In her newest book of essays Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay (Plume, $26), Phoebe Robinson successfully puts into words so much of the confusion and angst and humor that comes with living in America these days, and especially how that manifests for her, as a black woman. With the same pizzazz that Robinson has always brought to her projects—most notably, the podcast she co-hosts with Jessica Williams, 2 Dope Queens, and her previous book You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain—she manages to write honestly and creatively about popular culture, being a woman, dating, beauty standards, race, debt and finances, work, and the pitfalls of white feminism. And, perhaps most importantly, she speaks about all of this in her own distinct voice and with a sense of humor which made me laugh out loud throughout. So, if you’re done putting up with all the trash and ready to laugh about it instead, this book is for you.
WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ON PUBLIC TRANSIT—unless, of course, you don't mind being stared at while you laugh uncontrollably at every other sentence. I certainly was. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography (Crown, $27) is an ode to a man who has led a rather extraordinary life, written by the man himself. Eric Idle manages to be both hilariously self-deprecating and touchingly humble about his accomplishments. Tracing his life from boarding school through his wild career in Monty Python's Flying Circus and beyond, Idle's book is a fascinating, fun, and altogether worthy addition to the bookshelf of any Python fan. Or any fan of good humor, for that matter.
Primarily known for her hilarious roles in The Office, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bridesmaids, Ellie Kemper has come a long way since her days as a starry-eyed adolescent staging plays in her living room and attempting to communicate with the squirrels that hung out in her tree house. Her journey is an entertaining one, the ups and downs chronicled for readers in her relatable and chuckle-worthy memoir, My Squirrel Days (Scribner, $26). Focusing primarily on life transitions, Kemper shares the hardships and glories of Midwestern life, breaking into showbiz, and being a redhead. What does it take to make it in improvisational comedy? How does one persuade rodents to chat? What are Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, and Melissa McCarthy really like? Expertly written, these stories of joke-telling, growing up, and figuring things out are perfect for fans of Kemper’s work or those just looking for a female role model and a laugh.