I don't always read nonfiction by male authors. But when I do... I read self-help comedy by true champions.
After a decade in which I enjoyed reading stacks of great fiction by mostly women and also gulped down a sickening load of nonfiction texts by authors of assorted genders for social justice education and historical research purposes, I made a fresh literary start in the 2020s with three comedic "self-help" books that are hilarious, yet legitimately inspiring. I've always said that a spoonful of humor helps the knowledge darts go down (or something to that effect), and these three quarantine reads helped me to sort out a lot of thoughts and feelings. They also caused me and my husband to choke a few times when we tried to read passages out loud to each other. I haven't had this much fun with words since Amy Sedaris taught me how to keep house.
For whatever reason, the books that resonated most with me over the past year have all been written by men. I have griped in the past about how much I dislike traditionally male-gendered writing styles, but I am delighted to discover, in these three books, that modern men actually can write brilliant insights about the human condition that are broadly relatable and funny. Two of the authors highlighted here have done so in female character, and the other three authors demonstrate how cis/het men who grew up stewed in cultures of toxic masculinity can also evolve into entertainers that appeal to a wide audience beyond other cis/het men. Bravo, champions.
Meanwhile, one of them is teaching me and my husband how to cook some new recipes.
Five stars all around for these three Penguin publications:
Un-Cook Yourself: A Ratbag's Rules for Life by Nat's What I Reckon
God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx by Desus & Mero
Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood by Trixie & Katya