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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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What are you reading? 

There's a podcast called What Are You Reading, hosted by the clever and funny Matt Debenham, and I would tell you to subscribe even if I hadn't made an appearance. I did, however. So you listen to my episode right now, do you hear me? And then listen to the others. Clear your schedule!

We covered all kinds of book-related topics, including my favorite books from every year since I was ten, and I got so swept up in our witty repartee that I completely forgot about Judy Blume. I may never forgive myself. I know Judy Blume will never forgive me. Or maybe I read them before I was ten? I was awfully sophisticated.

As we discuss on the podcast, I read a lot and this makes me feel pretty superior, but immediately upon completion of each book the memory of it exits my brain. I fear that I'm less brilliant than I tell people I am. I try to recommend books, and it's a joke.  You should read this book. Because it's good, that's why. It's about a guy who does stuff. I don't know. This thing happens in it. I think he wears a shirt. I once got to the last sentence of a book (Housekeeping by Marilynn Robinson, if you must know) and realized I had read it before. The last sentence. What about that last sentence jogged my memory, I'll never know. It wasn't "You already read this, dumbass." I now remember Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson because it is The Book I Forgot Until The Last Sentence. Also, stuff happens in it.

When Matt interviewed me I was reading The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy, which I had read in the early nineties and remembered only that I used to list it among my favorite books, and when I reread it I was worried about early-nineties me. That book is bleak as shit. It's a good thing early-nineties me doesn't exist anymore. We also talked about John Irving, so afterward I was inspired to reread A Prayer for Owen Meany, another book I couldn't remember except for a vague sense of approval. Oh, and Owen Meany was a small person. Not to mention, something something sports. And: war.

I liked it again, mostly. But why, John Irving, why you gotta italicize so many words? When your writing is strong enough that you don't require it? It puzzles and distracts me. I hope you've learned to control your italicizing tendencies, award-winning writer who doesn't give a hoot what I think.

Okay, look. I'm done addressing John Irving. He's not reading this blog! In the podcast, you get to hear how we met. Then dated. It gets pretty explicit. (We never even hugged. Although we shook hands for a while. Maybe a few seconds? It was intense, though. You could tell. His wife was in the room. She was into it. I don't know what I mean by any of this.) He interviewed me for a job as his live-in assistant, and I did not get said job, the end. Reality is so disappointing.

Seriously, though. What are you reading? Besides this blog post, smartypants.

Reader Comments (50)

Okay, these three things (with URLs following), plus some critical theory & other essays for school that I'm teaching:

Michael Yahgulanaas: Red, A Haida Manga

Lynda Barry: What It Is

Stephen Tobolowsky: The Dangerous Animals Club

I can't wait til the semester is over so I can read a few novels that have been waiting patiently for me on my desk-side shelf!

P.S. I love Housekeeping. I taught it a couple times, and created some fans of the novel, but some people just didn't groove on it. Sometimes I feel like I want to live in that novel...

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren P.

David Foster Wallace - A Supposedly Fun Thing (I had to go and look at the cover). Essays, some of them funny, some too highbrow for me. First book I've read in ages. AGES! I'm an Eng Lit graduate, when did I stop reading books? And there are so many published, all the time. I'll never catch up! It's enough to drive me back to trawling Youtube...

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTravelSkite

Alas, Babylon--Pat Frank
Nothing but the Truth(and a few white lies)--Justina Chen Headley
From the Corner of His Eye--Dean Koontz

With my kids I am reading: A Separate Peace--John Knowles, Hatchet--Gary Paulson, and am reading the Harry Potter series outloud with two of my girls.

I like books written in an earlier era; I totally should have been born in 1950. I also like, new American/ immigrant stories. I'm a fan of the underdog. And I love spooky stories, so I'm usually reading a Dean Koontz or Stephen King book. Like you , I have a terrible memory for what I've already read. Even when I know I've read something before, I can read it again and not remember any of the characters. That comes in handy when I'm dying to read something and don't have a new book in the house.

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCSmith

Love your blog! I just started my own blog, and would love anyone to stop by and check it out. Thanks!

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I am reading Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You, the title of which I wish I could italicize, by the way. It's hilarious. I needed that about now.

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFer

I'm reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Thousands of pages of smart and suspenseful stories. I'm surprised it never caught on...

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Y

"You already read this, dumbass." LOL

I'm reading The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson.

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park. It's YA, but I'm Y enough to LOVE it. (She also wrote Attachments, which I also LOVE.)

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

That reminded me of the time I called my husband from an airport because I was so excited that there was a new Nick Hornby book in the airport bookstore. I read it all the way home, whereupon I showed it to my husband, who reminded me that we already owned it and had both already read it. Recently.

I'm about halfway through The Interestings and am totally digging it.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I can remember the content of books, most of the time, but when someone asks me "What are you reading right now?" my mind goes completely blank. And although I read a great variety of books, sometimes more than one at a time, and they're lying all over the house, I usually say something like, "well, I just re-read _Little Town on the Prairie_..." My interlocutor then edges away.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMomVee

I'm listening to James Ellroy's "White Jazz," a brilliant follow-up to "L.A. Confidential," and I'm reading "Dune." I have a nephew who fills all of his conversation with inscrutable Dune references, and I'm trying to get to know him better. It's not as awful as I thought it was when I was 14. I don't think it's helping me understand the lad, though. Dudley Smith has me calling guys "lad," now. It's grand.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterI, Rodius

I just finished The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and while it's not short, I'd definitely recommend it. Her writing is amazing.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterris

When I was in high school I read nearly every Agatha Christie book - one right after the other. My parents were getting divorced and my 15 year old self coped by getting lost in books. But then one day at school I was sitting by myself reading and someone came and sat down next to me and said, "whatcha reading? what's that book about?" I glanced down, my finger holding my spot in the middle of the book and I had no answer. I could not recall a single thing I'd read in the book. I realized I had been reading book after book with my brain disengaged. So I quit reading for awhile. It takes me longer to read books now - I try to force myself to stay engaged with what I'm reading and not zip through kind of zoned out while I read. I would tell you it took me 2 years to get through Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson but that's embarrassing so I'll keep that to myself.

Right now I'm reading:

Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi
Gone - Michael Grant
Throttle - Stephen King/Joe Hill

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkim

I kind of feel like forgetting I'd read a book would be an extraordinary gift. I'd get to re-read my favorites again and again, as if for the first time.

Although...this might be dangerous. I might never move on from like, three core books.

Just finished "The Blind Assassin", and am now moving on to Patrick Rothfuss' "The Name of the Wind". Having a bit of a hard time getting into it, but it is one of my husband's favorites, so giving it the old college try...

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

ME TOO on all of that except the part about the sordid affair with John Irving. But really mostly just the part about reading everything and immediately forgetting it, because I didn't read "The Moviegoer" until the 2000s and I didn't love it.

I've been reading "The Lower River" by Paul Theroux, but I'm starting to think I'm not going to finish it. It's taking me a long time to read it, and the library wants it back.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

I'm reading Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski and A History of the Wife by Marilyn Yalom. One at home, one on the bus. It's actually quite restrained for me.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTragic Sandwich

I just finished Meg Wolitzer's "The Interestings." I read it too fast and now it's over and I'm bereft. I think it's her best ever. And I started Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior"; I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" but not, previously, any of her novels. I hope it's good. I'd hate to give it up after I wrote here that I started it.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterReid

Just finished "The End of Your Life Book Club" (really good) and am now reading "Beyond Belief" about Scientology, because I am obsessed with cults.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I just tried to read Orphan Masters Son, and it was great, but I had to stop about halfway through because I just couldn't handle it. It was exacerbating my anxiety issues. Maybe will return to it when my mental state improves.

Just loved Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, The Fault in Our Stars and Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Must reads.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I'm trying to make it through "Pride and Prejudice." All my Facebook friends were like "Stick with it! It gets better." Further probing a week later reveals that most of them have only seen the movie.... I will prevail.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

I just finished all novels written by John Green. Even though his books are mostly aimed at teenagers and young adults, I really enjoyed them! I hardly read fiction anymore, and this was a good reminder that it's not all non-fiction and “faction” (if that’s really the correct term for fiction with a real historical and/or factual setting).

I'm currently reading ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell, and ‘Why we run’ by R. Harvie, so the epiphany that I should read more fiction apparently hasn't really caught on, yet…

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCora

I have the same affliction. I am so excited to recommend a book and then can't tell you why it's so great. I recently finished "The Age of Miracles" which I really liked.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaige

I just finished Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about growing up as a Muslim girl in Somalia and her escape from an arranged marriage. Interesting read if you want to learn how girls and women are treated in Africa and other Muslim countries.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissusB

To be fair, Housekeeping isn't exactly action-packed. It's lovely and I enjoyed it, but I'm much like you with books. There was a lake. The lake meant things.

I did the same exact thing with She's Come Undone. I was maybe two thirds of the way through when I realized I had read it before.

I just finished American Gods and am currently reading a Stephen King novel and I don't care who knows it.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Jessica: Nothing wrong with Stephen King. He's awesome (especially his non-horror stuff)...11/22/63 was great!!

I just finished Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon. It is HUGE, but worth having to renew it from the library! It's years and years of research and anecdotes on parents who have children with a "horizontal identity" deafness, schizophrenia, dwarfism, criminality, transgender, etc. It was fascinating and I learned a lot.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

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