Heather Havrilesky

The author of Disaster Preparedness on works of fiction and memoir to read, and re-read.



Heather Havrilesky Memoirist and critic Heather Havrilesky debuted the archly funny "Polly Esther"  -- an alter ego whose illustrated adventures were one of the foundations of  the tongue-in-cheek humor of Suck.com -- in 1996, and has gone on to be a trailblazing and trenchant essayist on television and 21st-century culture for publications such as Salon and her own against-the-grain "advice" website Rabbit Blog.  Her new book Disaster Preparedness is a wistfully comic memoir of a childhood spent in anticipation of emergencies, and an illuminating meditation on a generation's neuroses.  Here, she talks about three of her favorite books.


Books by Heather Havrilesky





The Boys of My Youth

By Jo Ann Beard


"Beard writes about her life with the grace and flair of the very best fiction writers, translating her most conflicted moments and darkest days into emotionally wrenching, deliciously detailed scenes. Her impressionistic style pulls you in and breaks your heart over and over. I could read this book a million times and never get tired of it."




Everybody into the Pool

By Beth Lisick


"A Chelsea Handler for the smart, sly set, Lisick has a great sense of humor about herself and isn't afraid to reveal her worst intentions. Each story, whether it's about being a teenage tanorexic or an alt-weekly hack, tumbles head over heels toward some brand new revelation or insight. This is a deliriously funny, unapologetically dark book that's entertaining and thoughtful from start to finish."




Rabbit Is Rich

By John Updike


"Updike captures the inherent melancholy of American pop culture like no other writer. His prose is so fluid and evocative, and he crawls so completely into Rabbit's skin, that we experience Rabbit's longing and nostalgia as if it's our own. Reading the Rabbit series is like living an alternate life, from young adulthood to death."


July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page proves herself to be the Alice Munro of the supernatural, in these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small town wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).