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Adult Book Lists: Humorous Nonfiction

[Printable book list]

A.J. Jacobs' The Know-It-All book cover

A. J. Jacobs
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

Jacobs, an Esquire editor, author, and NPR contributor, decides to read his way through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, which is about 33,000 pages long. He highlights what he learns from his reading, and how the reading effects/disrupts his everyday life. He also discusses the concepts of intelligence and knowledge.

Beth Lisick's Helping Me Help Myself book cover

Beth Lisick
Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone
158.1082 LISICK

Lisick had spent her life avoiding anything that promotes or claims to provide any "self-help," until one New Year's, when she decides that she needs to make some changes in her life. So she spends one year trying to "change" herself with the help of some of the self-help "experts." She not only reads the books, but she also attends seminars and classes. The book covers her journey and thoughts.

John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye book cover

John Elder Robison
Look Me In the Eye: My Life With Asperger's
362.196 ROBISON

While growing up, Robison knew that he was not able to connect with people the way other people seemed to. His struggle continues on into his adulthood, as he tries to be "normal" and communicate with those around him, especially when trying to keep his "grown up" job. It isn't until a therapist friend tells him, at age forty, that Robison has Asperger's syndrome, that he starts to understand the reason for his differences.

Mary Roach's Stiff book cover

Mary Roach
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Although it may be a difficult subject for many people, Roach delves into the various ways that human bodies have been utilized after death throughout history. In the past 2000 years, bodies have been used to test theories, to figure out biological processes and surgical methods, and even to determine the decomposition process in different conditions for the solving of murders.

Fletcher Wortmann's Triggered book cover

Fletcher Wortmann
Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
616.85227 WORTMANN

Wortmann suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (known as OCD), and he writes about how this disorder has impacted both his life and how he views the world.

Dave Barry's Dave Barry is Not Making This Up book cover

Dave Barry
Dave Barry is Not Making This Up
814.54 BARRY

Dave Barry is well known for his humor column in the Miami Herald that he wrote until 2005. This book is a collection of his humor columns and includes subjects on everything from exploding Pop-Tarts to the worst song lyrics, ever. There are also illustrations throughout the book by cartoonist Jeff MacNelly.

David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day book cover

David Sedaris
Me Talk Pretty One Day
814.54 SEDARIS

David Sedaris is an essayist and NPR commentator, who is well known for his sharing his often hysterical life experiences. In this work, Sedaris discusses his move to Paris, his attempting to learn French, and his life in his new city. There are also other interesting and funny stories from his life.

John Hodgman's That Is All book cover

John Hodgman
The Complete World Knowledge Series
· The Areas of My Expertise: An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled With Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order (818.607 HODGMAN)
· More Information Than You Require (818.5402 HODGMAN)
· That Is All (817.5402 HODGMAN)

You may recognize Hodgman from personifying the "PC" in the Apple commercials, but he is also an author and humorist. Hodgman has compiled three "almanacs" of interesting facts and topics that he completely makes up as he goes along (He warns you about this at the beginning). He also provides charts, tables, illustrations, and photographs to go along with these fabricated facts. There is also a table of contents at the front, and you can start reading the book from wherever you want (the order does not matter).

Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad book cover

Mark Twain
The Innocents Abroad, or, The New Pilgrim's Progress: Being Some Account of the Steamship Quaker City's Pleasure Excursion to Europe and the Holy Land
818.403 TWAIN

Mark Twain addresses the concepts cultural identity and travel, in his satirical way. He covers the trip and all of the "tourist" locations that there were to see in Europe, North Africa, and the Holy Land. (You will have to remember about the time period that Twain lived in and how the world was viewed by men of his time.)

Hillary Carlip's A La Cart book cover

Hillary Carlip
A La Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers
818.54 CARLIP

Carlip, a performance artist, has always found it interesting to collect people's old shopping lists and imagine the lives of the people who use them. So she decides to become the people she imagines and go grocery shopping as they would. There are 26 characters and the stories (and photographs) that go with them.

Failblog's Fail Nation book cover
Fail Nation: A Visual Romp Through the World of Epic Fails
818.602 FAIL

The creators of the blog have compiled a "travel log," of sorts, on a FAIL vacation. Be prepared for signs, notes, and plenty of pictures to tickle your vacationing funny bone.

David Milgrim's Siri & Me book cover

David Milgrim
Siri & Me: A Modern Love Story
818.602 MILGRIM

This book is a mixture of graphic novel and text that the author uses to get people to think about all of the issues that come from the use of so much technology (and not necessarily good ones). A satirical look at the way technology is, more often, taking us away from our human relationships.

Steve Martin's The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten book cover

Steve Martin
The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten: The Tweets of Steve Martin
818.607 MARTIN

Steven Martin has over 1.4 million followers on Twitter, and he is known for his ability to convey his cleverness and hilarity in 140 characters or less.

Craig Marberry's Cuttin' Up book cover

Craig Marberry
Cuttin' Up: Wit and Wisdom from Black Barber Shops

Craig Marberry is a journalist and author who traveled all over the country listening in on the conversations going on in barber shops. There, he heard conversations ranging from funny first-haircut reminiscing to serious lessons in black history. Marberry was eager to share the stories of everyday barbers and customers. People he thinks are the, "nation's funniest comedians and sharpest pundits: real characters with fascinating stories to tell."

Charles Osgood's Funny Letters from Famous People book coverCharles Osgood
Funny Letters from Famous People

Charles Osgood is a broadcaster and humorist who has, in this work, collected often hysterical correspondence from politicians, such as Abraham Lincoln; authors, such as Mark Twain; and other celebrities, such as Groucho Marx and Julia Child. At a time when very few people still correspond with others by sending letters through the mail, this is a glimpse into the lives of these people, even though it is mostly a funny one, and the matters that they would share in a letter.

Peter Allison's Whatever You Do, Don't Run book cover

Peter Allison
Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
916.88304 ALLISON

Peter Allison grew up in Sydney, but in 1994, at the age of 19, he traveled to Africa and started giving safari tours. In this book, he shares some very funny stories from his time in Africa and from the tours that he has given.

Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods book cover

Bill Bryson
A Walk In the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
917.40443 BRYSON and LP 917.404 BRYSON

Bill Bryson decided to reintroduce himself with America, after living in England for twenty years, by walking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail (going from Georgia to Maine). Bryson is known for his funny ways of sharing information on subjects, such as the English language or history of the home, and this book is no different. Bryson shares stories of the characters that he meets along the way, the beauty of the landscape he witnesses, and the history of the trail.

Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened book cover

Jenny Lawson
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Lawson is known for her blog, The Bloggess (at In her memoirs she shares funny stories of her life that show her (and us) that even though we all have moments that we wish we could "pretend this never happened," they are the moments that often define who we are.

© {{YEAR}} Moore Memorial Public Library

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