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  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2018/06/13 Permalink
    Tags: , by invitation only, calypso, , , david sedaris, , , , , , , , , , , rainy day friends, , , the cast, , the perfect couple   

    10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind 

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    Summer is nearly here! That means plenty of time for lounging about in the great outdoors. Here are 10 page-turning stories to enjoy as you soak up the sun. Some are light and breezy, and others are a bit darker—covering everything from murders to social media scandals. There are fresh starts and betrayals and secrets. They all have one thing in common, though: They’re each filled with beautiful, colorful characters who will make you want to keep turning the pages, even when the going gets rough. (Especially when the going gets rough, actually.)

    So put on your biggest shades, slather on the SPF-whatever-you-need, and enjoy! Just don’t forget to turn over once in a while.

    The Cast, by Danielle Steel
    Hoping to dip your toes into a glamorous, Hollywood-esque story? Seek no further! Steel’s yarn is about a woman, Kait Whittier, who has a respectable magazine writing career. After meeting Zack Winter, a television producer, Kait becomes inspired to write a TV series based on her grandmother’s life. She soon finds herself in the middle of a major production filled with all kinds of people. All is going quite well, until she is confronted with a major maternal-related issue. Will she be able to get through it? And will her new inner circle help her?

    The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand
    Fans of The Castaways and A Summer Affair will have a chance to revisit some of their favorite characters in this novel! It’s wedding season on Nantucket, which doesn’t exactly thrill the locals. (So. Many. Tourists.) Then a bride-to-be is found dead just a few hours before the ceremony was supposed to begin, and many of those who were close to her are prime suspects. Chief of Police Ed Kapenash is on the case, and he soon realizes that no lovey-dovey couple—or family, for that matter—is perfect. He’s going to have to ask some difficult questions in order to solve this case and bring the bride’s loved ones closure.

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    Giffin’s latest tale is about a major incident that goes viral on social media. Nina Browning is living the good life in Nashville. Her wealthy husband just sold his tech company for a major profit, and their son got accepted to Princeton. Living a very different life is Tom Volpe, a single dad working multiple jobs to raise his daughter, Lyla, while making sure she doesn’t screw things up at her new prep school. One night, at a wild party, a scandalous photo is taken that can shake up everything these two families have worked for. Can they manage to survive the scandal and pick up the pieces of their lives?

    Calypso, by David Sedaris
    Humor book alert! Funnyman David Sedaris’s latest book is about his purchase of a beach house. This may seem like The Dream for just about anyone, but, as Sedaris learns, it’s not all fun and games. He thought it would be a relaxing retreat, but he still can’t escape the facts of life, such as middle age and mortality. There are plenty of his patented and hilarious ruminations on both in this volume, so be prepared for lots of belly laughs in spite of yourself—and maybe some stares from the people sitting nearby.

    Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts
    Roberts’ latest book deals with a mass shooting at a mall, and how it affects the lives of the survivors for years to come. One man decides to go into law enforcement, while one woman finds a much-needed outlet in her art. Years have passed since that horrible night, but the pain still lingers, and it may not even be over yet. Let’s just say that someone bad is waiting to cause more chaos. Fans know that Roberts (and her alter writing ego, J.D. Robb) consistently delivers thrillers filled with the most wonderful human characters.   

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Attorney Brooke Trappnell has been summoned by 99-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick to the old lady’s beach home. Josephine wants to make things right with the descendants of her old girl gang. They called themselves The High Tide Club back in the day, and let’s just say they used to have oodles of fun together. (Case in point: They went skinny dipping. A lot.) Of course, many things have happened since those days. Oh, and Josephine also wants Brooke to help her protect her land from greedy hands. Brooke soon finds herself in the middle of decades-old drama as she reunites everyone at Josephine’s home.

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    McLain is at it again! After the success of The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, his first of multiple marriages, this new tome delves into Hemingway’s marriage with journalist Martha Gellhorn. Martha travels to Madrid to report on the Spanish Civil War and ends up crossing paths with the soon-to-be-super-famous writer. Throughout their relationship, one of her main struggles is to make sure she remains her own person, which many a modern reader can appreciate. Hemingway scholars know how this particular love story ends, but it’s still fun to read about a romance between two interesting and intelligent people with lots of inner turmoil.

    By Invitation Only, by Dorothea Benton Frank
    A wedding is about to take place, and let’s just say the bride and groom come from very different backgrounds. Fred’s family are Southern peach farmers, while Shelby comes from a wealthy Chicago family. One side is very hardworking, while the other side—or certain folks on it—have a bit of a sense of entitlement. Everyone is feeling a little bit out of their element, especially the two mothers. Will Fred and Shelby’s relationship survive class differences? And will everyone be feeling the love when Fred and Shelby say “I do?” (That is, IF they do?)

    Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber
    Annie Marlow has been through some pretty painful experiences, so she decides to hightail it to the Pacific Northwest. There she meets a colorful cast of characters, including Keaton, who helps her fix up her seaside rental cottage. He’s a very nice, zen kind of guy, which Annie really needs right now. Life is going smoothly, and then Annie gets a major opportunity thrown her way. Add to that a landlady with some major emotional walls around her and a teenager who might be in desperate need of Annie’s help, and you’ve got a page turner you won’t be able to put down.

    Rainy Day Friends, by Jill Shalvis
    Lanie Jacobs’ husband recently passed away, and she’s still getting over her grief when she discovers that she wasn’t his only wife. She’s devastated, to say the least, and she decides to make a fresh start for herself by working at the Capriotti Winery. It’s a family-run venture, and Lanie gets plenty of distraction from the noisy Capriotti family. There’s also the matter of Mark Capriotti, an Air Force veteran who is now the deputy sheriff. He and Lanie soon realize that they really like each other. Then a 21-year-old newcomer with some dark secrets shows up, which just might ruin everything that Lanie has worked for.

    The post 10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 7:30 pm on 2017/05/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , david sedaris, diaries, , , ,   

    10 Hilarious, Remarkable, and Poignant Moments in David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding 

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    The humor of David Sedaris is often so understated it feels perfectly naturalistic, as if he’s simply making up droll anecdotes off the top of his head. But Sedaris worked at his craft for decades, and often despaired of ever succeeding at the writing game.

    This struggle is at the center of Sedaris’ new book, Theft by Finding, a collection literally taken from the diaries he has kept for more than forty years. Unvarnished, these entries offer up plenty of interesting and funny moments, some of which also serve as launchpads for his famous essays. Here are just ten moments in Theft by Finding (which ends in 2002, with a second volume to follow) that are alternatively hilarious, touching, and thought-provoking.

    Rapid-Fire Wit
    In the introduction, Sedaris interrupts a thoughtful rumination on the process of keeping a diary: “The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often you can’t. Won’t people turn away if they know the real me? you wonder. That me that hates my own child, that put my perfectly healthy dog to sleep? The me who thinks, deep down, that maybe The Wire was overrated?”

    At the bottom of the page, a footnote addresses what Sedaris hilariously imagines is the gravest sin admitted to in that paragraph: “I do not think The Wire was overrated.”

    The Banality of Evil
    Sedaris encounters all manner of freaks, weirdos, and oddballs, especially during his penniless days working odd jobs and obsessing over money. He never fails to make these moments count by injecting them with sophisticated humor. “Jews in concentration camps had shaved heads and tattoos,” he writes at one point about a skinhead in Chicago, “you’d think the anti-Semites would go for a different look.”

    Mistakes, He’s Made a Few
    One of the most remarkable aspects of reading Sedaris’ diary entries is how much we already know about his low moments and bad habits. Early on, in one of the first glimpses of his drug-fueled youth, he writes “Todd and I each took three hits of sugar cube acid. Too much. It was a real bad trip, like torture, enough to turn someone into a Christian.”

    The Time Machine
    Another fascinating aspect of Theft by Finding is literally traveling back in time through Sedaris’ writing. This comes through as both throwaway lines that remind us of zeitgeists past (“No matter where you go, you cannot escape the Bee Gees”) and devastating moments that call to mind what we have survived (in July 1981, Sedaris writes, “There is a new cancer that strikes only homosexual men. I heard about it on the radio tonight.”)

    The Heartbreak Kid
    Part of Sedaris’ appeal is the sad-sack aspect of his persona; he encounters the sort of terrible people we’re all far too familiar with—and he manages to turn his anger and hurt into savage humor, as in this line about a duplicitous lover named Brant he meets as a young man: “During sex he kept telling me that he loved me and wanted to get married, presumably in the next five weeks before he returns to Norfolk for the Summer.”

    He drops the hammer in the next entry: “I called the number Brant gave me, and it was made up.”

    Self-Awareness for the Win
    While it’s possible these entries have been edited and massaged more than we know, they remain remarkably clear-eyed. After the subject of attempting sobriety after being “drunk every night for the past eighteen years” comes up, Sedaris adds in this two-sentence entry: “Today I saw a one-armed dwarf carrying a skateboard. It’s been ninety days since I’ve had a drink.”

    Days of Future Past
    It’s thrilling when kernels of Sedaris’ formal work pop up in his diaries—you can almost see the wheels turning, as when he alludes to his time at SantaLand: “Yesterday a woman had her son pee into a cup, which of course tipped over. ‛That’s fine,’ I said, ‛but Santa’s also going to need a stool sample.’”

    Substance Humor
    The diary never treats Sedaris’ drinking and drug abuse in a melodramatic way, and it’s often the source of some of the book’s funniest bits, as when he describes the suffering of a hungover friend: “You’d think an adult would know better: beer on wine, you’re fine. Wine on beer, stand clear. But eleven Prosecco cocktails should not precede anything, not even a twelfth.”
    These are, it goes without saying, words to live by.

    Full Heart
    It’s not all jokes and skinheads; Sedaris also celebrates life’s incredible moments along the way, as when he first meets his future husband, Hugh: “I…got him to say that he hated me, which usually means the opposite….When I turned around to look at him, I saw that he’d turned around as well. It was romantic.”

    Simple Hilarity
    No matter how serious life gets, though, Sedaris can’t help but be funny, so let’s just include three random moments of hilarity we loved:

    “Talked to Rodrigo, who uses camebackir as a verb meaning ‛to come back.’ Nosotros comebackamos. ‛We come back.’”

    “Tiffany…is living in Queens and selling cocaine to make money. Before this she worked at Macy’s for a Belgian chocolate company. I think hers is what you call a checkered career.”

    “It turned out they were a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is better than being a pair of thieves, but still.”

    Theft by Finding is a surprising and unique work, the raw experiences of one of our most accomplished humorists and writers laid bare for our amusement and inspection. It’s also almost novelistic in the story of a life that it paints, slowly revealing themes, recurring characters, and a narrative drive that mirrors Sedaris’ development as a human being and an artist. In a word, it’s terrific.

    Shop all literary biography >

    The post 10 Hilarious, Remarkable, and Poignant Moments in David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Whitney Collins 5:00 pm on 2016/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: anthony bourdain, , david sedaris, , , , wiseguys   

    Shelf Improvement: Books to Improve Your Life and Library: Quintessential Wiseguys Edition 

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    Shelf Improvement is a column highlighting books guaranteed to improve your library and your life. From literary fiction, young adult, and humor, to spirituality, autobiography, and more, no genre is off limits. The only requirement of the selections featured here is they must be transformative and page-turning. If you’re hoping to build a better bookshelf, Shelf Improvement can help you on your odyssey. The theme of this installment is “Quintessential Wiseguys.”

    Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain
    Love him or hate him, Anthony Bourdain is indeed a wise guy AND a wiseguy—the culinary world’s irreverent, sarcastic, and brilliant iconoclast. Once the executive chef at the renowned Les Halles, Bourdain is now a globe-trotting, f-bomb-dropping television personality best known for traveling to lesser-known locales and consuming their most obscure concoctions, such as seal eyeballs, living cobras, insects, and testicles, not to mention gallons of regional hooch. 

    A connoisseur of punk rock and hard drugs, Bourdain has his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is a champion of both Julia Child and America’s immigrant cooks, and absolutely despises ABBA, celebrity chefs, Chicken McNuggets, and vegans. All that said, this former two-pack-a-day smoker is perhaps as adept at writing as he is at cooking and offending. He’s written eight literary wonders, published countless articles, and now oversees his own publishing line at HarperCollins, which acquires a few eccentric titles each year. 

    However, the jewel in this bad boy’s cockeyed crown is arguably his riveting Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. First published in 2000, this literary knockout holds no punches as it lays bare the real, raw, and riotous story of the restaurant world. From rampant substance abuse and disgusting sanitation practices to bacchanalian times in Tokyo and unapologetic industry backstabbing, this insanely funny (and surprisingly self-effacing) masterpiece is equal parts foul and fetching. You can’t help but adore its macho ruthlessness and loosely veiled sentimentality.

    The book begins somewhat tenderly with Bourdain’s first introduction to “real food” (when he discovers vichyssoise on a family trip to France), but by the second chapter—titled “Food is Sex”—things quickly devolve into the raunchy, spellbinding side of a budding chef’s life. And good luck putting the book down after that. With chapter titles like “Inside the CIA,” “Bigfoot,” “I Make My Bones,” and “What I Know About Meat,” you can rest assured Bourdain is here to entertain you straight through to the afterword. 

    Kitchen Confidential is particularly unique in its reach; I can think of no other book so expressly written for those deep within an industry’s trenches that is simultaneously so accessible to the layman. If you possess an ounce of curiosity about the people who cook your food and what makes them tick, this book is a must-read-in-one-day. (Some advice from someone who learned the hard way: buy several copies; those close to you would rather read it themselves than have you quote the entire thing aloud.)

    Born Standing Upby Steve Martin
    Steve Martin is best known for his distinctive standup comedy style and stellar acting career, while also revered for his Bluegrass banjo playing, for which he has acquired two Grammys. But Martin is also a wry and elegant writer, whose body of work includes humor pieces for The New Yorker, several plays, and the funny, poignant novellas Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company

    However, Martin is at his most honest (achingly and charmingly so) in his autobiography, Born Standing Up. This touching and candid life story chronicles his standup years—how he got started, what made him a singular sensation, and why he ultimately walked away from all of it, even though, by 1978, he was considered the biggest concert draw in the history of stage comedy. 

    Born Standing Up begins with Martin’s first job, at the age of 10, at Disneyland, where he sold guidebooks and perfected a variety of classic magic tricks. Readers soon learn of his strained relationship with his father, his struggles with hypochondria and anxiety, and his desire to study and dissect philosophy in college—a passion that eventually underscored all of his comedy routines. In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine Martin once described how he wondered in one of his psychology classes, “What if there were no punchlines? What if there were no indicators? What if I created tension and never released it? What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do with that tension? Theoretically, it would have to come out sometimes. But if I kept denying them the formality of a punchline, the audience would eventually pick their own place to laugh, essentially out of desperation.”

    This philosophical approach to comedy ultimately made Martin’s routine not only completely authentic but utterly groundbreaking. It was both weird and genius, and because of that, his audiences could not get enough of it…or him. This unexpected pressure to consistently perform, interact with adoring fans, and somehow handle fame though truly a closet introvert—combined with his dedication to perfection—explain why Martin eventually bid it all farewell for quieter, and less public, pursuits. 

    If you’re interested in the private world of comedy’s original wild and crazy guy, Born Standing Up is a quietly epic memoir meant for your shelf. And there’s no better time to reconnect with this classic wiseguy; in March his first musical, Bright Star, debuts on Broadway, proving there’s still nothing he can’t do.

    Naked, by David Sedaris
    By now everyone everywhere knows who David Sedaris is, right? I mean, how could you be reading this and not be familiar with the unparalleled wit and weirdness of this charming, Greek Orthodox, gay humor writer from Raleigh, North Carolina, who dropped out of Kent State and rose to fame after he wrote of his experience working as a Macy’s Christmas Elf in New York City? Surely you haven’t missed out on all THAT.

    So, as predictable as it may seem to put Sedaris on a must-read list for quintessential wiseguys, there’s no way he doesn’t make the cut. And in my opinion, of all of his laugh-until-you-cry tour de forces, Naked holds up as his finest collection of genius to date—partly because it features the unbelievable essay “C.O.G.” and partly because it’s one of his longest books. Trust me: you never want them to end.

    Naked gives readers 17 whip-smart essays that are equally hysterical and poignant, ridiculous and dark. There’s the one about his childhood Tourette’s and OCD. The one about kicking his grandmother out of the house and into a nursing home. The one about the pornographic book that circulates though his family. And the one where his father blinds someone. Of course, there are also the ones about his sister’s menstruation, the Christmas whore, the handicapped dormitory, and the nudist colony. To say nothing of the one where his mother dies.

    And then there’s “C.O.G.” Oh, “C.O.G.” If you need to have your literary mind blown, if you need to have the heartiest laugh you will ever have, you must read “C.O.G.” In this essay (which has since been made into a movie by the same name), Sedaris describes a profanity-laden cross-country bus trip that results in hilarious and horrific work as an apple picker, a dodged sexual encounter in a trailer with a man named Curly, and an outrageous meet-up with a born-again Christian double amputee who makes jade clocks in the shape of Oregon. As you can imagine, these escapades culminate in one exceptionally original and outlandish tale—one that offers a darkly humorous and ultimately moving look at America’s most pitiful weirdos.

    If this overview of just one of the 17 essays doesn’t pique your interest, I’m afraid nothing will, but you should have Naked in your library anyway. All exaggeration aside, it is easily one of—if not the—greatest collections of comedy writing ever.

  • Kathryn Williams 5:30 pm on 2015/12/14 Permalink
    Tags: allie brosh, david sedaris, , , , shhhhh, The Office   

    6 Books for Your Secret Santa 

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    Ah, the workplace Secret Santa exchange. When you are socially obligated to give a gift to someone for whom you would otherwise never in a million years intend to shop. Signing a birthday card “from us” is one thing, but a present that is small, clever, seasonally-appropriate, and under $20? Books. Books are the obvious answer (aren’t they always?). But before you browse, a few tips.

    1) Keep it clean. Fifty Shades of Grey? Do you really want to know that Mary in HR knows that you know what a butt drawer is? (Unless you work with nurses; I hear they are known for their dirty senses of humor.) Plus, OSHA.

    2) Keep it light. Chuck Palahniuk might be great for your brother-in-law who refurbishes antique torture devices on the side, but the intern can’t handle it. Plus, OSHA.

    3) Keep it impersonal. Yes, everyone is reading Fates and Furies, but do you really know the state of your boss’s marriage? Plus, OSHA.

    In other words, stick to the benign, the useful, the humorous, and the quirky, and you’ll be fine. May I recommend…

    Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling
    In the follow-up to her bestseller, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, comedienne, screenwriter, and star of The Mindy Project delivers the feel-goods once again with her likable brand of anxiety-laced you-go-girlness, with—it should be noted, because this is the point—increasingly less $h*t-giving. Fans of Kaling will delight in behind-the-scenes tales of her short-lived career as the only funny sister of Dartmouth’s Sigma Delt sorority, as well deets on her self-defined “weird as hell” relationship with ex-boyfriend and fellow funny person B.J. Novak. The other three people in the world will love it for the chapter on sex scenes.

    Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh
    If your recipient is not familiar with Brosh’s highly addictive, off-beat, emotionally complex, and always funny webcomic, then you have just given him or her the gift of the year (or technically the gift of 2013, when the book was published, but better late than never—there’s also a 2016 wall calendar). Able to walk the thin line that connects dogs and cake to identity and depression, Brosh’s crudely drawn cartoons are not just about her life, little ‘l’, but big Life, capital ‘L’. The human condition is a lot more bearable with stick legs and frog eyes.

    Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
    The holidays can be a stressful time. Hence, the appeal of Christmas classics with overgrown elves, scandalous leg lamps, and flying squirrels. In other words, give us something to laugh about so we don’t cry. Sedaris, one of America’s most beloved raconteurs, wraps all that nostalgia, irreverence, and mayhem into one convenient 5″x7″ package of essays and stories, including a hauntingly familiar one about a barnyard Secret Santa swap.

    The Kaufmann Mercantile Guide: How to Split Wood, Shuck an Oyster, and Master Other Simple Pleasures, by Sebastian Kaufmann
    Whether your giftee is a hardcore DIYer or a relative newb to the world of adult self-sufficiency, this book offers delightfully practical tips for use around the office (how to brew coffee, how to knot and wear a tie), at home (how to care for wood, how to grow a tomato), and beyond (how to ford a stream). If you’re lucky, she’ll use the  instructions on how to saber a champagne bottle at the office holiday party.

    Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe
    Using simple diagrams and only 1,000 everyday words, blogger and former NASA roboticist Munroe explains how various complicated things, from the International Space Station to the United States Constitution, effectively work. Fun and actually informative. Perfect for the co-worker who likes to stand in front of your desk trying to remember the word for that doohickey that does that thing to the whatchamacallit (i.e., stapler).

    The Secret Garden, by Johanna Basford
    Finally, something to do during a conference call besides Instagram! Highly detailed adult coloring books have swept the market this year, bringing back the simple joy of coloring inside the lines. Pair with a pack of colored pencils, and you’ve got yourself the perfect Secret Santa stocking stuffer.

    What’s your go-to Secret Santa gift?

  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 4:00 pm on 2015/09/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , Chelsea Handler, david sedaris, i am not myself these days, josh kilmer-purcell, telling it like it is, ,   

    YouTube Star Tyler Oakley on Oversharing, Favorite Authors, and Binge 

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    Fans of YouTube phenomenon Tyler Oakley may feel as though they already know this smart, hilarious, and forthright star personally. But in his new book, Binge, Oakley opens up to readers, sharing stories about love, relationships, and other personal subjects he has rarely discussed until now. In this guest post, Oakley shares some of his favorite authors with us—writers whose wit, grit, and courage to share their own experiences have inspired him to dig deep.

    While writing my new book, Binge, I realized that what I most love to write are the things I most love to read. You are what you eat, and you write what you read.

    I love the concept of oversharing. When I read a Chelsea Handler book, I love knowing that nobody in her life is safe from being exposed. Whether it’s her best friends, family, or hookups over the years, everyone gets a moment on blast—but the biggest target of all will always be herself. She never comes out looking better than her counterparts, and I admire that. It’s easy and even fun to expose your friends, it’s much harder to do it to yourself. Chelsea is great at it, and My Horizontal Life is an incredible example. Between graphic sex stories and adventures with friends, I feel like I’m getting the inside scoop from a bestie anyone would wish to have. Having usually reserved all my juicy morning-after stories for gay brunch in West Hollywood, I became ready to finally share them with my audience, and Handler’s candidness showed me how to do it.

    Life is not always happy-go-lucky, and some of my favorite books from Augusten Burroughs look at the darker sides of growing up. To really know love and happiness, you need something with which to compare them, and when I read Dry or A Wolf at the Table, I’m shaken to the core and forced to face my own demons. While I was writing, a friend of mine asked if I left blood in the pages—if my book Binge would be more than a Draw My Life-style narrative of how I got into the YouTube scene, which is something viewers might reasonably expect from a YouTube personality. The answer is yes, I absolutely left blood on the pages. Sharing the worst days of my life may help readers in the same way reading Burroughs’s Dry helped me—to feel less alone. Some of these stories have been kept secret all my life—not even my best friends and family know the truth (until now).

    As a YouTuber, there are certain things I’ve always considered sacred—love most of all. I rarely discuss relationships in videos, although they’re at the top of every request I get from viewers. Love feels personal, and when someone shares the complete truth of one of their love stories, I feel privileged to be allowed a peek into that keyhole. Every time I read I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, I feel grateful and understood. Even though it’s a love story between a drag queen and a meth-addicted hooker (and I am neither of those things…yet!), I relate to it. It’s raw, honest, and touches on the fears and insecurities that every relationship must endure. While writing Binge, I decided to share the story of my own first real love, and I hope readers can feel understood, too.

    My favorite authors, like my favorite YouTubers, are storytellers. Someone who can take something trivial and tell it in a captivating way will always keep me coming back for more, especially if their voice shines through. David Sedaris is the absolute best at this. His voice, both literal and written, is crystal clear, and his stories, even on subjects so small that the average person might overlook them, are always memorable and hilarious. My life has largely been about immediately oversharing on the Internet, but as soon as I began to write my book, my impulse to turn on the camera switched to picking up a pen. I’ve saved my absolute best stories—happy and sad, embarrassing and encouraging—for Binge. I hope even people who have never seen a YouTube video will be able to hear my voice through my own storytelling, and that it will offer them something meaningful and memorable.

    Binge will be in stores October 20.

    Photo Credit: Rae Marshall Photography

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