Or … just enjoy some good reads and omit that grease from your diet. Whatever.
Here are a few books that I’ve enjoyed (or not) as of late.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – I’m pretty much the last human on the planet to read Malcolm Gladwell. There, I said it. Feel free to shame me openly. I don’t know why I’ve resisted his books, but I enjoyed this one. His approach to revisiting ideas that are mostly givens (but shouldn’t be) is refreshing. Except for the section about people whose kids had been murdered, this was a really invigorating read. (Dead kids. I just can’t do it.)
Fragile Beasts: A Novel – In Coal Run and Back Roads, Tawni O’Dell so beautifully captures small-town life, its politics, and its bittersweet honesty. In Fragile Beasts, some of that delicate narrative is there, but she also intersperses tales of Spain and bullfighting. Now, I’m from a small town, so those sections really spoke to me. But I’m not from Spain, so the bullfighting sections? Not so much. Still, an engrossing read.
Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema – Gurl, I love me some old-school Hollywood gossip. Current gossip? Ehh. But give me a Mack Sennett bathing beauty with a coke problem or a 1930s gangster actor with a little bigamy issue, and I’m all over it. Anne Helen Petersen is literally a doctor of celebrity gossip and wrote a series of fascinating columns for The Hairpin. Now, she’s pulled together all new content about the Hollywood truth machine in this fab book. Pickford and Fairbanks? Check. Bogey and Bacall? Check. Montgomery Clift? Oh, check. Check it out.
At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life – It’s no secret that I love me some Wade Rouse. He’s hilarious and honest, and this memoir of leaving the city to live amongst nature and dirt and stuff is funny and tender. Wade isn’t afraid to dish about times when he was a fish out of water and looked like a fool. Sure, his ego might have taken a hit, but we readers benefit. This book is also a lesson in accepting yourself and how imperfections make our perfection.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler novelized the life of the most infamous author’s spouse around. This book is at times energizing and at others heartbreaking. Mostly, it raises the question of whether Zelda really was crazy, or just a narcissist trapped by a bad marriage and restrictive gender roles. When I read The Paris Wife, I decided that I’d made a good life choice by not marrying Ernest Hemingway. After reading Z, I determined that not marrying Scott Fitzgerald was a similar life win.
So, friends, what are you reading? What should I pick up next?