January 05, 2015

Trollop with a Question #38


Now that the year is over, I am seriously excited to ask:

What was your favorite book from 2014?

The book can have any copyright date. I'm not asking for only books written in the calendar year. And it can be any genre. I read a huge amount of cookbooks (go figure) and non-fiction.

My personal favorite was I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. The funniest thing about this book is I constantly have to look up the title. I'm not kidding. I tell people it's called I Forget Everything. Coincidentally, Delia Ephron (Nora's sister) wrote one of my all-time most beloved children's books: How to Eat Like a Child. The book was hard to find for awhile, but I believe it's back in print.

Nora penned what I think is one of the best Shouts and Murmurs ever: The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut. (My other faves: Buzzed by Noah Baumbach—which I have taped to my wall—and Confessions of a Pilgrim Shopaholic by Paul Rudnick.)

I Remember Nothing was a quick read. I finished the collection of essays in a single sitting. (Except for breaks in which I called my best friend and my mother to read parts from the book aloud.) I loved the juxtaposition of longer pieces with others that were only a page. Truth is that I worship the way she put words together:

Of course, there are good divorces, where everything is civil, even friendly. Child support payments arrive. Visitations take place on schedule. Your ex-husband rings the doorbell and stays on the other side of the threshold; he never walks in without knocking and helps himself to the coffee. In my next life I must get one of those divorces.

She was a writer who made simplicity look simple.

But it's not.

For a few years, I wrote a weekly column for a small paper. I wrote in a chatty, convivial style. I broke all the journalism rules. Really. People appreciated my column, and since I stopped working for the paper, several other writers have tried to replicate the style. And failed. Writing in a way that invites readers to sit next to you, to lean in over coffee, to share the joke, is harder than it looks.

Ms. Ephron's book is sleek, sophisticated, self-depricating, silly, unexpectedly deep, powerful, tongue-in-cheek, and revealing. I read her words and strive to become a better writer, myself.

Now you...

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Fabulous library-themed shirt is by Just Wish. You will be seeing more from the store here in the future!

5 comments:

Angel Rivera said...

Just one? For me, there were a few (which I will be reflecting on later in my blog). One that I can mention as a favorite was the Andre the Giant biographical graphic novel. No need to be a wrestling fan to appreciate it (but I am sure some fans will certainly like it).

Best, and keep on blogging.

Miz Angell said...

I absolutely loved that book! I thought it was hysterical. You're right - she made it look so easy.

I'm hard pressed to say which book I read in 2014 is my favourite. I'd say Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, but I'm not sure which of the series so far is my fave. I slammed through them like they were the air I needed to breathe. Until I came to book seven, then I slowed down, knowing I was coming to the end. And yet, it's not, because lo-and-behold - BOOK 8. And she's working on book 9. So I have to take this one slower than I normally would. But she writes such divine characters that they're hard to let go of.

But I read so much during 2014 that I could be wrong. (Maybe I should keep track this year)

168d7130-34d4-11e2-91ad-000bcdcb5194 said...

M/M and hockey are my two favorite things, though I didn't have much luck with hockey m/m (with a few exceptions) before 2014. Heidi Belleau's STRAIGHT SHOOTER was really thought-provoking...I've always heard that "all hockey players are secret masochists" line thrown around, but it really explores the possible link between hockey and BDSM in an intriguing (and hot) way. I also enjoyed two of the later installments in Anne Tenino's Theta Alpha Delta series, SWEET YOUNG THANG and POSTER BOY (which I wasn't expecting, since the first installment, FRAT BOY AND TOPPY, was just okay to me). Eden Winters' COLLUSION was as intriguing as the rest of her DIVERSION series, and a surprising leap forward in the characterization. (Lucky is one of the most compelling characters I've read, so I didn't have high hopes for a story concentrating on his life/work partner Bo...but Bo turned out to be as multifaceted and ambiguous as Lucky is!) I usually regret succumbing to those "boxed sets" on Amazon, but CAMPUS CRAVINGS was a delightful surprise. The college world-building was really well-thought-out, and the various storylines were very appealing (full of college guy manlove that actually worked).

--Trix

168d7130-34d4-11e2-91ad-000bcdcb5194 said...

Aagh, the Tenino series is Theta Alpha GAMMA...shouldn't post before coffee, sigh.

--Trix

alison said...

I enjoyed a fair number of books in 2014, so it's hard to pick an absolute favourite. As a result, I'm cheating.


I would say that the best social commentary was Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette? The out and out funniest was Eric Idle's The Road To Mars (lots of Python-esque humour and dry wit). And the sexiest was Rosie Garland's The Palace of Curiosities, which made me want to be a wolf-woman in love with a man who couldn't die. Beautifully, the sexual agency (and desire) was given to the woman, despite the Victorian time-period of the story, making it a rather modern-Victorian story.

The Palace of Curiosities was very evocative of the 2006 (presumably) fictional Diane Arbus biopic Fur (which, if you haven't seen, you really should - pre-Ironman Robert Downey Jr. and some totally avant-garde surealist pseudo-imaginary "true" events, plus a fair bit of unconventional sexiness between his character and Nicole Kidman's Diane Arbus)...