Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Recommendations! Because Reasons.

I'm going to be quiet for a bit this week. I need some mental health time, because REASONS. Instead of leaving you with nothing to read, have a few book suggestions!

It's Banned Book Week, so go here, pick a title, and read a banned book to celebrate your freedom to read! Here in the U.S., no one actually legally can break into your house, steal all your books and burn them! We hope! Who knows? I mean, we don't know what will happen if Trump becomes president, other than that I will be leaving this country for Canada, which is much better in many ways, including health care, ready access to yarn, bears, and also Tim Horton's. While you're reading your banned book, read this article about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks being contested because. to quote the author, "a parent in Tennessee has confused gynecology with pornography."

I've been reading memoirs lately, and here are two you MUST read:

Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), Touchstone, 2015.

I adore Felicia Day, because she is the sort of quirky and funny I wish I was, but I know I'm not actually cute enough to pull it off and end up seeming much more crazy in real life. I identify so much with her drive to be perfect (yay, 4.0!) at the expense of everything, and reading her book, I could laugh at myself a bit as I read about her struggles in completing the Worst Math Class of All Time. Although unlike me, Felicia actually double majored in violin and mathematics, while I cannot play the violin or math effectively. Whatever. She's hilarious, read her book. I want to be Felicia Day when I grow up.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Flatiron Books, 2015.

Now it is time for a story about how I found Jenny Lawson, because it is funny to me and maybe will be to you.*

Back in the days of dial-up internet, I started a blog in my spare time between college classes and working four jobs at the same time. I gave the link to a few friends, expecting nothing to come of it and wondering if I would give up on this thing within a few weeks. Time passed, and one of my friends came up to me and brought up the blog. She told me my writing style reminded her of The Bloggess and I cautiously replied, "Oh, thank you..." because I had no idea what she was talking about and was afraid I was being made fun of, as I usually am when someone gives me a compliment. **

See, I had no internet at home that could load pictures or frames or sound or colors or words, so I didn't read blogs much. I only knew what blogs were because some lady came and gave a talk at our college about blogging and blog culture. I was like, "Why am I awake for this?" Because she was very boring.

All while my friend was talking to me, I was thinking, "Who the heck is The Bloggess and should I be insulted that she's comparing me to some lady on the internet, maybe I should look this lady up because I am afraid, is my style really unoriginal? I am unoriginal. I am a failure. I suck at writing and life and I will die miserable and alone."

I don't cope with things well at all. My panic/anxiety-riddled visions of the future always end with me, miserable and alone, all my family and friends gone and me curled up in the fetal position, unable to cope with all the loneliness and despair. Somehow, even though my real-life health is terrible, in my anxiety-brain, I outlive everyone and end up aged and alone forever. I cannot decide if this means I subconsciously think I am immortal or if I am just really narcissistic, in which case I am so sorry, friends and relatives, for being a massive jerk.

I then looked up The Bloggess and read about a giant metal chicken named Beyoncé and laughed so hard I cried and then had to use my inhaler. It turns out my friend actually liked me after all. Also now I had a new blog to follow, which made me extremely happy.

As I read, I discovered that I was not the only one who created terrible images of the future out of sheer panic--Jenny Lawson does too. Her new book, Furiously Happy, explores the dark and the delightful aspects of mental illness, and it makes me love her even more. I am super-grateful to the friend who led me to discover Jenny, and to Jenny for being awesome in all possible ways.

If you haven't read it, you should also read Jenny's first book because in it is a story about Jenny running into the corpse of a deer, which she lived through, somehow. Pretty sure if that happened to me as a child, I would be institutionalized, screaming "BAMBI, WHY? BAMBI? WHYYY????" until my voice was gone forever, lost to the void along with my sanity.

Okay. Now you have reading material. Enjoy yourself while I crawl underneath this desk and wait for everything to explode, or implode, or maybe wither into nothingness. We'll see how this week turns out.

* I almost cut this whole section because to me it seemed like maybe I sounded like a self-satisfied jerk, which is something I worry about a LOT. 

** I think she probably meant that The Bloggess and I both write about weird/terrible things that happen to us in our ordinary lives in an effort to amuse others, not that I am actually good at writing things, because we all know I never edit anything and write these posts on the fly, stream-of-consciousness, when I feel like it and on no sort of real schedule. Also I have no taxidermy-anything at my house, just lots of cheese.


  1. I cannot wait to read Furiously Happy. Let's Pretend This Never Happened is one of my all-time favorite books, and I really really really need a Jenny Lawson book in my life right about now.