I’m pretty sure you all know that David Sedaris has a new book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Maybe you’re even one of the 1,095 people on the waiting lists for our 217 copies (that’s five different formats: print, large print, CD, eaudio and ebook). But there are some other writers out there who are funny. And this month* is the perfect time to get to know these three a little better:
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Trust me when I say that Lawson is hilarious. You may know her as The Bloggess (or @TheBloggess on Twitter), and she shines in those transient mediums. In other words, a little of The Bloggess goes a long way and in small bites she is absolutely hilarious. (I found the funny waning when I tried to read cover to cover, but was back laughing when I took in her vignettes in 20- to 30-minute chunks.) In her mostly true memoir, Lawson tells of growing up in a small town in Texas with a dad whose taxidermy hobby meant that at any time she might enter the bathroom and be greeted by a tub of raccoons. Some rough language, but if you’re not shy, give her a try.
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff
You’re going to want to get on the waiting list for this one. Rakoff, who many of us know mostly for his essays on This American Life, died last summer at the age of 47 (see his New York Times obituary). As he endured the last months of cancer treatments, he stayed driven to finishing his first novel, knowing that it would be published posthumously. Ira Glass, executive producer of This American Life, was quoted in this New York Times piece on Rakoff saying, “Its dirty little secret is that David was probably a better novelist than he was an essayist. I mean, he was a great essayist, famous and all that, but that came so hard to him, and I think writing this, writing drama, gave him so much more pleasure.” While you wait for the novel, read one of his books of essays; better yet, listen to them.
We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons by Tim Kreider
Kreider’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Film Quarterly and The Comics Journal. His popular comic strip The Pain—When Will It End? ran in alternative weeklies and was later collected into a series of three books by Fantagraphics. In this collection of personal essays, Kreider tackles the everyday and the lifechanging with an insight and style that satisfies my craving for more David Foster Wallace AND David Sedaris. I wouldn’t normally quote a book blurb (unless writing about Stephen King’s book blurbs), but this one is too perfect. Richard Russo says, “Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in American and his subversions–by turns public and intimate, political and cultural–are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs.”
*Or any month. Just trying to make this sound topical and timely for summer reading. But honestly, read these authors any of the 12 months.