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December 21, 2015

Sloane Crosley on the Top Books She’s Gotten for Christmas

Posted by emily

Sloane Crosley is perhaps best known for her sharply observed bestselling novels, her smart and frequent contributions to the New York Times, and her sense of humor, which David Sedaris once described as “perfectly, relentlessly funny.” In her Holiday Author Blog, Sloane remembers the first and second best books she ever received for Christmas --- against all odds, actually, considering she’s Jewish. Her own book, THE CLASP, which came out in October, is the heartfelt character-driven drama and a madcap adventure about three friends struggling to fit together now that their lives haven't gone as planned.

The best book I ever received for Christmas was probably a used hieroglyphic alphabet book from the Boston Museum of Fine Art, given to me in 1991. There are a bunch of things wrong with that sentence, starting with the fact that I am Jewish, but never mind.

The second best book was OH, THE GLORY OF IT ALL by Sean Wilsey. A friend who knows me well gifted it to me (the jacket art is so beautiful, there was no need to wrap it), and I loved it from page one. I still think it's one of the better family memoirs I've ever read --- which is saying something, because there are almost as many irreparably screwed-up families as there are books in print in the world. It's a memoir about evil stepmothers and boyhood and San Franciscan society. It's juicy without being cheap. Quirky without being irritating. Beautiful without being purple or florid. It’s incredibly hard to put yourself back into your childhood, and few can pull it off on the page (see also: Mary Karr). Sean Wilsey rockets into that rarified club with such humorous and livid energy and general empathy. A little piece of me still thinks of this book every time I'm in the fancy parts of San Francisco, still thinks of the opening passage describing of Wilsey’s goddess-like mother.