The news cycle is driving us to the edge of madness, so why not switch off, unplug and pick up a book? We know you could use a laugh right now — and luckily, several thousand of you told us all about the books, stories and poems that make you laugh.
We took your votes (more than 7,000 of them!) and with the help of our panel of expert judges — people so cool and so hilarious I'm surprised they even talked to me — created this list of 100 reads designed to make you laugh out loud. Want slice-of-life essays? Loopy poetry? Surreal one-panel cartoons? Blackly comic novels? Texts from famous literary figures? Scroll down — we've got it all.
As with all our reader polls, this is a curated list and not a straight-up popularity contest; you'll see that the books are grouped into categories rather than ranked from one to 100.
And, as always, there are a few things that didn't make the list — surprisingly, Shakespeare didn't get enough votes to make it to the semifinals, and our judges decided the immortal Bard of Avon didn't exactly need our help to find new readers. (But read some Shakespeare anyhow, just for the scorching burns in Much Ado About Nothing.) Then there were books that didn't quite stand the test of time, or were so new we couldn't tell whether they'd stand up.
Some of the authors on this list are incredibly popular, and you voted them in over and over again (three guesses as to whom, and the first two don't count, David Sedaris). Because space is limited, we try to hold each author to one spot on the list, but there are some exceptions — in 2015, for the romance poll, we created the Nora Roberts Rule. We've applied it somewhat ... flexibly, but it generally means that each year, one particularly beloved or prolific author gets two spots on the list. This year, we used it for an actual Nora, Nora Ephron, which our judges thought was the perfect application.
And speaking of our judges, you will find a couple of their works on the list this year — we don't let judges vote for their own work, but readers loved Samantha Irby's We Are Never Meeting In Real Life and Guy Branum's My Life as a Goddess, so the panel agreed they should stay.
Laughter is the best medicine, or so we hear — so read two (heck, read three) and call us in the morning!
To make navigating the list a little easier, click these links to get to each category: Memoirs, Essays, Comics & Cartoons, Novels, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nonfiction, Kids' Books & YA, Poetry, Classics, Short Stories and ... Deep Thoughts (no, really, just Deep Thoughts. We couldn't figure out where else to put it).