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January 20, 2012

Finding the Funny: Books You NEED to Read in Your Lifetime
by Liz McKeon - 0

By Contributor Allison Haskins

The two things I love most in the world are reading and comedy. When I stumble upon the wonderful gems that incorporate both, my heart starts doing backflips and shooting off tiny fireworks. OK, so maybe I’m just a book nerd who happens to have a fantastic sense of humor … either way, I know what I’m talking about and you need to trust me.

In hopes that someday you can be as enthralled with your literary choices as I am, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite funnies. Do with this information what you will, but if you take the time to read them (and it should be fairly easy with computers, Kindles, iPhones, iPads, and, last but not least — actual books!), you will not regret it. 


Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress
 by Susan Jane Gilman

This book is actually a New York Times Bestseller, so if you haven’t read it, stop what you’re doing (after this paragraph of course) and go get it! To sum it up, it’s a memoir-style book about growing up and how ridiculous life retrospectively was. Susan Jane Gilman does an amazing job at portraying herself and her life in a fresh and hilarious way, partly because her life itself has been quite a crazy ride. She covers it all — from being a conniving 5-year-old, to a rebellious and hopeless teenager, and then an adult who is still just as lost and confused as she was when she was 15. Yet, through it all, she maintains humor and hope that things will somehow turn around and maybe even reach normalcy. 

Laugh Line: “… while other kids my age were preparing for confirmations and bat mitzvahs, I’d developed a relationship with God that consisted solely of begging for breasts.”


My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler has been gaining celebrity by leaps and bounds over the past couple years, yet people who aren’t huge Handler fans may have missed her first book, which she wrote before anyone even knew who she was. As it might appear from the title, this book is, in fact, a chronicle of Handler’s one night stands during her late teens and 20s. If you don’t laugh out loud at her crazy thoughts, actions, and debauchery, something is wrong with you. 

Laugh Line: “I couldn’t afford a run-in with this guy in front of my new suitor. There were only three things he could bring up: my vagina, his anus, and his Ecstasy that I stole.”


After a very young Stephanie Wilder moved to California in an attempt to start over, chaos ensued in various forms before she was able to get on the straight and narrow. She details experiences including competing on a game show, experimenting with drugs, and working as a telemarketer. Throughout the book, Wilder is bitterly honest in discussing a rough life in which she’s made a lot of mistakes, but each step of the way she’s able to look back, with humor, on what she has been and done. 

Laugh Line: “She made the face women make when they discover they’ve accidentally been drinking regular Coke instead of Diet.”


This is one of a handful of books by Lancaster, all of which are equally amazing. Self described as a raging narcissist, she also battles with job problems, weight issues, relationship ups and downs, and shitty neighbors. The mix of these troubles, along with her abnormally high self-esteem, results in a hilarity that the average person never gets to experience. Maybe I’m the weird one, but when I finished these books, I really and truly wanted to be friends with Lancaster and get to better understand what goes on in her batshit crazy head. 

Laugh Line: “I’m back on Atkins today. For lunch I had one and a half Burger King Texas Whoppers minus the bun. Shameful.”


I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated by Julie Klausner 

In short, Klausner is a Jewish, redheaded, promiscuous gal who enjoys the occasional high. As a late bloomer in the guy department, she had to make up for lost time! Her book is a compilation of experiences including bad first dates, loving losers, searching for Mr. Right (or Right Now), and all the amusing mishaps that happen in between. Also, you should check out her podcast, How Was Your Week, for a dose of funny every seven days. (A tip of the hat to WICF Contributor Barbara Holm for also loving Klausner!) 

Laugh Line: “During my last year at college, I decided to open my horizons, which is a fancy word for ‘legs.’”


As corny as it may sound, I connect to these titles in large part because all of these women talk about the issues they have in their lives ­­­­­­­­­­­­— relationships, jobs, money, family — things that we all have to deal with. However, they have turned all these things into jokes, shedding light on serious and often sad, hurtful, or frustrating situations. All of these funny ladies have helped me to try to stop taking things so seriously and ultimately, to take the time to find the funny. 

All book photos by

Allison Haskins holds a Journalism degree and is a freelance comedy writer.  In her spare time, the Massachusetts native attends as many stand-up shows as possible and listens to every comedy podcast she can get her hands on. Follow Allison on Twitter at

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