On the Couch: A Reader’s Series

I’ve decided I need to start sharing with you guys the wonderful things I’m reading. Or the terrible things I’m reading. Thankfully, I haven’t picked up a Anita Blake, Vampire Series book since I was like 15, so hopefully there won’t be many reviews of terrible books.

This week’s book, Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy, I only ever read on one couch.

So I’m already lying to you guys. My bad.

I read it on a plane. On a chair by a pool. In desks at my alma mater as I substituted. And, finally, on my sigfig’s couch, because the Broncos were playing terribly and they seemed to play better if I wasn’t watching the screen.

Books: the best excuse ever to avoid watching your team lose terribly.

Then I took a nap because the Broncos were sucking so bad. Like, really, really bad.

Fortunately, this book does not suck. This book is one of those books that I think was written by someone who is supposed to be my best friend but doesn’t know it yet and writes a book that leads to the exact right person (me) reading that book and thus beginning an incredible friendship.

Or stalking. An incredible stalking. But whatever, you know what I mean.

The only difference between friendship and stalking is the look on the stalkees face when they catch you hiding in a bush outside their house. #profoundthoughts

Frankly, I’m a little offended that I haven’t met this Dinty guy. Or that, in a book full of drawings of polar bears (yesss), a particularly good joke on emoticons, and the humorous self-aggrandizement of someone pretending to be a hipster in order to make fun of hipsters, I am not mentioned.

The concept behind this book is something I wish I could steal, but will probably just “appropriate” for writing exercises when I teach somewhere: Writers ask Mister Essay Writer Guy (Longest/best nickname ever) a question about writing. Mister Essay Writer Guy responds with a letter full of sass. Then Mister Essay Writer Guy writes an essay inspired by the question. It’s fucking brilliant.

I mean, he has a whole essay appropriated from facebook posts. I can’t even handle it. I laughed an inappropriate amount at that.

The best part of the book though, the part that made me laugh so hard I had to put the book down and not look at it again, is an essay spawned from a question from Cheryl Strayed. She asked about using an em dash–something that is quite close to my heart because I like em dashes as much as I like chocolate, and I can’t eat an em dash–and in his response, he wrote this:

“Here’s a fun fact:

Though Johannes Gutenberg gets credit for inventing the printing press, and thus the en and em dash, his delinquent great-nephew Otto von Daubenspeck Gutenberg is the one who invented the innovative “enemy dash”-a rare punctuation mark with the width of an en, an em, and a y-used primarily to poke people in the face.

Like this:


I may have just made that part up.

Yes, most certainly.” (Moore, 19)

Even retyping it had me laughing so hard I needed to take a break.

The book closes on an essay about writing because Roxanne Gay asked a question about why writers write about writing so often.

Dinty answers it as best he can, but he left me with one question:

Why don’t writers talk about reading more often?

Which led me to this post. FULL CIRCLE BRILLIANCE ACHIEVED


You can buy the book here. You can join me in stalking Dinty here.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

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