20 of 25
By David Sedaris
272 pages; Back Bay Books

Because he makes us laugh our asses off.

One of our funniest living writers struck gold in this collection of short autobiographical essays. The title piece hilariously chronicles his less-than-successful efforts to master French while living in Paris. He also skewers his manager dad, his quirky mom, his brother ("the Rooster") and the annoyances of modern life. With his keen eye and sharp wit, he's been compared to everyone from Garrison Keillor to Dorothy Parker, but he has a talent and voice all his own. — Dawn Raffel