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Lisa's Picks

Book Cover for  Perishable: A Memoir Jamison, Dirk
Perishable: A Memoir

Think your family is dysfunctional? Dirk Jamison, child of a dumpster diving father and a self-absorbed Mormon mother (described by Jamison as more stupid than crazy) composes a gripping and candid memoir of his extremely unconventional 1970s childhood. Raised in an unstable environment and battling routine physical assault from a violent sister, Jamison manages to convey his experience in a very lucid and natural style, void of psychological interpretation. Throughout the memoir, the author provides us with the often hilarious details of concealing scavenged food in foil from his mother, building housing multiple times with his father, surviving adolescence in a Mormon community and a tumultuous relationship between his parents. Although Jamison’s family insanity is more extreme than average, the universality in family dynamics are undeniably evident.
Recommended by Lisa, October 2007
Book Cover for Little Children Perrotta, Tom
Little Children

Absorbing and unsettling, yet filled with laugh-out-loud moments, Little Children conceives a sardonic landscape of suburbia where nothing outside of the mundane ever seems to happen. Suspense soon shakes the plot as a convicted child molester moves into the neighborhood and an unlikely affair between two young parents captures an intense romance. While Sarah and Todd desperately embrace an oasis from feeling trapped, alone, and deflated by the drudgery of their lives, their children nap from a typical day at the town pool. From the neighborhood housewives to the local pedophile to the children of the restless adulterous parents, Perrotta remarkably manages to design every character as interesting and oddly engaging.
Recommended by Lisa, September 2007
Book Cover for The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas Rothbart, Davy
The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas: Stories

Short Stories
Humorous with just a tinge of desperation and dejection, Rothbart delivers a collection of short stories featuring a cast of everyday small-town characters in all too surreal situations. The opening story, "Lie Big," reads as a convincing memory recalled from a page of a friend's diary where the reader discovers the heartbreaking and hilarious intricacies of a complex friendship. Another notable story, "Maggie Fever," unravels the mundane yet tragic story of a fourteen year old boy left to his own devices but manages to allow his curiosity to lead him to anonymous adoration of a stranger. Oscillating from the ordinary, the intimate, the beautiful and the unfortunate, stories in The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas will leave you hanging on and in search for more.
Recommended by Lisa, June 2007
Book Cover for Generation X Coupland, Douglas
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Credited with terming low-paying/low-status/unsatisfying/dead-end employment as a "McJob" and introducing/popularizing the phrase "Generation X" to the American lexicon, Coupland conveys the lives of three friends as they attempt to escape their collective quarter-life crisis. Using a raw ironic tone that is anything less than subtle, Generation X entwines the exhausted lives of twentysomethings with relevant pop culture references. Choice moments in the novel include Coupland's incorporation of cartoons, slogans and Couplandisms, all of which are specific to the sentiments portrayed by both the characters and the author himself. "Tele-parabolizing" is a personal favorite of Coupland's invented terms which is defined as describing everyday morals by using widely known plots found on television (think, "that's just like the episode where Jan lost her glasses!"). Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture may not cure your frustration with our culture's habit of excessive consumption and extreme commercialism, but it will at least provide you with the solace of knowing you're not alone.
Recommended by Lisa, May 2007
Book Cover for Confessions of an Heiress Hilton, Paris and Merle Ginsberg
Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-chic Peek Behind the Pose

Indulgent, overstated and unabashedly self promotional, Hilton provides explicit guidelines on becoming an heiress while including hundreds of glossy photographs which could only be appreciated by the most insincere fanatic. While breezing through the shiny images and bullet pointed text, it's difficult to interpret a tone of irony or an honest voice that is mistakenly heard as sardonic. The majority of Hilton's autobiography is packed with lengthy lists of favorite vacation destinations, gems of little known Paris trivia and guilty pleasures. Regardless, the much talked about heiress surely satisfies our fierce if not slightly perverse craving of embarrassing pictures and humiliatingly obtuse intelligence. If all else fails, take Hilton's surefire advice, "…always act like you're wearing an invisible crown. I do. And it's always worked for me."
Recommended by Lisa, April 2007
Book Cover for The Revolution Will Be Accessorized
The Revolution Will Be Accessorized: BlackBook Presents Dispatches from the New Counterculture

A decade in the making, BlackBook magazine gives us a collection of essays from some of the most recognized names in contemporary writing, including Douglas Coupland, Naomi Klein, Augusten Burroughs, Chuck Palahniuk and Sam Lipsyte among others. Despite the magazine's reputation as a glossy New York fashion and social arsenal, The Revolution Will Be Accessorized contributes a perverse and provocative criticism of the "trendy" existence these writers (and perhaps even its readers alike) inhabit. From memoirs to critical essays on L.A.'s bourgeoisie, selections in this anthology will leave you questioning efforts of cultural dissent. Yet, Glen O'Brien states it best, "If it makes you think, is it fashion?"
Recommended by Lisa, March 2007
Book Cover for Post Secret PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives
Compiled by Frank Warren

Initiated as a temporary experimental community art project where anonymous secrets from across the United States are written on post cards and sent to artist Frank Warren, PostSecret has afforded itself to be a liberating experience to its audience. Voyeuristic, compelling, tragic, yet endearing, Warren composes confessions that are certain to divulge powerful insights to any who seek universality in humanity. If PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives leaves you wanting more, look for Frank Warren's succeeding compilation of confessions in My Secret: A PostSecret Book.
Recommended by Lisa, February 2007
Book Cover for Happy Kitty Bunny Pony Charles S. Anderson Design Co. and Michael J. Nelson
Happy Kitty Bunny Pony: A Saccharine Mouthful of Super Cute

It just has a ton of super cute images, all dating from the Depression era to the 60's and everything in between. Also includes some sassy and oh so witty commentary from a bunch of advertising types. It is quite savvy. The first time I looked at this, I was seriously on the floor laughing my guts out!
Recommended by Lisa, January 2007

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