Today I chose songs to go on the radio. And by today I mean yesterday. (I'm sorry, but posting in the morning for Powells.com instead of the evening when I usually do is, as my Canadian doppelganger might say, disorientating.)
Yesterday I visited DJ Tara Dublin at 94/7 fm Alternative Portland and I got to choose a song list. What's more, I even got to push the button to make the music happen.
Apparently, I'm easily amused.
Shameless self-promoter that I am, I chose four songs that reflect my books. We started off with a Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover of Springsteen's "Born to Run" because Attack of the Theater People features a Springsteen cover band called Almost Bruce. Next, I chose the Beatles cover of "Till There Was You," the only show tune I believe they ever recorded, because Attack of the Theater People also includes an ill-conceived avant-garde production of The Music Man starring a deaf actor and a blind actress.
I included Storm Large's crazy stalker version of "Hopelessly Devoted to You" because the kids in my first novel, How I Paid for College, perform in Grease. (And, according to their parents, it's really, really good.)
Finally, I threw in Mike Doughty's hilarious "27 Jennifers" because anyone who grew up in the 1980s went to school with, well, 27 Jennifers.
Sidebar: I'm fascinated by the shifting popularity of names, and frequently consult the Social Security Administration baby name site when christening characters. Be forewarned, you could waste a lot of time studying how, say, "Jennifer" went from number 987 (in 1938) to number 1 each year from 1970 to 1984.
Back to hilarious Jennifers: Jennifer Weiner has a new book out, Certain Girls a sequel to her totally edible debut novel, Good in Bed. I really heart Jen Weiner. Like Tara from 94/7, she's whip smart, snort-juice-out-of-your nose funny, and the kind of girl I would've taken to the prom had we gone to high school together.
Jen vents frequently on her compulsively readable blog about the crap she gets for being a chick-lit author, so I'd like to use this forum to express my devotion to the genre. Say what you will about it, but most of the best comic fiction being written today is by and about women.
And since I'm in a list-making mood, here are some of my other favorites, all of them page-turning yarns that are quotably funny:
Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
Becky Bloomwood is a character for the ages and I love the whole series.
I Don't Know How She Does It (Allison Pearson)
Pearson writes some of the best metaphors and similes I've ever read.
We Are All Fine Here (Mary Guterson)
Sharply observed and painfully funny.
Heartburn (Nora Ephron)
So much better than the movie.
Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)
Still crazy (and great) after all these years.
What can I say? Chicks rule.
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Marc Acito's debut novel, How I Paid for College, won the Ken Kesey Award for the Novel and was also selected as an Editors' Choice by the New York Times. Acito is a popular contributor to the New York Times and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Books mentioned in this post
Marc Acito is the author of Attack of the Theater People