Five years of studying English Literature have left me unable to enjoy literature. It’s a sad tale of the gradual, excruciating realization that reading will never be fun again, it will always come with some baggage and thoughts along the lines of “hey, I can probably apply post-colonial theory to this wonderful book”, never mind that the book is a Stephen Fry autobiography. To cut a long story short, I’m having trouble reading the so-called serious books, however, I will never say no to a good humorous autobiography!
I have three suggestions for you: Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and if you can’t get enough of my suggestions worry not, there will be a part 2! I love reading the stories of people who seemingly have it all figured out and I love reading the stories of women who are in the public eye. They inspire me, they make me laugh and, most importantly, they make me feel that everything is going to be alright. If you’re trying to figure out what the next book you read is going to be, here are three suggestions:
Mindy Kaling-Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
I bought this book, and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, almost a year ago, but Dickens and some other Victorian dudes kept me from reading it. Mindy’s writing is fresh and funny as hell. If you’re familiar with The Mindy Project, a show that steadily keeps getting better, than you already know Mindy’s style. Prepare yourselves for the funniest introduction you’ve ever read, in which Mindy answers all the possible questions you might have for the book and then she generously offers alternate titles for it (my favourite “When Your Boyfriend Fits into Your Jeans and Other Atrocities”). I finished reading the book in two days due to an unexpected blackout that cut my reading right in the middle; without a possible blackout, the book will only take you a day to read. Mindy is witty and charming and she reminds me of a song by Prince. She describes her issues with her weight, she mentions how she was bullied by a kid from Senegal in ninth grade, she states the exact level of fame she wants to achieve, she defends men with hairy chests, she recounts the day she stopped eating cupcakes and she even gives instructions for her funeral (the dress code is “chic devastated”). If, like me, you’re a fan of The Office then you’re going to love the rather long chapter she dedicates to it. Thanks for the laughs, Mindy!
Favourite quote: “You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face—who will love them now?”
Amy Poehler-Yes Please
I started reading Yes Please due to a blackout; I was halfway through Mindy’s book, but with no electricity for almost four hours, my Kindle was my only source of light, laughter and reassurance that a part of me still belongs to a technologically superior world. I have to admit that the first pages left me sceptical. I just couldn’t relate to Amy’s writing. Thankfully I never stop reading a book (with the exception of 50 Shades of I Can’t Believe this Book Is Still Haunting Me), so I kept reading and after two chapters in I was hooked. Yes Please is entertaining, but not funny in the traditional “ha ha ha, this is hilarious” way. Instead, it feels more like a self-help book. Poehler’s humour is better on screen. Still, I enjoyed the book a lot and I would recommend it (I also wish I had the time to read Tina Fey’s Bossypants because every online review I read compares them for some reason…). Amy’s stories are moving and inspirational (that’s such a cliche, I know…) and I like the advice she offers. Also, everything Saturday Night Live related made me feel like a hyperactive fan girl (I love the show more than I should).
Favourite quote: “It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate”
Lena Dunham-Not That Kind Of Girl
The third book I read was Lena Dunham’s memoir. Lena’s book surprised me the most. I knew what to expect from Amy and Mindy, I somehow knew, but with Lena I had my reservations. I’ve been following Girls since episode one and I find the show to be fascinating. I cringe throughout most episodes, sometimes I cannot stand the second-hand embarrassment, but, in all, I like it. Still, even when I decided to download her book I had my doubts, but from the very first paragraph I was convinced: I really like this girl. Lena is a powerful writer. I enjoyed her book the most, not because it made me laugh the way Mindy’s did, but because I found her voice familiar and, in a way, reassuring. Yes, she’s funny, but she’s funny in the same way Girls is funny: there is so much pain and vulnerability under the surface. Lena has a neurotic charm that made me finish the book in a day, staying up late because I just couldn’t stop reading. She writes about sexuality, body issues, phobias, guys and school and I can see myself in her stories. I guess it has to do with the fact that age-wise I’m closer to Lena than to Mindy and Amy. After reading Not That Kind Of Girl, Girls makes much more sense. I would gift this book to my friends. I will re-read this book. I know that Lena Dunham is a controversial figure and this book has caused concerns, but I still like it.
Favourite quote: “You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple: don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from”
Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Part 2 will come next week as I will be reviewing more books written by funny women (I could tell you which books, but that would kill the suspense, wouldn’t it?).