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Started by Mobbd, May 28, 2022, 08:02:26 PM
Quote from: Mobbd on May 28, 2022, 08:02:26 PMI'm revisiting the work of humorist Jonathan Ames. So far, I'm delighted by him. Just really funny, heartening, often quite sleazy/degenerate in a very matter-of-fact but confessional sort of way and frequently scatalogical.He seems fixated with his own perversions but it never feels trivial, it's always morbidly interesting and even charming. He visits sex workers and has encouters with transgender dwarf and a dominatrix, yet it always feels light and oddly relatable even though the reader is unlikely to have done quite the same.I've known about him for years, of course, but sadly forgot him for a while. Not sure why. I liked him back in the day and I like him again now, but it all feels like a wonderful new discovery.I read The Double Life is Twice as Good (personal essays) back in about 2010 after enjoying Bored to Death (high quality stoner-adjascent comedy) on TV.A pal just gave me his other collection of personal essays, I Love You More Than You Know, which I'm enjoying very much and has rekindled a desire for more so I just ordered one of his novels, The Extra Man and look forward to reading it.He did a Wodehouse-inspired novel called Wake Up, Sir! about some legally-distinct Jeeves and his master, which I have not read but does appeal. Anyone here read it?I've almost finished I Love You and he's just brought up an older essay of his called "I Shat My Pants in the South of France". This triggered a half-memory that he spoke about this essay on RHLSTP. He didn't seem a likely guest but, lo and behold, here is, being the raconteur to Herring's crippled-with-anxiety prompter man. It's very underwatched in RHLSTP terms (about 15,000 views) but I'd like to reccomend it.What do people here make of Ames? When did you last read him? How do you rank him against Sedaris and Lebowitz and others of that humorist/storyteller ilk?
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on May 29, 2022, 01:28:29 AMI'm a big, big fan of his, I'll write more tomorrow but Wake Up Sir? is really fun, and I enjoyed The Extra Man a lot too, though right now feel that What's Not To Love? is the thing I love the most.
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on May 29, 2022, 11:11:48 AMThanks you for that. And well, I only discovered him due to Bored To Death but was a huge fan of his for that alone, though I am one of about eight people who seemed to enjoy Blunt Talk as well. The aforementioned What's Not To Love? was so sweet natured and genuinely funny that it's a book I'm extremely fond of, and Wake Up, Sir! is his best novel for me, though I like the The Extra Man a lot, it's not quite up there with what had come before.Fake Edit: I was just about to hit post when I remembered I've read his graphic novel The Alcoholic, and remember being impressed at the time, and should revisit it soon.I'm a big fan of Sedaris's early work (Naked, Barrel Fever, Me Talk Funny One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, but find his newer writing more variable, it has its moments but sometimes it does feel a little like he's run out of stories to tell. That said Calypso was a return to form for me, and when his next one turns up in a charity shop I'll definitely get it.
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on June 01, 2022, 11:48:19 AMIt's been an oddly busy week but I will reply to your post above soon
Quote from: Mobbd on May 29, 2022, 02:47:57 PMOddly enough, I'm reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim right now alongside Ames. (I went on a trip and took two books that I felt would be easygoing and absorbing enough to pass the time in transit). I'm surprised to find Ames much sharper and thought-provoking than early Sedaris. I still love him but I'm finding this particular volume a bit limp compared to my memories of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and Calypso (which, actually, felt ever-so-slightly phoned in to me though I did enjoy it) even though I know it's supposed to be vintage Sedaris.
QuoteWith regards to the quality of Sedaris' recent work, I read his diaries recently, enjoying Theft by Finding but being absolutely blown away by [the poorly-titled] Carnival of Snackery. Title aside, it is absolutely hilarious, truly unreplicable by anyone else and probably even himself. Lightning in a bottle. Brilliantly observed, excellently edited, and just written in the right places at the right times. It slides quite darkly into the dystopic Trump-and-Brexit-and-Covid years, confirming in my mind that the previous decade really was a better time and that there really are no rose-tinted goggles in this case, but every last entry (which is usually only about 300 words long) has something truly shocking or hilarious in it. It's a massive tombstone of a book but I read it all up in about 10 days; it was that good.
QuoteBack to Ames, I've almost finished I Love You More Than You Know and I'm really impressed. Looking forward to reading those other books of his I've got lined up.I enjoyed Bored to Death very much, by the way. Some of my love for it was probably down to Ted Danson as George Christopher (such a class act, that gentle voice, "I love Danny Kaye too!") but obviously Ames' vision is at the bottom of it all.
QuoteThanks for mentioning The Alchoholic. That's in my local library too but I'd sort-of ignored it in favour of the 'proper ones,' an error I will of course correct on your recommendation.
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