We’re well into summer now, which means it’s time to curl up on the beach (or porch…or grass…or what have you) with a good book. Might I recommend several?
Bravo’s Andy Cohen recently released his first book Most Talkative: Stories From The Front Lines of Pop Culture. I was tempted to just ignore this one, but then I read this New York Daily News interview with Cohen, and I have to say, it sounds like campy fun. (Relatedly, our own Miss A adored the book and met Andy earlier this spring!)
Breasts: A Natural And Unnatural History is. just. downright. FASCINATING. I’m serious, you guys. Florence Williams is a health writer at heart, and she is also a daughter and granddaughter of reproductive cancer sufferers, and she traveled all over the country talking to breast surgeons and scientists and environmental experts and uncovers all sorts of information. Like, did you know breast milk sells online for something like 290 times the price of oil? Williams also really exposes (heh) exactly how much environmental factors have affected our breast and overall health. It’s terrible…but definitely worth a very close read.
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s latest, Are You My Mother?, is so wonderful and cerebral. (You remember Alison, right? From the Bechdel Test? Yeah, that’s her.) I can’t even imagine the time and both creative and emotional effort that went into this book, which is a brief history of the author’s relationship with her mother. I’d never actually read a Bechdel work before and the drawings are amazing – so intricate, they literally pop off the page and tell all parts of the story, flowing effortlessly between dreams, flashbacks, and real life.
Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development, or Why It’s Never Too Late For Her Dumb Ass To Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not For Dinner is the latest from Jen Lancaster. Yes, it bears a striking resemblance to Lancaster’s other books. No, you won’t care about that, because you just love her too damn much. Lancaster is now firmly in her 40′s, and it’s been great to have the opportunity to see – via memoir – exactly how much she’s progressed from that broke young girl in Bitter Is The New Black. She has a house now! A HOUSE! And she’s still with Fletch, and they’re awesome together – watch this video and see.
I personally cannot vouch for anything by Kristin Hannah, but I’ve recently heard she’s cool, and her latest, Home Front,sounds like a great beach read. Per Amazon: “…in her most emotionally powerful story yet, [Hannah] explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.” Right? Sign me up.
Speaking of troubled marriages, I’m only about 50 pages into Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn…and I can already kind of tell it’s going to be one of my favorites of the summer. It chronicles the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne…but only after their marriage has completely unraveled, and Amy has mysteriously disappeared. Shudder.
Amidst all this doom and gloom, I should highlight that two recent autobiographies by two incredibly funny and sharp-witted women – Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead and Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks Into A Bar…: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle – are both hot on the market right now. Winstead and Dratch have taken the lead from Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling, giving insight into being female in the hitherto-mostly-men’s world of comedy, as well as the relationship, reproductive, and other familial challenges that affect us all.
Finally, even though it’s a few years old, Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, the Woman Behind Cosmopolitan Magazine by Helen Scanlon is more or less made for Miss A readers. It chronicles Brown’s life with all of its seeming contradictions (she basically talked of nothing but scandalous affairs, yet was happily married for years and years and years), her rise and 32 years of editorship at Cosmo, and emergence as an unlikely feminist icon. I have to say, I related. And I’m taking notes.