Samantha Irby: TOP TEN BOOKS

Samantha Irby

If the personal essay has never been more popular (and trust us, it hasn’t) could it spring from the tremor of recognition we find in other people’s experiences? In the hands of a writer like Samantha Irby, the essay becomes a common unifier, finding an echo in the knowing nods and laughs and gasps of readers. Drawing on her background in comedy, Irby mines pathos for humor in essays that are mordantly funny, self-deprecating, and profoundly human. To quote a laudatory New York Times review of her latest collection, Wow, No Thank You, “Read Irby because she understands the mutinies of the body. She understands suffering and uncertainty, and is wildly, seditiously funny on both.” Irby first came to prominence with her blog, bitches gotta eat, where she interrogated her everyday interactions in frank, unpretentious language, and invariably in the direction of a punchline. “I just started writing about all the dumb stuff that was happening to me every day, and then it kind of exploded,” she told LitHub in 2017. It has not stopped exploding. Four books of essays followed, including Meaty, New Year, Same Trash, and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Like one of her idols, David Sedaris, they revel in the absurdities of the human condition, a take we need now as much (if not more) than ever.

Below are Samantha Irby’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn
One of my friends gave me a hard time for liking this book when she saw my battered, much-loved copy out on the dining room table but I don't give a shit: this book bangs.
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They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

Hanif Abdurraqib
Cracks my heart wide open every time I read it, which I've done multiple times. The way he writes about music is straight up beautiful. Do you know who can move you to tears over fucking Fall Out Boy??? Hanif.
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Made for Love

Alyssa Nutting
This book is so funny, like gasping and crying funny, and I feel like if I was stuck on a desert island I would want to spend the time I wasn't sobbing in despair laughing hysterically.
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Broken Monsters

Lauren Beukes
Terrifying. Horrifying. So good. I love Detroit so much, and thankfully I had my opinion solidly in place before reading this.
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The Mothers

Brit Bennett
This book is just the best. The best. Brit is incredible. You ride the emotional waves of this story right alongside her perfectly flawed and genuine characters.
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The Oracle Year

Charles Soule
Exhilarating science fiction, which is a wild thing for me to say because I am way too dumb to understand most science fiction. I love it so much and blew through it, which is also bananas because I can hardly read!
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Emergency Contact

Mary H. K. Choi
I love YA and I really love books about sad and/or complicated moody teens, especially when there is romance involved. All I ever want is to go back to being consumed by every last one of my adolescent emotions.
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Two Girls Down

Louisa Luna
I am really into thrillers/mysteries because they are propulsive and go down easy, but I am especially into the ones where you get sucked into the personal lives of the crime solver? Like, yes I want this guy to find these missing girls but also: can his broken heart ever be mended??? Anyway, I would read Louisa Luna's grocery lists if she published them.
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The Outsider

Stephen King
This is relatively new but I read it when it came out and I'm currently watching the HBO series which is creepy and great. And honestly you could stick any Stephen King book in here and I'd probably be happy? It's not news that he's a master storyteller and so good at what he does. Although I do wish he'd tweet less, damn.
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One Hundred Demons

Lynda Barry
You can’t come of age in 90s Chicagoland without falling in love with Lynda Barry vis a vis her weekly comic in The Reader. I have every single one of her books (I mean, duh, come on!) but this one is my favorite.
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