Mindy Kaling sat down in conversation with BJ Novak at BookCon 2015 Saturday. If you’ve never had the chance to go to a book convention, let me tell you that special events like this kind of panel have the feel of a rock concert with DJs and free stuff and screaming teens. You wouldn’t think that bookworms could totally get down, but we do.
That Kaling and Novak are old and dear friends is readily apparent from the very beginning, and if nothing else, he has his hands full keeping their talk on track about her new book Why Not Me: Style Tips for Pear Shaped Women. They start by discussing the trajectory of this book and its comparison to her first book.
“I had a lot of fun in the first book telling people who I was…how I was different from my character in the show. The thing with this book is I know now people like me…so I’m incredibly honest and vulnerable in this book. And it’s scary,” Kaling admitted when Novak asked how they compared. She also said that this new book is about the last five years of her life during which it feels like more has happened than in the preceding thirty. (This was after many jokes about how they are both in their late 20s.)
Some of the chapters we can look forward to in the new book include the perfectly-titled opener, “Hello,” followed by “For the Ladies – How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions”. Mindy says it requires perfect lighting all the time and that you should lurk in shadows like the vampire Nosferatu. They also discussed the similarities between a really good job and a really rocky relationship, and Mindy’s forever quest to make a really good female friend.
“It’s so much harder to find a woman you want to talk to than a man you want to sleep with,” Kaling told the applauding crowd about halfway through. While she jokes about wanting to be married and having no children, I think it was clear to us in the audience that she truly values her close friendships and the foundations those people in her life provide even while she and her best friend joked about how they had to find ways to monetize their time together just to get the chance to hang out (like this panel appearance). Novak joked that his next book would be titled It’s Not About Me.
The Q&A that followed their talk touched on issues of identity, crushes in rom-coms, and all the wonderful people who have guest starred on The Mindy Project (which moves to Hulu soon!). There was really no way to keep the audience questions focused on the book itself, but they tried their hardest.
Why Not Me: Style Tips for Pear Shaped Women will hit bookstores on September 29th. It should be a great further look at the wonderful journey Mindy Kaling has been on since beginning her career, and hopefully it will hint at the grand steps she’ll take in the future. She joked that the only goal she made in her first book that was actually accomplished was finding her natural lip line so the end goals with this one are simpler: Make one really good female friend. Because that is easy.