Coming as they do at the end of the year, the holidays are as much a time of joy and togetherness as they are a time of last-minute bustle and unfestive stress. There’s no better time to slow down and look for a reason to laugh. This collection includes hilarious books from some of our favorite female comedians, actresses, and authors, women who aren’t afraid to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. Give the gift of laughter this year and brighten someone’s day (or treat yourself, if you need a pick me up).
I Had a Nice Time, and Other Lies: How to Find Love and Sh*t Like That, by The Betches
The Betches are the creators of an online advice column that doesn’t skimp on the funny or the insight, and they’re back with a new book about navigating the modern world of love and romance. Dating apps are a prime target, but this is a must-read for any “betch” looking for love. Even if they can’t help you get a date, you’re at least guaranteed a few laughs.
How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows, by Jacqueline Novak
You know what’s gut-bustingly hilarious? Crippling sadness. Ok, maybe it’s not the most obvious subject for a humor book, but Jacqueline Novak knows from funny at least as well as she knows from feeling miserable, and in this memoir-cum-self help tome, she gives depression double barrels of wry humor laced with rock salt. If she’s not revealing her secrets for motivating yourself to actually get dressed and leave the house, she’s teaching you how to enjoy a good cat hair–covered wallow.
Bossypants, by Tina Fey
No list of funny female authors is complete without the inimitable Tina Fey. Yes, Bossypants makes it onto lots of must-read lists, but there’s a reason why. This self-deprecating memoir produces uproarious laughter, which is something to keep in mind if you’re on a crowded train or in a quiet waiting room. In Bossypants, Fey details her lukewarm college love life, her early years of improv and working at the Y, her admission into the ranks of SNL, and her disastrous honeymoon. She also dishes plenty on the battle of the sexes, her unorthodox style of parenting, and best friends (see: Amy Poehler). An absolute requirement for your shelf of comedy she-roes.
Mother, Can You Not?, by Kate Siegel
The laughter is coming from inside the app! Confounded and deeply amused by the epic text conversations she shared with her, er, concerned mother, Kate Siegel decided to share them with the world via Instagram, birthing the @CrazyJewishMom account. It quickly became a viral sensation, and is now a LOL-worthy book. From visits to the OB-GYN, to menstrual cycles, to a few discussions that somehow don’t involve intimate details of the female anatomy, nothing is off limits for these two. While their convos might inspire some to forge a closer bond with their mothers, some of us will choose to stick to living vicariously.
I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting, by Karen Alpert
If you’re a parent who knows the sting of an epic Pinterest fail, this is the book for you. Alpert strikes back at the legion of online sanctimommies and daddies who swear they’ve mastered the formula for perfect parenting (spoiler: it involves lots of quinoa and organic, GMO-free cotton) with an ode to those of us who end the day with a nice pat on the back as long as we’ve managed to get through it with our children alive and accounted for. If you’ve ever worried about being bad at that lifelong job we call “nurturing the next generation,” this book will assure you that sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with being a “mediocre” parent, and at the end of the day, your kids will settle for just being loved (and maybe an extra cookie).
Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much, by Faith Salie
We’ve already witnessed Faith Salie in “serious” mode as a journalist on CBS News Sunday Morning, and gotten an earful of her sense of humor on the wacky NPR news quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, but we’ve never before been given as much access to the weird and wonderful workings of her brain as we are in this confessional new biography, in which she describes her lifelong struggle with being a people pleaser. From scoring perfect grades to impress her parents to enlisting the help of an exorcist to save her marriage and avoid the shame of a divorce, she has spent her entire life worried about what others think of her—even when it meant thinking less of herself. While you’re laughing, you’ll also nod in recognition of her insights into why people pleasers are compelled to do what they do—even when it involves humble-bragging about how you excelled at those fertility treatments and looked smashing when you strode into the courtroom to finalize that divorce.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day
The first book from actress, writer, and social media superstar Felicia Day is highly amusing, yes, but also touching, insightful, and, incidentally, newly available in paperback, with a never-before-published bonus chapter to boot. The memoir offers a wry, insightful look at her life, from an eccentric childhood through her unusual rise from humble roots to the head of an entertainment empire as an actor, writer, and comedian. From the wild, untamed days of the young internet, to her obsessions with online gaming and math, Day’s story will inspire anyone who ever feared their quirks would keep them from finding their place in the world—even as it makes them cry tears of laughter in recognition of the weirdness that unites us all.