This week saw the release of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), by internet-famous comedienne Jenny Lawson, whose tagline is “Like Mother Teresa, Only Better.” Well, we don’t think we’re quite ready to give an opinion on that, but the release of Lawson’s hilarious memoir got us thinking about how much we love a good true-to-life rib-cracking tale. In truth, many of the most successful memoirs are funny, if only because the trials and tribulations of any human life always tend to have a little bit of absurdity to them, and because any good memoir cuts the pain a little bit with a joke or two. But these go above and beyond the usual wry self-deprecation, and are guaranteed to have you giggling to yourself long into the night. Click through to read our list of the funniest memoirs we could think of, and be sure to suggest your own favorites in the comments. … Read More
More and more memoirs seem to come out every year — a product, perhaps, in our unslakable interest in the human condition — but as far as we’re concerned, 2011 was a particularly great one. We had actually wonderful celebrity memoirs, unusual and experimental prose, and particular standouts in the traditional memoir fields of family history and tragedy. Click through to read about our favorite memoirs of the year, and since we can’t possibly have read all the great ones out there, be sure to chime in with your own picks in the comments. One note: the last entry on the list — a really fantastic book — may be slightly NSFW. Proceed with caution. … Read More
Diane Keaton’s memoir, Then Again, is out today, and that’s about all the excuse we need to sing the praises of one of our all-time favorite leading ladies. In 50 films over the course of 40-plus years, Keaton has assembled a body of work that is unique in today’s cinematic landscape: she’s crafted a distinctive and memorable onscreen persona, without repeating herself or wearing out a tired shtick. After the jump, we’ve selected ten of our favorite individual moments — a scene, a conversation, even a look — from her career; add your own in the comments. … Read More
You might know Diane Farr as agent Megan Reeves in the television series Numb3rs, but we prefer her in the FunnyOrDie skit, AssCastles. Farr recently released her “concept memoir,” titled, Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After, where she introduces her relationship with her Korean-American husband in order to explore how other couples and their families have dealt with miscegenation issues. Though the writing isn’t stellar, the fundamental premise is a good one, since we still very much live in a racist country, despite all the “post-race” discussions we all had following the 2008 presidential election.
With this in mind, we decided to run a list of 10 controversial couples in literature. We all know the forbidden romance between Romeo and Juliet and Heloise and Abelard, but what about other works of literature that feature transgressive love? The categories are as follows: Age difference, racial difference, star-crossing, class mixing, same-sex relationships, extramarital affairs, and our favorite: sibling love. … Read More
Growing up female is hard work; you have to be attractive, independent, smart, and funny, but not too challenging if you want to get a date. Or you could just be pretty, but that’s not as much fun, is it? The following is a group of women who have recently written memoirs about their tumultuous twenties and thirties, with the exception of Alexandra Styron, who writes about growing up in the shadow of her father, William, a founder of the Paris Review and the author of Sophie’s Choice. Anne Roiphe also writes about William Styron in her book, but through a decidedly different lens — that of a sexual encounter with him: “I am like a glass left on the bar, empty, a lipstick stain on the lip, a melted ice cube at the bottom.” All of these women write about the men who have shaped their lives during these confusing years, when they’re striving to make something of themselves while also attempting to find love and happiness along the way. As Lisa Belkin writes in the New York Times, “How does Tina Fey juggle it all?” How do all of these women? … Read More
Susie Bright has had a slew of jobs during her life, but the title “sexpert” seems to fit her best. The co-founder of On Our Backs, the first erotica magazine run by women, has an abundance of life experience to share in her new memoir, Big Sex Little Death. New York readers have the opportunity to see Doug Henwood interview Bright at The Strand this Thursday at 7pm, so head over and razz her about the book. In the meantime, click through for Bright’s thoughts on everything from regulating sex workers to the Egyptian protests. … Read More
Writer and artist Belle Yang’s first foray into the graphic-novel format, Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, is a coming-of-age family saga that eschews the typical saccharine baggage of the memoir.
Yang spent more than 14 years composing and illustrating this autobiographical tale — a story that combines her own struggles as a self-doubting twentysomething Chinese-American with the legacy of struggle that her father’s family experienced in China. Rather than forcing a tidy parallel between the two tales, Yang instead presents a natural concurrence — at most a subtle complement — between her own experiences and the highly-nuanced drama of her heritage. … Read More
It’s not easy being rich. But despite a family tendency to madness, alcoholism and suicide, Wendy Burden, a fourth generation Vanderbilt, may have grown up to be the funniest memoirist since David Sedaris. “It’s a testament to his libido, if not his character,” she begins Dead End Gene Pool, “that Cornelius Vanderbilt died of syphilis instead of apoplexy.”
The Vanderbilt fortune came down through her father’s side of the family, the Burden side (yes, “Burden,” really). Wendy was just six when her dad died — suicide, she’d learn later, snooping through boxes. Her mother’s response was to become a swinging sixties hottie, jetting to islands, getting increasingly tan, wearing frosted pink lipstick and occasionally bringing baby alligators home for Burden and her brother. … Read More
On the night of Patti Smith’s Union Square reading, and on the eve of the official release of her memoir, Just Kids, there was, as there often is, a lankly fellow in a dazzling blue band jacket playing Jimi Hendrix songs on electric guitar in the Prince Street subway station. His hair piled on his head to approximate Hendrix’s Afro, his old-school musical tribute offset by the iPod touch as accompanist strapped to his arm, it seemed a fitting spiritual transition from our modern office to Patti, a talisman from 1970s New… Read More
I should have read the description more carefully, but blogs have made me lazy. Not That Kind of Girl isn’t simply a tale of how the “good girl” lost her faith through drinking at raucous parties and romps with unfamiliar men, though you will find a bit of that here. Instead, Not That Kind of Girl is a thoughtful memoir about one young woman’s slow and arduous attempts to break up with God, a task at which she finally succeeds with a little help from New York… Read More