…or almost, anyway. Cheers!
1. Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
Fun fact: I legit found out about the freshly ground nut butters at Whole Foods thanks to Mindy Kaling’s hot tip in this book. She rolls out the story of how she became the only female writer on The Office by her mid-twenties with honesty and snark. From there, here life has only gotten more impressive: she’s since become an actress, showrunner and second-time author.
Somewhere between her charming stories and handy tips, she also drops some tidbits of wisdom on life.
“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”
“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
“When one person is unhappy, it usually means two people are unhappy but that one has not come to terms with it yet.”
2. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Vodka, Chelsea Handler
I have to hand it to Chelsea Handler – she pretty much beat the rest of these ladies to the book deal milestone when she released this weekend beach read in 2008. As crass as she can be on TV, she saves room in her books for openness and vulnerability.
It’s a treat to follow Chelsea’s antics from the fifth grade through her wild twenties and into the present-ish…when she gets called the C-word by a teenaged girl. The most amusing part is how blatantly her indelicate adult personality shines through in her younger self.
“It’s been my experience that people who make proclamations about themselves are usually the opposite of what they claim to be.”
3. Bossypants, Tina Fey
Tina definitely may have taken a little tea leaf out of Mindy Kaling’s book when she started writing this – and then proceeded to match her with awkward childhood school portraits. As with Mindy, I love the honesty about the tough road to comedic stardom. She spent her early adulthood manning a YMCA desk by day and taking improv classes at night, where she met Amy Poehler.
It’s not even just about being a woman. In Tina Fey’s case, it’s also about being held to Hollywood beauty standards while also being expected to be hilarious.
Tina joined the writing team at Saturday Night Live in her twenties, but wasn’t bumped onscreen until she lost about 30 pounds. She covers a lot of ground, all the way up to her famous stint as Sarah Palin, and addresses the complete chaos her life became while pulling the strings behind 30 Rock as a new mom.
“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
4. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer
The title of this book generated as much buzz as the fact that it was the first one authored by comedienne Amy Schumer. Many of us have seen her standup, TV show and movie Trainwreck. In The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, she delves deeper into her family history, rise into comedy and personal relationships. It’s often funny, but it’s not all happy. Somehow this leads to a more well-rounded book than expected. The perfect accompaniment for a long plane ride or split up over a few trips to the beach.
“I think for anyone to become good at something, they have to fail a lot too. And they have to be completely unafraid to fail or they’ll never make it to the next level.”
5. Yes Please, Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler’s only book to date serves as a delightful, easy-to-digest cross between a biography and an offering of little life philosophies she’s picked up along the way. If I had to guess, I’d say our favorite Cool Mom has definitely sat through her share of therapy sessions because she has a lot to say about setting boundaries and surrounding yourself with the right people. In fact, this may be the most quotable book on the list.
“Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.”
“If you can dance and be free and not embarrassed you can rule the world.”
“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.”
6. White Girl Problems, Babe Walker
You may be wondering who the hell Babe Walker is? She’s wealthier, skinnier and more basic than you. She’s also not exactly real. I started following her when she was @WhiteGrlProblem on Twitter…suffice to say, it was awhile ago.
The people behind that account use the alias Babe Walker to showcase her flamboyant persona. Babe’s made it to the bookstore now, recounting chapters of her life that include a brief stint at USC (“daycare for rich kids”), then art school, then rehab, where she’s reunited with the ex-supermodel mother she never knew. It’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds and twice as funny. Trust me on this one.
“I may have lit the match, but it was karma that kept the fire blazing.”
7. How To Make Love Like a Pornstar, Jenna Jameson
Girl grows up near Las Vegas. Girl dates wrong guy. Girl becomes stripper. Girl becomes nude model. Girl becomes porn star. Welcome to Jenna Jameson’s life, a biography-slash-cautionary tale. A lot of it is as scandalous as you’d expect, and parts of it actually dispel a lot of the preconceptions you may have about her. By the end, you have to at least acknowledge her business sense once you realize how much of that it takes to make it in the industry. This is definitely one of those autobiographies that’s better than the chick lit fiction at the airport, and worth seeking out.
“Ultimately, what really matters is not just the experiences you have at a young age, but whether or not you are equipped – by your parents, by your genetics, by your education – to survive and deal with them.”
8. Candy Girl, Diablo Cody
Imagine you were a stripper with a blog who wrote a screenplay at a Target food court, and that blog got you a book deal. Then that book deal got your screenplay sold and made into the biggest indie film hit of 2007.
That’s pretty much the life story of Diablo Cody, who brought the movie Juno to life. She’s got a great sense of humor and describes certain scenes of her life with such vividness that you can literally imagine her somberly dancing to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song at 3 AM in private strip club event. Think of it as a good piece of chick lit where you actually don’t have to suspend any beliefs, because it’s all absurdly true.
“Nobody comes to Minnesota to take their clothes off, at least as far as I know.”
9. Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick isn’t a comedienne, but she’s a comedic actress and shares many of those common traits with comediennes that make her seem like instant best-friend material: a self-deprecating sense of humor, bubbly chattiness, and endearing determination. Her Twitter feed is also hilarious, so it makes sense that she’d pen an enjoyable read.
I've always heard that Tom Cruise is tirelessly positive and upbeat and I'd love to work with him one day. I think I could break him.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) June 14, 2016
In her book Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna recounts her little-known days a child actress. She describes long trips to New York City alone with her brother, who wasn’t much older than her. She describes forgoing a college education for a lonely wannabe-actress existence in Los Angeles, like La La Land minus the choreographed musical numbers. And she delves into the unglamorous aspects of press junkets and other actress-ly duties.
It definitely reads as more biographical than straight comedy, but it’s an entertaining way to spend a few afternoons.
“I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity.”
“Having to fight for the thing you want doesn’t mean you deserve it any less.”
10. The Woman I Wanted To Be, Diane von Furstenberg
From a distant glance, Diane von Furstenberg appears to have led a snowglobe-perfect life: she married a German prince-slash-Italian heir, partied at Studio 54, designed the world’s most famous dress in the 1970s, dated Richard Gere and lived happily ever after in Manhattan.
Well, actually, her life was pretty damn skippy. All of those things are true. But she’s also experienced some serious downs in her life, like the time her company went bankrupt. And she goes into a solid amount of detail about how her mother survived a concentration camp during the Holocaust. By the end of this book, you’ll see how far a good dose of confidence, strong spirit and tireless persist can get a person through life.
“Don’t blame your parents, don’t blame your boyfriend, don’t blame the weather. Accept the reality, embrace the challenge, and deal with it. Be in charge of your own life.”