Tag Archives: Why Not Me?

Book Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I read Why Not Me? as part of my last ditch (and probably doomed) effort to catch up on my 2015 Goodreads challenge and finished it in just a few hours. Like Mindy Kaling’s first book, this one is a fast, enjoyable read with a moderate amount of insight into all kinds of things that Mindy Kaling is interested in. Also like Mindy Kaling’s first book, this one makes me want to be best friends with her, because she seems to be utterly delightful.

I say that, of course, with the full understanding that Mindy Kaling is obviously not going to be delightful to everyone. In fact, she’s clearly a little self-absorbed, a little out of touch, super smart, somewhat nerdy, and not above being occasionally awful. Basically, Mindy Kaling seems like a real human being, albeit far more successful most of the rest of us.

What I love best about Mindy Kaling, though, is that her real human being-ness never feels like a schtick or an act or a ploy to make us like her. Sure, she’s endearingly self-deprecating, but always about actual flaws. She kind of weirdly humblebrags about her McDonald’s addiction, but I suspect that she really does eat too much McDonald’s, and I can relate to that because I, too, eat too much McDonald’s. Her story about dragging B.J. Novak to a play against his will sounds exactly like the sort of thing a real person might do. So, also, does her story about the time she gave a teenage girl a kind of bullshit answer to a serious and worth-answering question.

The advice that Kaling offers at the end of her book is thoughtful, but not too obnoxiously wise. Her thoughts on her work and career are amusing and sharply observed, but delivered without rancor. There’s definitely a little bit more of “work hard and good things will come to you” advice, but it’s not offered without at least a basic awareness of the role played by luck and privilege.

Why Not Me? is not a great work of literature, but Kaling is a clever and funny essayist who isn’t weighed down by pretension. I enjoyed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) but this follow-up book is altogether better and showcases a Kaling who is more confident, more assertive, and even more readable than she was before.

The SF Bluestocking 2015 Fall Reading List

I didn’t read as much this summer as I’d hoped to, but I think I’m finally coming out of my reading slump. With my daughter back in school, my days are my own again, and I’ve already been able to start reading and writing more. I’m not 100% certain about what I’ll be doing this fall, as I am beginning to look for a new day job after a couple of years of staying home, but right now my fall reading plan is pretty ambitious, mostly because there’s just an amazing amount of great stuff coming out over the next few months.

Currently, I’m finishing up Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest, which was on my summer reading list. I should be done with it in a day or so, and then I’ll be moving along to Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last so I can be sure to have it finished and post my review prior to its September 29 release date.

After that, I’ve got an ARC of An Apprentice to Elves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette that archives on NetGalley on October 13th, so that’s kind of a priority. I didn’t realize that one was the third book in a trilogy (I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover, mostly), so I’ll probably have to read the first two books as well. Unfortunately, I’ve recently read some negative reviews of the first two books that make me think this series might not be my cup of tea. If I do read these, it will be before the end of September, but I might not.

Probably my biggest plan and the thing I’m most looking forward to this fall is to read all of Tor.com’s new novellas that are being published one every week or so between now and November. The one I can’t wait for is Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, but I’m excited about all of them. There are ten in total, with publishing dates from September 1 to November 17. The big question, for me, is do I want to collect all the paperbacks or do I want to just buy the ebooks, which are much cheaper, and only get paper copies of my favorites?

In any case, the tentative plan (in the hopes that I really am out of my slump) is that I want to read one novella plus one or two novel-length works (or sometimes graphic novels/comics) each week between now and Thanksgiving. On the list so far:

Comics/graphic novels:

  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Ody-C
  • Rat Queens
  • Lumberjanes

A few leftovers from my summer reading list that aren’t necessarily priorities but that I do intend to read soonish:

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I am also super stoked about the Nightmare Magazine Queers Destroy Horror special issue in October. Queers Destroy Science Fiction was really excellent, and I loved all of last year’s Women Destroy issues, so I expect this one to be up to the same high standard. And just in time for Halloween!

My fall list isn’t quite as diverse in terms of authors as my summer one was, but it’s a good mix of different types of books. I’m really looking forward to having some comics in the mix as well. It’s going to be a good season, I think.