Harry Quirk has never had to try very hard. A man of a certain age with a talent for writing poetry, the charming and introspective narrator of this novel (amazon.com) has always found women willing to pay his bills, publish his poems and meet his carnal, physical and psychological needs. That is, until the day his editor moves to London, his best friend falls for a man half her age and his wife (and muse) kicks him out of their Brooklyn apartment. Harry is left with no choice but to contemplate change, the kind that’s happening to his beloved neighborhood, to his fractured family and maybe, if he is smart and lucky, within himself. —Pam Houston
It's 1971 and five women in London decide to form a feminist publishing house in an attempt to break free of bad marriages, crappy sex lives and failing families. Weldon's farcical fiction (amazon.com) is about women who, despite the changing times, can't get past the the draw of powerful men.
Robbins is known for his irreverent social commentaries. This one (amazon.com), about a woman born with enormously large thumbs (she puts them to use, naturally, as a hitchhiker) who travels to New York, is a medtiation on freedom and sexuality.
Sorokin's disturbing, dystopian Moscow features an empire in trouble, where "futuristic technology and the draconian codes of Ivan the Terrible are in perfect synergy." There's also corporal punishment as well as genetically modified fish in this delicious, darkly funny novel. (amazon.com)
In 13 linked short stories, Egan chronicles the lives of aging characters who work in the music industry. The book (amazon.com), which won the Pulitzer Prize, cleverly experiments with structure and time: one chapter is formatted as a PowerPoint printout.
Collins's thought-provoking young adult novel (amazon.com) turned pop culture phenom comments on the perils of reality TV. In what was once North America, one boy and one girl are forced to appear on television in an annual fight to the death, the bizarre terms of a treaty that ended a civil war.
'I Am America (And So Can You!)' by Stephen Colbert
"I am no fan of books. And chances are, if you're reading this, you and I share a healthy skepticism about the printed word. Well, I want you to know that this is the first book I've ever written, and I hope it's the first book you've ever read. Don't make a habit of it," writes dedicated satirist Colbert in the introduction to his hilarious book (amazon.com) on faith, family, politics and, of course, patriotism.
Sedaris's hilarious homage to hosting parties is a wonderfully wacky guide (amazon.com) to entertaining in your home. "Having a party is one of the most creative and generous activities that every person can enjoy and indulge in, if you're on the list," she writes. "Remember, by inviting someone into your home, you're saying 'I like you.'"
In this satire of suburbia and parental angst (amazon.com), adults raise their kids in a sleepy town where not much happens—until one summer when a convicted child molester moves back to town and two parents begin an all-consuming affair.
The Absurdistan author imagines a futuristic America where the masses are illiterate, the rich live forever and a person’s private data (think BMI, credit scores) is visible with the click of a button. One man’s love story plays out in these confusing times as the U.S. government is on the brink of collapse. (amazon.com)
In this dark, insightful satire (amazon.com) about fame and the modern world, a media heavyweight dictates his life story into the flight recorder of an airplane which is about to crash into the Australian Outback.
This tragicomic tale (amazon.com) of one man's midlife crisis follows Golden Richards, a husband to four wives and father to 28 kids. When his business begins to fail and his family, "an overpopulated mini-dukedom," struggles to get along, Richards is thrown into poignant, hilarious turmoil.
"There is somethign strange and disarming about looking at a homicide scene in the bright daylight of the Miami sun," says Dexter Morgan, the narrator of Lindsay's brilliant, darkly funny collection of thrillers (amazon.com) about a serial killer who hunts other serial killers. "It makes the most grotesque killings look antiseptic, staged. Like you're in a new and daring section of Disney World."
Reproductive rights are at the center of McCafferty's wonderfully creative dystopian novel (amazon.com) about a virus that makes everyone over the age of 18 infertile. The solution? Would-be parents pay teen girls to give birth to their children, making highschoolers the gems of society.
Political satirist Buckley imagines the life of Cassandra Devine, a 20-something blogger who causes cultural hysteria when she suggests Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75. Why the dramatic suggestion? To save Social Security, of course. (amazon.com)