How Did You Get This Number? A Humorous Book Review

I adore Sloane Crosley. She’s been recognized as the female David Sedaris, which is high praise for comedy writers. I read her first memoir, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, last summer and LOVED it. Ms. Crosley and I share quite a bit of humorous childhood experiences and her essays – particularly the one about the atlas moth – had me laughing out loud. You see, I do not do bugs.

Working on a humorous non-fiction book myself, I’ve been guzzling down comedy books to get a sense of voice and see what works and what doesn’t. I was ready to check out more Sloane Crosley!

For Christmas, I added her next book, How Did You Get This Number, to my wish list and my sister obliged.

In this book, Sloane shares a love story, one of New York City and her own as well. Every gory detail about her relationship with the place she lives is there – from desiring to live in a haunted apartment complex that used to be a brothel to buying high class furniture that “fell off the back of a truck” from a guy named Doug. Along the way, this new adult finds a place for herself amidst the moments that shaped her life.

Frequently writing for The New York Times and GQ magazines, Sloane Crosley has a quick wit that burns off the page. She has a style of writing like your having a conversation with your bestie over coffee, and yet the comparisons she makes about life are so biting and enjoyable.

Travel buffs will also get a kick out of this read for her descriptions of things like hailing a New York taxi cab, getting lost in the streets of Turkey, bonding with fellow bridesmaids in the wilderness of Alaska, and trying to smuggle an antique thermometer out of France.

I read this book as part of my To Be Read Pile Challenge for 2014. I am now 2 books into the challenge, with 10 more to go. You can see my full reading list here.

What books are on your must read list this year?
How’s your reading going so far?
Got any recommendations for me?

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15 responses

  1. Ooh, thanks for the new author! One of my favorite books is “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” by Sedaris, and I’ve just started writing humorous essays of my own. I’ve been reading Sedaris, Erma Bombeck, and Nora Ephron (“I Feel Bad About My Neck” is my favorite) for inspiration and guidance, so I’ll add Sloane Crosley to my list.

    1. Ooh all good titles and writers. The Sedaris book is part of my TBR challenge too. I haven’t read any Bombeck and I need to. There’s a writers conference for humor writers in memory of Erma Bombeck. It’s in Ohio and the next one is in 2016. Hoping I can go!

      1. http://www.wclibrary.info/erma/index.asp There’s also an Erma Bombeck writing contest, held every two years. We missed this year’s deadline, but it’s good info for 2016. Winner gets $500 and free admission to the conference!

  2. Coincidence, I just bought Sloane’s book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. It’s the next book on my list to read. This new one sounds hilarious! I pass these humorous non fictions to my daughter when I’m done with them because they’re exactly her kind of book. I bought her a few David Sedaris books for Christmas as well as ‘Let’s Pretend a This Never Happened. I love Nora Ephron and many, many years ago, I read all of Erma Bombecks books but those are of my generation. I also love Anna Quindlan’s memoirs but they are also more for my age group. I’m currently reading The Monumemts Men. Fascinating read and so well done. I also have Misremembered Man and The Husband’s Secret as the next couple of books waiting to be read. Just read John Grisham’s Sycamore Row-that man never fails to keep you turning pages. Mostly I’ve been reading women’s fiction, Barbara Delinsky being my favorite, but also Luanne Rice and Kristin Hannah, to learn from them for my own writing. READ ON, JESS!

    1. That’s what prompted all my humor reading was research for my writing. I was thinking your daughter would really like Sloane’s books. I laughed out loud. And Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is uproariously funny! I’m so pumped to be going to the BlogHer conference this year where Jenny Lawson is speaking! *squeeeeee

      1. Oh, that’s so great that you are going to BlogHer! That will be so much fun! I expect lots of pics and stories about your time there!
        Jenny Lawson’s book was very funny but I didn’t make it all the way through. It was definitely for a younger reader than I, which is why you and mu daughter loved it. You and my daughter have the same kind of humor, too.

        1. She sounds hilarious. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh, one more book that I heard is supposed to be phenomenal, The Moon Sisters.

  4. I wish I’d gone through drug addiction, recovered, and had a bunch of interesting things happen to me afterwards because I’d love to write a memoir serving as an homage to Sloane’s called I Was Told There’d Be Coke. Maybe if I get right on that…

    …Alternately, I suppose I could also recount my fall from grace and subsequent recovery from a severe soda addiction.

    In any case, I love a good memoir, and hers sounds intriguing.

    I am currently reading “& Sons” by David Gilbert and highly recommend it if you’re into clever literary work similar to Jonathan Franzen’s.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/29/books/in-sons-david-gilbert-looks-at-uneasy-family-dynamics.html?_r=0

    1. Have you seen previews for that new show on Comedy Central called Review? Basically the guy tries all these things and rates them. One episode was a spoof on drug use in which he gave cocaine a million stars. Ha!

      Other really funny read for you: The Guinea Pig Diaries by AJ Jacobs. He also tries a bunch of very literal things and writes humorously about it. Bet you’d dig his books.

  5. I think you have the calling for humorous writing Jess. That is fabulous! I’m sorry to say that I’ve never heard of Sloane Crosley or David Sedaris. What can I say? I’m old. lol. Yet, I do miss Nora and Erma. Oh my gosh, Erma would make you wet your panties. And when I think of Nora, I think of “Devil Wears Prada” and “Julie/Julia” in which she directed and I think she wrote the screenplay, at least I know she did with “Julie/Julia”. Anyway, good for you Jess. I admire your spunky attitude. Keep reading! πŸ™‚

  6. These books sound wonderful and JUST what the doctor ordered! I need a high dose of laughter. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    1. LOVE love love her first book! Be sure and check out today’s post if you need more funny in life! πŸ˜‰

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