6 books Abbi Jacobson read during quarantine
Abbi Jacobson is a comedian, actor, and writer who co-starred with Ilana Glazer in the sitcom Broad City. She voices the character of Katie Mitchell in The Mitchells vs. the Machines, a sci-fi animated feature that premieres on Netflix on April 30.
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino (2019).
I find Jia's commentary on the world, and basically on anything, to be so refreshing. I read a lot of current essay collections. When I read Jia's, I found her point of view to be just what I needed at that moment.
Meaty by Samantha Irby (2013).
When I first read Meaty, I just had to meet its author, even though I felt like I already had. She can talk about the most tragic and sad and hard things — like living with Crohn's disease, and her parents dying, and how she shape-shifts in different situations — in such a funny way. I wrote to her after reading her essay collection and begged her to work with me. Now she is a good friend, and we're making a show together.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (2018).
I read Makkai's novel about the AIDS crisis at the beginning of Covid. Eventually I started rationing it, because I was so invested in these characters and stories that I didn't want the book to be over.
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron (2006).
Ephron's essays are the epitome of the way I want to write. They're so direct, funny, and observational; they can be light and then all of a sudden swerve to aging and dying, or divorce and heartbreak. I need them every so often to remind myself how to tell a personal story well.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (1993).
This story is so brilliant that I am reading the follow-up and, again, rationing what I have left. Sower takes place in the 2020s in a dystopian Los Angeles where water and other resources are limited. It's scaring the s--- out of me, because I feel like we're not far from this sort of dystopia. But it also drew me in to the main character and her journey.
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore (1985).
I think Lorrie Moore's work must be what you read if you're studying fiction writing and want to know what a short story is supposed to look like. After finishing Self-Help, I bought every other collection of her writing. I just wanted to eat it up.
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