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Laughter is the Best Medicine: Feel Better with Funny Books

Updated on August 30, 2012

Sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them my husband makes me laugh so hard that I nearly pee my pants. My husband’s humor reaches a pee-inducing magnitude almost daily. I know what you’re thinking, and, no, I don’t have a bladder problem or something. My husband is just really funny, and we really understand what jokes will make eachother laugh. Hard.

It’s true that laughter is the best medicine. No matter what ails you or troubles you, laughter will make you feel better.

I enjoy laughing so much that I always prefer funny TV shows to dramas, comedy movies to action, and humorous books to any other genre. Finding truly funny books is tough, so here are some of my favorite books for a really good laugh. These are my very favorite books – the ones I keep on the shelf at the head of my bed so I can read a funny passage before I go to sleep to ensure absurdly humorous dreams.

Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

Do not take this book on an airplane, because you will not be able to control your laughter on the otherwise quiet ride with 100 of your closest friends. The sheer awesomeness of the author’s bizarrely funny life is only surpassed by how well he describes everything. Warn your friends and family that you’ll be reading them passages from the book for the duration of time that you’ll be reading it.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey

This woman is a comedy genius. This memoir describes Fey’s basically normal upbringing and her journey through standup, to SNL, and most recently starting the hit show 30 Rock. The book feels very honest, and Fey is opinionated without being preachy. Her stories reveal the experiences that undoubtedly led to many familiar SNL skits and humorous 30 Rock situations.

Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern

Do you wish someone would just tell it as it is? Well, Justin Halpern’s dad does, and always has. Halpern somehow channels or remembers his dad’s unfiltered comments on life, work, and raising kids. I laughed so hard that I cried on several occasions. You know how Oprah does her “ugly cry” when she’s very moved? Well, I have an ugly laugh, during which I am doubled over in laughter with tears streaming down my face. The ugly laugh is so intense that it is silent, only punctuated by the occasional nasal snort. Sh*t My Dad Says = Ugly Laugh. Super, super funny.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

This book made me realize that transitions in writing are overvalued. The lack of transitions in this book allowed the author to shoot jokes rapid-fire like a machine gun. This woman is so quirky and funny, you will immediately love her. Jenny’s craziness will make you feel more sane, and also help you to appreciate your own craziness. I now appreciate my craziness. Being crazy isn’t necessarily bad. I just try to be good crazy, like Jenny. And no matter how messed up your childhood was, I can guarantee you Jenny’s was worse. Unless your dad was also a taxidermist, and then you might tie.

Expecting Adam, by Martha Beck

“How,” you may ask, “can a story about a woman expecting a baby with Down Syndrome make for a funny book?” Well, you’re right; this memoir is not straight humor like the others I am recommending. This book includes many poignantly sad moments, as well as joyously uplifting spiritual moments that will make your soul take flight. But it’s all told in a clever, quirky way that is laugh-out-loud funny from the very first page. This book will give you both laughter and spiritual comfort. Martha Beck is my all-time favorite author.

Truth is Stranger, and Funnier, Than Fiction

Did you notice that all of the recommended books above are memoirs? Me either! Until just now. Enjoy the glimpses into these writers' wildly hysterical worlds. I hope they make you feel better.

What Are Your Favorite Funny Books?

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    • FitFamily profile image

      FitFamily 5 years ago from Lynnwood, Washington

      Wonderful! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      I am not an avid reader and I focus mostly on novels. I have made a list of your recommendations and definitely will be visiting the library this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    • FitFamily profile image

      FitFamily 5 years ago from Lynnwood, Washington

      I am always looking for more funny books to read! Please share. Thank you!