Josh Gondelman Recommends 5 Hilarious Books By Women

The comedian and author of "Nice Try" picks funny books for our "Read More Women" series

If you know of Josh Gondelman, it’s probably for his comedy, but it might also be for his Twitter pep talks or the fact that he’s the kind of white man who, when people are complaining about white men, they add “except for Josh.” In short, Gondelman puts the “nice” in Nice Try, the title of his newly-released essay collection. So we thought he’d appreciate a chance to shout out some of his favorite books by non-men for our Read More Women series, in which we feature prominent authors, of any gender, recommending their favorite books by women and non-binary writers. Sure enough, Josh got so into the project that he couldn’t resist adding a quick list of extra suggestions after the five we asked for. This is technically against the rules, but we’re gonna let it slide because he’s such a good guy.


Okay, so, my book Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results is out now. It’s a collection of funny personal essays that I hope you buy and enjoy. But more importantly for the purposes of this column, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite funny essay collections by women that I think you might like. Buy these books before you buy mine. They came out first, so it’s only fair!

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

Scaachi writes alternatingly with hilarious scathing fury and equally hilarious aggrieved tenderness. It’s amazing to see the way she turns her laser focused prose from wrath at the world’s sexism to her intense love of her niece to her bemused frustration with her parents in quick and powerful succession. What a joy to read the work of someone in total command of her voice, you know?

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life explores so many difficult topics (painful family dynamics, heartbreak, pooping by the side of the highway) but is full of giant laughs throughout. Samantha Irby writes about misfortune and insecurity in a way that is less “woe is me” and more “fuck this shit.” Sometimes writers throw personal embarrassments into stories as just a parade of calamity, presented as unflinching honesty, but Irby fills her essays with insight and style that make every one worth reading.  And in the end, there’s lots of hope and a ton of jokes, which is really all I want out of a book.

Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins

Maeve In America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins

It’s such well-trod territory to describe an Irish person as “charming” but Maeve Higgins is so charming that it’s ridiculous not to mention. She has such a beautiful way of imbuing every topic she writes about with genuine compassion and such a light touch that she makes for a constantly wonderful and trustworthy narrator. She also has a great reading voice, so consider listening to the audiobook or at the very least digging into one of her many podcasts to get a feel for what she sounds like! 

You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have To Explain by Phoebe Robinson

You probably know that Phoebe Robinson is the co-host of the giant hit podcast Two Dope Queens that became an HBO series. And that she’s in movies now and touring comedy venues across the country. I guess if you know those things, you probably know that she’s also a terrific author. And if you know none of those things, what have you been doing with your life? The point is, enjoy her unflinching, self-aware essays, and then enjoy the rest of her global media takeover.

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better: A Woman’s Guide to Coping With Life by Monica Heisey

Monica Heisey is so funny it makes me shake with anger. She invented the concept of “horny jail.” She’s written for Schitt’s Creek and other hilarious tv shows. Her Twitter feed is great all the time. And you can buy a whole book full of her funny and brilliant thoughts and put them directly into your brain through your eyeballs. It’s an incredible deal!

A few more books you might like: Just The Funny Parts by Nell Scovell; How To Weep In Public by Jacqueline Novak; A Field Guide To Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri; Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue; You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

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