Nothing helps me get over writers block quicker than reading. In fact, that’s a pretty common writing tip. Wanna write a book? Go read some.
In case you haven’t noticed by my tell-tale scatter brained behavior and eye bags, I’m currently both on a book tour and ’bout that novel-writing life again, and unlike the first book, this one is pouring out of a me a little easier. And dirtier. My favorite!
But to get to this point, I needed to lean on a few forms of creative inspiration. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Would it be a funny memoir? Would it be a self-help book? To play it safe, I bought the audio book, because hey, if it sucked, at least I’d get to hear it suck in his bad ass voice. Turns out, it was a little bit memoir, a little bit self-help, and zero percent suck. I liked this book. I loved hearing his stories and listening to it was like an hours long private comedy show about the romantic life of a one Aziz Ansari with the help of actual scientific evidence about love. Win. Treat yo self.
A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri. I had the absolute honor of speaking alongside Alexandra Petri at the Chicago Tribune Lit Fest. We walked in together, were offered a choice between warm or cold water, looked at each other awkwardly, laughed, and then became friends. She is funny and witty on the spot, which earns mountains from respect from me. I’ve carried her book with me in my purse for a month, stealing chapters of it in parking lots and under pool umbrellas. I didn’t want it to be over. It is intellectually hilarious, not dirty or even overt, just very subtle and smart and laugh out loud funny.
The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. Confession. I still have not read Gone Girl. I know. I’m the last one. It’s just that everyone that reads it seems so angsty and frustrated at the end; not exactly a glowing recommendation. And now there’s this book, billed as the “next Gone Girl,” the way every new sitcom is willed to be the next “Friends.” So fine, I read it. Okay not read it, I listened to it in the car on the drive down to Texas last week. First, let me just say, I am SO GLAD I bought the audio version of this, because it’s a multi-narrator book (three different women), and holy hell, can that get confusing. This book was a struggle to get into for me at first. In fact, it sorta gave me a panic attack with it’s flip flopping. But then suddenly, it sucked me in. There is a twist, I didn’t see it coming until the end, and it was fun enough to watch unfold. Honestly, this book will probably be a movie starring Kate Winslet soon (I’m calling it), so you might as well read it now to be ready.
One More Thing by B.J. Novak. So, in my head I disliked B.J. Novak. In my head he was Ryan from The Office, who I hated, so anything that came from him, I would, by default, hate. I was gifted this book and avoided reading it for months, until one day, I opened it… and I couldn’t put it down. It was brilliant and hilarious and dark and perfect. It’s not exactly non-fiction.. or fiction. It’s like a twisted reworking of life. After I finished this book, I bought the audio book, and it was just as delicious. I have read the chapter titled “Julie and the Warlord” at least 100 times, and it goes down in history as one of the best comedy pieces I have ever read. Bonus, if you have children, I highly recommend his equally amazing children’s book, The Book With No Pictures. My kids adore it and laugh hysterically reading it to each other.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. There are few better reflections of parenthood than Jim Gaffigan’s first book, Dad is Fat. If you haven’t read it, buy it now. This book is to food, what Dad is Fat is to parenting… spot on. It’s funny and glutinous and goes perfectly with pastries. Jim Gaffigan is funny. This book is funny. It’s hard to go wrong here.
And because I’m into avoiding responsibility, I’ve also been keeping my brain busy with adult coloring books. Which isn’t weird at all. Here are my current must favorites: