Find it at your library!

The most empowering book I’ve read since my fabulous, fashion-forward grandma and I paged through Color Me Beautiful circa 1991 and I learned why I always look like a warmed-over corpse in pale yellow. (It’s not my fault! I’m a Summer!)

Amy Schumer is just the BEST. If you’re not 100% sold on her raunchy brand of humor, read her book and prepare to be totally convinced of her awesomeness. If you thought her book would simply be a series of vag jokes, you thought wrong.

What most impressed me: she can switch gears from funny to serious and back again with no lapse in momentum. A list of topics Amy covers in the book would be downright depressing: rape, terminal illness, bad parenting, domestic abuse, and gun violence are all on the menu, and she somehow covers everything in an uproarious way without ever making light of it. How?! Thus is the genius of Amy Schumer.

Truly confident people make everyone around them feel confident too, and that is the effect this book had on me. I’m trying so, so hard to come up with a way to explain it that isn’t horribly corny. Trying and failing. Let’s all be ourselves! Unapologetically and with gusto! Grab life by the horns! (This is why Amy Schumer has the book deal and not me, guys.)

As I always do with celebrity memoirs, I heartily recommend you listen to the audio version. Let the stand-up comedian do her job and deliver those one-liners in her own voice.

Easily makes the list of my top five books of the year.

Find it at your library!

As the last days of 2015 drained away, so did my attention span. I wanted to read, but I couldn’t engage, especially in the last few days before Christmas, when I was anxiously anticipating the receipt of a few specific books as gifts and the ones already on my shelf or freely available at the library had lost their shine. The books in my hand weren’t as appealing as those in the bush (or, in this case, under the tree).

Enter this graphic novel, just in time to salvage my end-of-year pre-holiday slump. It’s the kind of reading that doesn’t feel like work, but before you jump to conclusions, it’s not at all light or fluffy. This particular Diary of a Teenage Girl isn’t about crushing on celebs and buying lip gloss at the drugstore. Instead, it’s about Minnie Goetze, a sexually precocious fifteen-year-old in 1970s San Francisco who gets involved with her mother’s boyfriend. And of course, since it’s a graphic novel, there are pictures, and sometimes entire pages with comic strips! Good ones, too—author Phoebe Gloeckner is a talented artist.

Gloeckner is coy in the introduction about how much of the book is autobiographical, but based on the photos and excerpts from her own diary included at the back, it seems safe to say it’s firmly grounded in her memories and experiences. It read very authentically to me, with all the angst, self-absorption, brutal honesty, and bad decision-making you’d expect of a teenage girl. It was just what I needed in my life at the moment. I see more graphic novels in my future…