Cindy Chupack, an Emmy-winning writer and executive producer for HBO’s Sex and the City, is the author of The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays.
Barrel Fever and Other Stories by David Sedaris (Back Bay Books, $13). Hands down one of the funniest essay and short-story collections ever written. My favorites are “SantaLand Diaries”—Sedaris’ strange-but-true experiences as an elf at Macy’s—and “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!”—an upbeat Christmas letter from a woman clearly in crisis.
On Writing by Stephen King (Pocket Books, $8). This great memoir is a very useful tool for anyone who writes or has aspirations to do so. King gives many helpful tips and tells an inspiring personal tale that will make you want to write more, read more, and love more.
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How to Be Hap-Hap-Happy Like Me by Merrill Markoe (out of print). I became a fan of Markoe’s magazine essays when I was just out of journalism school and living in New York. She approaches writing as a social anthropologist, hap-hap-happy to throw herself into ridiculous situations for the sake of the story.
Fraud by David Rakoff (Broadway, $13). Another must-read, by David Sedaris’ friend and sometime collaborator. Once you read the first piece, “In New England, Everybody Calls You Dave,” you’ll be hooked.
About a Boy, High Fidelity, and How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (Riverhead, $13 each). Nobody captures today’s single man as honestly, sympathetically, and humorously as Hornby in High Fidelity and About a Boy. And How to Be Good is a hilarious portrait of a troubled marriage.
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