There is a section on Goodreads where you can enter to win books and the only thing better than a book is a FREE book, of course, so I enter often. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Post-it Note Diaries: 20 Stories of Youthful Abandon, Embarrassing Mishaps, and Everyday Adventure, edited and illustrated by Arthur Jones. The idea for the book started when Jones used drawings on post-it notes to illustrate a story he was presenting at a literary event. The event took off and became a series, and the stories in the book are from those readings.
I like graphic novels, but I’m always afraid that I’m not getting my money’s worth. I read so fast that books + illustrations usually mean that I’m done in an hour, and it’s hard to justify a $15 list price for an hour of reading. Post-It Note Diaries was a little different, though.
I found myself going back to certain stories several times. There’s a poignant story called “Big Black Bird” by Jeff Simmermon about testicular cancer that brought me close to tears, but was in no way maudlin or tear-jerky. Jones doesn’t say if the story writers have input into the illustrations, but I’m hoping that the Indian man in the story had a grin just like he’s pictured. Oh, and Mary Roach’s behind-the-celebrity-interview story How to “Not Have Sex with Nicolas Cage”? The perfect blend of funny words and funny illustrations elevate both to something much higher than thought possible. I can’t show you the illustrations, but one part of her story reads, “For the first time since we’d met, Mr. Cage seemed happy. Though without actually smiling.” I love this. I equally love her hope that she and Nicolas might stay up all night talking, illustrated by Nicolas Cage braiding her hair, cigarette hanging out of his mouth and hairy chest on full view in his undershirt, while she chatters happily.
I’ve pulled the book out three or four times to show someone a story since it arrived in the mail and I’ve talked enough about the story and the concept to know that it would be worth the cover price. Fans of This American Life will love Post-It Note Diaries.
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