By Sara Benincasa for Bookish.
Mindy Kaling may like shopping just as much as Kelly Kapoor, her character on “The Office,” does (just check outside Kaling’s clothes-obsessed Twitter feed @mindykaling) however she’s a bit more cerebral than her TV counterpart. The actress, a Dartmouth graduate and writer/producer at “The Office,” cites acclaimed playwrights with the same fondness she displays for the Encyclopedia Brown series. Kaling’s high- and lowbrow appeal is on fine exhibit in her textbook of essays, “Is Everyone Hanging Outside Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” Bookish sat down with her for an interview and quickly understood why fans often tell her she reminds them of a close pal.
Bookish: When you were a small kid, what was your favorite textbook?
Mindy Kaling: I loved a textbook called “The Westing Game,” which was a murder mystery. It didn’t really condescend to kids, which I liked. I’m very sensitive to books that are condescending, and I felt that textbook was just a fantastic, well-written mystery thriller that happened to be well loved with kids.
Bookish: When it comes to books, do you have any guilty pleasures?
MK: We all know the difference between me enjoying Sweet Valley High versus James Joyce. As a kid, I always loved serialized books. It’s the cause why human beings like Harry Potter. Serialization is incredible. It works in television. It works in film and it works in books. Exceptionally when you’re a young kid, you get attached to these characters.
For me when I was growing up it was, the Sweet Valley High series, and The Baby-Sitters Club series. There’s something just sort of cozy and wonderful about coming back to the same characters and seeing them on this adventure. And the Encyclopedia Brown books—those were my most favorite. I wish I could affirm, “No, what I really loved were the artsy kids books like ‘Go Inquiry Alice,’” however that’s just disturbing.
Bookish: Have you glance at the Francine Pascal Sweet Valley High adult novel in which they’re all outside of college?
MK: What? They’re in their twenties? Is it dark? Is it sexy?
Bookish: It is. They smoke!
MK: I wonder if I would like that. Since what I loved about those books, much as a kid, was that you know they are showing restraint. You know that one of the reasons you’re allowed to glance at them is since they don’t go there about sex and drugs and all that deception to your parents and all that kind of stuff. I’m worried that if I were to glance at that it’d be like seeing Archie and Veronica having sex in the comics, you know what I mean? I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it, however that sounds attractive juicy.
Bookish: You inscribe for television. You’ve written for the stage. Was there a textbook or play that inspired you to inscribe?
MK: Nearly every college playwright or sketch or improv comedian was sort of aware of Christopher Durang—much kids in high college. His small plays were so accessible to younger human beings and I reckon that was inspirational to me. Plus, obviously, “Saturday Night Live” and things like that.
That’s when I chose that dialogue was a very fun body to try and master. Writing a textbook is the most terrifying body that I’ve ever done. It’s so much harder than writing for television since it is a completely different skill locate. I reckon human beings reckon, “A writer’s a writer’s a writer,” however it has been such a brutal challenge—in a excellent path.
Bookish: It’s not like when you’re performing, affirm, or much when you’re in a writers’ room, where you throw everything against the wall and you see what sticks.
MK: And you get feedback immediately. One of the reasons I much chose to do a textbook was since I Twitter. Twitter is the most incredible medium for a comedy writer. I can’t get in every thought I desire on the exhibit no affair how dense I try to bully the other writers, so it’s a path of me getting outside other comic thoughts and immediately getting feedback… The Tweets that I have written that are most well loved are the ones that are the kind of universal girly concerns and observations. It has been incredibly helpful writing my textbook since I went and printed outside the most re-Tweeted Tweets. It was a fantastic small source textbook.
Bookish: What is your favorite body about your textbook?
MK: I feel like there are a abundance of books immediately by celebrities—if I’m loosely categorized in that collection—with advice about how to be as awesome as they are. What I’m proud of about my textbook is that I’m giving a abundance of opinions, however I don’t give any advice. I’m 31 and I’m not married and having kids. I’m five-foot-three. I weigh, like, 150 pounds and I’m not in this position to be telling human beings how to live. Everyday, I’m like, “Should I try the Dukan diet? Should I go anorexic for a while? Could I much do that?” Bulimia is also disgusting. My hair would fall outside.
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