So here goes. Nora Ephron is laugh out loud funny. Especially if you are a certain age, probably over 35. Her two latest books of essays, "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and "I Remember Nothing" are those kind of books. Nora Ephron may be known to many of you through her films "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail."
Some highlights from the Table of Contents for "I Feel Bad About My Neck" are: I Hate My Purse, On Maintenance, Me and JFK: Now It Can Be Told, and What I Wish I'd Known. I think most women can relate about getting older, how they feel about their purses, and "maintenance", meaning, trying to stay younger looking as you age. Her witty, often hysterical observances will leave you howling with laughter. And since she has lived in NY and LA, and has known many interesting people, her stories keep the reader on their toes.
Ephron describes what motivated her to write this book:
"When you’re young, you make jokes about how things slip your mind. You think it’s amusing that you’ve wandered into the kitchen and can’t remember why. Or that you carefully made a shopping list and left it home on the counter. Or that you managed to forget the plot of a movie you saw only last week.
And then you get older. "
And then you get older. "
You can tell just from the titles that you in for a laugh: Who Are You? (about forgetting the name of someone at a party), Twenty-Five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised By Again and Again, I Just Want to Say: The Egg-White Omelette (how can you NOT want to read this one?), I Just Want to Say: Teflon and I Just Want to Say: No, I Do Not Want Another Bottle of Pellegrino. Then there is: "The Six Stages of Email", which coming from the writer of "You've Got Mail" is just perfect. She goes from confusion to obsession to hatred. So true, and SO funny.
Now, for my next favorite funny author: Maira Kalman.
I first heard of Maira when I discovered her books for children: Sayonara, Ms. Kackleman about two children who travel to Japan; Next Stop Grand Central about the people and goings on in New York's Grand Central Station, Chicken, Soup, Boots and Ooh-La-La, Max in Love about a dog who lives in Paris.
My children love reading her books and they are great for adults too. Maira has this special ability to take something ordinary and have you see the fascinating bits in it. In Next Stop, Grand Central, she describes all of the people coming in and going out of Grand Central, from the bassist going to his Greenwich Village gig, to the night watchman, to the lady and her dog visiting her ailing mother on Long Island. The drawings are funny and the people she draws are described in witty, unexpected ways.
She continues this style of observation in her newest books of essays: The Principles of Uncertainty and And the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Principles of Uncertainty is a strange mix of observation, admiration, a wandering mind and an interest in historical figures and their unusual lives, all mixed up with a fascination with objects like sinks, tassels, hats and pickle tags. Oh, and the backs of people as they are walking down the street in NY. It's hard to describe. Let me show you some pages from the book:
Her other book of essays is called And the Pursuit of Happiness and was a year-long series of essays in the New York Times, that coincided with Obama's Inaguration and her traveling to DC to see it, as well as her musings on important politicians and historical figures from Lincoln, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to Thomas Jefferson and many other things in between.