WHATCHA READIN’?

Hello, Reader. Today’s post is about — surprise! — books, but before I say anything else:

The show‘s release got delayed by a teensy few days. I know!  I’m terribly eager to see it. Rest assured I’ll shout it from the rooftops (by which I mean, this blog) when it does release, though.

Did I tell you the very first one is set in New York, hosted by my buddy Josh Ozersky? Josh is a food writer for Esquire and Time Magazine, but more importantly, he’s the most knowledgeable and proud meat lover I know. His agressive carnivorousness is enough to make my Austiny, latent-vegan tendencies slightly nervous, and though I’m not actually a vegan, I know I have to stow away all my quinoa when Josh comes to town. And he is coming to town, by the way: He hosts a cross-country, multi-city event called Meatopia, which is basically a giant open meat bar. Soon, he’s bringing it to Austin.

Anyway! What else have I been doing this week, besides waiting on pins and needles for our little show?

The truth is this: I’ve crawled into a long, dark, book cave, and I’m not sure I’m getting out. At least until I’m finished.

The instigators of my exile: Gone Girl, a thriller by Gillian Flynn, the book that seemingly everyone I know is either reading or has read, gripping my arm and hissing with wild eyes, “YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK,” and the decidedly non-thriller, but very popular and extremely lovely Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, a collection of her “Dear Sugar” column advice on The Rumpus.

Because of these two books, I’ve neglected self-imposed writing deadlines. I’ve stayed up too late, forcing my eyes open. I literally received an email this morning from a (very dear) friend using the word “harass” in the subject line, to imply what one has to do these days to get me to open my email.

And I can’t help it!  Because it’s the best kind of addiction, can’t you see?  I am always reading, but it’s been so long since I was pulled in this deep, reading on my lunch break, reading a few sentences at stoplights, reading while my husband is milling around and meeting his deadlines, while I sit in a rocking chair, oblivious to his productivity. Tra-la-la! I am in love!

For the uninitiated: Gone Girl is the story of a marriage wrapped up in a murder mystery, where we hear chapters narrated by the husband, and then by the woman. I haven’t unspooled the mystery yet. But it’s paced just so, so that even if you haven’t figured out the killer, you stay hungry for clues. But are they clues? Or am I just being manipulated?  I’m not sure I care. Manipulate me all you want, Gillian Flynn.

The author of Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed, will be at Texas Book Festival this year. My friends and I have all decided that we want Cheryl to be our best friend. She’s also the author of Wild, which seems to be on track to be the new Eat, Pray, Love, and that book is about her 1,100 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail at age 26. But Tiny Beautiful Thing is about other people; it’s about the people who’ve written into “Dear Sugar” and dump love problems, floundering life choices, and desperate questions at her feet. She answers them, but not in the way most advice columnists do; she gives them little gifts of her own story, and does give them advice, but without the plucky cliches. There’s one question/answer, titled “Write Like a Motherfucker,” that moved me so, and whose title phrase I might have to print on a coffee mug, if only it didn’t scare/worry guests drinking out of said coffee mug.

I hope, wherever you are Reader, you’ve got something juicy and delicious to read right now. If you are a reader. And I know that you are.

So, what are you reading right now? I was in a deep, boring book rut for a while, so if you find yourself there now, may I recommend these two? I’m still shunning the Kindle, so you’re welcome to borrow my copies when I’m finished.