You’ve seen the sketches that tackle lighthearted topics like child beauty pageants, rape, ageism in Hollywood, and body image issues. You’ve watched her standup, followed her Twitter feed, and are probably eagerly awaiting her movie Trainwreck, because Amy Schumer is, as they say, on fire.
Over the past few years, Schumer has gone from stand-up comedian and Howard Stern guest to bona fide comedy superstar. Her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer is a must-watch (seriously, have you seen her play a pageant queen? If not, do it now). And now we have Trainwreck , which Schumer wrote and stars in. She plays Amy, a boozy New York commitment-phobe who is determined to stay single. Until she meets The Guy, of course …
Schumer has become the latest funny face of feminism, but that’s not to say her social and cultural comments are just fluff. She often aims for the jugular, and has us laughing through the pain. Schumer caught some flack recently for her “shockingly large blind spot around race,” and she quickly apologized for some of her insensitive past jokes. Trainwreck opens this week, and next to that cinematic masterpiece Magic Mike XXL , it might just be one of the best feminist films of the summer. Now if Schumer would just write a book of her own …
Until that happens, here are 12 books Amy Schumer fans should check out. They’re funny, insightful, and unafraid to ask the big questions, like, “How do I achieve a perfect life?” For the answer, read on and see.
Tim & Eric's Zone Theory: 7 Easy Steps to Achieve a Perfect Life by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
Schumer recommended this one via Twitter, and it’s a brand new, must-have how-to guide about achieving bliss and leading a perfect life. The book promises to “instantly provide wellness, happiness, and total, absolute fulfillment.” It’s by the creators and stars of the Adult Swim series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories, if that tells you anything about the tone. It's more slapstick, less Pema Chödrön.
Another of Schumer’s Twitter recs. She should start a book club. This one’s from former SNL star Quinn, and Chris Rock says, “This book is like Roots with way more jokes.” It’s probably not a coloring book to give your niece on her fourth birthday, but if you’re over, say, 14, knock yourself out.
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Apatow — who happened to direct Trainwreck — talks to comedians like Mel Brooks (aka The King), Roseanne Barr, Louise C.K., Sarah Silverman, and Schumer about why they do what they do. If you’re trying to get the guts to do standup, it’s a must read. If you love comedy or just like to laugh at funny people, well, it’s a must read too.
Science … For Her! by Megan Amram
Former Parks and Recreation writer Amram wrote this spoof of science textbooks, which has invaluable tips about which religion is right for your body type, how to host your own big bang, and building a biological clock out of a potato. There’s also a special section devoted to everyone’s favorite: Kale. It’s sneakily feminist, and ridiculously funny.
Girl Walks Into a Bar... by Rachel Dratch
How many Saturday Night Live stars go on to write books? Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, and Chris Rock, to name a few. Add Rachel Dratch to the list, because her book of essays about love, romance, and dating are as funny as her skits. You have to imagine this one’s on Schumer’s bookshelf, right next to Bossypants.
Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy by Ophira Eisenberg
Like Schumer’s character in Trainwreck, Eisenberg spent years saying yes to one-night stands and no to commitment. Until, of course, she gave in and said, “I do.” If you’re not familiar with Eisenberg’s comedy, pick this one up. She’s hilarious.
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
Another female role model who swills cocktails, sleeps with whomever she wants, and doesn’t feel the need to “settle down.” Handler (and Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr) paved the way for comedians like Schumer. Respect.
Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse by Phyllis Diller
Speaking of comedians who paved the way, Diller was like a guiding light, a beacon of hope, a wild and outspoken woman on comedy stages filled with men. The book is about her struggle to rise to the top, on her own terms. Plus, you can’t beat this title.
Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler
Tyler is the voice of Lana Kane on Archer, a host of The Talk and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and the creator of the podcast Girl On Guy. She’s also really freaking funny. This one’s a book of laugh-out-loud essays about growing up nerdy, being an outsider, and finding your voice, no matter what the haters say.
I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me by Joan Rivers
It’s Joan Rivers. R.I.P. The world is a darker place without her on Fashion Police. Even so, she lives on through her books and standup (and be sure to check out the great doc about her life, A Piece of Work). If you haven’t read her books, this one’s a perfect place to start.
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Since Schumer has morphed into a feminist icon of late, fans might want to check out Friedan’s classic, groundbreaking feminist work. It’s 50 years old, so it’s a tiny bit dated, but Friedan couldn’t have predicted that online trolls would be a thing or that most women in the U.S. don’t get married at 19 anymore. Cut her some slack and give it a read.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Like Schumer, Gay effortlessly tackles tough subjects with an occasionally light (and humorous) touch. She’s not a stand-up comedian, and her humor is subtler, but if this is about creating an Amy-Schumer-Inspired Book Club, Bad Feminist definitely deserves a spot on the shelf.
And now here’s hoping that after Trainwreck, Schumer decides to write a book of her own. Chances are she’s already been asked to do just that about 400 times …