Top Ten Books When You Just Want to Laugh

Image by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has us talking about moods. There’s a book for every emotion your heart desires: anger, sadness, and even fear (Side note: Why in the world do people like to feel terrified? I will never understand you, horror fans!)

So what should someone read if she just wants to laugh? Here is my list of my top ten funniest books–and if you can get them on audio, even better!

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Celebrity memoirs

  1. Tina Fey, Bossypants
  2. Amy Poehler, Yes Please
  3. Chelsea Handler, Uganda Be Kidding Me
  4. Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
  5. Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

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Love, lunacy, and LOLs

  1. Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  2. Alida Nugent, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse
  3. Sophie Kinsella, I’ve Got Your Number
  4. Vicki Lewis Thompson, Talk Nerdy to Me
  5. Mallory Ortberg, Texts from Jane Eyre

So which books have you rolling on the floor laughing? Recommendations are always welcome!

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First Book Club Meetup was a Success!

On Monday night, about a dozen of us young, female professionals met to discuss our first book club selection, Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler.

bookclub2

That’s one good-looking group of ladies!

We had a fabulous time drinking wine, eating hors d’oeuvres, and making fast friends. Many of the members were transplants to California from the Midwest or East Coast, so it was interesting to learn about everyone’s backgrounds.

As for the book, I’m glad that we went with Chelsea Handler, because she’s controversial enough to divide an audience. While most thought that she was quite hilarious, many found her too obnoxious and mean-spirited.

On one hand, Handler represents the typical, annoying American tourist who drinks too much and refuses to learn about other cultures. She takes great pleasure in playing pranks on her friends and making everyone else around her extremely uncomfortable. On the other hand, if she was well-behaved and stone-cold sober, her travels would not be nearly as entertaining.

We spiritedly discussed everything from Handler’s obsession with little people to her flying her dogs on a private jet while her assistants fly coach. We even debated whether listening to the audiobook was better because it was a more personal experience or worse because you’re forced to hear Handler’s voice for hours.

Despite the divisive personality of the comedian, the general consensus was that Uganda Be Kidding Me was worth a 3.5 out of 5 rating. I think it was an excellent way to open a new book club, because it was fun and easy to read, all while inspiring us to drink copious amounts of wine! We salute you, Chelsea!

Our book selection for August is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, author of What Alice Forgot. This 2013 novel was a NYT bestseller and an Amazon Book of the Month, so I’m excited to give it a try. We voted on this choice for its promise of scandal and intrigue, so if you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

The First Book Club Babes Selection: Uganda Be Kidding Me

I know that I’ve been late to inform you of the first Book Club Babes selection for this month, so here’s a quick update. For July, my real-life book club will be reading Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me!

After listening to everyone’s preferences, it was decided that our first book should be fun, lighthearted, and easy to read. A small group of eight women attended the selection committee meeting and narrowed down all our recommendations to the comedic memoir genre.

Our original choice was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, but since a few people had recently finished the book, we went with Chelsea Handler as our runner-up. I was the only one in the meeting who had read this book, so I’m excited to share the laughs with everyone!

It’s been several months since I first posted my review in the beginning of March, so to celebrate our kickoff book club pick, I’ve reblogged my thoughts on the audiobook version below. Feel free to add this memoir to your reading list this month if you’d like to virtually follow our book club experience!

Enjoy!

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5

Chelsea Handler knocks it out of the park again with her latest comedic memoir, Uganda Be Kidding Me. Published in March of last year, the book retells Handler’s traveling escapades in the past few years, including a ski trip at the private Yellowstone Club in Montana and a brief stint in Montenegro.

The majority of the memoir, however, covers her African safari trip with her close friends. A self-labeled ‘professional alcoholic,’ they spend their time guzzling cocktails and hitting on their South African guide named Rex.

“There’s a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a jeep doesn’t mean you’re not classy, it just means you’re a free spirit with a small bladder.” – Chelsea Handler

Many readers will hate Handler for being the typical ugly American tourist, who keeps asking where the tigers are in the bush and complaining about her bit of vacation weight gain.

And yes, I admit that she is outrageous and abrasive. I’ve seen her talk show “Chelsea Lately” and read her other books, My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, so I know her particular brand of humor well. She is the exact opposite of politically correct, making wise cracks at every minority imaginable–little people, blacks, Asians, and the LBGT, among others.

Sometimes I just have to rock myself back and forth and say, “You’ve offended so many people at this point. Don’t try to keep track now, girl.”

The reason why I enjoy her despite her offensiveness is that she’s also self-deprecating. She has been famous long enough to know just how dependent she is on her countless assistants. It may be humble-bragging when she declares that she doesn’t pack her own suitcases or make her own margaritas, but it also goes to show that you can be a hot mess no matter how much money you make.

Case in point: Last weekend I was visiting my family and had to try to keep quiet late one night in my old bedroom, because I was laughing so hard listening to Handler share her embarrassing story of when she shit herself in her swimsuit while kayaking in the Bahamas. The joke builds and builds on itself until she sneaks into a guest house in the wee hours of the morning, only to drunkenly open the front door for someone without her bikini bottoms on. It had me giggling like a crazy person and was easily the most hilarious portion of the book.

Ultimately, Chelsea Handler is the woman you’d want at a party, because she’s unapologetic about who she is, and she definitely knows how to have fun. She also loves her dogs dearly and never, ever wants children, so I have a feeling we would make fast friends. She may not be the best role model, but I think she’s better than that, because she’s real.

Audiobook Review: Uganda Be Kidding Me

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5

Chelsea Handler knocks it out of the park again with her latest comedic memoir, Uganda Be Kidding Me. Published in March of last year, the book retells Handler’s traveling escapades in the past few years, including a ski trip at the private Yellowstone Club in Montana and a brief stint in Montenegro.

The majority of the memoir, however, covers her African safari trip with her close friends. A self-labeled ‘professional alcoholic,’ they spend their time guzzling cocktails and hitting on their South African guide named Rex.

“There’s a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a jeep doesn’t mean you’re not classy, it just means you’re a free spirit with a small bladder.” – Chelsea Handler

Many readers will hate Handler for being the typical ugly American tourist, who keeps asking where the tigers are in the bush and complaining about her bit of vacation weight gain.

And yes, I admit that she is outrageous and abrasive. I’ve seen her talk show “Chelsea Lately” and read her other books, My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, so I know her particular brand of humor well. She is the exact opposite of politically correct, making wise cracks at every minority imaginable–little people, blacks, Asians, and the LBGT, among others.

Sometimes I just have to rock myself back and forth and say, “You’ve offended so many people at this point. Don’t try to keep track now, girl.”

The reason why I enjoy her despite her offensiveness is that she’s also self-deprecating. She has been famous long enough to know just how dependent she is on her countless assistants. It may be humble-bragging when she declares that she doesn’t pack her own suitcases or make her own margaritas, but it also goes to show that you can be a hot mess no matter how much money you make.

Case in point: Last weekend I was visiting my family and had to try to keep quiet late one night in my old bedroom, because I was laughing so hard listening to Handler share her embarrassing story of when she shit herself in her swimsuit while kayaking in the Bahamas. The joke builds and builds on itself until she sneaks into a guest house in the wee hours of the morning, only to drunkenly open the front door for someone without her bikini bottoms on. It had me giggling like a crazy person and was easily the most hilarious portion of the book.

Ultimately, Chelsea Handler is the woman you’d want at a party, because she’s unapologetic about who she is, and she definitely knows how to have fun. She also loves her dogs dearly and never, ever wants children, so I have a feeling we would make fast friends. She may not be the best role model, but I think she’s better than that, because she’s real.

Audiobook Review: My Horizontal Life

Rating: 4 out of 5

After listening to Jenny Lawson’s hilarious Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, I wanted to keep up the laughs. Each audiobook that I’ve purchased since I started spicing up my road trips has been written by a female comedian, so of course I had to follow this new tradition of mine.

This time I returned to a familiar author, Chelsea Handler. I enjoyed Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (2007), and I knew it was only a matter of time before I picked up My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands (2005).

My Horizontal Life was Handler’s first memoir, published when she was 30 years old. As the title suggests, it’s a compilation of her craziest trysts during her teens and 20s. Her partners include a Vegas stripper and a little person working as a waiter in a cantina.

She also shares stories about her relatives: her German mother, Jewish father, Mormon sister, and four other older siblings. As the baby of her eclectic, opinionated family, it’s no surprise that she had a dubious dating life–if only to gain some much-needed attention.

I think that the book’s subject matter is self-explanatory, but I’ll mention this anyway: Chelsea Handler is not for the faint of heart. She’s crude, outrageous, and often politically incorrect. Her stories involve heavy drinking and drug use, which are often catalysts to her sexual escapades.

She can also be extremely self-absorbed and hedonistic. Her lovers are usually chosen on good looks alone, and are tossed aside quickly when they don’t meet her superficial standards.

But you know what? Who cares! These anecdotes would never have formed if she had stuck to the straight and narrow, and I applaud her for turning her rendezvous into a successful career in comedy.

I have to laugh at all the prudish pearl-clutchers who reviewed this book poorly. What did they expect? It’s not like they intended to buy a book written by the Duggar family, and this one jumped into their tote bag by mistake. Puh-lease.

So yes, if you bought a book about one-night stands and then got upset because it was too vulgar, then you’re as naive as Chelsea’s old roommate “Dumb Dumb.”

I’m not saying that Handler is the most feminist or sex-positive person, but I respect her for living it up in her youth and not settling down with a husband and kids just because everyone else thinks that’s what you should do. As long as everything’s safe and consensual, it doesn’t matter who or how many.

You do you, Chelsea. Grab another Ketel One and keep on having a blast!

Book Review: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself

Cover via Goodreads

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

“The way most people feel about loving being a parent is exactly how I feel about not being a parent. I love it. And I can’t imagine my life any other way.”

Don’t pity Jen Kirkman for her childfree lifestyle. The author is also a stand-up comedian and writer/guest panelist for Chelsea Handler’s talk show. She’s traveling the world and living her dream of making people laugh.

And while she just so happens to not have kids, she finds that most people can’t accept that fact. In her memoir, I Can Barely Take of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids, Kirkman releases her frustration from having to constantly justify her life choices.

Covering all the popular responses, including, “You’ll change your mind,” “You’re selfish,” and “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?” she refutes all the ignorance with humorous self-deprecation.

While I always enjoy hearing from fellow childfree folk, especially when mainstream media incites so-called ‘mommy wars’ and obsesses over celebrities like  Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton simply for their reproductive abilities, I felt that this memoir could have had more fun.

I bought Kirkman’s book because I liked Chelsea Handler’s Are You There, Vodka? and I was expecting similarly crazy, crass stories. Unfortunately, after noticing that I’ve rated both memoirs the same, perhaps Handler deserved an extra half-point. Even if Handler’s tales seemed more tall than true, at least they were entertaining.

Definitely something Chelsea Handler would say!

It’s not to say that Kirkman isn’t entertaining (Handler herself played a prank by emailing Kirkman’s sister that her writer was pregnant. Awkward conversations ensued!). It’s just that oftentimes the author sneaked a bit of sadness in her stories.

It’s clear that Kirkman is successful, but I’m not too sure about well-adjusted. The title, “I Can Barely Take Care of Myself,” implies being overwhelmed, but she wasn’t kidding. For much of her life, she was medicated for depression, anxiety, and childhood paranoia. She also recently suffered a divorce after only two years of marriage, something which she never fully explained in the book.

And I’m not saying that childfree people don’t have mental health issues or relationship trouble, but the uber-judgmental parents of the world don’t need any more ammunition when it comes to throwing the side eye at those without kids.

Put another way, Chelsea Handler is also childfree but her books are so full of fun that her status doesn’t even matter. No one has time to give her grief because she’s too busy downing cocktails and making smart-ass jokes.

If Kirkman wanted to prove that she has ‘a Happy Life Without Kids,’ maybe she should have included more life and less kids.

And more of Kirkman’s fav show, “The Golden Girls.” Hilarious!

Audiobook Review: Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Cover of "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, ...

Image via Amazon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Earlier this week I finished listening to the audiobook Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (2009). Narrated by the author Chelsea Handler herself, it was great to compare the audiobook to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? All three women are outstanding comedians in their own rights, but Handler is certainly an acquired taste.

I’ve seen Handler’s talk show “Chelsea Lately” a handful of times, so I knew what I was getting into. She is unafraid to discuss the most politically incorrect of situations, from her DUI and night in jail to her obsession with little people. If you’re easily offended, back away from this read. No race or religion escapes her mockery, and if she’s willing to insult her closest friends and family members, you know no topic is safe.

While I didn’t laugh out loud as much as I did during Bossypants, Handler has her hilarious moments. Some of the stories are funnier than others, but since they were narrated chronologically, it was interesting to see her progress from an elementary student lying about being in a movie with Goldie Hawn to win popularity with her classmates into a woman dragged on a Costa Rica vacation by her father who pretends to be her husband to fly first-class.

My only issue with the novel was I wasn’t sure just how autobiographical it was. Even as a child, Handler writes with an adult vocabulary and perspective, so the early scenes weren’t as believable. She gets herself into some crazy situations, including starting a brawl with some high school Latinas, so it’s up to you to determine fact from fiction.

Granted, she has filled in some details in various interviews, so I was already aware of her teenage abortion and her hatred of Angelina Jolie. While she often described herself as poor and unpopular when she was young, clearly that’s not the case now. Ignore the “I’m just like you” mentality that many celebrities like Handler perpetuate, and just enjoy the outrageous anecdotes as semi-fiction.

Again, if you’re uncomfortable reading about a woman who revels in drinking, drugs, and one-night-stands, then this book’s not for you. But if you think Handler’s more entertaining than obnoxious, then you’ll probably get quite a few chuckles from Are You There, Vodka?

Favorite Quote: “I rolled over and picked up Us Weekly magazine off the floor. The cover had a picture of Angelina, Brad, and their little Eskimo son, Maddox. I saw staring at the photo, wondering why this little boy looks so pissed off in every picture. At first I thought he was just pissed about his Mohawk, but then I realized he’s probably furious. Maddox must have thought he hit the jackpot when some A-list celebrity rescued him from third-world Cambodia, only to discover that she was going to shuffle him back and forth to EVERY other third-world country in the universe. He’s probably like, ‘When the f*** are we gonna get to Malibu, b****?”