I love a story with witty characters, dry humor, satire, or inventive new worlds. It's all about great world building—whether textured and elaborate like Tolkien, or absurd like Douglas Adams.
My favorite genres are sci-fi, comedy, biographies (especially comedians!) and plus whatever non-fiction catches my eye.
MyLibrarian > Andrea
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Actors And Comedians
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
And Other Things I’ve Learned
“My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was six,” begins Alda’s irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.
I love everything Alan Alda has written. He’s incredibly engaging, kind, humble—and he’s lived an unbelievably interesting life!
Not My Father’s Son
A beloved star of stage, television, and film, Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood. When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.
From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
The Actor’s Life
A Survival Guide
Fischer’s Hollywood journey began when she moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of St. Louis. With a theater degree in hand, she was certain everything would fall easily into place. She was determined, she was confident, she was ready to work hard. What could go wrong?
Part biography, part actor’s guide—but you don’t need to be an aspiring actor to enjoy!
The Queer Eye star and designer recounts his complicated early life as a closeted gay youth from a traditional South Asian family in Yorkshire, sharing insights into his coming of age, emergence as an artist and happy marriage.
Neil Patrick Harris
Choose Your Own Autobiography
Neil Patrick Harris
The Emmy Award-winning star of How I Met Your Mother shares his experiences as a child star, Broadway performer and father in an over-the-top, humorous account creatively designed in the style of the popular interactive adventure series.
Over The Top
A Raw Journey To Self-Love
Jonathan Van Ness
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so… over the top.
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
An Oral History
Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman
At last, the full story behind Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s epic romance, including stories, portraits, and the occasional puzzle, all telling the smoldering tale that has fascinated Hollywood for over a decade.
Paddle Your Own Canoe
One Man’s Fundamentals For Delicious Living
A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.
Poehler offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious.
Behind The Scenes
The Daily Show (The Book)
An Oral History As Told By Jon Stewart, The Correspondents, Staff And Guests
The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host.
A must-read for anyone who likes the Daily Show. I had no idea how much thought Jon Stewart put into restructuring the show when he first joined.
Language And Communication
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?
My Adventures In The Art And Science Of Relating And Communicating
The actor and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science traces his personal quest to understand how to relate and communicate better, from practicing empathy and using improv games to storytelling and developing better intuitive skills.
Fun and informative. This should be required reading for scientists and anyone who needs to communicate important information.
Between You & Me
Confessions Of A Comma Queen
Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker’s copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.
Be A Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
A high-profile business manager describes her development of an optimal management course designed to help business leaders become balanced and effective without resorting to insensitive aggression or overt permissiveness.
Want to be a better boss? Read this.
Math And Science
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Alan Turing And The Invention Of The Computer
A biography of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer. To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary computer. Then, attempting to break a Nazi code during World War II, he successfully designed and built one, thus ensuring the Allied victory.
Complicated Stuff In Simple Words
XKCD webcomic author Randall Munroe explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or “ten hundred”) most common words. Explore the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you’re made of (cells).
Packing For Mars
The Curious Science Of Life In The Void
From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve And-Or Ruin Everything
Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith
A snapshot of the transformative technologies that are coming next – from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters – and explain how they will change our world in astonishing ways.
Politics, Society, And History
My Hopey, Changey White House Years
With a humorists’ eye for detail, Litt describes what it’s like to accidentally trigger an international incident or nearly set a president’s hair aflame. He makes clear that politics is completely, hopelessly absurd—while also reminding us that people who love this country can change it.
Relighting The Torch Of Freedom With America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers
Combinging serious history with light-hearted humor, Nick Offerman focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes twenty-one heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning.
A Memoir Of Loving And Leaving The Westboro Baptist Church
At the age of five, Phelps-Roper began protesting homosexuality and other alleged vices alongside fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church. She became the church’s Twitter spokeswoman, but dialogue on Twitter caused her to begin doubting the church’s leaders and message. Here she relates her moral awakening, her departure from the church, and how she exchanged the absolutes she grew up with for new forms of warmth and community.
An absolute MUST READ. Phelps-Roper strikes a perfect balance, presenting her estranged family as human—not incomprehensible monsters—without excusing any of their beliefs or actions.
America (The Book)
A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction
The host of the award-winning humorous news program offers tongue-in-cheek insight into American democracy with coverage of such topics as the republican qualities of ancient Rome, the antics of our nation’s founders, and the ludicrous nature of today’s media.
A World Without Work
Technology, Automation, And How We Should Respond
Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers are coming within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is now real.
This changed the way I think about work and society, while still being a light read.
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up
The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing
This best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
Kondo has tips and tricks, but what really stuck with me was how she approached the emotions behind clutter.
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck
A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life
This book is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better.
One Woman’s Quest To Find Out If Self-Help Really Can Change Your Life
Journalist Marianne Power decides to finally find out if her elusive “perfect existence” really did lie in the pages of a self help book, vowing to test a book a month for one year, following its advice to the letter, taking what she hoped would be the surest path to a flawless new her.
The Curated Closet
A Simple System For Discovering Your Personal Style And Building Your Dream Wardrobe
A strategic, prescriptive approach to identifying, refining, and expressing personal style and building the perfect wardrobe to match it, as well as addressing style and shopping strategies that can be used every day.
I’m not a fashionista, but this helped me figure out what I wanted out of my wardrobe… and how to stop buying stuff I never actually wear.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: We solve the whole crime. We find the whole person. Phone today for the whole solution to your problem (Missing cats and messy divorces a specialty).
Still quirky, but much more down-to-earth than the Hitchhiker’s Guide series.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.
A contender for my absolute favorite book.
The Hunger Games
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
This Is How You Lose The Time War
Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions.
This book is like poetry. Beautiful—but don’t expect a reliable narrator, or a linear plot.
Brave New World
Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming and media–has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future?
All Our Wrong Todays
In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
Not as much time travel as I’d like, but still a fun sci-fi romp.
John is a paid guide to online RPGs. For a fee, he’ll take you dragon-slaying or battling hordes of undead in the zombie apocalypse. His new client is offering a ridiculous amount of money—it’s a dream assignment, until he begins to suspect that his client is really North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
For fans of Ready Player One.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet.
Probably my favorite “hard sci-fi” novel. I found it much more engaging than the movie adaptation.
Futuristic Violence And Fancy Suits
Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes. A young woman from the trailer park. And her very smelly cat. Together, they will decide the future of mankind.
Fantasy & Supernatural
When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.
This was simple fun. Great for all ages (yes, including adult readers.)
Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
The world is going to end next Saturday, but there are a few problems—the Antichrist has been misplaced, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles, and the representatives from heaven and hell decide that they like the human race.
Richard Mayhew a good hearted man. He’s a young businessman when he discovers a young bleeding woman on a London sidewalk. But after this happens he’s plunge into a world of horror.
Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time… when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it’s only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives… and something rips her out of time itself.
The plot has a few supernatural elements, but this was really a domestic drama about mothers and daughters.
The Lord Of The Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
The future of Middle Earth rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it. But fate has placed it in the hands of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who inherits the Ring and steps into legend. A daunting task lies ahead for Frodo when he becomes the Ringbearer — to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged.
Another contender for my absolute favorite book!
J. R. R. Tolkien
Published posthumously by J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, The Silmarillion forms an extensive, though incomplete, narrative that describes Tolkien’s universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth, within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.
The Girl With All The Gifts
Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, The girl with all the gifts is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
The Family Plot
Withrow mansion is in unusually great shape for a condemned building. It’s empty, but Dahlia and the Music City Salvage crew quickly learn it is far from abandoned. There is still something in the mansion, something angry and lost, and this is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever.
A classic ghost story. The house felt like its own character!
John Dies At The End
This may be the story of John and David, a drug called soy sauce, and other-worldly beings invading the planet. Or, it may be the story of two beer-drinking friends who live in an unnamed Midwestern town and only think something horrific is going on. But the important thing is, according to the narrator, “None of this is my fault.”
B-movie interdimensional horror, with a writing style similar to a ruder (and less British) Douglas Adams.
A Study In Emerald
Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque
This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder. The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!
I first read this as a short story, and it blew. my. mind.
The Umbrella Academy
Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba
In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who had previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, ‘To save the world.’ These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers.
An occultist attempting to capture the physical embodiment of Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power to reclaim his reign.
The Wicked + The Divine
Every ninety years, twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.
Locke & Key
The story of the Keyhouse, a New England mansion, with doors that transform all who walk through them … and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it opens the most terrible door of all.
Webcomics In Print
Hyperbole And A Half
This hilarious webcomic explores the author’s quirks and idiosyncrasies — her strange, candy-fueled childhood; her neurotic dogs; her battles with adulthood; and even a candid look at her battle with depression.
Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack… You see the problem.
A fun, light-hearted romcom with fantastic side characters.
Pride And Prejudice
While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.
Adopted by the kind Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated after Earnshaw’s death by the new master of the house, Hindley. But Heathcliff’s passionate and ferocious nature finds its completement in Earnshaw’s daughter, Catherine.