Books Made of Paper

Sloane Crosley: ‘How Did You Get This Number'

Fellow Gigglers, let me be clear: This is not a book review column. I’m not going to seek out the newest hardcovers and tell you whether or not to buy them. Partly because we have our own tastes but mostly because I don’t read many books that are too new to be in paperback. I can support the industry without taking out a mortgage.

While not the Sunday Review, this Sunday blog will explore my brilliant and fascinating thoughts about books. Please use the comments section to share  your own thoughts on this book, or whatever you’re reading.

I just finished Sloane Crosley’s book of essays, How Did You Get This Number. I was planning to read her first book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, but then I read this HelloGiggles post and picked up her latest pub instead. Sloane seemed cool and real and has a great apartment and I want to know how she got there.

I’m a big fan of creative non-fiction. For those of you who haven’t read a lot of it, creative non-fiction is a work of truth, but written in the same manner as fiction, so the writing is as important (maybe more?) than the subject matter. At least if it’s written well.

Some of you are also writers and maybe some of you are also MFA grads, or getting MFAs or thinking of getting one. As far as I can tell, one of the big differences between being in a writing program and being post-writing program is that you don’t have to read a book and a half a week.

Or maybe you do it anyway ’cause you’re crazy like that. But I come from the school (or genetics?) of Slow Reader. So after leaving grad school, it was a huge relief not to read and annotate six books a month.

But here’s the catch—it’s also a drag! Because now I don’t read nearly as much as I should in order to be inspired and enriched. Whoah. That sounded really nerdy.

Back to the book.

My favorite essay is called “If You Sprinkle.” Sloane reflects on her adolescent years and I love it for gems like this (does everyone remember the game Girl Talk?):

“Imagine, if you will, the legal repercussions of a game manufactured today in which underage girls are encouraged to call strangers’ homes in the middle of the night. Or to leave the house sporting a ‘silly outfit.’ It’s all fun and games until someone winds up in the back of a cop car, clutching a Cabbage Patch Kid.”

I, too, write a LOT of stories about adolescence, which I have been told is not interesting to readers. But I can’t imagine I’m the only one who was glued to the page during Sloane’s remembrances of the complexities of friendship at age twelve. Right? Anyone?

But what had my attention more than anything was that I became more and more convinced as I read on, despite very little information about Sloane’s actual college experience, that she must have gone to the same college as I did.

My curiosity took me to Wikipedia (where else?) where I found—aha!—in fact, Sloane graduated from Connecticut College the year before I enrolled. We just missed each other. One year closer and we would have gone to college together.

Gone to college together. I spent the next twenty-four hours after uncovering this brilliant piece of information imagining that Sloane and I did go to college together where we inevitably became best friends, and I wound up also becoming a best-selling author. ’Cause that’s how it works in my mind warp.

But I do have to wonder if Sloane, who clearly studied creative writing with the same professor who helped me on the road to pursuing writing, was affected the way I was. Maybe we are long lost friends. More likely, we coincidentally went to the same school and one of us became famous.

Sloane Crosley is a funny lady and her essays are fun to read. And she’s the kind of successful young female writer that makes me think maybe it is possible to be a writer and have a fabulous life.

What are you reading right now?

Images via Indiebound, The Dizzies, Barnes & Noble.

Top image from W Magazine.

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