April showers bring May flowers, but until then, we’re just bummed by the dreary-every-other-day weather and more than ready to stash away our SAD lamps for a good six months. As always, we turn to books, which are there for us whenever we need them, whatever our mood. Whether you’re looking to double down on a good day or lift your spirits during a rough patch, these six new books are just what the bookseller ordered. Science has proven that you can’t frown while you’re laughing. Probably.
1. I Had a Nice Time, and Other Lies: How to Find Love and Sh*t Like That, by The Betches
With a title like this one, you can’t possibly go wrong (but please, don’t come crying to us if your attempts to use this hilarious pseudo-advice tome as a how-to manual for your life occasionally go a bit sideways). 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 today’s modern world of love and romance. Dating apps are a prime target, but the gang offers up 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.
2. 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 how to enjoy a good cat hair-covered wallow.
3. Mother, Can You Not? by Kate Siegel
The laughter is coming from inside the app! Confounded and deeply amused by the epic texts 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, I’ll stick to living vicariously.
4. 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 (assuming you’ve even been able to summon the courage to attempt to orchestrate that elaborate rainy day craft project in the first place… you know what, screw Pinterest), 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 (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 a majority of 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).
5. Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers, by Nick Offerman
Ron Swanson, folks. Nick Offerman did not pull his iconic character from TV’s Parks and Recreation out of thin air, and you’ll recognize the same virile, no-nonsense meatlover that you adored as director of Pawnee’s parks department in this “mixtape of great Americans,” now out in paperback. In this follow-up to his bestselling book Paddle Your Own Canoe, the actor, writer, reader, and woodworker chooses 21 historical and contemporary figures who represent, to him, the best of our country’s past and future, and explores the impact they’ve had on our national culture and his own life. Integrity, moral balance, and most of all, gumption: these are Offerman’s measuring sticks. It’s clear the actor immersed himself in biography, research, and interviews, and the best parts are the accounts of personal run-ins with his heroes, such as the time he attended the funeral of Tom Laughlin, toured Wendell Berry’s barn, or attended Yoko Ono’s gallery opening. Politics and religion are up for debate, but never without a side of blue humor. Of course, the very best part is imagining it read in Nick Offerman’s genuine voice.
6. 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 hep 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 she thought 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.
7. 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, and 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 (including a starring role in Joss Whedon’s internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and the creation of her own popular web series, The Guild). From the wild, untamed days of the young internet, to her obsessions with online gaming and math, and her attendance of college at age 16, Day’s story will inspire anyone who ever feared that 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.