August Reads – Why These Books?

Your August NSBCBC Reads!

Your August NSBCBC Reads!

Man, it’s hot in here.

I’m currently writing to you from the Muscle Maker Grill in Huntington, NY and I swear it’s about 85 degrees in this building. As you can tell, my locale is not nearly as awesome as the last time, but vacations can’t last forever. Oh Vegas, how I miss thee.

Since I last wrote, a lot has happened. We posted a fantastically fun and patriotic episode of the Not So Book Club Podcast. Dare I say it was the best episode thus far? Yes, I dare. But you can be the judge of that. Head over to nsbcbc.podbean.com and check it out for yourself. Actually, check out all four episodes because personally, I think they’re all pretty great.

We also received the first batch of The Not So Book Club Book Club bookmarks! (Is that a mouthful or what?!) Featuring photographs by the talented Kimberly Manley, these bookmarks got it all. Slightly heavy card stock, a sleek matte finish, and my grinning face on it. And the best part—you can get your very own NSBCBC bookmark for free! Send your full name and address to nsbcbc@gmail.com and I’ll make sure you have yours within the week.

They're fun. They're functional. They're free.

They’re fun. They’re functional. They’re free.

With that said, let’s jump into our August reads!

1. On Writing (A Memoir of the Craft) – Stephen King

Despite the fact that I recently have been treating the word “memoir” like my own personal enemy, I just can’t quit this genre. And I certainly couldn’t ignore this book, especially after the glowing recommendation Kimmy gave it.

For a pretty decent reader like myself, I must admit I’ve read only one Stephen King book. It was Pet Semetary and I read it so I could finally put a 10-year fear to bed. Let us flash back to the summer of 1999. I was sleeping over my friend’s house, enjoying life with the carefree whimsy of a child who has never experienced anything scarier than perhaps seeing 5 seconds of a commercial for the movie The Witches of Eastwick. After spending a few hours eating junk food and singing *Nsync karaoke, someone (not me) suggested we watch Pet Semetary. For fear of looking like a wuss, I agreed. Within 10 minutes, I could feel the hives forming on my chest. Fear was filling me up to the point that my body was trying to push it out in the form of red blotches, but I kept watching. By the time “Zelda” appeared on the screen I was ready to pass out… and then that bitch appeared 2 more times! Needless to say, I spent the rest of the summer asking my parents if I could sleep on the floor of their bedroom.

Unfortunately, the fear didn’t end after that summer. Every time I shut the lights off in the basement, or pulled the shower curtain back, I feared that Zelda would be there, yelling at me about her twisted spine. (That’s what she did. She never actually killed anyone. She was just really grumpy and scary looking). Anyway, 10 years went by with these irrational fears in my life until I finally decided to face my fear and re-watch the movie. But before I did that, I decided to read the book. I figured the more absorbed I was in the story, the better shot I had at realizing it was ridiculous. But honestly, it was scary. Turns out, Stephen King is really great at writing scary stories. Who knew? (Everyone. Everyone knew.)

This is Gage. He's the adorable child who dies, rises from the dead, and totally changes his look to be a little more turn-of-the-century goth chic. I refused to post a picture of Zelda, because she's too terrifying. Side note: Zelda's a man. I actually found the actor's email and wrote to them explaining how terrified I was of them. He never wrote back. The nerve....

This is Gage. He’s the adorable child who dies, rises from the dead, and totally changes his look to be a little more turn-of-the-century goth chic. I refused to post a picture of Zelda, because she’s too terrifying. But here is a link for those who like to torture themselves. Side note: Zelda’s a man. I actually found the actor’s email and wrote to him explaining how much his performance terrified me. He never wrote back. The nerve….

Anyway, it’s time I dive back into the Stephen King pool. Kimmy said that this was one of the best written books she’s ever read (and this is coming from a girl who lives for a good sentence). The (non-horror) memoir focuses on the process of writing, and I believe it also was written at a time where he was recovering from a very serious accident, so there’s a lot of life reflection going on. I’m not 100% about that though, because this Muscle Maker Grill does not have wifi and I can’t currently look that up. Kimmy, can you confirm this?

2. The Leftovers – Tom Perrotta

Anyone with HBO has probably seen the commercial for this show about a million times. (You know the one. It’s the commercial where they play that really awesome James Blake song and show a lot of people crying and being angry). For those of you who are into those kinds of shows (me) you have already experienced the first 4 episodes. So far, I have not made it through a single episode without shedding a tear. It may only be a single tear, but it’s still a tear.

Doesn't this show look like a great time?!

Doesn’t this show look like a great time?!

Anyway, the story examines what happens to people who are left behind after a “rapture like” event occurs (people disappear without a trace, and family and friends are left wondering what happened). They are the “leftovers,” the ones who were left behind, destined to spend the rest of their existence wondering what really happened.

Fellow NSBCBCer Daryl (who recommended Beautiful Ruins and is featured on the bookmark as the beautiful reading yogi) recommended this one. Although she had not seen the show, enough positive reviews drew her to the book, and she was not disappointed. Strange, beautiful, and disturbing, this book is guaranteed to leave you questioning just how would you react if this were to happen to you.

3. Live from New York (As Told By It’s Stars, Writers, and Guests)– Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller

In my dreams, I am Molly Shannon, and Rocky Balboa is my dog.

In my dreams, I am Molly Shannon, and Rocky Balboa is my dog.

I have always been a huge fan of SNL. Despite however many times people say “the show has gotten horrible,” I never agree. I dig it, even when it’s bad. And even more, I dig the history of the show. Every time VH1 airs their SNL special, it’s almost a guarantee I will stop and watch it (unless it’s airing at the same time as a new episode of SNL of course).

I read this book a few years ago and I found it fascinating. This book tells the history of SNL, but does it through interviews of people who were there during each time period discussed. Previous cast members, hosts, producers, and writers all weigh in to talk about the everything from the start of the show to when the book was published in 2004.

Check out how cool Lorne Michaels looked in the 70's.

They’re so cool it kills me a little.

Filled with dirty secrets of drugs,sex, politics, and comedy, this book reaffirmed that despite how much I love to dream about being a cast member, I’d never be cool enough.

And don’t let the page count scare you. This one flies by.

With that, I must exit this Muscle Maker Grill, because it is probably now 90 degrees in here and I am melting into my keyboard.

Hope this month’s books have been treating you well. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of The Not So Book Club Podcast and participate in the club via our numerous social media outlets! Facebook.com/nsbcbc is always waiting for you to comment, Twitter.com/notsobook club is always looking for new followers, and Instagram is more than ready for you to use the nsbcbc hashtag. Get on it.

Tons of love.

Nina Sclafani

Founder of the Not So Book Club Book Club

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