The author of Disaster Preparedness on works of fiction and memoir to read, and re-read.
Memoirist and critic Heather Havrilesky debuted the archly funny “Polly Esther” — an alter ego whose illustrated adventures were one of the foundations of the tongue-in-cheek humor of Suck.com — in 1996, and has gone on to be a trailblazing and trenchant essayist on television and 21st-century culture for publications such as Salon and her own against-the-grain “advice” website Rabbit Blog. Her new book Disaster Preparedness is a wistfully comic memoir of a childhood spent in anticipation of emergencies, and an illuminating meditation on a generation’s neuroses. Here, she talks about three of her favorite books.
By Jo Ann Beard
“Beard writes about her life with the grace and flair of the very best fiction writers, translating her most conflicted moments and darkest days into emotionally wrenching, deliciously detailed scenes. Her impressionistic style pulls you in and breaks your heart over and over. I could read this book a million times and never get tired of it.”
By Beth Lisick
“A Chelsea Handler for the smart, sly set, Lisick has a great sense of humor about herself and isn’t afraid to reveal her worst intentions. Each story, whether it’s about being a teenage tanorexic or an alt-weekly hack, tumbles head over heels toward some brand new revelation or insight. This is a deliriously funny, unapologetically dark book that’s entertaining and thoughtful from start to finish.”
By John Updike
“Updike captures the inherent melancholy of American pop culture like no other writer. His prose is so fluid and evocative, and he crawls so completely into Rabbit’s skin, that we experience Rabbit’s longing and nostalgia as if it’s our own. Reading the Rabbit series is like living an alternate life, from young adulthood to death.”