Friday, July 31, 2009

I know what you're thinking, and yes, I have cataloged all of them

I’ve been on a big memoir/humorist book kick recently. Perhaps my verbal diet recognized the deficiency or I simply got older and started caring what other people think.

It may also have to do with my own writing and where I see it going in the not too distant future. You cannot be a good science fiction author without reading the likes of Asimov, Bradbury, and the like; so how do I expect to write my life well if I don’t do the same?

This downward spiral began a couple years ago when I discovered Augustan Burroughs, and found out Chuck Palahniuk did non-fiction as well. From there I went straight into biographies (usually boring and devoid of real “dishy” moments), then onto autobiographies. Michael Cain got nothing on nobody!! I suggest you check him out.

For the past few months, it’s been “chick lit”, a term I loathe almost as much as the books it describes. Most of them have nothing to do with me and were written by and for woman far older, more glamorous, or more deluded than myself.

Scrolling through today (the greatest website for bibliophiles), I decided to see just how many of these books I had read. I created a new bookshelf (a pretty big deal as I do not like to clutter even my virtual bookcase), and went through all the books I had listed as “read” to date. The number was higher than I anticipated, but still only accounted for 18% of my books. Then I got a little sad. Not to worry, there is plenty of time left this year to log more “learned” and “important” works in my catalog. Following are some suggestions:

It was on Goodreads that I discovered Sloane Crosley. She is witty, loves Jem and the Holigrams, and created a series of shadow boxes for each of her stories (you can see them here: Needless to say, I developed a hetero-girl crush. Finally, someone who spoke my language!

Currently, I’m devouring Jen Lancaster and Laurie Notaro (I combine them both because I simply can’t keep them straight in my head). I was skeptical at first- they seemed like every other horrible female writer and one is even Republican, but they proved me wrong. Yes, they talk about “girly” things- boys, weight, shopping; but in a more bitter and bitchy way. Their love lives were footnotes (quite literally in Lancaster’s case as she loves this literary device)- the boyfriends, then fiancés, than husbands- casually mentioned or woven into the story, and rarely in a “boys drool” or “He’s so dreamy ” kind of way.

For traveling see: Bill Bryson or Anthony Bourdain (bonus food gems!)
Religion: A.J. Jacobs “Year of Living Biblically”
Autobiography: all Michael Cain, Tony Curtis “American Prince”, and any Carrie Fisher
It’s no secret I love the movies: Robert Rodriguez “Rebel without a Crew”, Julia Phillips “You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again”, and James Lipton “Inside Inside”- seriously.Hospitality: Amy Sedaris “I Like You”


  1. Three additions to pass on in hopes of sharing the literary goodness:
    ~The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson (the new Dear Abby) is a fairly entertaining memoir.
    ~Julie & Julia by Julie Powell is as well. i highly doubt the upcoming movie will do its snarky style justice.
    ~Losing My Religion by William Lobdell is another quality religion book/memoir. It shows both sides of the coin and doesn't get preachy as many books on the topic do.

  2. Thanks for the additions! I'm going to add them to my Goodreads now!

  3. Oh, I love Jen Lancaster. Despite her penchant for Ann Coulter. That scares the bejesus out of me.

  4. Thankfully she keeps her political misfortunes to herself

  5. You may want to check out when you get a chance. That or let me come to your place and build you a fort out of all these.

  6. I don't think I could get rid of any of them! I need more wall space for more bookcases, although I like the fort idea. I wonder what my cat would make of that...