If You Have Period Cramps and You Want to Pile on the Cozy Blankets and Forget the World Awhile: Read This
by Annie Spence
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Dundy’s 1958 novel about a young woman’s romp around Paris will pair you with the ultimate vicarious travel buddy, Sally Jay Gorce. She’s young, she’s got someone else’s money, and she’s damn determined to have a good time. The humor and zest for life that this main character exude has not dulled with age and it is the perfect story to fulfill your wanderlust while still keeping you close to your heating pad.
Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
Few can make suffering funnier than the late great Ms. Fisher. Postcards is her first of four novels (she also wrote memoirs, plays, and was a gifted “script doctor”) and tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a woman raised in Hollywood, who tries to gain some sense of reality after a stint in drug rehab. Turns out, reality is hard to find in La La Land. This book is definitely not classic literature, but it’s a proper noon-er of a read and you can make a double feature of it, by checking out the movie version (Fisher wrote the screenplay) starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones by Hettie Jones
It’s not often one can be both soothed and exhilarated by a book, but Jones compilation of letters to and from her friend Helene Dorn from the 1960s on does just that. I wasn’t familiar with Jones’ work—she is a poet, novelist, and memoirist—or the art of Dorn before beginning this book; but it doesn’t matter, because the friendship the women have is so relatable and entertaining. Both women found themselves keeping house and raising children while their husbands pursued the artistic lives that they, too, had dreamed of. Then both were “discarded” by their spouses and came to their artwork later in life than they had hoped; and not without the struggles of lack of money, broken down cars, and mothering while pursuing their goals. The way the friends root for each other is inspiring, the obstacles they overcome make you believe you can do the same. It’s always good to spend time with some good girlfriends, and sometimes you want to be able to do that without talking. This is the book for that.
Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette by Ronnie Spector
This thrill ride of an autobiography will take up your whole day, and then at least 20 minutes for everyone you see the next day because you will have to dish with them about it. Not only did Ronnie Spector become a superstar as a teenager, set trends with her bold style, AND sing one of the sexiest songs of the century (my generation rediscovered “Be My Baby” through the Dirty Dancing soundtrack), she then married Phil Spector, yes, that Phil Spector, and, lived to tell about it. The crazy ups and downs of rock n’roll life and livid detail of her tumultuous relationship with a young Phil Spector will make you devour this book. This book was released in 1990, long before Spector was arrested for murder, and is a fascinating and terrifying insight into just how long Spector was displaying (and getting away with) seriously disturbing behavior. Plus, she makes out with John Lennon.
Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies by Christie Young
You could call it an illustrated guide or a graphic etiquette book, and it is those things; but mostly Christie Young's Girl Talk is a funny and comforting read. It is the quintessential "Lay on the Couch with Period Cramps" book. Young's art reminds you of the doodles in your notebook margins in high school (if you were a super awesome doodler); and her "unsolicited advice" on everything from what to bring to the beach, to how to deal with a breakup, to how to get period blood out of your sheets will make you laugh and identify with the modern sisterhood. Personally, she had me at "Boob Snax": snacks that fell into your bra that you didn't know you were saving for later.
Annie Spence is an author & librarian living in Detroit, MI.