Humor Books to Combat the SAD Season

Detail from the cover of 'A Girl Named Zippy' by Haven Kimmel.

hide captionDetail from the cover of A Girl Named Zippy, a memoir by Haven Kimmel.

'Handling Sin' by Michael Malone

hide captionDetail from the cover of the novel Handling Sin by Michael Malone.

'Notes from a Small Island'

hide captionNotes from a Small Island is a far-ranging report from an American transplanted to Britain.

As the days turn cold and dark, librarian Nancy Pearl gets a jump on the winter solstice with picks for books that beat the winter-weather blues.

For many, those blues are already well under way. Seasonal Affective Disorder —or SAD — peaks around the solstice on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year. Pearl suggests turning to a good, lively book to ward off the effects of pervasive darkness.

Whether it's a fanciful scrapbook of 1940s Brooklyn (Last Days of Summer, by Steve Kluger) or the more outlandish story of a possessive chimpanzee, as in John Collier's His Monkey Wife, the books listed here all share something in common.

As Pearl says, "they just give you a little nudge, up the chain to a little humor in your life."

Pearl discusses her winter book choices with NPR's Steve Inskeep. Following is a list of her picks:

Non-Fiction

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Fiction

Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger

Evolution Man, or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis

The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle

Handling Sin by Michael Malone

His Monkey Wife by John Collier

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Books Featured In This Story

Last Days of Summer
Last Days of Summer

A Novel

by Steve Kluger

Paperback, 353 pages | purchase

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  • Last Days of Summer
  • A Novel
  • Steve Kluger
The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father
The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father

by Roy Lewis

Paperback, 213 pages | purchase

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  • The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father
  • Roy Lewis
The Bear Went over the Mountain
The Bear Went over the Mountain

by William Kotzwinkle

Paperback, 306 pages | purchase

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  • The Bear Went over the Mountain
  • William Kotzwinkle
Handling Sin
Handling Sin

A Novel

by Michael Malone

Paperback, 622 pages | purchase

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  • Handling Sin
  • A Novel
  • Michael Malone
His Monkey Wife or Married to a Chimp
His Monkey Wife or Married to a Chimp

by John Collier and Eva Brann

Paperback, 214 pages | purchase

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  • His Monkey Wife or Married to a Chimp
  • John Collier and Eva Brann
About a Boy
About a Boy

by Nick Hornby

Paperback, 307 pages | purchase

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  • About a Boy
  • Nick Hornby
Straight Man
Straight Man

by Richard Russo

Paperback, 391 pages | purchase

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  • Straight Man
  • Richard Russo
A Girl Named Zippy
A Girl Named Zippy

Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

by Haven Kimmel

Paperback, 282 pages | purchase

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  • A Girl Named Zippy
  • Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana
  • Haven Kimmel
Notes from a Small Island
Notes from a Small Island

by Bill Bryson

Paperback, 324 pages | purchase

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  • Notes from a Small Island
  • Bill Bryson

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