3 Books by Funny Women to Read When You Need a Laugh

When you need a pick-me-up, a hug or just someone who understands, pick up a book by these smart and funny ladies.

Sometimes, all we need in life is a good book and the feeling that somebody out there might understand the craziness and confusion we go through in life.

And if we’re lucky, every once in a while, a talented female author can bring us both of those treats at once.

Who doesn’t want to learn something from smart girls? Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Alida Nugent give us a peek into their lives while being straightforward, entertaining and refreshing.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling


I’m a sucker for Mindy Kaling. I first fell in love with her on The Office, because who wouldn’t love Kelly Kapoor (besides maybe Ryan)? I’m currently obsessed with The Mindy Project, so high-five to Hulu for keeping that comedy gold coming. However, I really fell in love with her when I read this book.

Mindy will take feelings that you never really knew you had and put words to them perfectly. You’ll have several moments of just pure appreciation that somebody has maybe felt like as big of a dork as you have.

There are countless passages of laugh-out-loud-snort-milk-out-your-nose humor, like for instance: “You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face—who will love them now?” – Mindy Kaling

There’re also moments where you’ll be really inspired by seemingly small and simple statements, and want to give Mindy a hug and thank her for saying exactly what you needed to hear:

Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair. ~ Mindy Kaling

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler


I feel like Amy Poehler is like the really cool aunt who always suggests doing drunk karaoke competitions at family Christmas, but also gives you deep and stirring advice on how to live your life. Whether or not the karaoke thing is true, the advice thing definitely is.

In Yes, Please, Amy gives such sound advice for young women who aren’t afraid to demand success. The very title of her book is a piece of advice that she explains beautifully and insightfully in the first few pages:

I love saying “yes” and I love saying “please.” Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. “Yes Please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman. ~ Amy Poehler

If you’re a Saturday Night Live fan, you’ll enjoy the chapters that explore Amy’s time on the show, including a chapter written by Seth Meyers, Amy’s friend and Weekend Update co-host. You’ll hear about the time she watched Seth host Update alone while she watched from a hospital bed, crying tears of joy as a drugged up new mother.

Amy’s book also holds incredible feminist messages. She’s a lady who doesn’t take any crap, and doesn’t want her fellow women to take any crap either. She recounts the time she chased a “privileged old white guy” through an airport after he scolded her (and Tina Fey) for talking too loudly during a flight. She also has an entire chapter devoted to how much women are trained to say “sorry,” and why they should think twice before apologizing for something they say.

It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to feel sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate. ~ Amy Poehler

She also urges women to support each other in their decision-making while acknowledging that not every woman has to agree with each other.

Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me. ~ Amy Poehler

You’ll put Amy’s book down feeling empowered, inspired and like you’ve become a better woman. You’ll have big belly-laugh moments and moments where you’re brought to tears, and sometimes these moments happen simultaneously. Amy tells the truth, and she doesn’t sugarcoat it. You can feel through every word that she has genuine love for her fellow women.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent


Yet another funny woman gives us her take on making it through life in this collection of essays. Alida bestows her blunt recollections of her twenty-something years, which are, as the tagline says, a (mostly failed) attempt at adulthood.

This book is relevant to anybody who has woken up one morning and thought, perhaps with grim realization, “I’m an adult now.” Adulthood is weird, and the epiphany you have on the cusp of your twenties when you realize that you’re a fully-formed human being (with responsibilities and bills!) is even weirder.

Alida nails this phenomenon:

Whenever someone brings up the traits associated with being a functional human otherwise known as an “adult,” I think, is this even possible for me? Probably not, is what I conclude. I mean, I’ll eventually pay off my college loans at the age of forty-five by selling what’s left of my liver, and I’ll probably manage to find sustenance and remember to breathe oxygen constantly. I’ll survive. ~ Alida Nugent

We hear tales typical of many people of our generation, whether it’s those of throwing rambunctious parties at questionable apartments, or more somber ones about moving back in with parents after an unsuccessful stint on your own.

These stories could have potentially turned into a broken record, a song sung many times before by many different authors in many different tunes, but Alida doesn’t let this happen. She keeps it fresh, keeps it funny as hell and lets us feel a little less alone if only for a while.

When you’re done with this book, you feel like you’ve gained a friend. You feel like you could vent with Alida for hours about which Shonda Rhimes show is ruining your life at that particular moment or maybe how great the new Mumford & Sons album is. And it’s clear that Alida wanted it that way.

Really, I want you to finish this book feeling like we could become friends, if the timing was right. That’s it. Oh, and by the way, you should drink while you’re reading this book. If you want to play a drinking game, I suggest you take a shot when you feel like I am abusing commas. ~ Alida Nugent

All books have value for someone, certainly, in some way. But, there is something special about reading something from someone you know has been in your shoes before.

Whether it’s struggling to make a career in a tough field, attempting to look cool at a party full of people who are actually way cooler than you or generally holding your own against the challenges of life, advice is always more meaningful when coming from someone you feel truly understands. These women understand.

Have you read any of the books by these lovely ladies? Do you have other books by smart women who inspire you? Share with us in the comments!

About the author

Taylor Maple

Taylor is a junior at Ohio University studying journalism & political science. You can almost always find her at a concert, a bookstore, or in bed binge-watching Grey's Anatomy. She is passionate about empowering women and helping them succeed in life, love, & careers.

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