Primarily known for her hilarious roles in The Office, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bridesmaids, Ellie Kemper has come a long way since her days as a starry-eyed adolescent staging plays in her living room and attempting to communicate with the squirrels that hung out in her tree house. Her journey is an entertaining one, the ups and downs chronicled for readers in her relatable and chuckle-worthy memoir, My Squirrel Days (Scribner, $26). Focusing primarily on life transitions, Kemper shares the hardships and glories of Midwestern life, breaking into showbiz, and being a redhead. What does it take to make it in improvisational comedy? How does one persuade rodents to chat? What are Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, and Melissa McCarthy really like? Expertly written, these stories of joke-telling, growing up, and figuring things out are perfect for fans of Kemper’s work or those just looking for a female role model and a laugh.
Diana is a witch, though she prefers to live her life without magic. A professor of history, she wants to conduct her research in peace and is successful until a lost alchemical text finds its way into her hands. The tome is clearly enchanted, so Diana sends it back into the bowels of the library in order to keep up with her personal “no magic” rule. But the trouble has just begun. Soon, hoards of witches, daemons, and vampires join her in the library, hoping that she will once again uncover the lost manuscript. To defend herself, Diana must learn to accept and wield her inhuman gift and she quickly discovers that not all creatures are considered equal.
A genre that I’ve recently grown to love and look for is the “successful and funny women writing about their successful and funny lives” genre. I enjoyed reading the tales of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling but nothing filled my heart quite like the witty and relatable stories of Lauren Graham in Talking as Fast as I Can, which I’ve admittedly read more than once. From her beginnings as a D.C. local, to her college years on stage and her performances as the endearing Lorelei Gilmore and the rebellious Sarah Braverman, Graham opens the door to her life in a way that will make fans love her more than they already do. But back off she’s mine, okay?