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Humor Books to Combat the SAD Season

Detail from the cover of <i>A Girl Named Zippy</i>, a memoir by Haven Kimmel.
Detail from the cover of A Girl Named Zippy, a memoir by Haven Kimmel.
Detail from the cover of the novel <i>Handling Sin</i> by Michael Malone.
Detail from the cover of the novel Handling Sin by Michael Malone.

As the days turn cold and dark, librarian Nancy Pearl gets a jump on the winter solstice with picks for books that beat the winter-weather blues.

For many, those blues are already well under way. Seasonal Affective Disorder --or SAD -- peaks around the solstice on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year. Pearl suggests turning to a good, lively book to ward off the effects of pervasive darkness.

Whether it's a fanciful scrapbook of 1940s Brooklyn (Last Days of Summer, by Steve Kluger) or the more outlandish story of a possessive chimpanzee, as in John Collier's His Monkey Wife, the books listed here all share something in common.

As Pearl says, "they just give you a little nudge, up the chain to a little humor in your life."

Pearl discusses her winter book choices with NPR's Steve Inskeep. Following is a list of her picks:


A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson


Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger

Evolution Man, or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis

The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle

Handling Sin by Michael Malone

His Monkey Wife by John Collier

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

BooksMorning Edition
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Nancy Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR's Morning Edition and NPR affiliate stations KUOW in Seattle and KWGS in Tulsa.