This comic novel about a high school student election has a nasty bite underneath its beautiful exterior. When the cool campus jock runs for student president against the smart girl hell-bent for the Ivy League, faculty wrongs and students’ dirty secrets are exposed. Readers may wince in recognition as they laugh.
Slow Days, Fast Company
Glamorous Hollywood stars and lavish, extravagant parties provide the background tableau as Eve Babitz pursues her dream man. In prose that evokes the scorching heat of the desert tempered by Pacific breezes, Babitz transports readers to the Southern California of the 1960s and 1970s. Make sure your seatbelts are secure before beginning your journey.
Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?
If you ever had a best friend as a girl, someone to whom you could not have been closer even if you were sisters, and you moved through your lives like an inseparable unit, then this book is for you. Moore evokes all of the feels about the intensity of adolescent female friendship, when you couldn’t imagine not staying best friends with her until the day you die.
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
You may have seen umpteen different versions of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and how Christmas found him, but if you haven’t read this short Dickens work, you’ve missed the humor that infuses its pages. When Scrooge realizes what he has denied himself all these years, don’t be surprised by the happy tears on your cheeks.
Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel
Jerome K. Jerome
Three friends, including one who constantly diagnoses his own illnesses by reading the information on medicine bottles, and their land-loving dog set off on a boating adventure for which none of them are prepared. Slapstick humor and mordant British wit combine to make this series of misadventures a delight to read. These three men are definitely not the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.
Harriet has had enough of her boyfriend, Claude. And I knew I couldn’t get enough of Harriet after reading her opening salvo: “I left Claude, the French rat. Six months of devotion wasted on him was more than enough.” Harriet bypasses the crying-while-eating-chocolate phase of her breakup to go straight to the relationship autopsy. It’s a hoot.
Lucy has declared a hiatus from men after her latest breakup, and she has agreed to spend the summer living in her sister’s beach-side cottage while dog-sitting Dominic, the affectionate foxhound. On one of her nightly walks along the beach, Lucy meets a mysterious stranger who goes for nightly swims in the Pacific. Lucy suspects something fishy about this man, but she can’t resist his siren call. Their romance will submerge her in some complex feelings.
You may already know the work of Marjane Satrapi from her award-winning graphic memoir, Persepolis, the story of her life before and after the Iranian Revolution. But in this graphic memoir, Satrapi takes a lighter tone and introduces us to her familial group of Iranian women who gather for Sunday afternoon tea and talk. When Satrapi’s grandmother, aunt, and mother begin discussing the intimate—and sexual—pleasures in their lives, their stories offer delight, humor, and a real sense of joie de vivre.
Samantha Irby has a special talent for making even the most awkward of topics funny, while drawing readers in close enough for them to see the pain beneath the humor. Her writing will make you feel that she is sharing secrets with you, her closest friend, all while turning those secrets into fascinating stories that you won’t be able to stop reading. Whether discussing the difficulties caused by Crohn’s Disease or life with her mother, Irby offers even the most bitter memory wrapped in sweet comedy. (And don’t miss her latest, Wow, No Thank You.)
Dear Committee Members
Jason Fitger, professor of creative writing, has a singular talent for using letter-writing as a form of warfare. In Schumacher’s epistolary novel, Fitger’s letters—whether student recommendations, notes to his colleagues, or letters to the Dean—are chock-full of zingers and outrageous examples of passive-aggressiveness. And when he publishes a novel that contains too many real-life details from a recent love affair, readers will laugh as Fitger quotes the letters he has received in response.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling is a writing powerhouse. She got her comedy-writing start as an intern for Late Night with Conan O’Brien when she was a college sophomore, but such a start doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride from that point on. In her comic memoir, Kaling details her immigrant childhood and her path to The Office and beyond, in a writing style that is both entertaining and deeply affecting.
Cold Comfort Farm
This 1932 novel may be the funniest book that most of us don’t know about, which is a shame, because its humor has not lost its bite. It begins when Flora, who has received a first-class education provided by her wealthy parents, finds out that, not only has she been orphaned, but her father died broke. The one thing left to her is a farm. When Flora, the eternal optimist, encounters the dour residents of the farm, she decides to turn the farmers into happy people. The resistance she faces is cause for many funny moments.
Picture the stereotypical Oxford don, uber-serious and stuffy whose work is only read by ten other academics in the world. Now imagine him trading places with the rock star American professor who drives a fast car and is reputed to be carrying on affairs with graduate students and faculty spouses. In this classic of academic novels, chaos results during their academic exchange. The good news for readers is that Lodge wrote two other hilarious academic novels in the wake of this book’s success.
When Katie Met Cassidy
Katie and Cassidy could not be more different. But when Katie arrives at a high-stakes legal meeting just three days after a devastating break-up, there is something about Cassidy that Katie finds fascinating. Cassidy dresses in men’s suits and takes no prisoners in her role as a legal advisor. As an attorney, Katie has been trained to emphasize her femininity as part of her advocacy. Their burgeoning affair will delight fans of rom-coms where opposites not only attract, they combust.
One of the best ways to escape the world around us is to check out for the weekend and read. But it’s tough to start a novel during a weekend and then not have any time during the busy week to continue reading. That’s why we’ve been focusing on books you can read in a weekend, meaning books that clock in with fewer than 300 pages—and sometimes, even fewer than 200.
What better way to spend a weekend not only reading a book but reading something that is funny or entertaining or makes you feel all warm inside? On other weekends, you may feel up to reading a book that will challenge your beliefs or frighten you silly, but you won’t find one of those reads here.
So, grab your favorite comfy clothes, a warm throw to snuggle under, and your beverage of choice, and curl up with some of our favorite feel-good weekend reads.
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