Eight great books to get you through those lonely moments with the fan on. Presented in no particular order—the right book will depend on your mood, and the size of the job before you.
1. The Onion Ad Nauseum
This is closest to reading the old classic: an actual newspaper. It’s a little heavy to hold, but more than makes up for its weight with sheer levity. Also, a lot more manageable than the original broadsheet.
2. Our Dumb World—Atlas of the Planet Earth 73rd Edition (the Onion)
Perfect companion piece to the first recommendation. The Atlas takes us around the world marking important historical events such as U.S. engagement with Iraq in 2001, when President George W. Bush deployed 15 top officials to the country “on an excuse-finding mission.”
3. Shakespeare’s Insults for Teachers—Wayne F. Hill & Cynthia J Ottchen
You don’t have to be a teacher to use these witty ripostes against the children, parents, and administrators who plague your time. Blast your bosses and other nags with lines like: “I will do nothing at thy bidding. Make thy requests to thy friend.” (Timon of Athens 1.1.267-8)
4. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook—Piven & Borgenicht
The best part of my copy of this important text is the note from Christmas 2004 that reads: “Dear
Chris, Whoever (Ben): May you never experience the worst case scenario. Affectionately, REDACTED”. What this shows us is the utility of such a book as a gift-giving item. Contents include bountiful illustrations and simple directions on how to handle Great Escapes and Entrances, Leaps of Faith, The Best Defense, and Adventure Survival.
5. Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race—The Daily Show with John Stewart Presents)
It’s funny because it’s true.
6. English as a Second F*cking Language—Sterling Johnson
This gem in the shape of Strunk & White’s classic treatise on grammar goes far beyond our expectations in the proper use of cusswords. It categorizes, for example, the Need to Know, Nice to Know, and Forget Its when finding colorful ways of admiring particular feminine curves. The book itself falls into the category of Need to Have, with brilliant examples of usage on every page: “I shit a brick” (See the IDIOMS section) “I shit a porcupine” (See a good proctologist).
7. I Am America (and So Can You)—Stephen Colbert
If you miss the real faux Stephen, here’s your chance to reacquaint yourself with his original brand of humor. Best for shorter stints… there’s really only so much we can take of it.
8. Any collection of David Sedaris essays.
Bonus Read: Wake Up and Smell the Shit
This collection of short stories is so terrible you won’t feel bad about ripping it up and using it for toilet paper. Remember to call Joe the Plumber soon afterwards, however, since this pulp will wreck your sewage. Full review coming soon.