Thursday, December 26, 2013

Currently Reading

If anything, so far, reading this is somewhat akin to helping someone less fortunate than yourself: you suddenly see that you have a lot in your life to be grateful for, though with Brosh you feel less guilty about laughing your ass off too.

Via The Rumpus by a former coworker and friend Stacie Williams:

I was first introduced to blogger Allie Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half” when I started library school. The illustrations, rendered in a throwback Mac application, were wry and occasionally burst-out-laughing funny. She seemed to have a following among the Dewey Decimal-literate (or anyone in graduate school) because her concept of “doing all the things” as a mantle of adult responsibility was painfully familiar. In her blog-based book, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened, Brosh creates a diagram by which her attempts to increase the level of responsibility in her life ultimately end in a “system failure.” Despite some amusingly re-created anecdotes, this book tries to do “all the things” with uneven results.

The popularity of the memoir format combined with a cultural insistence on elevating the banal into the sublime often leaves the reader unfulfilled and only mildly interested, as though they just skimmed a series of lunchtime Google chats. WYD? Tuna salad for lunch. The day is going by so fast. I can’t believe I’m so busy. Guess what funny thing just happened? LOL! Brosh isn’t always so banal. In two blog entries written in May and October 2011, respectively, she addressed her book deal and gave a sobering explanation of her ongoing experiences with depression.

Half of the book is composed of the most popular blog posts, such as “The God of Cake”—still hilarious after numerous readings—in which Brosh acts a stone-cold fool while scheming to eat her grandmother’s birthday cake, and “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving,” where her anxious canines vomit, cry, and crawl their way into a new house. The other half is made up of new pieces that come off like a co-worker retelling jokes heard the night before at a comedy show. Maybe it was funny, but you probably had to be there to really appreciate it. “Dinosaur (the Goose Story)” is a prime example. In the heat of the moment, a goose walking into the house, running and chasing the inhabitants, probably makes for a bit some excitement. On the page, even with the adorably sad-faced shark that she uses as her alter ego, it is less so. This is despite photographs documenting the event, which she included because she says “While all of this was happening, I knew that it was probably going to be a story I’d write down someday. I also knew that the people reading it would probably feel some doubt to its veracity.”

Also via NPR where you can also read an excerpt

Allie Brosh's humorous, autobiographical blog, Hyperbole and a Half, has a huge following. In 2011, an editor of PC World included it in a list of the funniest sites on the Internet, and this year, Advertising Age included Brosh in its annual list of the year's most influential and creative thinkers and doers.

That's pretty amazing considering that, as Brosh describes it, she lives like a recluse in her Bend, Ore., bedroom, where she writes stories about her life and illustrates them with brightly colored, intentionally crude drawings.

Most of the stories are funny, whether they're about her dog's behavior problems or her favorite grammatical pet peeve — "a lot" written as "alot." But her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression. In fact, when Brosh stopped blogging for about a year and a half, her readers were worried about her. Now, not only is she blogging again, she has a new book, also called Hyperbole and a Half, that collects her blog posts as well as new illustrated stories.

And here is the blog: Hyperbole and a Half

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