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  • Whitney Collins 6:00 pm on 2016/08/05 Permalink
    Tags: amy poehler, , , funny girls, , , , , the girl with the lower back tattoo, tina fey   

    6 Hilarious Reads by Funny Women to Gear You Up for Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo 

    On August 16, comedian and actress Amy Schumer—known for her tell-all style of stand-up and brilliantly brash TV show, Inside Amy Schumer—will be serving up more laughs (and gasps!) with her hotly anticipated new memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.

    Its release date is nigh, and to gear up for the big day, we thought we’d get in the funny-girl mood with a few laugh-a-minute reads by other comedy queens—most of whom also have made us laugh out loud with their appearances on the small screen. Below, a roundup of six books that are guaranteed to have you rolling.

    Diary of a Mad Diva, by Joan Rivers
    Amy Schumer LOVES her some Joan. But then, who doesn’t? Get primed for the debut book from this generation’s gutsy gal by brushing up on a classic from one of the originals. Diary of a Mad Diva is exactly that—a journal (given to Joan by daughter Melissa) loaded with hysterical, no-holds-barred rants and acid-tongued tirades. Rivers spares no one in its pages: celebrities, political figures, family, even herself are all victims of her unique comedic criticism and searing wit. Outrageously politically incorrect, Rivers’ diary touches on everything from slavery and Miley Cyrus to the Holocaust and anorexia. If you’re in the mood for impolite and unapologetic, look no further than Rivers’ personal chronicle.

    Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler
    Amy Poehler has delighted fans on television (SNL, Upright Citizens Brigade, Parks and Recreation), onscreen (Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, They Came Together), and onstage, alongside best pal Tina Fey at the Golden Globes. But Poehler is also on top of her game as a writer. Yes, Please is an equal parts delightful and devious autobiography that slays readers, both with its excellent writing and top-notch hilarity. Presented in an interesting mashup format of essays, poetry, lists, photography, and unsolicited advice, Yes, Please will—yes—please.

    How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
    Caitlin Moran—British journalist, columnist, and world-renowned funny feminist—kills in this compendium of her spot-on observations of the modern woman and honest insights into her own life as a writer, wife, woman, and mother. Though women have seemingly come a long way (“…witches haven’t been burned since 1727, right?”), in How to be a Woman Moran admits there’s still much ground to cover, and she shows where and how through witty insights on everything from cellulite and celebrities to strip clubs. This is a read both insightful and insanely funny, perfect for any lover of Schumer-Brand feminism.

    Bossypants, by Tina Fey
    No list of funny female authors is complete without the inimitable Tina Fey. Yes, Bossypants makes it onto lots of must-read lists, but there’s a reason why. This self-deprecating memoir produces uproarious laughter, which is something to keep in mind if you’re on a crowded train or in a quiet waiting room. In Bossypants, Fey details her lukewarm college love life, her early years of improv and working at the Y, her admission into the SNL ranks, and her disastrous honeymoon. She also dishes plenty on the battle of the sexes, her unorthodox style of parenting, and best friends (see: Amy Poehler). An absolute requisite for your shelf of comedy she-roes.

    Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
    Lena Dunham, creator of HBO’s Girls among other jaw-dropping works of genius, tells it like it is in her personal account, Not That Kind of Girl. A collection of precocious essays about the tribulations of growing up girl, Dunham gifts readers with the nitty-gritty on her awkward sex life, the discriminating patriarchy of Hollywood, and her obsession with death. At times poignant, at others grim, but always, somehow, very, very funny, Not That Kind of Girl is a comedic coming-of-age exposé.

    Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
    Known best for The Mindy Project, her role on The Office, and her first memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling is back and better than ever with Why Not Me? An assemblage of witty writings that cover (among other things) her “weird” relationship with BJ Novak, Hollywood sex scenes, hair extensions, and meeting Bradley Cooper and Obama, Why Not Me? is perhaps most notable for its comedic yet incredibly sage advice regarding being young, having confidence, and what women deserve.

  • Jen Harper 2:00 pm on 2016/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: amy poehler, divorce, , heartbreak and healing, , ,   

    7 Books to Help Get You Through Your Divorce 

    Amy Poehler is full of sage—and hilarious—wisdom, but even she turns to pals for advice when it comes to situations as tough as divorce. In her book Yes Please, she writes, “As my dear friend and relationship sponsor Louis CK has noted, ‘Divorce is always good news because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.’”

    While that may be true, it’s often difficult to see any silver linings when facing your own crumbling marriage. It can, however, help to know that others have made it through and even come out better on the other side. We’ve rounded up some books about divorce and struggling through difficult times—fiction, memoir, and some self-help—that might just help guide you through.

    Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
    Going through a divorce means trudging through some dark days, but beloved author Nora Ephron managed to find humor and levity in her own split from her second husband, Carl Bernstein, through Heartburn, the autobiographical novel based on their relationship. In it, cookbook writer Rachel Samstat is seven months pregnant when she discovers her husband, Mark, is having an affair with a woman with “a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs.” Ephron serves up plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in less than 200 pages.

    Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed
    Sometimes adult problems like facing a divorce can leave you feeling like a lost child just wanting one of the real grown-ups to come in and tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do. Enter Wild author Cheryl Strayed—aka Sugar—the formerly anonymous online columnist for literary website The Rumpus. Blending self-help and memoir, Strayed advises readers on topics like sex, love, family, and grief in this collection of advice from her Dear Sugar column with compassionate insight and her own heartbreaking stories. Tiny Beautiful Things may not give you the solutions for your own unique situation, but it will offer the opportunity for a cathartic cry and even some hope for the future.

    Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
    Sometimes an unfortunate situation leaves you with only two choices—to laugh or to cry. And inevitably when going through a divorce, you’ll find the need to do both at some point. When you’re ready to laugh, pick up comic genius Amy Poehler’s first book Yes Please, a collection of personal stories, lists, and even a haiku that’ll definitely put a smile on your face. Poehler doesn’t dedicate a lot of space to her own divorce from Will Arnett, calling it “too sad and too personal,” but the insight on splitting up she does offer will have you nodding right along with her as she writes, “getting a divorce really sucks.”

    Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, by Rita Golden Gelman
    Getting a divorce definitely marks an end—the end of a relationship, the end of a direction you thought your life was headed in—but it can also mark the beginning of a new life like it did for author Rita Golden Gelman. In her memoir Tales of a Female Nomad, Gelman finds herself at 48 facing a divorce from her husband of 20 years. She opts to leave behind her lavish Los Angeles lifestyle, selling her possessions and embarking on a nomadic existence that leads her from a Zapotec village in Mexico, to the Galapagos Islands, to a palace in Indonesia. Gelman’s tale is an inspiring one about starting over and learning what it really means to live at large in the world.

    How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over, by Theo Pauline Nestor
    Theo Pauline Nestor’s divorce story itself isn’t that out of the ordinary—she confronts her husband about his massive gambling debt, not the first breach of trust she’s endured with Kevin but certainly the last as far as their marriage is concerned. It’s the approachable, raw, and even funny way she relives her story on the page and the revelatory doorway it opens into her family’s past that make her tale extraordinary. “I’m from a long line of stock market speculators, artists of unmarketable talents, and alcoholics. The higher, harder road is not our road,” she writes. “We move, we divorce, we drink, or we disappear.” Readers will see themselves in Nestor’s honest reflections and maybe even find some healing in the process.

    When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chödrön
    When life throws its worst at you, one of the main things you need above all else is for someone to grab you by the shoulders, look you in the eyes, and tell you, “You’re going to be OK.” And American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön has a knack for doing just that, with her teachings like those found in When Things Fall Apart. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book doesn’t just offer sympathy—Chödrön gives readers useful advice and real-deal action items for what to do now and where to go from here, which is something we could all use in difficult times.

    High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby
    Most breakup books focus on a woman left by/leaving a man, but Nick Hornby gives readers a fresh perspective in his novel-turned-film High Fidelity. Sarcastic and self-deprecating record store owner Rob Fleming has just been dumped by his girlfriend Laura, leading him to track down former girlfriends for a thorough examination of his five most memorable breakups. In this funny read, Rob discovers that what he seeks isn’t in his past—it’s what awaits him in the present.

    What books would you recommend to help someone get through a divorce?

  • Ella Cosmo 3:00 pm on 2015/06/26 Permalink
    Tags: amy poehler, , , , , , the friendly skies,   

    5 Great Books To Read When You Are Stuck At The Airport 

    Summer is often a time for visiting faraway friends and family. If you are one of the brave souls embarking on the Kafkaesque waiting game that is modern air travel, add snagging a good book to your travel to-do list. Books are, in the words of Stephen King, a “uniquely portable magic,” offering a lovely mental escape from uncomfortable seats, bland airport food, that layover that never ends, and the relentless blaring of departure and arrival announcements. Oh, and a paperback book never needs to be recharged. So if you’re one of the fearless who will be traveling by air this summer, here are five great distractions to grab before you go:

    Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
    Poehler’s career has been on fire since her debut on Saturday Night Live in 2001, and she has enjoyed massive success on both the big and small screens. And with Yes Please, Poehler follows in the tradition of fellow funny women Tina Fey and Lena Dunham by givig us a touching and hilarious semi-memoir. Poehler is not the most deft of writers, something she freely admits in her preface, but she is a wildly entertaining one, and she makes the very smart choice of interspersing her own writings with that of her mother, father, and even former SNL castmate Seth Meyers. Ultimately it’s Poehler’s brutal honesty about many aspects of her life, from childbirth to that time she rubbed up on Justin Timberlake, that makes reading Yes Please a perfect distraction from your three-hour flight delay.

    Revival, by Stephen King
    After plunging into the world of crime thrillers with Mr. Mercedes, King made a triumphant return to the horror genre in Revival. His 55th (55th!) novel tells the story of two men whose lives are inextricably intertwined. Jamie Morton is only a child when he first meets the Reverend Charles Jacob. Charming and engaging, the Reverend quickly settles into Jamie’s small East Coast hometown, which welcomes him with open arms. But events take a dark turn, culminating with Charles turning his back on both the town and his faith. Years later the two men meet again. Jamie is now an adult with a bleak future, and the reverend is a bitter and broken man with a terrifying obsession. King draws strongly from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as Revival explores both the horrifying consequences of man’s attempt to play God and a dark, unbreakable connection between two people whose lives are destined to be intertwined.

    Gray Mountain, by John Grisham
    Samantha Kofer is young, smart, and ambitious. Armed with a law degree, a cushy job at New York’s largest law firm, and a shot at partner in her sights, Samantha practically has a sign over her head that flashes “Going Places.” Only she’s not; at least not in the way she expects. When the 2008 financial meltdown hits, Samantha’s job is one of the first casualties. Before long, a desperate Samantha finds herself in Brady, Virginia, home to the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic and a community ravaged by the greed of coal mining companies. And there are some evil doings going on, involving a coal company that will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) to protect its own interests. Gray Mountain already stands on the strength of its storytelling as a really good legal thriller, but what makes it one of Grisham’s most impressive novels is the searing light it shines on some of the worst practices of corrupt coal mining operations.

    An Innocent Abroad: Life Changing Trips From 35 Great Writers, by Don George
    An Innocent Abroad: Life Changing Trips From 35 Great Writers is everything a travel anthology should be, ranging from funny to touching to heartbreaking while always remaining engrossing. The anthology features a diverse and wide ranging number of contributors, from writers Dave Eggers and Ann Patchett to seasoned travel chroniclers like Jan Morris. The collected vignettes offer readers the best of both worlds: a glimpse into all corners of the earth, and great stories. To achieve this balance, Lonely Planet asked contributors to write about a time they discovered or experienced something new while traveling—and the result is an amazing collection of nonfiction. While I enjoyed all of the personal narratives, my favorite was British writer Marina Lewycka’s Mauve. Let’s just say I never want to go to Russian summer camp.

    Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    I know, I know, Gabaldon’s Outlander series is already a worldwide bestseller and has been adapted into a wildly popular TV series, but don’t be wary of the hype: Outlander is popular because it’s really good…and weird. Weird in an interesting way, as it crosses both multiple time streams and genres. The series begins in 1945, with former combat nurse Claire Randall and her husband, Frank, taking a much deserved second honeymoon in Inverness, Scotland. All is going swimmingly until Claire decides to collect plant specimens near the mythical stones of Craigh na Dun. In the midst of her gathering, Claire hears a buzzing sound and faints…then wakes up having time traveled to 1743. If that doesn’t trigger the “I may have to stay up for the next 24 hours and finish this book” part of your brain, I don’t know what will. It’s not just the unexpected plot twists that make Outlander’s historical romance/science-fiction/adventure premise so good; Gabaldon is also a terrific writer, and she gives readers a heady mix of time travel, battles, romance, heartbreak, intrigue, and drama.

  • Kathryn Williams 3:56 pm on 2015/06/23 Permalink
    Tags: amy poehler, , , , leslie knope, , parks and rec, rob lowe   

    Books to Keep the Parks & Rec Magic Alive 

    It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Leslie Knope and her band of merry misfits came into this world with the award-winning television docu-comedy Parks & Recreation. Harder still to believe that their tenure as Pawnee, Indiana’s most heartwarmingly dysfunctional mid-level bureaucrats is over. As the old folks say, time flies when you’re having fun. If you’re looking for any little way to keep the Parks & Rec magic alive, you’re in luck: four cast members (so far) have penned books that feature the same homespun wisdom, deadpan humor, passion, and irrepressible optimism we loved in the show.

    Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
    The difference between Aziz Ansari and Tom Haverford? When it comes to the ladies, P&R‘s self-proclaimed lothario doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but Ansari has written an entire book about it. Personally baffled by today’s technology-enabled dating world, the comedian paired with sociologist Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo, to conduct a year’s worth of studies across the U.S., Paris, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, and Doha. The result is a thoroughly researched, surprisingly academic examination of the modern dating scene and all its possibilities and pitfalls. With plenty of examples from his own single days (and perhaps the sweetest thing is how glaringly obvious it is that Ansari is goo-goo over his now live-in girlfriend) and a lot of food references, it’s a contemporary dating guide for those with a conscience and a healthy sense of humor.

    Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers, by Nick Offerman
    Ron Swanson, folks. Offerman did not pull his TV character from thin air, and you will recognize the same virile, no-nonsense meatlover that you adored as director of Pawnee’s Parks and Recreation department in this “mixtape of great Americans.” In the follow-up to his bestselling book Paddle Your Own Canoe, the actor, writer, reader, and woodworker chooses 21 historical and contemporary figures who represent, to him, the best of our country’s past and future. He explores the impact they’ve had on our national culture and his own life. Integrity, moral balance, and most of all, gumption: these are Offerman’s measuring sticks. It’s clear the actor immersed himself in biography, research, and interviews, and the best parts are the accounts of personal run-ins with his heroes, such as the time he attended the funeral of Tom Laughlin, toured Wendell Berry’s barn, or attended Yoko Ono’s gallery opening. Politics and religion are up for debate, but never without a side of blue humor. Of course, the very best part is imagining it read in Nick Offerman’s genuine voice.

    Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
    Full disclosure: I feel I must inform you that Amy Poehler and I are meant to be friends. It will happen. Therefore, this recommendation may be a conflict of interest. But hot dog if Leslie Knope hasn’t made me love her even more by going and writing an intelligent, thoughtful, literate, funny, honest, and disarming memoir. It’s clear Poehler has a profound love for her chosen profession and the improv roots that brought her to where she is today, and this book can be read as a short history of a magical era in that genre of performance. (Poehler started at Chicago’s Second City and helped found the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York.) But there is also great life advice in these pages: about trusting yourself and not the demon voice inside your head, about standing strong while remaining thoughtful and polite, about demanding respect as much as laughs. The title sums up the themes perfectly: be open, be humble, be confident. We’ve all been fans of Poehler’s characters, but it’s when she strips away the larger-than-life personas, laying herself bare for our benefit, that we truly love her.

    Love Life, by Rob Lowe
    Lowe has had a long career, from the Brat Pack, to the Oval Office, to the Pawnee city manager’s office. Luckily, he saved a little back from his bestselling 2011 autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, for this follow-up. It starts with the story of Lowe discovering his first vibrator in his friend’s mother’s waterbed as a young teen. It picks up from there. For a book filled with famous names and famous places, Lowe nevertheless keeps it down to earth, reflecting also on lessons learned as a recovering alcoholic, husband of twenty years, and father of two sons. Lowe is a little less tightly wound than his Parks & Rec character (though, amazingly, just as attractive and fit), but literally full of the same joie de vivre. Literally.

  • Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick 4:00 pm on 2014/12/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , amy poehler, , , , , , , ,   

    10 Bookish Gifts for Your Favorite College Kids 

    Moleskine Voyageur NotebookThe holiday season is here again, and while most of our friends are asking for new gadgets and designer gear, we college-aged book lovers are writing a slightly different Christmas list. Sure, we all love a new iPad, but when it comes down to it all we really want is something reading-related. This can make shopping for us a little bit tricky for our family and friends who aren’t literary fanatics, but never fear! I’m here to help make your book-themed Christmas list simple. Here are some awesome gift ideas for the collegiate book nerd, whether that’s you or someone you know. As someone who spent five years of her undergrad and graduate career pretty much exclusively reading and talking about books, I can say I would have been crazy excited to receive any of these (and still would be, in case anyone is looking for a last-minute present for me).

    Moleskine Voyageur Traveller’s Nutmeg Brown Hardcover Notebook
    The perfect gift for anyone getting ready to study abroad. It has spaces for tickets, maps, and itineraries (aka, the things most important to your trip and the things most likely to get lost), as well as pages for you to write. So if you’re sitting under the Eiffel Tower or looking out a train window at the Tuscan countryside and start to feel inspired, you have a place to jot down your thoughts. Plus, there’s just something about a Moleskine notebook that makes you feel like a real writer.

    Jeff Fisher Lincoln/Erasmus Quotes Tote
    When it comes to expressing your love of books while on the go, let your bag do your talking. This tote is perfect for hauling your stuff to and from class. Plus, it lets the world know exactly what type of person you’re interested in: the kind that will give you more books.

    Pen is Mightier Than the Sword Resin Pen Cup
    It’s no real contest between the two, is it? We know the pen wins every time! So keep your favorite battle gear sheathed in this awesome pen cup. Putting it on your desk sends a pretty clear message: don’t mess with me, because I have a pen and I know how to use it.

    Doctor Who Clip-on TARDIS Book Light with UV Pen
    Raise your hand it you’re not a Doctor Who fan. To the one person who raised their hand: you can show yourself out now. For all us normal people who are are dangerously obsessed with the Doctor, let’s talk about this beautiful marriage of two of the best things in the world: Doctor Who and reading. You’ll never have to worry about keeping your roommate up while you finish “just one last chapter” ever again. Instead, just use this adorable Tardis reading light and read for as long as you want!

    Scholar Composition Book Folio Case for iPad
    Technology is great and helpful and the internet is not just a passing fad, despite my father’s continued insistence. But sometimes you want to kick it old school (or, more specifically, middle school). Combine your bygone school-days method of writing notes in your black-and-white composition book with your new tech-savvy style of taking down information with this awesome iPad case.

    642 Things to Write About Journal
    Every aspiring novelist/poet knows the feeling: you want to write, but you don’t know what to write about. This journal is full of prompts to get your creative juices flowing and provide some much-needed inspiration. Who knows, these fun exercises might just turn into the seeds of the next great American novel!

    Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck
    One of the most important lessons you learn in college happens outside the classroom and inside the kitchen. Unless you’re living exclusively on dining hall meals and takeout (ew), you should probably learn a few go-to recipes. Thug Kitchen gives you easy ways to incorporate veggies into your diet and step up your cooking game. As they say, “Sh*t is about to get real.”

    Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, by Tim Federle
    This one’s for the college student 21 and over, of course, so all you underage folks will have to wait a bit for this one. But for the legal crowd: are you a fan of cocktails but wish they could be more literary? Learn how to make such classics as the title’s “Tequila Mockingbird” or “The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose.” Because who doesn’t love alcohol and book puns?

    Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler
    Everyone tries to give you life advice when you’re in college, but Amy Poehler is one of the few people you might actually want to listen to. Combine her fabulous new book with copies of books by fellow funny ladies Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling for a real trifecta.

    Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (A Song of Ice and Fire series), by George R.R. Martin
    We know you have a ton of reading to do for school, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and fit some pleasure reading into your busy schedule. Relax with a boxed set of your favorite new series, like the uber popular Song of Ice and Fire series. Nothing will take your mind off your upcoming paper faster than the saga of the Starks. If you were really good this year, maybe you’ll even get a couple seasons of the hit TV show to go with it.

    What are you giving to the college kid in your life?

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