One-Minute Book Reviews

August 9, 2007

Essays for People Who Like Nora Ephron’s ‘I Feed Bad About My Neck’

Nora Ephron has reintroduced a lot of people to the pleasure of personal essays with I Feel Bad About My Neck, still a bestseller a year after its publication. What can you read next if you liked that book? A few suggestions:

Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (Modern Library, $12.95, paperback), by Nora Ephron.
Crazy Salad is, some ways, better than I Feel Bad About My Neck. Many of its essays appeared in a column on women that Ephron wrote for Esquire, and the security of that perch allowed her to take on bigger subjects and dig deeper into them than she has been able to do more recently. The most memorable essays in Crazy Salad include “A Few Words About Breasts” (about having small breasts) and “Baking Off” (about the Pillsbury Bake-Off).

My Misspent Youth: Essays (Open City, $14, paperback), by Meghan Daum.
Born in 1970, Daum is a generation younger than Ephron, and some of her subjects reflect it: Internet dating, her loathing for wall-to-wall carpeting, and her pile of student-loan and credit-card debt. But like Ephron, she has a gift for blending reporting, self-analysis and satire. Some critics call Daum a snob for insisting on, for example, the superiority of hardwood floors to carpeted. It would more accurate to say that, like Ephron, she has perfected a comic shtick that at times involves turning her tastes into dogmas or neuroses in print. www.meghandaum.com

Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $14, paperback), by Joan Didion.
This is Didion’s best collection and perhaps her finest book of any kind. Most of its essays were written more than four decades ago, when they became benchmarks for what has become known as the New Journalism. But some anticipate recent fads such as “journaling” (“On Keeping a Notebook”) and blaming misbehavior on “low self-esteem” (“On Self-Respect”), though words like “journaling” and “low self-esteem” would no doubt make Didion gag.

To read a review of I Feel Bad About My Neck, click on this link www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2006/10/14/. To find the reading group guide to I Feel Bad About My Neck, click on this link www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/03/20/.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

3 Comments »

  1. I enjoyed and identified with I Feel Bad About My Neck. I have not read your other suggestions. But, Heartburn is one I have come back to and read at vairous crossroads in my life. (The recipes in Heartburn are a part of the book I always intended to try someday, but never got around to doing…someday, maybe.)

    Comment by jolynna — August 10, 2007 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  2. I should have written various, please excuse the above typo.

    Comment by jolynna — August 10, 2007 @ 3:13 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for this comment, too. I like “Heartburn” a lot. Depending on which edition you have, it might be lucky that you haven’t tried the recipes, because Ephron has admitted that she left something out of the lima bean recipe in the first edition and people wrote to her about it for years. The “Potatoes Anna” always sounded good to me.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — August 10, 2007 @ 12:19 pm | Reply


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