Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Reviews in Brief, Audio Edition

I usually have an audiobook going these days, almost always nonfiction which I just find easier to process via my ears.

Look Alive Out There* is Sloane Crosley's latest; you might know her from her
2008 collection, I Was Told There'd Be Cake. I was not a huge fan of that book but I enjoyed it enough; the book struck me like a mash between Jen Lancaster and David Sedaris, or kind of a midway point. In Look Alive, Crosley seems older and wiser and the book strikes me as less fluffy overall but still funny and engrossing. As a background actor I enjoyed reading about her walk-on stint on "Gossip Girls" and as a New Yorker I appreciated stories about life in the West Village, about neighbors you know but don't know, and the sheer absurdity of living in the greatest city in the world. Look Alive is a terrific light read and the author's narration makes it fun.

Author narration of memoirs is something I like in general. Another good one is Jen Kirkman's I Know What I'm Doing- And Other Lies I Tell Myself, her latest about being single and middle aged and forging a life and career. I'm a fan of Kirkman's standup and found the book delightful. It picks up just after her divorce, which I gather she talked about in an earlier book, and details her life as a traveling comedian and smart woman in the world. I love her feminism and why-not approach to life. She's someone I'd love to get a glass of wine with and listening to her book was the next best thing.

Tiffany Haddish's The Last Black Unicorn* is a book I have complicated feelings about. On one level I thought it was terrific- engaging, funny and smart, Haddish has a lot to say. And her narration is like sitting next to her on a park bench and just listening to her talk. She is brutally honest about herself- I think. There was some controversy around the book initially, that she may have exaggerated or been pressured to change some of the stories about her relationship with her now ex-husband, and then I realized she cowrote the book with Tucker Max, himself no friend to women. So I don't know. I recommend the book and I basically loved it, but there are wrinkles I don't know how to work out.

Probably my overall favorite this year has been We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby. I want to be her friend. It will never happen, but I want to be her friend. Acerbic, brilliant and hilarious,
not to mention emotional and true, I loved this book so much. Irby's life is topsy-turvy and there is so much I could relate to, from the troubled relationship with parents to trying to fit into a bohemian-bourgeois adult life my childhood did nothing to train me for. And she is so funny.

Now I'm reading Liza Mundy's Code Girls*, which I'm
loving, about women who worked as cryptographers for the US military. The focus is on World War 2 but Mundy covers a lot of ground. And it doesn't hurt my interest level that many of these women were Wellesley and Seven Sisters grads and students. I shared the book with my alumnae book group on Facebook and heard a lot of positive feedback. I'm about 1/3 of the way through but it is one of those books that makes me seek out opportunities for long walks, just so I have time to listen.

My audio TBR consists of one big must-read, David Sedaris's new book Calypso*, and lots of other maybe-I'll-get-around-to-it titles. What are you listening to this summer? Let me know and I'll keep you posted in the meant time.

*FTC Disclosure: I received free, promotional copies from of the audiobooks marked with an asterisk. I purchased the others.

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