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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Last week, my SIL, Carrie, was visiting and she was finishing up Mindy Kaling's "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" and she left it for me to read (and, Jerry forced Harry Potter on her, because to him, it doesn't matter that she has zero Potter-interest; to him, it's a crime for a person to not have read Harry Potter.  ever.).

It's hard to mention Kaling and not "The Office" in the same sentence, so if you like "The Office" (and I mean "The Office of Yore" not the current version that's parading around on TV as an Office-imitator that is no longer very funny), you might share Kaling's sense of humor.  Actually, her show "The Mindy Project" is much closer to her voice in this book -- which is a show I sometimes find funny and sometimes don't (but, the first 3 minutes of the Valentine's episode?  hil.ar.i.ous.) -- so when my SIL left it for me, I wasn't entirely sure if I would like it.

The long and short of it is: I loved her book.  And that surprised me.  It was a fun, funny, easy, refreshing read.  Her voice is kinda Valley-girl, but I found it charming, not annoying, because it's a smarter, sassier version of Valley-girl.

Despite the comparison of her to Tina Fey, Kaling freely acknowledges in the book's prologue that she's no Fey (agreed.  I read "Bossypants" twice, back-to-back, because I thought it was so great; I don't think I'd read this twice despite enjoying it), and I think that's part of why I found her writing likable.  Kaling's very self-aware despite the satirical way she sometimes creates a more grandiose characterization of herself.  Keeping her humor grounded, and realizing perhaps her limitations, made the book feel genuine. 

One bit of criticism is really an editing tidbit, and that is some of her word choice got repetitive: I think she used "behoove" and "pejorative" about 20 times each, and those are not words you need 20 times in a book that's about 200 pages.  But, aside from that small gripe, the book is fun: It's like a bouncy-house at a kids' party.  Who doesn't have fun in a bouncy house?  Everyone needs a fun, light read from time to time.  And, as I say above, it's short -- as she describes, "this book will only take 2 days to read!" -- and that's about all it took me.

On to my other recent read, which I'm not quite done with: Melanie Shankle's Mom-Memoir "Sparkly Green Earrings."
It is ok.

Well, I should qualify that "ok" with the explanation that it's maybe just not a book to my taste.  It may very well suit many others' taste perfectly.

First off, at times, it is awesomely hilarious, and she has some moments where I literally LOL'd as she describes pregnancy, children, and motherhood.  And, I like her down-to-earth approach about many of these topics.

However, how can I put this?  Well, she's a bit Jesus-y for my taste. 

Which, had I read the description better before I downloaded it via iBooks, I probably would've caught, but alas, I am a lazy e-reader-browser, and I read the description too hurriedly and what I got then was a book that's not entirely up my alley.  Don't get me wrong, I gotz no beef with God or God-talk...if done right.

This, however, is not really done naturally.  A writer like Anne Lamott seamlessly weaves her faith into her essays without it feeling like all of sudden the reader is getting beaten over the head by the interjection of religion.  Unfortunately, Shankle is no Lamott, and the book will be tra-la-la-ing along in this light-hearted humorous way, and then BAM!  God.  So my beef isn't with the inclusion of her faith; it's in the clumsy writing.

Still, I'd recommend it to some readers, especially those who may not mind the Bible-babble, alongside the mom-narrative.  For me, though, it just doesn't entirely work.


Erin said...

I read Mindy's book a while back. It was funny and a quick read. Nothing I would say someone HAD to read.

Much like Jerry, WTF SIL? Everyone has to read Potter. It's like the Box Car Children or Where the Sidewalk Ends. EVERYONE has read them and they are in every library for a reason. Well...come to think of it, didn't they remove Mr. Silverstein at one point?

I know not to talk about literature with you other than "will I like it?" (and of course, yes, I returned it, seriously, it's not sitting on my bookshelf for 2+ years). :)

Viper said...

I've become really impressed with Mindy Kaling. I was never a huge Office follower, but have enjoyed it on occasion. I'm really surprised how much I've enjoyed The Mind Project. Her writing for both shows have been pretty solid. Though, I doubt I'll ever read her book.

I've read only two Potter books, the first and the last. What do you think about that? Cheers!

Kevin said...

I'm sorry, but Jerry needs to turn in his junk and get a new set of lady parts...Harry "holy nerd-alert" Potter....my stomach hurts from laughing. To call that garbage "literature" is a slap in the face to real authors, same with that Twilight ^%$#....please give Jerry a big hug and tounge kiss from me. I still dream about him.