Book Corner: Books to Make You Laugh This Summer

My reading taste is eclectic, to say the least. I usually have two books going at a time, one audio and one eBook, and often of two different genres. For example, reading a murder mystery while listening to a book on setting boundaries (I might need to listen to that one again. And again.) While I enjoy genres such as personal development and popular science, I tend to gravitate toward darker subjects: dystopia, thrillers, horror, and the like. All this to say I could use an occasional break from the macabre to read something to make me LOL IRL (laugh out loud in real life. I’m so hip to the lingo).

These picks are perfect for the lighter side of summer reading:

How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi, opens a new window by Chris Balakrishnan
The founders of Nerd Nite, which serves up funny and interesting science presentations to live audiences worldwide, have collected some of their best tales into a hilarious compendium of stories and illustrations. Topics cover everything from the science of hangovers, to the Webb telescope’s influence on movies, and lessons from the Oregon Trail (I’m here for the 1980s flashback). 

How to Age Disgracefully, opens a new window by Clare Pooley
Underestimating a group of seemingly ordinary seniors, Lydia, their new leader, discovers hidden talents and dicey pasts. As the community center faces closure, this unlikely crew pairs up with a teenage dad and the daycare next door to save their haven, employing unconventional methods that might backfire if the authorities intervene.

Please Don't Sit on My Bed in your Outside Clothes, opens a new window by Phoebe Robinson
New York Times-best selling author, comedian, actress, and producer Robinson is back with a fresh essay collection that is, as expected, both funny and sharp. Weaving today’s current topics into her own experiences, Robinson’s essays include lessons learned from her parents, debates with her boyfriend “British Baekoff” on parenthood, and how the Black Lives Matter movement unfolded in America. Hilarious and heartfelt, Robinson’s latest will stick with you.

Subpar Parks, opens a new window by Amber Share
Who would give a national park a one-star review? Lots of people, apparently. And reading them makes for great entertainment. Graphic designer and illustrator Share, an avid outdoors lover, was inspired to celebrate national parks by using visitors’ comments as starting points for brief notes on the facts and history of each park. Accompanied by charming illustrations, many of these delightful (ha) reviews can be seen on Share’s Instagram feed, @subparparks. I’m excited to see that “Subpar Planet” will be Share’s next work.

Starter Villain, opens a new window by John Scalzi
Poor Charlie just wants to open a pub. A divorced substitute teacher with only a cat for company, his life isn’t going anywhere. But then Charlie inherits his Uncle Jake’s supervillain business, complete with a volcano lair to boot! Becoming a villain isn’t easy; plus, Jake had enemies that are now coming after Charlie. With a quirky crew of unionized dolphins and hyper-intelligent talking spy cats, Charlie must win the war, started by his uncle, against the wealthy, unscrupulous predators. Sci-fi at its funniest.

I Hope This Finds You Well, opens a new window by Natalie Sue
Meet Jolene. She’s a 33-year-old admin assistant whose life is a cycle of dull work and drinking at night in her grief over best friend Ellie’s death. To deal with office drama, she adds cathartic notes at the bottom of her emails in white text, rendering them invisible. Until, that is, she forgets to white out a nasty note to her work enemy Caitlin. Jolene’s forced to undergo anti-harassment training and have her email monitored, but Human Resources accidentally gives Jolene access to all of her coworkers’ inboxes and direct messages. Hilarity ensues, with Ellie’s backstory adding depth to Sue’s debut.

What’s on your summer reading list? Join the conversation at, opens a new window, where you can enter a giveaway every Friday through August.

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.