So… in case you didn’t know, I have a day job. Unfortunately my day job often becomes my night job too. Tis the life of a publicist. Although it’s challenging, never-ending, and gives me tons of anxiety… it’s super rewarding because I specialize in books. I’ve always been a reader as long as I can remember, so being immersed in book culture everyday isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, I’ve read more books in the last year than I have in a long time. When I worked in theatre, I saw tons of shows. I guess that’s just how it goes. It’s really helpful and the expectation that I read all my clients’ books. It makes sense. The funny things is that because I’m talking all day long about books, authors, publishers, and book media, I’ve found myself being more and more interested in other works that aren’t required reading. Since I have so much spare time, I’ve been adding and adding to my must-read list. Since reading is such a big part of my life and how I spend my time now, I thought it would be fun to share recaps of recent reads. Of course in full editorial disclosure, I’ll be sharing one book written by a client and one book written by someone who isn’t my client. Full honest thoughts on both. Promise.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Synopsis: Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?
If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.
My Thoughts: Good God, I wish Amy Poehler was my client. That would mean a few things: one, it would be easy to kill it in the publicity game since she is Amy freaking Poehler and two, I would get to talk to her and know her and go to lunch with her and follow her around pretending it was part of the process. Ha. Okay.. I’m exaggerating. Or am I?
Real talk… this book has fast become a favorite. Not only is Amy hilarious (duh) she dishes out some pretty spectacular life advice and all of it strangely enough was exactly what I needed to hear. I like to imagine her as my super cool aunt who is telling me all about her life and giving me advice in a non-threatening, take it or leave it kind of way. I’ve already reread several passages with a highlighter and am absorbing every last word into my psyche. There’s a reason that Amy is successful. It’s because she has worked her booty off to get where she is (and she’s uber talented) and I love that she uses her powers for good. I’m such a fan of her anyways that loving this book was just easy. My only upset is that Harvey dumped water on my copy and now it’s all poofy. Buy your own copy here.
The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall
Synopsis: The Balance Project is a story of loyalty, choices, and balance that will resonate deeply with all women who struggle with this hot-button issue. Loyal assistant Lucy Cooper works for Katherine Whitney, who seems to have it all: a high-powered job at a multibillion-dollar health and wellness lifestyle company, a successful husband, and two adorable daughters. Now, with the release of her book on work-life balance, Katherine has become a media darling and a hero to working women everywhere. In reality, though, Katherine’s life is starting to fall apart, and Lucy is the one holding it all together, causing her own life―and relationship with her boyfriend Nick―to suffer. When Katherine does something unthinkable to Lucy, Lucy must decide whether to change Katherine’s life forever or continue being her main champion. Her choice will affect the trajectory of both of their lives and lead to opportunities neither one could have imagined.
My Thoughts: The Balance Project hits right in the heart of the biggest issue that I seem to face in my own life: work/life balance. I’ve heard this book referred to as a self-help book wrapped up in fiction. The women are fictional, but man they don’t feel like it. They feel like people living in the world right now; they’re so relevant. I’m a fan of any piece of media that is trying to better the lives of women and I feel like this novel is doing just that. It’s bringing to light the timely conversation around balance and helping women to realize that there is no such thing as having it all. It feels like people are more interested in authenticity the last few years and no one is interested in a facade anymore. When we’re real with one another about our struggles just as often as we are our victories, it can break barriers of isolation. The novel was a natural progression from Susie’s interview series of the same name. She has interviewed almost 100 women and they’ve all shared their thoughts and observations on the subject. The takeaway: everyone is sacrificing something and no one is perfectly balanced all day every day. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Susie speak extensively on the subject and I know it has made a profound difference in how I see my own balance. I’ve been making genuine and intentional efforts to bring my life back into balance. I think I’ve made some improvements and part of that is thanks to Susie, her novel, and her willingness to share what she’s learned. Buy the book here.