Apparently, a talent for stinging humor—particularly about marital deceit—is part of the Ephron family DNA. Siracusa by Nora’s sister, Delia, has all the wit and delicious bite of her older sis’s books, but adds a layer of psychological suspense that makes this tale about two couples whose relationships unravel while on vacation in Siracusa simply irresistible.
Tomorrow There Will Be Sun
Here’s another delicious vacation-gone-wrong story, this one in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Jenna has brought to families together to celebrate her reliable husband Peter’s 50th birthday and the margaritas are flowing. But then Jenna overhears Mr. Reliable making clandestine phone calls, while her daughter cozies up to the bad-boy of the group and paradise collapses—in more ways than one.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Actually, we all want to hang with the completely adorable Mindy Kaling and her brilliant wit, and this book gives us that opportunity. Her steady stream of bon mots (eg: “What is the perfect amount of fame? So famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law.”), will have you spitting out your pinot noir.
Why Not Me?
The essay “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) Also delightful is simply skipping to the part where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
Not That Kind of Girl
This should be required reading for everyone. Period. But short of that, this collection by the creator and star of the game-changing television show Girls, is a must-read for women everywhere to better navigate their lives in today’s culture. Her candor, wit, and keen observations are only part of the pleasure—her writing is sublime.
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Before Nora, Mindy, and Lena there was Dorothy Parker, who ruled the famed Algonquin Round Table—and New York society in general—with her rapid-fire witticisms. But she was also an astute critic, poet, playwright and journalist. This recently revised deluxe edition offers a rich selection of her verse, stories, essays, and journalism.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
With this debut collection of wry, hilarious, and droll literary essays, Crosley deservedly had praise rained down upon her. How can you resist a writer who unintentionally despoils an exhibit at New York’s Natural History Museum? Answer: you can’t, so succumb to the pleasure derived from Crosley’s vignettes of Manhattan life.
It takes a special talent to make divorce funny. Nora Ephron had it and so does Diane Johnson whose social comedy set in Paris, about morals, money, marriage, and murder delightfully presents the clash of cultures—particularly in matters of the heart—between les Américains and les Français.
There Are No Grown-ups
Now that Bringing Up Bébé author Pamela Druckerman’s bébé has been brought up, she can focus on other things—like a brilliantly witty dispatch from the frontlines of her forties. Her observations such as “You can no longer wear anything ironically,” or “you become impatient while scrolling down to your year of birth,” are as agreeable as a chilled Cosmo after a long day.
Eat Pray Love
If you haven’t read this tale of an American woman who leaves all of the trappings of modern American success behind (including her marriage), it’s time you did. If you have, you already know that it’s just as wonderful the second (or third) time around. It’s such a joy to travel along with Gilbert while she explores the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India, and balance between the two in Bali.
You have to love a woman who claims as her religion the belief that “You can never have too much butter.” That would be Nora Ephron, who made the world a better place with her hilarious 1983 novel Heartburn, a thinly veiled autobiography of her disastrous marriage to Carl Bernstein. With Heartburn, Ephron made every scorned woman feel avenged. Thirteen years later, with I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman she allowed “women of a certain age” to laugh at tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and other hideous realities of getting older. And, oh yeah, she also wrote the screenplays or directed some of our most treasured flicks including When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. We’ve gathered a bunch of books that will give you the same joy as spending time with an Ephron creation.
Featured image of Nora Ephron by Elena Seibert Photography