What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

18373272Turns out, when I don’t spend so much of my life on planes, I don’t read as much – oops! One of my co-workers lent me this book back in February before my first jaunt across the country, but I didn’t get it read until now – double oops!

Kristin Newman’s travel memoir hits a lot of my buttons, but I still ended up feeling a little empty at the end. Maybe it was the movie-perfect ending, whether after all her travels and friends and men, she’s no longer single and everything turned out great. My intense wanderlust jealousy was also activated as she described some truly amazing activities that I’d love to have the opportunity to try. Or perhaps it was the fact that she’s a successful television writer (my secret dream) with tons of disposable income (see all her travels) and time off during hiatus months. It also didn’t help that she and I are totally different kinds of travelers and she’d probably hate traveling with me because I “do it wrong.”

I did enjoy her advice to “do the thing you’re supposed to do in the place you’re supposed to do it.” You really can’t do wrong with that.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

20910157If Minda Kaling is the girl I want to be best friends with and Tina Fey is the woman I wish I could be, Amy Poehler is my awesome big sister, who will always be cooler than me, but lets me tag along anyway.

I was going to ask for this book for Christmas, but I got this fancy new laptop instead, so last week, I figured I could buy my own damn book and shut up about. This week has been stressful (more than usual where family is concerned), and it has been absolutely lovely to dive into Amy Poehler’s words as a bit of an escape. She’s funny, witty, soulful and a bit more crunchy than I would have expected. There are a lot of things in this book that I don’t get because I’m a not a mother, but it never feels like she’s shoving it down my throat. I especially loved the chapter written by Seth Meyers and her chapter about Parks and Recreation, annotated by Michael Schur.

I expect I’ll be re-reading this book again and again, grasping different little bits of wisdom each time. That’s what big sisters are for anyhow, right?

Bossypants by Tina Fey

9476337One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve started to read about the lives of my favorite comedic writers is that they had very similar childhoods as I did. I don’t know if that’s what draws me to their comedy or if it’s just a byproduct of growing up when we did. Add to that that Tina Fey went to UVA for college (which I didn’t, but a lot of people I knew did) and a lot of her book felt VERY familiar. Until of course, the chapter where she meets Lorne Michaels. Then our lives go in very different directions.

This book is exactly what you think it is, and if you love Tina Fey (which you should or we really can’t be friends), then you’ll love this book. And now that I know Tina Fey also had a horrific experience climbing Old Rag, I think the Commonwealth of Virginia should just shut it down for the sake of humanity. Either that or Ms. Fey and I should go hiking together sometime (and by hiking, I mean, eating our way through Southern Virginia). Nonetheless, reading this book was like spending the afternoon with Tina Fey and that is a quality way to spend time.

My only regret is that I borrowed this book from the library, so I can’t go through and highlight my favorite passages for quick reference. Instead, I’m going to list them below.

“If you are a woman and you bought this book for practical tips on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace, here they are. No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly. (Some people say “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.” (p. 3)

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

As I knew I would, I loved this book. It’s a quick read and it sounds exactly like how I imagine a conversation between Mindy Kaling and I would go. And after reading this book, I feel confident that Ms. Kaling would have no problem with the fact that I may imagined how a conversation between us might go.

There are times when it feels disjointed, but it does appear that the book is to be read straight through. There were some sections that I wished went on longer and others that I was left scratching my head as to why they were included. But it’s all perfectly Mindy (in the way that she portrays herself to be while in public) and that’s all I really wanted. Basically a longer version of her Twitter feed, a revival of her shopping blog. (It’s actually way more than that, even in between the “Guys should have chest hair” and “Here’s how I want my funeral to go” essays, but it was still a nice break from the Pulitzer Prize winner I’ve been reading.)

I definitely laughed a lot and found myself nodding along with many of her observations. She seems much more put together than me, even though she’s only a year older (at press time) than I am. But I guess, if I wrote down all the weird, strange places I’ve lived, jobs I’ve had and people I know, it would probably look like I’d done a lot as well. You just can’t see mine on television (yet).

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier

166045Reading has been slow so far this year due to a few factors. I’ve spent most evenings knitting baby blankets for my three friends who are expecting this spring/summer (almost done!). I’ve continued to go home at lunch time from my job, taking a respite that doesn’t include sitting in the break room for an hour and devouring a novel.

But the last one is this book. I had seen this book recommended on PopSugar (or one of those) and thought it sounded great. But instead, it’s basically a book that talks about how Americans don’t get it right on basically everything. The reason French girls are so awesome? They are born that way. Also, they cook with fresh ingredients every day and they have simple (expensive) clothing that they just know how to buy. Great, thanks. Very helpful indeed.

There are cute asides regarding “French girls we love” and it is interspersed with anecdotes of the French women the author has come in contact with during her time in France. But for the most part, it’s not so much a guide as a “too bad you weren’t born French” book for American girls.