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I’ve been reading ‘Quietly Hostile’ by Samantha Irby

In recent weeks, I’ve found it a bit difficult to concentrate when reading: there’s been a lot of other stuff going on. I felt like I needed an easy read to get back into my groove, so when I saw Backstory recommending Quietly Hostile, I thought it might fit the bill.

Prior to picking up this book, I’d never heard of Samantha Irby. It turns out that she is a well-known American comedic writer in her early 40s. She came to attention by writing a blog of humourous observations about her life, bitches gotta eat. Since then, she’s written five books, hosted a number of shows, and worked as a writer on the Sex and the City reboot. Quietly Hostile is her most recent book, consisting of a series of short humorous essays.

It was a good fit for my intention: it was easy to read, mostly trivial, and quite funny. I enjoyed reading it partly because Irby’s life as a black American female comedian is so far removed from mine, while still remaining relatable. This did mean that many of the knowing references were lost on me. I skipped the essay about Sex and the City in its entirety as I simply couldn’t follow it.

I don’t have any intention of re-reading this book, nor of seeking out Irby’s other similar titles, but this book served the purpose I asked of it. Can we ever ask more of a book than that?

A couple of quotations I enjoyed:

I like to have the news on in the background when I’m puttering around at home because I find the tone-modulated droning of newscasters oddly soothing, and my preferred way of learning what’s happening in the world is to absorb it via osmosis, never directly because that feels too stressful.

‘Quietly hostile’ is how I would describe my public personality; I am mild-mannered and super polite, but just beneath the surface of my skin, my blood is electrified and I am one inconsiderate driver away from a full Falling Down–style emotional collapse.

This post was filed under: Post-a-day 2023, What I've Been Reading, .

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1st January 2024.

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