Laughter is the best medicine

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We all need a good laugh every now and then, especially when the weather outside is dreary, as it tends to be in April. After the list of books guaranteed to depress you in my most recent column, I promised to offer you some humorous titles this time around. Here are some books I’ve read over the last few years that should put a smile on your face.

Comedian Tina Fey’s memoir “Bossypants” is one of the few audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. While the format is not for me, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Liz Lemon (Fey’s character from the popular television series “30 Rock” wax nostalgic about growing up in Pennsylvania and getting her career start doing improv in Chicago.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie is one of my all-time favorite books, and while it may cause you to tear up a bit, it will definitely make you chuckle. I previously recommended this book in a column about young adult novels, as it’s written for teens. However, its humor appeals to readers of all ages.

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Thirty-seven-year-old writer and actress Mindy Kaling has already published two equally hilarious memoirs, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” and “Why Not Me?” Her essays about being a not-supermodel-skinny Indian American woman in Hollywood and acute observations on romance and friendship will make you laugh out loud.

B.J. Novak, who also happens to be Kaling’s ex-boyfriend, best friend, and former coworker and love interest on “The Office,” has also written a wildly funny book; however, his is for children. Titled “The Book With No Pictures,” it is exactly as it sounds but much more amusing than you’d expect. Parents, grandparents, teachers, etc.: Be prepared. Kids will beg you to read it aloud over and over!

Another one of my favorite humorous children’s books is “This Is Not My Hat” by Jon Klassen, winner of the 2013 Caldecott medal. I love the illustrations and the deadpan-funny yet cautionary tale about a tiny fish who steals a hat from a big fish and thinks nothing will go wrong. Spoiler alert: it does.

“Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris is another witty memoir filled with comical essays, although Sedaris is not a celebrity like Fey and Kaling so his stories focus more on his family and time spent living in France. I found his brother, whom he refers to as “The Rooster,” to be the most interesting character in the collection.

What books make you laugh out loud? Or are you like me, and prefer those of a more disheartening or scary variety? I stayed up until the wee hours of the night this weekend finishing “Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris. It’s not a book that will make you laugh! But it sure was entertaining.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian at Polk County Public Library. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.