10 Best Funny Books For Women Update 05/2022

Funny Books For Women

What if you go on the internet and look at lists of books that are supposed to be funny? I do this a lot. Is this not a normal way to spend one’s time? You will notice that almost all of the books on the list are written by men. When books written by women are included, they are more likely to be nonfiction, like memoirs or essays. Among them are your Nora Ephrons, Sloane Crosleys, and all the other female comedians who have written best-selling books. A lot of very funny books written by women aren’t getting the attention they deserve because of the Funny Book Canon.

So, to make things better, I have put together a few of them below. At the top, I should say that in the process of making this list, I’ve noticed a few common themes. These themes may have more to do with my own sense of humor than with what kind of funny books women write, but either way, most of these are dark in addition to being funny; very few are the literary equivalent of rom-coms. Many of them are told from the point of view of a rude, not-nice, or other kind of woman. Guess I just think that’s funny. Perhaps you’ll agree with me.

Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods

Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods

Vacuum cleaner salesman: In this book, he comes up with a brilliant way to stop sexual harassment at work: Hire women to stick their bottom halves through a hole in the bathroom wall so men can have sex with them without being seen. Then, when they are happy, they won’t bother anyone anymore. DeWitt, a true genius, is the only person who could pull off this crazy idea. It’s a spoof of workplace politics, American invention, and the male psyche, but it’s also a ludicrous, juvenile romp, which is the best kind of fun for adults.

Alina Bronsky, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

In Rosalinda’s case, she’s vain, conniving, borderline delusional, abusive to her daughter and husband, and obsessed with her grandchild, Aminat, who she says was born in a dream. Rosa wants Sulfia to do everything she wants. If only she would. A sly, darkly comedic family saga told by the most outrageous voice I’ve heard in a while.

Virginia Woolf, Orlando

If you’re honest, you didn’t know what to expect when you first read Orlando. A lot of people love To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. But Woolf didn’t seem like the kind of person who could be so… There are a lot of dry jokes and witty responses in this book. It also has a lot of surrealist tone and a satirical bent. The whole thing reads like someone is being gently teased. If we think of it as a love letter to Vita Sackville-West, that might be true, too.

Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation

I’ve been told that not everyone would find this book funny. This is what I think, but if you don’t like mean girls and borderline sociopaths, then you might not find it funny, and I can’t even begin to understand what you’re going through.

Mary Robison, Why Did I Ever?

It’s said that wit comes from being short, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more short and clever book than this one. It’s short not just in length, but also in its internal logic (those 200 pages are comprised of 536 fragments, some only a few words long). The narrator’s voice, Money, is what makes this book so funny, not the fact that it’s short. She talks about and thinks about things that are actually pretty bad in her life. It says: “I just wish I could go back and change everything. Using my turn signal is too much work.” Fuck you, then. Why should you find out where I’m going? I don’t want you to. “Each day I buy a lot of things, but I don’t open any of them.” Then I’d have to figure out where to put it, store it, and buy another thing. I’m not lugging in huge bags of food. There are some things that I can’t just put in the car.

Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

This book is very good and very funny, and it’s just like the movie, but better.

Alexandra Kleeman, You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine

To be fair, this book gets dark before the end. It’s dark at the start. The middle? Dark. There are also surrealist, semi-dystopian snack food commercials and reality TV shows mixed in with all of this. There is even a cult in there, but you’ll laugh when you tell your friends about it later, happy and relieved that you are safe for the time being.

Chandler Klang Smith, The Sky is Yours

Chandler Klang Smith, The Sky is Yours

Isn’t it fun when you go to a concert and it’s clear that the musicians are having the time of their lives up there? What it’s like to read this book: Frost said that if there is no joy for the writer, there is no joy for the reader. I think Chandler Klang Smith had a lot of fun writing this book, a futuristic masterpiece that also has dragons. There is so much going on in this book that I don’t think a single section will show you how funny it is. That made me laugh out loud. Swanny, who has a lot of teeth because she likes Gothic romances:

These are some things that happened to the women in the books: They went mad, drank poison, bungled abortions, and went to the country for their health. They sometimes drowned: seaweed mixed with their hair in thick, dark strands as their eyes looked on, sightless and knowing. Other times, they grew old and died. Many people coughed blood into a handkerchief. More than one person had a revolver with a pearl handle. A woman didn’t have 32 teeth in her head, and there were seventy-four more that were in a box. A new one was also coming. A dentist did not live in any of the books.

There’s no way around it. You have to love it.

Chris Kraus, I Love Dick

It’s worth reading for the crazy obsession. It’s worth reading for the self-flagellation. It’s worth reading for the funny conversations you’ll have on the train. Kraus’s rare female anti-hero, who is brash, self-important, and ridiculous, is the main reason to read this book. I Love Dickis isn’t really a book or a comedy, I think. A “screwball tragedy” is what Joanna Walsh called it, and that’s exactly what she was getting at. Lucky for me, I can make fun of them.

Sara Levine, Treasure Island!!!

Honestly, I’m a sucker: I laughed when I saw the exclamation points in the title of the story. In the Pet Library, I started reading about the very irresponsible, rude part-time clerk. She lives by the “core values” of Robert Louis Stevenson’s you-know-what, and it seems like she does this mostly for something to do. “When have I ever thought of a plan?”

When did I do something foolish or over the top? Was there a time when I did things like Jim Hawkins did to get a piece of gold? When my mini-blinds broke, I couldn’t figure out what to do with them, let alone with the rest of my life. I lay on my bed while people chased people out of pubs and trod on blind beggars with their horses in the book’s open air. You don’t have to be violent to be impressed by animal power. People who live at sea know that they won’t be sailor, pirate, or cabin boy. They’re more likely to be barnacles that stay on the boat, not people who sail, sail, or sail. Why not? Why not start right now, in the spirit of Jim, and make my own adventure?

Things don’t go well, of course.

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