14 books for those who love to laugh on your holiday gift list
If you have a lover of all things comedic, satirical and silly on your holiday shopping list this year, check out this collection of 14 books.
Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade
British filmmaker and actor Richard Ayoade has penned the definitive book on what he feels is perhaps the most underrated comedy of all time: 2003's View From the Top starring Gwyneth Paltrow. The film, made for $30 million, follows a small town girl who follows her dream to become an international flight stewardess. Ayoade argues that the depth and subtlety of this "brutal masterpiece" was underappreciated by audiences in its time and deserves canonization.
Ayoade won a BAFTA Award in 2014 for his role Maurice Moss in the sitcom The IT Crowd and was nominated in the outstanding debut category in 2012 for the film Submarine.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Candice Carty-Williams's Queenie follows the titular character, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman, through her humorous adventures at work and in the dating world. Queenie carefully manages the minefield of working at a national newspaper, where most of her peers are from white middle class backgrounds, while re-entering the dating scene after the breakup of her long-term relationship.
Queenie Carty-Williams's first book. It was recently shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards.
Albatross by Terry Fallis
In Albatross, a Swedish study suggesting that everybody can excel in at least one sport changes the life of high school student Adam Coryell. He discovers that he is a naturally gifted golf player, but as he racks up the trophies, he's forced to admit to himself that he doesn't really enjoy the sport.
Terry Fallis is the author of several comedic novels. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour twice — for his novels The Best Laid Plans and No Relation. His first novel The Best Laid Plans won Canada Reads 2011.
I Wanted Fries With That by Amy Fish
Amy Fish knows a good complaint when she sees one. She also knows how to get what you want. Why? She's spent her entire career as a university ombudsman and, when it comes to complaints, she has seen it all. With light-hearted humour, Fish's first book I Wanted Fries With That reveals how to complain effectively to get what you want while also being honest and fair in the process.
You've Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman
The latest in Laurie Gelman's Class Mom series, You've Been Volunteered, follows the sardonic adventures of Jen Dixon as she navigates parental politics at her son Max's elementary school. Jen's been picked to be the room parent of Max's Grade 3 class, which means dealing with the new micro-manager of a PTA president. On top of this, Jen's daughters are entering adulthood and her own parents are starting to need a caregiver. Gelman's comedic series is inspired by her own experiences as a class parent.
The first title in Gelman's series, Class Mom, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
The Chai Factor by Farah Heron
In The Chai Factor, Farah Heron's debut novel, Amira Khan is dedicated to her career and finishing grad school. But when her grandmother rents out the family's basement apartment to a barbershop quartet, Amira can't focus. And when she begins to clash with the group's leader, Duncan, things only get worse.
The Chai Factor is a romantic comedy about opposites colliding and how little inconveniences can become life-changing if you open up.
Parking the Moose by Dave Hill
Dave Hill is three-quarters Ohioan and one-quarter Canadian. His grandfather was from Clinton, Ont., and always talked about how the actual greatest country in the world was north of the border. This made Hill very proud to be Canadian, and with a small publisher's advance, he set off around the country on "the greatest Canada-based literary thrill ride." He chronicles this journey in Parking the Moose.
Hill is a comedian now based in New York City.
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
American author Mira Jacob is of Indian descent and her half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. In Good Talk, Jacob thinks about how to honestly discuss issues like race, politics and sexuality with her curious child. Using humour, Jacob expresses emotion, vulnerability and hope in this engaging graphic memoir.
Jacob is also the author of the novel The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing.
The Ticking Heart by Andrew Kaufman
In The Ticking Heart, a novel by Andrew Kaufman, a man named Charlie finds himself transported to a strange reality called Metaphoria, where he is the sole employee at Epiphany Detective Agency. A woman named Shirley Kintsugi hires him to find her husband's lost heart, swapping a bomb for Charlie's own heart as insurance. If Charlie can't track it down in 24 hours, he'll explode.
Kaufman is a writer who lives in Toronto. He's the author of several novels, including All My Friends Are Superheroes and Small Claims.
The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli
The Matchmaker's List is a romantic comedy. Caving to family pressure, Raina Anand has reluctantly consented to let her grandmother play matchmaker. Raina endures a series of terrible blind dates with "suitable" bachelors, all the while hatching a plan to thwart her tight-knit family's plans.
The Matchmaker's List is Sonya Lalli's first novel.
Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji
Shut Up, You're Pretty is a collection of loosely connected short fiction that features Loli, a headstrong, resourceful and self-aware teenage girl who recently emigrated to Scarborough, Ont., from Congo. Loli's coming of age in the 21st century is both painful and painfully funny, and includes what is perhaps the most unforgettable waxing scene in CanLit history.
Shut Up, You're Pretty is Mutonji's first short story collection. The book was a finalist for the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp
Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity.
Van Camp is a prolific novelist, comic writer and children's book writer whose work includes The Lesser Blessed, A Blanket of Butterflies and Little You.
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
Comedian Jenny Slate's first book is a collection of short humorous essays containing her musings on heartbreak, politics, family and more. Described as a memoir-in-essays, Little Weirds is full of delightfully strange and moving stories from a life in show business.
Slate is known for her Netflix special Stage Fright and starring role in the film Obvious Child. She is also the creator of Marcel the Shell.
Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Comedian Ali Wong pens a series of hilariously honest letters to her daughters, sharing stories about encountering erectile dysfunction in New York, drinking snake blood in Vietnam and being a rebellious kid in San Francisco. Witty, absurd and sharp, Wong's book embodies all that made her a breakout success with the Netflix special Baby Cobra.
Most recently, Wong starred in the romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe and in the animated sitcom Tuca & Bertie.