Every fan of The Princess Bride is sure to fall in “twue wuv” with As You Wish, a loving memoir of the making of one of the most universally adored movies in history by the Dread Pirate Roberts himself, Cary Elwes. If you’re still not satisfied, you can ask your grandpa to read to you from Which Lie Did I Tell?, by William Goldman, who wrote both the screenplay for the film and the novel upon which it is based, featuring an account of how the film’s surprising success saved his floundering career. Don’t miss either of these—I mean it! (Anybody want a peanut?)
After the smashing success of best-pal Tina Fey’s Bossypants, I can’t imagine the pressure Amy Poehler was under to deliver with Yes Please, but her hybrid memoir/showbiz insider account more than delivers. It’s one of the funniest books of the year, packed with insights on life, motherhood, marriage, and making it as a woman in the cutthroat world of comedy. If you’ve already shown love to Tina and Amy, go straight to the source with I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron, a trailblazer whose remarkable career set the stage for so many funny ladies who followed her.
In 1984, William Gibson’s Neuromancer managed to more or less accurately predict exactly the ways the rise of the not-yet-invented Internet would change all of our lives (even if some of the more outlandish sci-fi trappings, like neural implants, haven’t come to pass quite yet). The jury is still out on whether his newest work, The Peripheral, which deals in quantum theory, augmented realities, immersive gaming, advanced drones, and global catastrophe, will be regarded as prescient one day. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea to read both of these books, just to be prepared.
The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber, is lyrical literary sci-fi, the epic story of a missionary sent to spread the good word to the alien inhabitants of a distant planet, even as the Earth he’s leaving threatens to crumble away in a global environmental and political disaster. Mary Doria Russell’s 1996 debut novel, The Sparrow, similarly imagines the hardships and communication barriers faced by a band of Jesuits who travel to make contact with a distant star and discover that some cultural divides may simply be too great to bridge.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, uncovers the feminists roots of the world’s most famous superheroine via the strange history of her polygamist, counter-cultural creator. For another book that takes a look at female heroes, feminism, and sexism in comics, The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, by Mike Madrid, is an engaging, pop-academia read.