Amy Schumer Couldn't Finish 'Fifty Shades Of Grey,' But She Loves Elena Ferrante

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo author Amy Schumer talked books with The New York Times, and she dished on the book she couldn't finish, the books she loves, and the book she's currently reading. Schumer's got a pretty relatable taste in reading material, so let's dive into "Amy Schumer: By the Book."

The New York Times asked Schumer which book just didn't live up to the hype, forcing her to DNF out. Her response:

“Fifty Shades of Grey.” [sic] I only made it three pages in. That feels mean to write, but I truly felt so alone. Everyone loved that book, and I couldn’t wait to get on the ride with them, but it was unreadable to me. I loved the movie, though, and have watched it several times.

So Amy Schumer isn't a fan of E.L. James. What does she like?

The comic tells The New York Times that she "read[s] everything by Elena Ferrante," and some YA, but doesn't read self-help books: "Maybe I should." She reads a lot of historical fiction, a pastime she says "started when [she] was a teenager with 'Memoirs of a Geisha' [sic] and never stopped."

Right now, Schumer is reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, and Hawaii by James Michener, but she concedes that Hawaii is an "interesting and beautiful but slowwwww" read.

Schumer also lists Jonathan Ames (The Double Life Is Twice as Good), Jason Zinoman (Shock Value), Emily Nussbaum ("The Little Tramp"), Amber Tamblyn (Dark Sparkler), Martin McDonagh (Hangmen), Samantha Bee (I Know I Am, But What Are You?), and Jessi Klein (You'll Grow Out of It).

(Incidentally, You'll Grow Out of It is currently in my Overdrive queue, so Amy Schumer and I clearly share some kind of psychic connection.)

Like most of us, when she was young, Schumer latched on to a literary work, misinterpreted it, and thought it was the greatest thing ever:

I also love Mike Nichols’s film adaptation of Edward Albee’s play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” When I was in my 20s, I thought the yelling and drinking and sexy anger between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was what love was supposed to look like. The endless brown liquor drinks, the cigarettes always being freshly lit in Elizabeth Taylor’s very lipsticked mouth, and the unbridled, constant rage. . . . It was all so appealing to me. By the way, that movie has a knockout dance scene as well, when Elizabeth Taylor dances with George Segal’s character while simultaneously screaming at her husband on the sidelines. [sic]
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Some other books Schumer lists among her favorites:

  • A Lotus Grows in the Mud by Goldie Hawn
  • The Berenstain Bears series by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  • The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
  • Almost Interesting by David Spade
  • "All the Roald Dahl books"
  • The Coloring Book by Colin Quinn
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Professional by W.C. Heinz
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
  • The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight

Amy Schumer's book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo , is available Aug. 16 from your favorite retailer.