STARRED REVIEW
November 2015

Unwrapping holiday hilarity

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The holidays can be a bit stressful, but luckily, laughter is an excellent stress reliever! So crack open one of the three books below and crack up around the Christmas tree.
STARRED REVIEW
November 2015

Unwrapping holiday hilarity

Feature by
The holidays can be a bit stressful, but luckily, laughter is an excellent stress reliever! So crack open one of the three books below and crack up around the Christmas tree.
November 2015

Unwrapping holiday hilarity

Feature by
The holidays can be a bit stressful, but luckily, laughter is an excellent stress reliever! So crack open one of the three books below and crack up around the Christmas tree.
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The holidays can be a bit stressful, but luckily, laughter is an excellent stress reliever! So crack open one of the three books below and crack up around the Christmas tree.

HILARIOUS HOLIDAY ANGST
Nothing says the holidays like a nice fire, a warm cup of cocoa and getting into a massive fight with your family. Jen Mann, author of the wickedly funny People I Want to Punch in the Throat, feels your holiday-fueled pain. In her latest collection of essays, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat, she gleefully skewers Santa and all of his obnoxious Christmas acolytes. Mann grew up in a family of “holiday overachievers” (her mother has hundreds of Santa figurines), but even as a child, she was done with the excessive cheer and holiday perfectionism. In her book, she lambastes the humblebrag-filled Christmas letter, overzealous carolers and parents bent on giving their precious ones the perfect holiday. With Mann as my companion in animosity, I can feel a little less guilty about hating the holidays and dismiss it all with a good laugh.

BASSOON SOLO
You probably recognize Rainn Wilson as the galling Dwight Schrute from “The Office,” the hugely popular NBC TV show about the lives of a bunch of paper-pushers in Pennsylvania (indeed, “Dwight” writes the foreword), but Wilson delves deeper with The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. Born as a “large-headed, pale horror” to admittedly odd, proto-hippie parents (hence the name “Rainn”) in Seattle, Wilson blossomed into a star high school athlete and had lots of girlfriends. Just kidding: He became a Dungeons & Dragons master and took up the bassoon. Filled with genuinely fascinating stories about his unusual upbringing, his entrée into the comedy world and his thoughtfully developed views on life, Wilson’s book is an unsurprisingly funny and surprisingly poignant entry in the cavalcade of celebrity memoirs. 

WISECRACKING
Jason Gay, the Wall Street Journal’s blithe and beloved sports columnist, offers up some excellent, if nontraditional, life advice in his hilarious Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living. Based on his popular “Rules” column, this book is filled with, as he writes, “both practical and ridiculous” advice, like his belief that everyone should allot a little more money to flowers, that one should never rent a PT Cruiser while on vacation and that the goal of attaining total happiness is total hogwash. Gay’s tidbits of hard-earned, unexpected advice and musings are truly hilarious, but as he reflects on his relationships with his loved ones and the big moments in his life, they’re also incredibly touching. Gay is a gifted writer, and I would say this book is a big victory. 

 

This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat
By Jen Mann
Ballantine

ISBN 9780345549990

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