I wanted to share a bit about my literary background and the authors that continually inspire me. I studied literature in school. I enjoy the classics from time-to-time, but my fave genre might be nonfiction memoir and editorial commentary. Some of my go-to authors are Chuck Klosterman, Marisa De Los Santos and Kristin Harmel.
My last big reading kick was inspired by comedy writers. It began with “Live From New York,” a compilation of stories from hosts and actors on Saturday Night Live. There’s a lot of behind the scenes story telling and a strong New York Vibe. While I never watched the old episodes of SNL, the creativity of the show intrigues me, and it so often involves one of my fave tropes ever: satire.
The other SNL writers that I’ve discovered and loved are the big guns in female comedy.
Yes, Please – Amy Poehler’s book “Yes, Please” is an honest, raw tour of her life. While it doesn’t have the same energy as some of the other SNL autobiographies, you get to learn more about who the actress is.
Bossy Pants – Tina Fey’s memoir has quite a few more laugh out loud moments and also takes you into the story of how she overcame challenges to become the fierce leader in comedy she is today.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling actually has 2 books. “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” and “Questions I Ask When I Want To Talk About Myself”. Her wit sparkles in these books that get a bit more into some of the vulnerabilities of womanhood and the work it takes to be a star. I feel like she succeeds in her memoir writing in places where he sitcom sometimes falls short. Always a big fan of the ever-girly and sassy Mindy.
Crazy Salad and Scribble Scrabble – Nora Ephron has some excellent comedy reads also. Her name might sound familiar as she wrote some great 90’s rom coms, including “When Harry Met Sally”. Her books have mini-essays and are a little headier, but she provides interesting perspectives on love, feminism, body issues, consumerism, aging and more. I still need to explore the many other titles she’s written.
Non-fiction is exciting because it lets you peer into the life of a writer. The first book that drew me into this genre was Dave Eggars’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” There’s a lot of humor in this book, although it does take a bit of a nasty change of tone when the narrator seems to turn on the reader and unleash his bitterness with the world. Still, a fascinating read.
To be fair, I probably read “Catcher in the Rye” around this time or right before and was perhaps then introduced to non-fiction memoir. I tried to re-read this as an adult and didn’t like it, but as a youth, the style was thoroughly engrossing and made me feel less alone in high school. Other celebrities with autobiographies I enjoy include Mia Farrow and Bob Dylan.
More on this topic to come