For to Read Good

I’m usually reading.

I read in the car, on planes, in bed, in lines for coffee or at the grocery store, at climbing areas between burns....Whatever the situation, I'm usually reading.

I read blogs, magazines and novels, not particularly in that order and never non-fiction unless Brad tricks me into a roadtrip-worthy book-on-cd that sounds like fiction, but turns out to have actually happened (he’s sneaky like that).

The things I read are always uplifting and rarely deal with heavy issues, with the exception of the New Yorker, which I read solely because it allows me, in what I like to call “grad school tones” to say things like, “Oh, did you see that article in the New Yorker about the fortune cookie fortune writer shortage? It’s heartbreaking that such a centuries-old trade is dying with its tradesmen.” (For more on this side of me, see here.)

Lately, though, I’ve read a few books that are worth a mention, by which I mean, “These books were so good that upon their conclusion I put my head down and cried because they were over.”

These weren’t my usual brain-fare, either; these weren’t chick lit novels or websites devoted to finding the Veronique Branquinho tie dye maxi dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore in the Sex and the City movie (which has only recently replaced my quest for the long, patchwork, J. Crew Talitha dress).

Full disclosure: I’m shallow and black-hearted and the search for these, the holy grails of dresses, does, actually, seem like a good and worthy way to spend my time. There. Now that that’s out there, we don’t have to go on pretending otherwise.

I mention these books now in hopes that you’ll rush out the bookstore and buy copies of these gems so that the authors (brilliant and hilarious) will receive fat advances from their publishers, allowing them to continue to churn out the material that delights me so.

(Add “selfish” to “shallow and black-hearted.”)

The first book:

"I Was Told There’d Be Cake,"
by Sloane Crosley

Wonderful and charming. More than once, while reading this book, I had to stop and put it down so I could throw my head back and laugh and clap my hands in delight. It’s that good. I want to be friends with this woman whose writing is so sharp while so subtle. From all the interviews I’ve read, it sounds like she’s even wonderfuller in real life – like she has that ability, unique to Swedes and hipsters from the East Village, to wear jeans and a black tank top and not look boring.

The second book:

"Possible Side Effects," by Augusten Burroughs

Actually, everything by Augusten Burroughs.

All his work is good. While a little sad at times (his unconventional childhood couldn’t have been easy), he manages to tell the unhappy parts with such a distanced bemusement that it’s not hard to read. One of my favorite parts of “Running With Scissors” (his big hit) is when he talks about how, as a kid, he covered his family’s Golden Retriever, Cream, in aluminum foil, because he “loved shiny things.”

So there you have it: my two-book list for pleasurable reading.



Cindy said...

Yeah, that reading thang. Did you read the back of cereal boxes when you were a kid?

Thanks for the recommendations. I've been meaning to pick up the cake one.

Did I miss you on your swing through the bay area when I was on vacation??

Jen Yu said...

Katieeeeeeeee! Where Arnie and Red?!?! :( We (Miss Kaweah and I) miss you.

Randall said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I am always reading too and certainly appreciate a new one!