Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star Reads

In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our latest five-star reads: the best of the best, la creme de la creme, our very own A-game! As luck would have it, in the five years that I have been blogging, I have only given a five-star rating to exactly ten books, out of 107 books total!

I’d say that less than 10% is reasonably selective, so if you’re searching for a perfect springtime read, make sure you pick up one of these!

5 Star Collage

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  4. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ed note: sequels not recommended, so read at your own risk!)
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  8. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

So which books would give five out of five stars? Share your top recommendations in the comments!

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Top Ten Books When You Just Want to Laugh

Image by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has us talking about moods. There’s a book for every emotion your heart desires: anger, sadness, and even fear (Side note: Why in the world do people like to feel terrified? I will never understand you, horror fans!)

So what should someone read if she just wants to laugh? Here is my list of my top ten funniest books–and if you can get them on audio, even better!

PicMonkey Collage 1

Celebrity memoirs

  1. Tina Fey, Bossypants
  2. Amy Poehler, Yes Please
  3. Chelsea Handler, Uganda Be Kidding Me
  4. Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
  5. Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

PicMonkey Collage 2

Love, lunacy, and LOLs

  1. Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  2. Alida Nugent, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse
  3. Sophie Kinsella, I’ve Got Your Number
  4. Vicki Lewis Thompson, Talk Nerdy to Me
  5. Mallory Ortberg, Texts from Jane Eyre

So which books have you rolling on the floor laughing? Recommendations are always welcome!

Audiobook Review: Yes Please

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 5 out of 5

In January 2012, I bought my first audiobook: Tina Fey’s Bossypants. This outrageously hilarious book led me to read a long string of memoirs by other famous women (Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee, Jenny Lawson, and Lena Dunham), but tragically, none of them lived up to the reigning comedic queen. I was ready to accept the fact that no one was going to be able to rise up to that level of humor.

But then! Everyone’s prayers were answered when it was revealed that Amy Poehler would be writing Yes Please. Finally! Who better to top Tina than her “Saturday Night Live” costar and very own BFF?

I’m overjoyed to say that Yes Please is everything we’ve been waiting for and more! It’s difficult to decide where to start my praises, so here are a few tidbits from the book for you to get a sense of the awesomeness that awaits you:

“I recently hurt myself on a treadmill and it wasn’t even on. I was adjusting my speed and stepped wrong and twisted my ankle. I felt a moment of frustration filled with immediate relief. I didn’t have to actually work out, but I still got credit for trying. It was a gym snow day.”

“Please don’t drive drunk, okay? Seriously. It’s so fucked up. But by all means, walk drunk. That looks hilarious. Everyone loves to watch someone act like they are trying to make it to safety during a hurricane.”

“However, if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, “I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.”

She begins her book with her preface, “Writing is Hard,” which is absolutely perfect for its tongue-in-cheek honesty about the writing process. Each following chapter is filled with her wisdom regarding body image and aging, dating and divorce, and balancing career and parenting.

Poehler talks about treating your career like a bad boyfriend and owning up to your mistakes. Her fiercely feminist views are a breath of fresh air, and the way she describes her own frustrations and insecurities as a woman are very relatable.

From the mouth of an awesome lady 🙂

What’s not so relatable is all the shameless name-dropping she does, but you still forgive her for it, because hey, it’s not her fault that she knows a ton of super cool, famous people. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be her friend? She even has a few celebrities guest-star on the audiobook, including Seth Meyers, Carol Burnett, and Patrick Stewart. Her parents also drop by to talk about marriage advice and what Amy was like as a child, making this the most sickeningly cute book I’ve listened to ever.

I also really appreciated how much time Poehler spent discussing what actually made her a star: her years at “SNL” and her famous parodies of Hillary Clinton, her experiences on “Parks and Recreation,” and her hosting the Golden Globes. As much as childhood stories can entertain, fans want to be flies on the wall of a celebrity’s most famous moments, and I’m so glad that Poehler shares hers so candidly.

And while Yes Please is filled with more sage advice and less hilarious anecdotes than Bossypants, it was so fun to listen to that I finished the audiobook in a weekend. You’ll crack up laughing at everything from Poehler’s lessons learned on mushrooms to the pranks she pulled on her costars. Yes Please is a delightfully charming read that might just make the spot of my favorite book of 2014!

Damn straight, Amy!

Audiobook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever since I listened to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, I loved how audiobooks made my commute more enjoyable. Only interested in light-hearted books that require little concentration (because how hard would it be to pay attention to Moby Dick while avoiding crazy text-and-drivers?), I decided that Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) would make a good follow-up.

Mindy Kaling became famous for playing Kelly Kapoor on the American version of “The Office.” Her character is so obnoxiously shallow and narcissistic, but Mindy is actually someone most women could relate to. She’s a 30-something size-8 who likes gossip, guys with chest hair, and sneaking out of parties. I loved learning all the quirky tidbits about her, like how she creates revenge fantasies for her workouts, or how she hates the color navy.

Mindy talks about her childhood friends, her jobs leading up to “The Office,” and how she handles fame. She dishes on her co-stars Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson. Even her friends BJ Novak, Mike Schur, and Brenda Withers provide the other various voices on the audiobook.

Bossypants literally made me laugh out loud, but Is Everyone… still got me to chuckle every now and then. Even though Mindy’s not as funny as Tina in my opinion, I think younger readers will appreciate Mindy’s struggle to date men not boys, over Tina’s frustrations with the mommy wars. But if you’re a fan of female comedians, you’ll probably love both of them.

So got any more great audiobooks ideas? Only requirements: must be read by the author and offer lots of laughs!

Favorite Quote: “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.”

Audiobook Review: Bossypants

Cover

Image via Wikipedia

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’m back, fellow bloggers! Hope you all started the new year with a bang! Determined to broaden my horizons in 2012, I decided to buy my first audiobook. I was never interested in the medium after my middle school English teacher tortured us with an audio version of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, an excruciatingly boring book about a boy lost in the wilderness.

But I thought I’d give audiobooks another shot and bought Tina Fey’s Bossypants on iTunes. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Tina Fey is the delightfully hilarious comedian who became famous for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” the chick-flick “Mean Girls” with Lindsay Lohan, and her show “30 Rock,” which is currently in its sixth season.

I had wanted to read Bossypants (2011) for the longest time, because absolutely everybody was raving about it. Since I knew it was going to be outrageously funny, I thought it would make my approx. 30 minute commute to and from work more bearable.

I was not disappointed. Tina narrated the audiobook herself, and her voice is so entertaining. She discusses everything from her bad-ass dad and facial scar, to her rise to fame with her various acting and writing gigs. She talks about meeting Sarah Palin after her popular impersonation with Amy Poehler, her horrendous honeymoon cruise, and her opinions on being a working mom. Part memoir, part improv, it’s what anyone should hope their life story sounds like.

What I love about Tina, and what makes her so relatable is her down-to-earth personality. She’s beautiful, but not of the supermodel quality, and when she says she was dorky as a child, she’s not just being modest (She even has a PDF full of old family photos to prove it!). But she’s also smart, sensible, and determined to battle sexism both at work and at home.

My only complaint is a practical issue. I know it takes a lot of time and effort to record an audiobook, but I spent over $20 for 5.5 hours of listening. If you paid attention to my commute time, I finished the book in less than a week. Thus, if I purchased audiobooks for the whole year, I would spend over $1000! Granted, I don’t regret buying it, but since paper books are so much cheaper and last a lot longer, audiobooks might have to be an every-now-and-then thing.

Overall, if you love Tina Fey, you’ll obviously love this book, but even you don’t know much about her, I bet you’ll still love it. I’m not lying when I say I was literally laughing out loud, to the point where I’m sure the drivers around me thought I was nuts. Sometimes when people can’t shut up about a book, you should tread lightly, but in this case, just jump right in! You won’t be sorry!

Favorite Quotes:

“This worked out perfectly for me in college, because what nineteen-year-old Virginia boy doesn’t want a wide-hipped, sarcastic Greek girl with short hair that’s permed on top? What’s that you say? None of them want that? You are correct.” 

“Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? ‘I’m not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I’m just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I’d like to cut your chest open.’ The crowd cheers.”