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#BrunchBookChallenge: An inspiring memoir, and tiny tales that came together on Twitter

An inspiring memoir, and tiny tales that came together on Twitter.

brunch Updated: Oct 22, 2016 12:09 IST

I’m Just A PersonBy Tig Notaro

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Price: Rs 1,224 (Hardcover)

Take a moment here and recall, difficult as it may be, all the hardships you think you’ve gone through in life. A failed love that left your heart mutilated forever. A thankless job that you broke your back over. A family that refused to sit through a single meal without tearing each other apart... Most of us are fortunate to escape with just a few dire experiences. The more lucky ones never see a gloomy day in their lives. And then there are those who go through it all and more, and emerge as fighters, survivors and winners. Tig Notaro is one such.

In 2012, in the span of four months, the American stand-up comic, writer, actor and radio contributor was a) hospitalised with a debilitating infection; b) lost her mother to a bizarre accident; c) went through a breakup; and d) diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. This memoir is a simply-written, moving and often funny anecdotal account of that difficult period of her life. It not only collates her struggles, but also plunges us deep into the darkness and despair of her psyche at that point – it later inspired the open-hearted vulnerability and deadpan silliness of her comedy. Sample: “Turn your head to look at what is good in life and maybe get a “Weeeee!” out before the blade drops and your head rolls down a hill and into a peasant’s boot”.


Tales on Tweet

Edited & curated by Manoj Pandey

Publisher: HarperCollins

Price: Rs 399

In the summer of 2011, Delhi-based writer-illustrator Manoj Pandey started a literary project on Twitter called @TalesOnTweet. The idea was to use the social media platform as a “byte-sized diary to gauge if what I wrote had any merit at all”. He also started tagging his favourite authors – Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Teju Cole and others – to his posts of “pithy sentences crafted to reveal one poignant detail”. Interestingly, they tweeted back with a story of their own. And thus was born this compilation of short fiction, illustrated by the Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu.

The book, a collector’s edition of sorts, has 140-character stories by 50 people, including celebrated authors such as Shashi Tharoor, Jeet Thayil, Atwood, Rushdie, Cole as well as by other celebs like Kabir Bedi! Most of the book is a quick leaf-through, really. A few of the tales have dark undertones, some are plain boring and then there are those that make you pause, re-read and be awed by how well a story can be told in that many characters. Take these lines by Aldeena Raju, for instance:

Brick by brick we built the home

we tore apart word by word.

The tiny tales aside, the illustrations are captivating and often not in tandem with the stories. It’s almost as if the art is telling a story of its own through the pages. And often you find yourself spending more time ingesting the art than the stories themselves.

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From HT Brunch, September 4, 2016

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