Weekend Shorts: Awesome Ladies on Audio

Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling
Why Not Me?Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? on a solo drive a while back and enjoyed the heck out of it, so I was happy to find her new book available when I needed a new audiobook. This edition of Kaling’s memoirs focuses on being a lady, being a lady in Hollywood, and dating cute boys. It’s not super memorable several weeks later, but I definitely enjoyed the listen on my drives and runs.

Awesome essays from the book:

“How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions”, full of advice of varying practicality for regular people. Have lots of hair! Get spray tanned! Tailor everything! Don’t pose the same way in every darn picture!

“Player”, about falling in love with a new friend to the exclusion of everyone else, and how that’s really never a great idea.

“One of the President’s Men”, in which Mindy meets a hot dude and has approximately the most frustrating relationship with him.

“A Perfect Courtship in my Alternate Life”, which is a made-up story told through emails about Mindy Kaling the Latin teacher and, well, a suuuuuper cute courtship.

This was a super fun audiobook and if you’re a Kaling fan or a fan of chicks with opinions in general, you’ll probably like it.

Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
Furiously HappyAnother excellent second book to follow up an amazing first book. I love Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, whose blog is the most ridiculous and wonderful thing I read on a regular basis. She’s never met a tangent she didn’t want to go off on and she has a way of purposely misinterpreting the world that makes her life, and our lives, better for it.

Lawson writes amazing essays about things that happen to her that start off mundane (going to sit in a cemetery) and end up insane (finding herself accidentally attending a funeral in said cemetery), and also things that start out insane and keep going (corralling her husband into couples therapy because she wants him to get regular therapy and then fearing all the things he might possibly tell the therapist while he’s there without her). This book also includes several essays on the topic of depression, anxiety, and various other mental illnesses that I found really touching and important to listen to as a mentally okay person and that are probably way more empowering for the people who share Lawson’s mental states. This is definitely a book everyone needs to listen to, not leastly because Lawson’s narration is almost funnier than her stories.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day
You're Never Weird on the InternetThis is Day’s first book and it is uh-mazing. I loved this book the most out of all the books in this post, and that is saying something. The best part is Day’s narration, which, like Lawson’s, feels more like swapping stories with a friend than listening to a performance. It’s full of awesome voice acting and nervous laughter and when Day tells embarrassing stories you can hear that embarrassment in her voice and it is awful and wonderful at the same time.

Also awesome is just hearing the story of Day’s life, from her childhood as a weird hippie homeschool kid right after homeschooling was legalized (Day notes that she doesn’t have a GED but does have a 4.0 double-major college degree) to being the wildly internet-popular chick from The Guild and Geek and Sundry that she is today. I have never been homeschooled or had internet-only friends or been addicted to WoW or started a web video company, but now I basically don’t have to because I’ve felt all the associated feels.

I was surprised to find that Day’s memoir contained pieces on anxiety and mental illness, which she talks about very frankly and smartly and between this and Lawson’s book I’m thinking a lot of internet-savvy ladies will be getting their brain chemistry checked out soon. Yay for healthy brains! I was not surprised to find a chapter on the whole GamerGate/misogynist internet dudes debacle of the last year, although Day admits she almost didn’t write it because who wants to go through that all again, and I was thrilled that she lays out the beginnings of the movement clearly for people like me who only caught the tail end of the blow-up. As she says, she’s not going to change anyone’s minds by talking about it, but maybe people will be a little more moderate in their reactions? On the internet? We can hope?

Overall, an amazing book and one I couldn’t wait to get back in the car to finish listening to but at the same time that I didn’t want to listen to obsessively because then it would be over and what could I possibly listen to next?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without MeSo, true story, I actually read this book nearly three months ago. I grabbed the audiobook, read delightfully by Ms. Kaling, and took it with me on a relatively short but very boring road trip to Tallahassee. But near the end Kaling skipped past a chapter of photos since, you know, audio, and I felt like I didn’t really want to talk about the book until I’d obtained a print copy and read that chapter. I put it on hold immediately after I got home. Mmhmm.

I didn’t know much about Kaling outside of, “She’s that girl from The Office, a show I used to watch,” but like Tina Fey before her I’d heard enough vague statements about her awesomeness to be convinced. And apparently so had the rest of the world, with that long line ahead of me! Luckily she totally lives up to that reputation.

The book is a collection of short essays about Kaling’s life: growing up as a chubby Indian kid, working in show biz, what she looks for in a guy, how she sees herself. Mostly topics I can relate to, except for the whole “writing for a popular TV show” thing. Some of the essays are a little boring, like, unfortunately, that picture-based essay I waited all these months for, but some are absolutely fantastic.

Awesome essays:

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Or How I Made My First Real Friend)” — Here Kaling talks about friends and cliques and how things that seem super duper important one day can seem totally unimportant the next. Especially in high school.

“Day Jobs” — In which Kaling takes on a few less-than-ideal jobs but still manages to get herself some pizza bagels and a free ride to work.

“Guys Need to Do Almost Nothing to Be Great” — This is a chapter that all guys should make copies of for themselves and all their friends.

“Married People Need to Step It Up” — As a person in a happy marriage, I have been called upon by Mindy Kaling to tell you all that it’s totally possible. Being pals is the best.

“Strict Instructions for My Funeral” and “A Eulogy for Mindy Kaling, by Michael Schur” — It worries me a little bit, the amount of thought that Kaling has put into her funeral. It’s maybe a little weird that I laughed the most at the part of the book not written by Kaling, but of course it wouldn’t be funny at all without the rest of the book as a primer.

Recommendation: Do read, or definitely listen if you have that option. Kaling has a great voice.

Rating: 9/10