debut, she tackles the domestic and the delightfully absurd, proving that all too often they're one and the same. From fighting off a catnip-addled cat to mortal conflict with a sewing machine, Quinn provides insight into her often chaotic, seldom-perfect universe -- a universe made even less perfect when the goofy smile of past celebrity shows its occasional fang. The book, like the author herself, is good hearted, keenly observant, and blisteringly funny. In other words, really good company.

Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses


Julie Dolan - 2001
    She's a satellite sister, a friend or sibling or college roommate who supports, accepts, sometimes busts, and always encourages you. She can get you through a bad haircut-or a bad marriage. And, because nothing beats old-fashioned hilarity, your satellite sister makes you laugh so hard that Diet Coke comes out your nose. Meet the Satellite Sisters: Five real-life sisters who grew up, grew apart, and then came together again, united by the belief that whether by nature or by choice, being someone's sister or friend is what gives meaning to our lives. In Satellite Sisters' UnCommon Senses, the Dolan sisters apply their big-family wisdom to the range of experiences and issues we face in our grown-up lives. The result is their UnCommon Senses-5 essential traits needed to face the challenges and demands of our over-subscribed modern lives...and still end the day with our laughter intact. Warm, spirited, wise, and hilarious, these Satellite Sisters will remind you of your own satellite sisters.

Neck Deep and Other Predicaments: Essays


Ander Monson - 2007
    He reflects on his outsider experience at an exclusive Detroit-area boarding school in the form of a criminal history and invents a new form as he meditates on snow.