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223: Jenny Lawson's FURIOUSLY HAPPY - March 2022 Book Club

Photo of Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy with text Book Club: Furiously Happy, Episode 223

Are you looking for a memoir that is both laugh out loud hilarious and also deeply poignant? In this March Book Club episode, we discuss Jenny Lawson's memoir Furiously Happy. We chat about our thoughts on Lawson's work, and we share our pairings including Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, Lindy West’s Shrill, and R. Eric Thomas’s Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America.

Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore ( |

Jen - Jasper Sanchez’s The (Un)Popular Vote ( |

Sara - Jessica Strawser’s Not That I Could Tell ( |

Book Club Discussion

Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things ( |

Our Pairings

Ashley - Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened (

Jen - Lindy West’s Shrill ( |

Sara - R. Eric Thomas’s Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America ( |

Give Me One - Book on Your Current TBR

Listen in to hear our TBR picks, and join us on social media @unabridgedpod on Monday to let us know what's on yours!

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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Bookish Check-in

Book Cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore ( |

From the publisher:

"The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything―instead, they 'check out' large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave."

Book cover of The Unpopular Vote by Jasper Sanchez

Jasper Sanchez’s The (Un)Popular Vote ( |

From the publisher:

"Optics can make or break an election. Everything Mark knows about politics, he learned from his father, the Congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son.

"Mark has promised to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark risks his low profile to become a political challenger.

"The problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and his few friends are all nerds. Still, thanks to Scandal and The West Wing, they know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover.

"Soon, Mark feels emboldened to engage with voters - and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and the bully frontrunner standing in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous."

Book cover of Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Jessica Strawser’s Not That I Could Tell ( |

From the publisher:

"When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It's a rare kid-free night, and they're giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

"By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor's wife who didn't seem all that bothered by her impending divorce - and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she'd put behind her - and when she's unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood's newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions - especially since she's dealing with a crisis of her own.

"As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what's going on behind their own closed doors - and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else."

Our Pairings

Book cover of Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened (

From the publisher:

"Every time Allie Brosh posts something new on her hugely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half the internet rejoices.

"This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features more than fifty percent new content, with ten never-before-seen essays and one wholly revised and expanded piece as well as classics from the website like, 'The God of Cake,' 'Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving,' and her astonishing, 'Adventures in Depression,' and 'Depression Part Two,' which have been hailed as some of the most insightful meditations on the disease ever written.

"Brosh’s debut marks the launch of a major new American humorist who will surely make even the biggest scrooge or snob laugh. We dare you not to."

Book cover of Shrill by Lindy West

Lindy West’s Shrill ( |

From the publisher:

"Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny.

Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible - like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you - writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

"From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

"With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps."

Book Cover of Here For It by R. Eric Thomas

R. Eric Thomas’s Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America ( |

From the publisher:

"R. Eric Thomas didn’t know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went - whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative Black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city - he found himself on the outside looking in.

In essays by turns hysterical and heartfelt, Thomas reexamines what it means to be an 'other' through the lens of his own life experience. He explores the two worlds of his childhood: the barren urban landscape where his parents’ house was an anomalous bright spot, and the Eden-like school they sent him to in white suburbia. He writes about struggling to reconcile his Christian identity with his sexuality, the exhaustion of code-switching in college, accidentally getting famous on the internet (for the wrong reason), and the surreal experience of covering the 2016 election for Elle online, and the seismic changes that came thereafter.

"Ultimately, Thomas seeks the answer to these ever more relevant questions: Is the future worth it? Why do we bother when everything seems to be getting worse? As the world continues to shift in unpredictable ways, Thomas finds the answers to these questions by reenvisioning what 'normal' means and in the powerful alchemy that occurs when you at last place yourself at the center of your own story.

"Here for It will resonate deeply and joyfully with everyone who has ever felt pushed to the margins, struggled with self-acceptance, or wished to shine more brightly in a dark world. Stay here for it - the future may surprise you."


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