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Sunday, October 30, 2005 :::

My Friend Leonard by James Frey

Why I read it: Because I read his previous memoirs and they were good.

What I think about it: The opening chapters of James Frey's new memoirs are enough to make you want to slit your own wrists, recounting the days after the author gets sprung from his post-rehab jail sentence only to discover that his girlfriend had killed herself the day prior. But the tone soon lightens up to follow his recovery and his experiences working for his rehab friend Leonard, whose hush-hush mobster-like business dealings are only the tip of his iceberg of secrets, but he always remains supportive to a fault. My Friend Leonard is a quick, enjoyable satisfying read that was able to elicit an incredible amount of sympathy from me, which is an amazing feat because I'm unsentimental to a fault. The one caveat is that you'd probably have to read his previous memoirs, A Million Little Pieces, to really appreciate this book. Regardless, it is way more entertaining than it has any right to be, and now that the author has announced his interest in writing novels rather than more memoirs, I'm excited to see what else he can accomplish.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 9:03 PM :: #

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Why I read it: The guy at the bookstore recommended it to me.

What I think about it: Sarah Vowell, essayist and NPR regular, is obsessed with assassinations. She travels the country visiting famous assassination sites and morbid tourist attractions like some people visit Disneyworld or the Eiffel Tower. It sounds maudlin and heavy, but it's actually funny, insightful, and informative from the first page to the last. She literally stuffs you with detailed research and fascinating facts about famous dead politicians, and then somehow makes it funny. It's akin to a history class being taught by David Sedaris. If that doesn't pique your interest, then I pity you. It was one of the best books I've read all year, and here's to hoping that some Hollywood genius produces it for the Discovery Channel or something. It would be one of the best documentaries ever.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 8:54 PM :: #


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No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
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