Celebrated for her unique blend of wit, humor, and vulnerability, the multi-hyphenate talent Mindy Kaling has captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide. With a career spanning over two decades, Kaling has made a name for herself as an actress, writer, producer, and director, while also becoming a prominent voice for diversity and representation in Hollywood.
Kaling’s career began in the writers’ room of the hit television show The Office, where she quickly became a fan favorite for her quirky and irreverent character, Kelly Kapoor. Kaling went on to create and star in her own show, The Mindy Project, which ran for six seasons and earned critical acclaim for its sharp writing and Kaling’s dynamic performance.
In recent years, Kaling has continued to expand her creative output, serving as a writer and executive producer on the hit movie Late Night, and producing and starring in the Netflix series Never Have I Ever. She’s released three memoirs to date – 2011’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), 2015’s Why Not Me? and 2020’s Nothing Like I Imagined (Except For Sometimes) – which delve into romance, friendship and fame with her trademark relatability andhumor.
In 2022, Kaling threw her hat into the publishing world with Mindy’s Book Studio, an Amazon imprint that spotlights “emerging and diverse voices, from fresh romantic comedies and poignant coming-of-age stories to suspenseful dramas with unforgettable female protagonists.” To celebrate its launch, she shared six of her favorite recent reads in a book list for Elle.
“I love Bridget Jones as much as Agatha Christie,” Kaling noted. “But all of my favorite books have one thing in common—they’re cinematic.” From sardonic ‘wellness thrillers’ to a sweeping intergenerational tale of Desai women, dive into her recommendations below.
Mindy Kaling’s Reading List
Kismet by Amina Akhtar
“I’m loving this gripping thriller set in the desert mountains of Sedona. It’s a sardonic, twisty take on ‘finding your best self,’ told from the perspective of lifelong New Yorker Ronnie Khan, who’s beginning to question her luxe new lifestyle in an Arizona wellness community.” -MK
The Goddess Effect by Sheila Yasmin Marikar
“I’m telling you, darkly comedic ‘wellness thrillers’ are a thing! After a string of personal and professional disappointments (okay, disasters), Anita ditches NYC for the promise of a healthier lifestyle in L.A. Once there, she sets snark aside and joins a grueling workout class called The Goddess Effect, run by a lifestyle guru named Venus. After snagging an invitation to one of its retreats, Anita discovers the terrifying truths behind Venus’s shiny veneer.” -MK
Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod
“I was so moved reading this timely, sharp-witted memoir from the entrepreneur, writer, and fashion insider. Danielle unpacks the cultural and societal conversation around race and representation in media, art, and everyday life from the point of view of someone who has often found herself the only Black person in the room.” -MK
The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
“This heartwarming and hilarious book is the first release from my new imprint. Sonali infuses her hopeful, authentic stories with the drama, fun, and deliciousness of Bollywood movies. I couldn’t be more excited for readers to meet the three incredible Desai women at the heart of this book!” -MK
Somebody That I Used to Know by Dana L. Davis
“I have a soft spot for fresh and witty young adult love stories. In this one, Dylan Woods is completely ghosted by her best friend, Langston. But not just ghosted. Ghosted, as in your best friend moves to Los Angeles and becomes the biggest R&B teen star on the planet and then stops talking to you, ghosted. When Dylan and Langston are forced to see each other again, old feelings (good and bad) begin to resurface.” -MK
Excuse Me While I Disappear by Laurie Notaro
“Laurie Notaro’s voice is everything, and her writing reminds me of my all-time favorite, Nora Ephron. At one point, Notaro notes how ‘the brilliance of getting older is that with each passing day, you lose an equivalent amount of fear.’ It’s empowering, candid, and perfect for anyone in your life who’s facing the other side of 50 with irreverence.” -MK
(via Elle; photo by Sophy Holland)
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