Tuesday, May 12, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY :: Top Ten Authors I'd Like To Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted weekly by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme interested me because I didn't think I would be able to do it. I have been lucky enough over the past several years to meet and spend time with most of the authors I admire, as writers and people. After the first name jumped to my mind, I was a bit stuck. But then I thought about why I wanted to meet that person and it occurred to me I wanted to meet her as a person, I just happen to know her through her writing. So this list is really about people who intrigue me and make me laugh, people I would love to sit around a scarred wood table and trade stories with. They are in no particular order other than the first one, simply because she came to mind first and so quickly:

1.  Jenny Lawson.

Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson wrote Let's Pretend This Never Happened, one of the funniest, craziest memoirs I've ever read. I find her to be one of the most openly human people I've ever been exposed to, baring her struggles and creating a community that lifts itself up and reaches out to help others. That sounds really serious, and it is, but Jenny has one of the most wicked-smart senses of humors I've come across in a long time. I can just imagine what sitting around that table with her would be like. If you've not read her first book, do so, because her second, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, comes out later this year.

2.  Sarah Vowell.

Speaking of wicked smart, I'm not even sure this would be a conversation, I just want to sit and listen to Sarah Vowell for an evening.

3.  Meg Wolitzer.

Hmm, are you sensing a theme here? Didn't really realize until I started typing, but my list is chock full of strong, smart women with fantastic senses of humor. I've actually "met" Meg, but it was at a speaking engagement and that doesn't count as sharing stories over bourbon. Meg is yet another person I could sit and listen to for a very long time. The Interestings kicked me in the chest and I've been hoarding her work ever since. Simply stellar stuff.

4.  Jennifer Armstrong.

Jennifer wrote Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a fabulous book about the impact of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on television, women writers, and women and the business in general. If you haven't read it, do. I talked with  Meg Wolitzer a bit about this book, and I think a round table with Meg and Jennifer would be nirvana.

5.  Jenna McCarthy.

Simply one of the funniest people I've met on social media. I think we might get into trouble together, however, so we should probably be chaperoned should we ever meet in real life. If you've not read any of Jenna's work, go check out If It Was Easy, They'd Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married.

6.  Caissie St. Onge.

Caissie is a writer of all kinds of things, but perhaps most well-known (to me) for her work writing for David Letterman. She also wrote for Rosie O'Donnell and Joan Rivers. Warm, engaging, thoughtful, and fantastically funny, she's a natural addition to this list of people smarter and funnier than I am. Aren't those the best people to spend time with?

7.  Amy Poehler.

Ha! Ms. Poehler sneaks in here based on her fantastic book Yes Please because she's now an author as well as a movie/television actor. I hope she brings Leslie Knope with her when we meet.  And April Ludgate. And Tina Fey. Who I should just add to the list, but instead of using a spot I'm going to count on Amy to do the right thing with her +1.

8.  Caitlin Doughty.

Caitlin wrote one of my favorite books of 2014, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, which proved her to be not only a smart and engaging writer, but a fascinating personality. You can find my review of Smoke here.

9.  Claudia Rankine.

Getting off the humor track for a moment, I just read Claudia Rankine's Citizen and it blew me away. I'd love to talk with her about her work and life. You can read my thoughts on Citizen here, but you should definitely go get a copy. It's an important work and a real eye-opener.

10.  Adam Rapp.

I simply have to meet the mind that wrote the fabulous, crazypants Know Your Beholder.

11.  Lawrence Block.

I'm cheating and including 11 because I don't want to knock anyone off the list and it's my damn list and I'll pick 11 if I want to. I've been reading Lawrence Block's work for almost three decades and it's second to none. Although we've chatted on social media, I'd like to shake his hand in person and say a heartfelt "Thank you" for the fantastic books I've enjoyed because of him over the past thirty years.

That's it. After thinking I'd have trouble with this list, the names came pretty easily when I thought about the people who make me laugh and consistently think to myself, "Wow, that is one smart cookie." My goal is always to be the least smart and/or funny person in a room, it's the best way to learn and be exposed to new things. Thankfully, I have an incredible knack for finding such people and odds are if you're reading this you're one of them.


Emily said...

Sarah Vowell!! YES! She's so awesome, she'd be fabulous to meet. I wonder when she'll have a new book out? It's been a while. I nearly included Amy Poehler and then decided to not go down the female celebrity memoir list or it would comprise all 10 of my spots: Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Amy, Lena Dunham, etc.

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

I don't know and it has been a while. Too long. Even when I read her stuff I hear her voice in my head, which just adds to the experience. I hear you about the rabbit hole, maybe another non-bookish top ten.

Marisa @The Daily Dosage said...

Nice! Meg Wolitzer is on mine as well! I haven't read anything by Lawrence Block...which series do you like best?

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Where is your list, Marisa, I don't see it on your site? Isn't Meg fantastic? Just love her. Lawrence Block writes crime fiction. My favorite is his Matt Scudder series, hands down. If you like lighter fare, you might prefer his Bernie Rhodenbarr burglar series. I also like his Keller series about a hit man. But for me, Scudder is one of the best "PI" series around.

Marisa @The Daily Dosage said...

I didn't make one. :(( I was a little behind this weekend with posts so I skipped this week. But on mine...Meg Wolitzer, Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed, Terry Tempest Williams--for sure. I need more comediennes in my reading repertoire!

Marisa @The Daily Dosage said...

Oh and will check out the Scudder series!!

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Well, at least I know I'm not losing my marbles for not being able to find it! Nice list. I still have not read Roxanne Gay and her books have been sitting on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time. Must get on that.

Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie said...

Yes to Jenny! All the time Jenny! She's on my list as well and she's one of my absolute favorites. I'm hoping to meet her in Seattle in the fall. Fingers crossed. My TTT

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Isn't she fantastic? I'm going to have to check the tour and see if she's coming to my 'hood. I like your list, very diverse!

About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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