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Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

by and

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity — six words at a time.

One Life. Six Words. What's Yours?

When Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.

From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-sized pieces. From authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Ford to comedians Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris, to ordinary folks around the world, everyone has a six-word story to tell.

Review:

"Can you describe your life in six words? That's what the editors of storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers in 2006; the results, though decidedly uneven, make for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings. Highlights from professional writers and artists include journalist Chuck Klosterman wondering, 'Nobody cared, then they did. Why?'; pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger lamenting, 'We still don't hear a single'; and comic strip artist Keith Knight illustrating 'I was a Michael Jackson impersonator.' At their best, these nano-memoirs evoke the same kind of rich emotional responses as a good story: 9 year old Hannah Davies considers herself 'Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends'; Zak Nelson says 'I still make coffee for two'; Scott Birch claims 'Most successful accomplishments based on spite.' Some entries read like bumper stickers (Rip Riley: 'No wife. No kids. No problems'), and others are just plain weird (Amy Sedaris: 'Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched'), but this compelling little book will have readers and their friends hunting for favorites and inventing six-word self-definitions of their own. This review in six words? Read. Enjoy. Pass it on. Repeat." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]hese ADD autobiographies prove that brevity can be the soul not simply of wit." Very Short List

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About the Author

Larry Smith founded SMITH Magazine on January 6, 2006, which was already National Smith Day. Most recently, he was the articles editor of Men's Journal, and has been the executive editor of Yahoo! Internet Life, senior editor at ESPN magazine, and a founding editor of P.O.V. and Might magazines. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, Popular Science, Men's Health, Salon, and Slate.

Rachel Fershleiser has written for The Village Voice, New York Press, Print, and other publications. She's SMITH's memoir editor and lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

KEEPLIVINLOVE, January 29, 2009 (view all comments by KEEPLIVINLOVE)
GREAT BOOK ON EXPEREINCES.THIS IS HOW WE ALL LEARN , BY CHANCES.RISK,AND BEYOND.MEMOIRS,EVEN OF ONES, BEING A CRACK HEAD AND HAVEING A BABY.MICHAEL JACKSON.WISH PATRCICK SWAYZE,THE BEST.ANYTHING ON PAPER SELLS.HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
Cedate, June 21, 2008 (view all comments by Cedate)
Interesting, Insightful, entertaining, thought provoking, Brilliant!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
fjgilroy, March 7, 2008 (view all comments by fjgilroy)
I love this book! I'm addicted to trying to interpret the memoirs. I was lucky enough to get published in it as well. I'm also building a registry containing links to the blogs of the contributors. Check it out on: http://frankgilroy.com.
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(6 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061374050
Subtitle:
Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
Author:
Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser
Editor:
Smith, Larry
Editor:
Fershleiser, Rachel
Author:
by Larry Smith
Author:
Smith, Larry
Author:
Fershleiser, Rachel
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Autobiography
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20080205
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
7.125 x 5 x 0.6 in 6.1 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous Literature
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Quotations Anecdotes and Proverbs

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780061374050 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Can you describe your life in six words? That's what the editors of storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers in 2006; the results, though decidedly uneven, make for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings. Highlights from professional writers and artists include journalist Chuck Klosterman wondering, 'Nobody cared, then they did. Why?'; pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger lamenting, 'We still don't hear a single'; and comic strip artist Keith Knight illustrating 'I was a Michael Jackson impersonator.' At their best, these nano-memoirs evoke the same kind of rich emotional responses as a good story: 9 year old Hannah Davies considers herself 'Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends'; Zak Nelson says 'I still make coffee for two'; Scott Birch claims 'Most successful accomplishments based on spite.' Some entries read like bumper stickers (Rip Riley: 'No wife. No kids. No problems'), and others are just plain weird (Amy Sedaris: 'Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched'), but this compelling little book will have readers and their friends hunting for favorites and inventing six-word self-definitions of their own. This review in six words? Read. Enjoy. Pass it on. Repeat." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[T]hese ADD autobiographies prove that brevity can be the soul not simply of wit."
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