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!

Negin Farsad definitely knows how to make this white person laugh. She’s bold, irreverent, and on a mission to educate America about Muslims. Her methods, which she calls “social justice comedy,” are delightful. Instead of approaching people with anger or impatience, she is all about making connections. Like the time she stood outside a Mormon church with a “Hug a Muslim” sign (she had many takers), or the time she and a documentary film crew talked to a man with an enormous Confederate flag displayed in his yard. Encounters that you might expect to be contentious end up being warm and friendly.

Of course, like any stand-up comic, Farsad has dealt with her share of detractors and trolls (sometimes within her own demographic), and she writes honestly about those experiences. However, she has a remarkable capacity for optimism—she believes people can change their minds, and that one of the best ways to change minds is through personal conversation and connection. Her winsome cheerfulness was my favorite part of the book. I have a hard time staying positive in the face of ignorance and bigotry, but Farsad showed me there is a better way to respond to closed-minded people.

Farsad’s humor is in the same vein as Key and Peele, the Comedy Central show starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, now in reruns. (If you haven’t watched it, get thee to YouTube!) Her perspective as an outsider to the black/white dichotomy of American culture echoes the sense of alienation that Key and Peele, both biracial, have expressed to hilarious effect in their sketch comedy. I would love to see a collaboration between the three of them—Key and Peele are already creating some sophisticated commentary on race and culture, but with a feminine angle, they’d be unstoppable.

Other highlights: her list of sorority girl names (my favorite: Langley Pleats), her the-lady-doth-protest-too-much insistence that she’s totally over being rejected by Yale, and at the end of the book, an exquisitely timed reference to her enthusiasm for honey mustard.

With regards to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale May 24!