A melancholy Christmas

I just finished reading Augusten’s newest:

I was expecting really big things out of this book, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. The first few essays were about Augusten’s childhood and were admittedly chuckle-worthy. They involved a life-sized wax Santa with a half-eaten face and a gingerbread public housing unit. But as the book progressed, the stories became more and more melancholy. He described his drunk Christmas spent with bums in New York City, and an affair with a fat French Santa.

Overall, the book lacked Augusten’s usual sharp wit and eye for hilarious details. I wouldn’t recommend spending $21.99 on the hardcover version. With my Barnes and Noble member’s card it was $18 and some change, still a little steep. Maybe it’ll be out in paperback next year.

If you’re in the mood for a little holiday absurdity, I recommend reading “Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris. The best part is, you can buy it used on Amazon for $1.89.


Angela’s Ashes

I finished reading the hilariously wonderful “Possible Side Effects” by Augusten Burroughs the other day when I ran across Bookseer.com. It’s a website that suggests what books you should read next based on the one you just finished reading. I entered in “Possible Side Effects” and up popped the likely list of other Augusten books, David Sedaris and Haven Kimmel. What I didn’t expect to see on the list was “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt.

Luckily I already own “Angela’s Ashes.” I saw it on the bookshelf at Goodwill a few years back and decided that for two dollars, it was a good investment. And now I’m glad I did. Since I’ve been boycotting the fascist library, the only thing left was to buy (too poor) or read something I already had.

“Angela’s Ashes” is a really interesting read so far. It reminds me a lot of “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls, the way the father in the story drinks his paycheck every week and leaves the family to starve. Not exactly an uplifting story, but I can handle it. I’m about 200 pages in right now; I’ll fill you in on more when I finish.

Hello again, Augusten.

For the past few weeks I’ve been happily reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve actually checked out a book from the library. The book is about 550 pages long, and I got about half way through, when the due date came up. At this point, you can normally go online and renew your items, but today, the fascist Live Oak Public Library decided to allow someone to place a hold on my book. My book! The book that I have invested several dozen hours into reading.

In compliance with the library’s wishes, I turned in the book today. Now, someone else may have a chance to get half way through and be thoroughly disappointed when they have to turn it in. What a load of crap.

So, now that I’m boycotting the public library, I’ve been forced to turn back to my limited collection of books. This collection contains a healthy serving of Augusten Burroughs, including one that I never finished: “Possible Side Effects.” This is another collection of essays by Augusten that recounts such jems as alcoholism, first jobs, and his first New York City pets. There is no telling why I never finished it, but I found it at the bottom of the stack and was pleasantly surprised. I love reading Augusten because I can identify with his extreme discomfort during social situations. Maybe that’s just me.

On a related note, I’m very excited for the release of Augusten’s new book, “You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas,” available October 27, 2009. Judging by the cover, this should be a good one.