updated 12/19/2013 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/19/2013 AT 5:00 PM ET
As Nora Ephron put it: “The tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next.” Our staffers have found three memoirs that use humor to redeem the painful moments and sweeten the happy ones. Let us know what you think – and what you’re reading.
Her Pick: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Allie Brosh’s graphic memoir has me laughing so hard that coffee keeps threatening to come out my nose (really, a warning should come at the start of the chapter on cake). At other times I’m genuinely moved and fascinated by Brosh’s ability to put the reader inside her crippling depression. Even for the memoir-weary, this is unlike anything on your shelf.
Kim Hubbard, Books Editor
Her Pick Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart
Look at that cover – aren’t you smiling already? I’ve just started an advance copy of novelist Shteyngart’s memoir (in stores Jan. 7), but so far it’s promising: “My pregnant mother crosses a Leningrad street and a truck driver honks at her, because scaring pregnant women is the thing to do.” Also little “Igor”, as the author was born, thought climbing ladders would help banish his fear of heights so he could become a cosmonaut this should be fun.
Zoë Ruderman, Senior Style Editor
Her Pick: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
I love reading about dysfunctional families for the same reason other people love watching reality TV: It makes me feel normal. And David Sedaris is the king of dysfunctional family essays. His newest book focuses much more on his adult life (buying a vacation house, getting dental work done abroad) than previous collections. But as always, I’m laughing out loud.
Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s personal holiday favorites and more great book finds here.