Is everyone hanging out without me?

Alright, so maybe I slacked off a little. MAYBE, instead of spending the last week writing book reviews with all the gusto of a person with nothing to do except eat takeout and watch old sitcoms, I instead just ate takeout and watched old sitcoms. I’ll admit it, I fell off the wagon a bit.

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. In fact, I spent most of Christmas Eve Eve hunkered down in a ForeverLazy with my grandmother’s memoir, interrupted only by my mother popping in to berate me for bothering to read it (the memoir is, for the record, just as poorly written as I suspected, and just as unintentionally hilarious.) I spent the train ride to my mom’s house reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and the train ride back reading The Sibling Effect, a Christmas gift from said mom. I spent most of last week on The Night Eternal, the third and final installment of the Guillermo del Toro/Chuck Hogan collaboration (which actually inaugurated this blog) and most of this week (so far) on Bag of Bones, a Stephen King novel that was recently turned into a (hopefully good because I recorded it) made-for-TV movie on A&E. 

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If you give a mouse a book…

…he totally won’t understand because mice can’t read (with the exception of Ratatouille, Fievel and possibly Stuart Little.) But if you give a person a book, well, that makes way more sense.

I will be the first to admit: Gifting books can be something of a stressful task. A book is a large time investment (relative to movies and music); plus, what if you’re wrong about what someone might like? What if they ultimately hate something you loved? What if they already own the book, or don’t like reading hardcovers or have been secretly illiterate for 20+ years and survive only by memorizing restaurant menus and pretending to hate the Internet? These are the things I worry about.

Now, I have yet to read every book in the known universe, but I’m obviously getting pretty close and it’s time I put my knowledge to use. So here are Sorry Television’s recommendations for this year’s book gifting. Because if your friends are secretly illiterate, you should at least give them something good to not understand.

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Bossypants and mom jeans

I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t going to like Bossypants. Chmon. I pre-ordered this book the minute I heard about its existence, as I’ve spent the better part of the last few years idolizing Tina Fey as both creator and star of 30 Rock. Friends of mine know I’ve long felt a kinship with Liz Lemon. Frumpy dresser? Check. Devoted fan of junk food, with an emphasis on items whose key ingredient is cheese or cheese-flavored? Check. Inability to translate motivated responsible work persona into personal life? Check. Unabashed fan of reality television? Double freaking check.

So I was a little surprised when about 50 pages into Bossypants, a subtle theme was emerging. This book was…kind of about being a woman. About being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field (comedy, not television) a theme I’ve only recently read about in another enjoyable lady memoir: Kathy Griffin’s (who, ironically, is given a bit of a shout-out in Bossypants: “If you could turn gay from being around gay people, wouldn’t Kathy Griffin be Rosie O’Donnell by now?”) Yes, this book was just a little bit about how even the suggestion that Tina Fey being a successful boss is something worth highlighting inadvertently separates her from the legions of unhighlighted male bosses who have come before her, as though signing paychecks with a vagina is like a dog walking on its hind legs.

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