The Librarian Is In

The Librarian Is In



Research & Instruction Librarian Brenda Ellis is liaison to History, Political Science, International Politics & Economics (IPE), International & Global Studies (IGS), MiddCore and co-liaison to Environmental Studies. 


“It Looked Different on the Model” and “Housebroken: Admissions of an Untidy Life” by Laurie Notaro, 2011 and 2016

218 and 270 pages

The What

New York Times best-selling author Laurie Notaro is a humorist whose books consist of a hilarious series of vignettes, written in the first person, about life’s daily events, encounters, humiliations or seemingly mundane matters like a trip to the Waffle House with her nephew.  She pokes fun at everything and everyone, including family, friends and neighbors, but mainly she is the butt of most of her jokes (and oh, she’d have fun with that noun). 

How does her husband’s discovery of a jar of peanut butter nine years beyond the expiration date lead to musings on the apocalypse and who will be on her survival team? Her advice: “…do not allow vegans onto your Survival Team unless it is for the specific purpose of possibly consuming them later on if things turn super shitty.”  What happens when her father joins Facebook, thinks her photos of meals she had already eaten were disgusting, then suddenly unfriends her? ”’Those were ironic’, I said almost shouting. ‘I’m an anti-foodie. It’s supposed to be gross…’”  And sometimes she simply writes about tragedies, such as the Great Twinkie Famine of 2012, when the original Hostess Twinkie went extinct. When her husband comes home and discovers she had left the oven on, leaving “the aroma of a chicken that I had not only broiled but also cremated in my oven,” he asks “‘What’s all of this white stuff?  Please tell me it’s house dandruff and that you weren’t trying to make crystal meth.’”  And what is it like when she returns to stay with her parents for a week? When her conservative father asks her over breakfast about “‘that President of yours [who] doesn’t seem to be able to cough up his birth certificate,’” she replies, “‘Dad’”, I said, my eyes still half closed, being that I had been awake for eight minutes.  “‘I don’t even have a bra on yet.  Maybe we should save the birther debate for Mid-Morning Snack Time.’”  About those X-ray scanners TSA uses that can see through your clothes “…get an eyeful.  Drink it in, my friend. No, that’s no loincloth, those are the panties I save for Midol days, with the torn waistband and an aggressive stubbornness that OxiClean couldn’t conquer.”  If this isn’t your kind of humor, or you are easily offended, maybe this isn’t the writer for you.

The Why

Everyone needs a good laugh and her self-deprecating wit, sarcasm, irreverence and sometimes politically incorrect or gross humor is a good distraction from the more serious side of life, or at least a good way to procrastinate when you really should be reading Plato, cleaning your room or doing other more important things.  Don’t have time to read a whole novel or memoir? Each chapter stands alone, so dive in anywhere and enjoy.  And if this leaves you wanting more of her books, just use go/request/ and let us know which of her other books you’d like to see in the library, such as I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies), We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive, and many other of her books we do not yet own.