My Favorite Writers’ Favorite Books: Amy Schumer

As you know, Amy Schumer is ridiculous. I consider her my long-lost third sister. Not only does she have her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, she of course writes the material she delivers.

Here are some of Amy’s favorite books:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publisher’s description:

EVERY DAY THE SAME — Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY — And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Amy says, “I have read many of Gloria Steinem’s books, and I admire her greatly. … Her quote ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off’ is something I think about a lot. I think it has fueled a lot of my writing.”

Publisher’s description:

My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms.magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.


What’s Not to Love by Jonathan Ames

Amy says Ames “has been my favorite at what he does for as long as I can remember. The honesty and rawness of his stories have definitely inspired me.”

Publisher’s description:

Perhaps all of Jonathan Ames’ problems–and the genesis of this hilarious book–can be traced back to the late onset of his puberty. After all it can’t be easy to be sixteen with a hairless “undistinguishable from that of a five year old’s.”

This wonderfully entertaining memoir is a touching and humorous look at life in New York City. But this is life for an author who can proclaim “my first sexual experience was rather old-fashioned: it was with a prostitute”–an author who can talk about his desire to be a model for the Hair Club for Men and about meeting his son for the first time.

Often insightful, sometimes tender, always witty and self-deprecating, What’s Not to Love? is an engaging memoir from one of our most funny, most daring writers.


My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by [Ferrante, Elena]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Amy says she reads everything by Elena Ferrante, “But not right before bed, because I have furious nightmares.”

Publisher’s description:

Now an HBO series, book one in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic by Italy’s most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante, “one of the great novelists of our time.” (Roxana Robinson, The New York Times)


You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

This book is by the head writer for Amy’s TV show, “and this is good news for everyone, because she is hilarious, smart and trenchant in any medium.”

Publisher’s description:
As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.
In YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her “transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man,” attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called “ma’am” and “miss” (“Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds”).
Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.

A Lotus Grows in the Mud by Goldie Hawn

Amy names this is one of her favorite books by comedians.

Publisher’s description:

With her trademark effervescence, Goldie delivers a personal look at private and powerful events that carried her through life: her father’s spontaneity; her mother’s courage; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a parent, and a lover. She writes about her childhood dreams of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go years in 1960s New York City, the phenomenon of TV’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, her Oscar-winning debut in Cactus Flower and Hollywood stardom. She writes intimately about the challenges of love, anger and fear, and the importance of compassion and integrity. She speaks openly about her family, her partner Kurt Russell, her children; her faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn’t yet know, and her thirst for knowledge. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.


Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Another of Amy’s favorite books by comedians.

Publisher’s description:

The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly.

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

Emmy and Grammy Award–winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirland The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.


The Professional by W. C. Heinz

“It profiles a boxer before a match in the 1950s. I reread it before taping a stand-up special.” says Amy.

Publisher’s description:

Originally published in 1958, The Professional is the story of boxer Eddie Brown’s quest for the middleweight championship of the world. But it is so much more. W. C. Heinz not only serves up a realistic depiction of the circus-like atmosphere around boxing with its assorted hangers-on, crooked promoters, and jaded journalists, but he gives us two memorable characters in Eddie Brown and in Brown’s crusty trainer, Doc Carroll. They are at the heart of this poignant story as they bond together with their eye on the only prize that matters—the middleweight championship. The Professional is W. C. Heinz at the top of his game—the writer who covered the fights better than anyone else of his era, whose lean sentences, rough-and-ready dialogue, dry wit, and you-are-there style helped lay the foundation for the New Journalism of Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, and Tom Wolfe. And all the trademark qualities of W. C. Heinz are on ample display in this novel that Pete Hamill described as “one of the five best sports novels ever written.”


Small print: I’m a writer who connects writers with books, programs, and writer toys that make the writing life easier or more fun. As it turns out, people get paid for that. So some of the links I have are affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and buy something. If I recommend something you don’t agree with, just let me know. I stand by everything I suggest as a resource that will help you be the writer you want to be.