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24 May 2010


response to my tweet about this review from a fellow librarian:

that was scary good, thank you. Stupid, talented people. One 30-something gets blurbed by Philip Lopate, another gets therapy.

(we fall into the therapy category, which is why said fellow librarian and i get along so well)

Your post has intrigued me. I read The Quality of Life Report (found it for free on the street) and liked it, but didn't think it was all that. These essays sound good.

I read The Quality of Life Report and really liked it. Thanks for reminding me of this author. Another memoir to check out, I see.

CR, I'm a little afraid, now. As SOON as I saw this was about Daum's essay collection, the phrase "Carpet is my Mungers" popped into my head. I read that essay collection before I left NYC (and some of the original essays when they appeared in my New Yorker) and was so completely blown away.

You really captured my response to it perfectly. Instant horror at not how good someone my age could be, but how much better. It's weird, because Dave Eggers is also a contemporary (and grew up just a few miles from my house, and went to a rival HS, etc), and his writing was fascinating but never really sparked that kind of envy.

Thanks again for the tweet! I may not be getting blurbed by Philip Lopate, but I'll take getting tweeted by you any time.

I think I may check out "The Quality of Life Report," too, and it takes a lot for me to look into fiction. I'd be interested to hear what you think on this one. I read someone else who compared her to Didion, and I don't think she's quite at that level yet, but there's something about these essays that is very, very skillfully done.

Oh, Sherry,
There's always more books to check out, isn't there? Now we just need more time. Let me know if you look into this book or her new memoir.

Creepy, isn't it? Let's face it: it's just a damn good phrase. And I don't know if she made up the name "Mungers," but it's perfect. (Although I must admit to having a little envy of Eggers too, particularly where his memoir was concerned). I would guess as I age I'll only have more moments like this, because I'm hitting the age range now where a lot of writers are producing their best stuff. The only thing keeping me going is the thought that Norman Maclean came out with "A River Runs through It" after he was 70.

She's definitely not Didion. QoLR was a decent novel--it definitely didn't make me throw it aside in disgust, which I often find myself doing when I've loved an authors essays (I exaggerate, but only slightly--it's usually more of a disappointed sigh as I read to the bitter end).

It was good for the first 70%, and even when it devolved at the end I still enjoyed it. It didn't feel too chick-lit, either, which it definitely could have become. No surprise, it also felt very personal--but I always assume first novels to be thinly veiled personal histories.

Some nice turns of phrase, if I remember correctly, too.

Sounds intriguing and you're right, the carpet/Mungers passage is brilliant. I'll have to check her out. I think I remember being a little irritated by the moving to Lincoln thing -- did that run in The New Yorker or the NY Times magazine? As if every Bright Young Thing were entitled to a successful life in the field of their choice in the place of their choice even if that place is Manhattan and she was pissed off that it hadn't happened for her. But maybe I'm projecting ...

That excerpt convinced me to try to get ahold of the collection! :) I always feel the same way when I'm reading an incredible essayist...the whiny green child in me starts asking "But why can't Iiii write like that?)

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