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February 2019 Booklist

Unwifeable: A Memoir by Mandy Stadtmiller – I’ve known Mandy since right before she moved to NYC in the early 2000s, so of course I had to read her book! It’s a riveting read in which she bares it all in a raw honesty that is so admirable. The “all” that she bares is her very heavy drinking, some drug use, a lot of risky sexual encounters. Her late 20s /early 30s sounded a little too familiar. I so appreciate that over any sugar coating or glossing over of reality any day. Since she was a reporter for the New York Post and contributed to Page Six, there’s also lots of name dropping and gossip related to the comedy and media scene. It’s so strange to read such a personal account of stuff that was happening parallel to me, sometimes in the same circle. It had me riveted and I flew through the pages.

Her “rage blackouts” were also familiar to me. I was so angry at everyone and everything for my childhood, family and the feeling of being boxed in and not able to rise above or live up to my potential that I had these episodes. Thankfully they are in the rearview with only a stressful, more manageable and less scary flareup now and again.  

I’d definitely recommend this to my sober friends or anyone who has wondered if they have a drinking problem. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Memoir) – I cried so many times while reading this, not from her words or life, really, but in grief for what we had as a nation, what we have lost and what we now have to overcome. It’s a long book and often not too exciting but still engaging. It’s a telling of an ordinary life that became extraordinary to use a quote of her own. I found myself giggling and squirming when it came time for her to meet Barack and their subsequent romance. ? ? ? 

I’m glad to have gotten to know her through her book. To be honest, though, she treats a lot of stuff with so much grace and diplomacy, it’s clear she’s holding back. She is true to form: going high when others go low. She’s certainly an inspiration and I’m so grateful for the sacrifices she made (private life, career, family time, etc.) in order to serve our country as an admirable, intelligent and kind First Lady. 

Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Dave Hill (Memoir) – This is another friend’s book that I’ve wanted to read for too long, and one that I sell at QED. This is actually his second book of essays. His first, Tasteful Nudes, is also for sale at QED, but I chose to listen to the audiobook version of this one first. 

I’ve know Dave casually for almost as long as I’ve been in New York. Since opening QED, Dave has produced a show here and there, and we’ve chatted more often. Recently I was on his podcast. His questions were thoughtful and we covered a lot of ground. We recorded in his apartment where I fell in love with his art collection. There were lots of pieces that inspired conversation and made me curious about his life and adventures. Thankfully, he has this handy book to help me do just that. 

This collection is brimming with laughs delivered in his trademark dry, level and almost monotone cadence. But Dave surprised me with levels of sweetness and emotion. From the loss of his mother and his relationship with his aging father, it had me tearing up more than I expected. I fell into a YouTube hole after finishing his collection, wanting more of Dave’s life for myself. When you read this, I’m sure you’ll come away thinking as I did, that Dave is very smart, funny (duh!), talented, adventurous, kind and lovely. Thanks, Dave, for sharing your stories with me!

Grant by Ron Chernow – Yeah, I’m reading it for a 3rd time, what of it?! I really wanted to re-read since I completed three semesters of Civil War and Reconstruction online at Columbia. Several week’s worth of study on the Dred-Scott decision, was mentioned in just one line in the book. It’s nice to understand that decision fully and the reference in the book without distraction. I’ve already reviewed this book here and here, too. and will be listening to it for the rest of February as I travel through Texas so am gonna push publish on this entry. 

Any suggestions for March reading? I’d love to hear them!


January 2019 Booklist