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10335308Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Pages: 222
Year: 2011
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Time taken to read: 4 days
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads synopsisMindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly! In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

For the past couple of months, TV has not interested me. I’ve barely touched Netflix, and I’m nowhere near caught up on The Big Bang Theory. However, last week I discovered The Mindy Project, and I got completely hooked. I mentioned this to a friend who said that she is also obsessed and has both of Mindy’s books, and she let me borrow this one.

I absolutely loved reading about Mindy’s time with The Office. Kelly Kapoor was one of my favorite characters (after Gabe, who I like so much mainly because nobody likes him), and I had no idea that she wrote and directed several episodes. Mindy’s rise to success was I think less inspiring than she meant it to be, however. It kind of seemed like her and her friend’s little skits made her incredibly successful practically overnight, and that did not make me feel hopeful in my plans of being successful in a creative career. That being said, the majority of the book was very funny, and Mindy’s voice was so clear, I felt like she was reading it out loud to me. A lot of people on Goodreads have criticized the little essays about random things like how guys take forever to put on their shoes, but I thought those were incredibly funny and well-placed. The one about guys’ shoes was especially great because it’s actually so true. My boyfriend has to factor in an extra five minutes in his morning routine for the time it takes to put on his boots, no lie. Anyway, the thing that brought my rating down to a 4 instead of a 5 was the number of times the word “r*pe” was used in the book, which really put me off. I thought that as a woman, Mindy would understand that that topic does not belong anywhere in comedy. Still, the rest of the book was very funny, and I will certainly be reading her second book.

Just before this book, I attempted to read a book called 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland. I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages, so I can’t write a review on it, but I thought I would mention quickly that the idea is interesting, but the writing is so poor that I didn’t even get to see the idea begin to unfold. That probably had something to do with the unnecessarily long conversations that didn’t even need to be included in the first place let alone the length that they are.

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71oy4FRjJtLTitle: Nice is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything
Author: “The Betches”
Pages: 316
Year: 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
Time taken to read: 11 days
Rating: 2/5

Goodreads synopsisLook, maybe you’re a nicegirl, but we’re guessing you’re more like us or you probably wouldn’t have picked up this book. Not that we have a problem with girls who are nice people. But being nice is just not the way to get what you want. And this book is about getting what you want. Not in a like finding happiness, giving back to the world, being grateful for what you have sort of way. But in a ruling your world, being the most desired, powerful badass in the room way, so you can come out on top of any situation: guys, career, friends, enemies, whatever.
How does a betch make that happen?
Here are some highlights: DON’T BE EASY. DON’T BE POOR. DON’T BE UGLY.
We didn’t come up with these life lessons. We’re just the ones who wrote it all down.
This is not self-help. Self-help is for fat people and divorcées. This is how to deal with your problems when you have no problems. You’re welcome.

I found this book in a B&N a few years ago and excitedly showed it to my stepdad who bought it for me for Christmas. I was putting off reading it, you know, like you do when you have a really good new book that you don’t want to be over so soon. I really wanted to like this book because my family spent hard-earned money on it and therefore I own it and will have the opportunity to read it multiple times. As you can tell from the synopsis, the book is a little nasty. It basically advocates being skinny and pretty and slutty but not too slutty all while using your daddy’s credit card to buy you all the things that will make you popular. And it wasn’t until about page 60, after a segment on how it’s okay to lose your phone when you’re drunk because you can just buy a new one, that I realized these writers are not serious. That being said, girls who are insecure should not read this because you will take it seriously and you will be negatively affected by it. It is a credit to my therapists that I could read The Betches’s blurbs about how you should never eat anything but if you have to it should be very expensive lettuce and not totally hate myself.

I think the message of this book is that, although we have these stereotypical images of fabulous sorority girls with a hundred boyfriends traveling to Aruba on spring break, people aren’t really like this. Or at least, there’s a lot more to them, which is showcased by writing about them as if there is absolutely no more to them. And while I think that’s a valid point and an interesting way of saying it, it doesn’t really need to be said, and it wasn’t said all that well. I think it was all the cracks at poor people that really got to me. As much as the authors may be joking, I couldn’t relate to the book at all because the necessity of excessive wealth is mentioned on practically every page. I can roll with the bitchiness and the sluttiness and the manipulation, but I couldn’t connect with the authors’ ideas because I was being drowned in the upper class rhetoric. This made me feel like I was locked out of being in on their humor.

The actual writing in this book was mediocre. There were a number of typos and errors that an editor should have noticed. I thought that some of the terms and references were outdated, even for 2013. For example, I’ve literally never heard anyone use the term “muploads” (to mean “mobile uploads”). That sounds very 2000’s. I don’t even know what a “mobile upload” would be. And a lot of what they have to say is old news. There are paragraphs and paragraphs on how you should wait to text a guy after you hook up with him. Sorry, Betches, but that’s pretty obvious. The authors advertise for putting as little work into things as possible, and that’s clearly what they did when coming up with content for this book. I skimmed several sections for this reason. What I really hated, though, was how this book was organized in terms of section placement on the page. Sometimes I would have to skip one of their little side-notes to finish reading a section that went onto the next page and then flip back to read the note. So basically they wrote this book out of f**king order, and it was extremely irritating.

I ended up giving this book 2 out of 5 stars because, while I was laughing out loud quite a few times while reading this, I came away from it feeling nothing. And that’s how you know a book is a waste of time and trees.

(P.S. Yes, it has been a while since my last review, but only because I’m currently reading multiple books at once, so I’m getting through them more slowly. I have not abandoned this blog, and I am always taking notes for new reviews!!)