11 1 / 2013
A good rule of thumb is that journalists can’t write books. Journalism is written quickly, and relies on the strength of the content to keep people reading, along with the desire to know what’s happening in the world right now. But reading a very long piece of journalism can leave you feeling like you’ve just eaten far too much at dinner — and if you’re unfortunate enough to have to read an entire book by a journalist, you know there are going to be large chunks which are downright indigestible. It might be incredibly interesting, but it’s not going to be pleasant to read, on a sentence-by-sentence, page-by-page basis.
It gives me great pleasure, then, to announce that Rebecca Dana is not a journalist. Sure, she had a high-flying journalism career, during which she was beloved of great editors such as Peter Kaplan and Tina Brown. But after I loaded her hilarious new memoir onto my iPad, I found that it was regularly the very first thing I wanted to read — before, even, checking my emails or my Twitter feed. And although Rebecca’s story is unique and wonderfully quirky, the same can frankly be said of everybody’s story in New York City. This is the first nonfiction book I’ve read in years where I wasn’t reading it for the content or the information: I was reading it just because it’s a gorgeously-written pleasure to read.
Full disclosure: I wouldn’t have got a copy of the book if I wasn’t one of Rebecca’s friends. And I wouldn’t be writing about the book at all if I didn’t love it: I’m not so heartless as to be deliberately mean about my friend’s books in public. But I’m also not so fake as to say wonderful things about a book I don’t actually like. I genuinely think we’re witnessing the emergence of a fantastic new author: I hope to read many, many more books from this deft and hilarious writer.
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