Reading Challenge

RC2015 – November I: Why Not Me?

Good afternoon readers. Yes, I have completed the first half of my November Reading Challenge, and I am quite happy about it. I sipped on a Cappuccino while I lazily sat reading this morning as I finished Why Not Me?, and no, not a Cappuccino from a quaint, cozy coffee shop; a delicious powdered mix spooned into a mug of hot water I heated in a kettle on my stove. It was bliss.

This book was a little different than Mindy Kaling’s first, and rightfully so I suppose since she’s not caught in a time warp where she just writes the same life stories over and over again. It focuses more on her career as it is now (yay) and isolated relationships (ooh la la). And I mean isolated as in she discusses at length just a handful of relationships, rather than speaking only in generalities. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll just say one of my favorite chapters in the book was the one with Will. Don’t pressure me to tell you!

Her witty and excited tone was there still – I’ll never get tired of that. And, I was so happy that she talked about B.J. Novak, dreamy, mysterious, genius-ly funny man and her best friend B.J. Novak. She writes about how her deep admiration, and love, for him is complicated but wonderful and cherished all the same.

I take book jackets off hardcover books because 1. They always slide up when I'm reading & 2. Because reading a naked hardcover book makes me feel royal and worldy.
I take book jackets off hardcover books because 1. They always slide up when I’m reading & 2. Because reading a naked hardcover book makes me feel regal and worldly.

I do have to say that this book was not, at first, as captivating as her previous. There were nugget chapters like the photography-aided chapter where she takes us through a “normal” day; the chapter Greg Daniels contributed was a pleasant surprise, and I think important in not only learning who Mindy Kaling considers her mentor, but also as a reminder of who the wonderful brains behind some of the most beloved television shows are (hint: it’s not [just] the actors). “Beloved television shows” sounds trivial, I know. But seriously, what else would you call The Office besides pivotal, life changing, brilliant? Also, her “worry list” chapter, as short as it was, had me in quiet tears.

Nuggets like the ending chapters, including an alternate-reality story created with emails and text messages, and advice Mindy claims we’ll never need, although I took it as advice I didn’t know I needed, or, reaffirming advice (all good). I will admit the beginning got off on a slow start, and I’m not sure if it’s because when I started I had just finished another comedic memoir by a woman I admire and should have switched up the genre to prevent exhausting my love for memoirs, or, no, I’ll just leave it at that. That’s definitely what it was.

Other nuggets included realizations like why we (I) adore love stories. Because of the romance, or, the “marriage plot.” “Because you see everything except the wedding.”¹ The scary and frustrating feelings, like how “It’s weird when you feel your dreams slipping away from you. Especially when you have no other dreams.”² And, the trophy advice I wish was practiced not just for children but for teens and adults too. “‘They gave you that trophy so you wouldn’t feel bad, not because you deserved it'” (Mindy received a trophy for best-dressed at a basketball camp).³

Love stories and romance, dreams and frustrations, hard work and appropriate commendation. Being obsessed, holding yourself to high standards, not always succeeding, and then being successful because you worked in a dedicated manner (okay, you worked your ass off) are all things to be rewarded – whether it’s by a promotion, self-realization, a confidence boost, a glass of spectacular wine, or just being able to push further because you’ve reached a higher level of endurance.

Read this book if you’re a fan of Mindy, read it if you’re not. I know I’m usually an all-around positive advocate for books, but I honestly think anyone could enjoy it. If you don’t think you could, open your mind and give it a shot. Even if you don’t like it, by the end, I will still have won because you read it. If you’re someone who can stand reading only parts of books (what kind of demon person are you?!?) then contact me and I’ll let you know which specific chapters to read based on my favorites.* Sometimes we all need a little reaffirmation that the people we love on-screen are having some of the basic thoughts and are experiencing similar feelings as we are, and sometimes we don’t and just want a little insight into their lives because obviously they are [seemingly always] glamorous and different.

Now that I’ve finished Part I of my November Reading Challenge, Part II starts RIGHT NOW! GO! GO!

And if you’ve forgotten and don’t want to look back at my November Reading Challenge Intro, the next title is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Happy reading!

Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? (New York: Crown Archetype, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2015)
¹Kaling, Some Thoughts on Weddings, 24.
²Kaling, How To Get Your Own TV Show (And Nearly Die of Anxiety), 77.
³Kaling, Why Not Me?, 219.


*I reserve the right to oust your demonism to the public


  • An Historian

    Mindy’s first book is one of those iconic books for me that made me change the way I thought about some things, so I think I went into Why Not Me with really high expectations. Consequently, it was a bit of a let down for me :(Still entertaining but didn’t have the same weight behind it. I would have preferred she wait until she had a bit more material, it felt like she rushed to get another book out just because!

    • Kelsey

      Gosh, what a mess the end of this blog post is. If you ever need an example of a horrible run-on sentence here you go. HA! Anyway, I agree with you. This one definitely isn’t as consistently impressionable as her first, and it would have been more interesting (I think) if she had written it ten or fifteen years later rather than (approximately) four.

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