Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 1, 2013 - 6:25am

'Meaty' by Samantha Irby

Discussion has officially started!

Synopsis: Samantha Irby explodes onto the page in her debut collection of brand-new essays about being a complete dummy trying to laugh her way through her ridiculous life of failed relationships, taco feasts, bouts with Crohn's Disease, & more, all told with the same scathing wit & poignant candor long-time readers have come to expect from her notoriously hilarious blog, bitchesgottaeat.com.

Author: Samantha Irby is a writer and performer who mostly jokes about hot dudes, kittens, and magical tacos at the highly visited Internet site bitchesgottaeat.com. Seriously. Go read it. In addition to co-hosting The Sunday Night Sex Show, a sex-positive live lit show, and Guts & Glory, a reading series featuring essayists, she has performed at Essay Fiesta, Write Club, This Much is True, Grown Folks Stories, The Paper Machete, and Story Club, among others. She opened for Baratunde Thurston during his "How to Be Black" tour. Her work has appeared on the Rumpus and Jezebel. Irby and creative partner Ian Belknap write a comedy advice blog at irbyandian.com.

Discussion has officially started!

This is a first for us. We haven't done any nonfiction yet. And I wanted to pick something that not everybody would know about. When we think essay collections, everybody thinks about Klosterman. So I wanted something along those lines, but different. If you check out Samantha's blog, you'll see she's different. And so entertaining. I'm really excited to see what you guys think of this one.

Here's the publisher's page for the book - Curbside Splendor
Here's Samantha's blog - bitches gotta eat

Purchase the book here!

Get to reading!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 1, 2013 - 7:35am

Very excited about this. Sam is amazing, just met her at the CS release party. Be nice to her. :-)

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne October 9, 2013 - 2:07pm

Man, no comments other than Richard yet? I was curious about this since one of the CS mailings, but no time or energy beyond current obligations just now. Hope you guys give the book some love, though.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 10, 2013 - 9:29am

this doesn't start until november, but get your copies now. it's a HILARIOUS book, but also very powerful and emotional. it was selected for the Barnes and Noble DISCOVERY program. you'll really enjoy it, trust me, people.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 14, 2013 - 11:04am

I'm looking forward to it.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 21, 2013 - 9:24am

Just got notice that we have 3 copies of this book to give away.

Whoever would like one, post here. Make sure you're going to read it and participate though! ;)

First 3 people get a copy.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter October 21, 2013 - 12:01pm

I'd love to read!

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 21, 2013 - 12:08pm

I would enjoy a copy as well.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 21, 2013 - 1:02pm

1 more left!

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories October 21, 2013 - 1:19pm

I'd love to read it and chat. :D

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 21, 2013 - 1:51pm

1. Bekanator
2. Renfield
3. SRead

Can you guys all message me your addresses?

Thanks!

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter October 21, 2013 - 4:09pm

I'm so excited. I dug a bit into the free previews online and I know this book is going to make me wish I was still single and living in that shitty apartment with my sister. It's going to be so great.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 22, 2013 - 6:01am

Thanks guys! I've got all the addresses.

I just want to thank Richard for setting this one up. :)

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 22, 2013 - 4:15pm

books are going in the mail tomorrow. dig in as soon as you get them! it's a fun read, i'm in the middle of it right now, you could seriously read it in one day. if you want to take a peek at her style and voice, head over to her blog, for those that haven't gotten copies yet. i don't push non-fiction much, but this is some of the most compelling non-fiction i've read since Lidia Yuknavitch's memoir (which is a totally different style, BTW) The Chronology of Water.

http://bitchesgottaeat.blogspot.com/

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 22, 2013 - 7:49pm

Yeah, her blog really is great.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories October 29, 2013 - 8:07pm

My book is here! Thanks, guys. :)

I'm off to read!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 30, 2013 - 5:50pm

come on people, with an essay title like "i'm sorry i shit on your dick" this is a MUST read. i have seriously laughed out loud more times that i can count.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 31, 2013 - 5:46am

She would have fit right in over at ManArchy.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 31, 2013 - 1:42pm

lol...for sure. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 1, 2013 - 5:47am

Discussion officially starts today.

I had the book sent to my dad's house and haven't been able to make it over there yet, so I haven't been able to start reading it yet. But I'll be picking it up tomorrow for sure.

I really can't wait to read this one. I love collections like this.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 1, 2013 - 10:14am

almost done, hope the conversation can get going this weekend, or monday. i'll say this much. IT'S HILARIOUS. and then really sad. 

here's a quote

WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?

I am wearing a black jumpsuit that I often wear as pajamas and as real clothes, because I am creeping ever closer to the glorious day my inside clothes and my outside clothes are the same fucking thing.

I laughed hard at that. And this:

You name the mole, I've got one somewhere. I have a giant black one in the crease where my right ass cheek connects to my thigh and I'll just wait over here while you try to figure out how many dudes have asked, "is that something I gotta worry about?" while trying to fuck me in the ass.

And one more.

If you stick your thumb in my my asshole again I am probably going to shit on your dick. So don't do that. My bowels are hella unpredictable. You have to order anal sex two days in advance, like Peking duck.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 1, 2013 - 10:17am

lol that last one! It made me laugh out loud for real.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 1, 2013 - 11:08am

i've caught myself laughing out loud several times. can't remember doing that, maybe David Sedaris, but it's been a long time. solid collection so far, really, very impressed by the mixture of humor, honesty, and brutality.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 1, 2013 - 11:26am

I talked to Sam and she said it would work best for her if we feed her questions via email. So, why don't you all start tossing out questions, and every time we get FIVE, I'll shoot them off to her. I'll start thinking up a few as well. I shot these five out to her today.

1. Where does the title MEATY come from?

2. The cover photo, that's a rooster, also known as a "cock." So, what's THAT all about?

3. You were selected for the Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" program, how has that been, is it exciting seeing your book in stores stacked up like that?

4. I met you at the release party for MEATY. You seemed to have a lot of fun on stage reading. At what point did you get comfortable reading and writing such sexual, graphic, and personal material? Do you still get nervous? I think it's very courageous, and hilarious, too, since we've all been through moments like this.

5. Are you working on more material, another book?

King Grotus's picture
King Grotus from New Jersey is reading Inherent Vice November 1, 2013 - 6:29pm

Obviously, I'm new to the book club. Can I discuss the book honestly, or should I just keep my negative points to myself?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 1, 2013 - 7:58pm

You can say what you didn't like about something. But there's a positive way to do it. I wouldn't flat out attack something. But you can be honest.

King Grotus's picture
King Grotus from New Jersey is reading Inherent Vice November 2, 2013 - 7:06am

Of course, I didn’t mean honesty in the sense of being malicious. I’m more than certain everyone here knows a bit better than the average bear that tastes are subjective, I just didn’t want to pick a bit if that wasn’t accepted.

So here’s what I thought:

Overall I thought that the book was an interesting and personal look into Irby’s mind and history.  It was obviously a very raw and personal project for her to put together.  There are stories that I think are a bit weak and I don’t think do her justice to what she could be. Things like “Sorry I shit on your dick” and “Massive Wet Asses” where she writes over the top obscene and visceral (I’m not a prude, I swear). There is also (the very personal problem of) the use of caps lock that peppered the pages.

That being said, I did enjoy many of the essays. The story “My mother, my daughter” cannot be denied as deep and heart-felt good writing. Then there are the funny (and often relatable) stories like “I want to write your mom’s match.com profile”, “The Skillet”, and “How to get your disgusting meat carcass ready for some new, hot sex”. The latter of the three I thought was the better balance of her humor and smart writing.

I enjoyed the book, some rough patches (all just personal), but worth the read.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 2, 2013 - 8:38am

It's a mix of stories for sure, King. But I have to say, I just read "Massive Wet Asses" last night (it was the essay she did live at the reading) and I was laughing my ass off. Seriously. And "Sorry I Shit on your Dick" was another one that really had me laughing. But to each their own. Seems you were drawn to the more serious pieces, like "The Skillet" and "My Mother, My Daughter," so I'm glad you found a few that you liked. She's known for being raunchy, so I was expecting all kinds of sex and poop and language. I read enough serious and deep non-fiction, so for me, this was a pleasant departure. Aside from David Sedaris, and the occasional David Foster Wallace, I rarely laugh a non-fiction.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 4, 2013 - 10:21pm

come on peeps, jump in, the water is fine.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 4, 2013 - 10:32pm

I typically find memoirs a bit difficult to get into. Knowing that the narrator is a real person makes the prose feel mostly like the writer's saying, "Hey, check out all the intense shit I've been through! It was intense enough for somebody to want to make a book out of!" Maybe that's just envy on my part, I really don't know.

The opening of MEATY read a bit that way, but by the second essay I was sucked in. I just read "Forest Whitaker's Neck" in the bath and I am fully immersed in this fucking book. It's like a personal ladies night...the good part of ladies night where it's about three drinks in.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 5, 2013 - 6:23am

Parts of this book read like those blogs I used to get sucked into like 10 years ago. Where you end up reading one post after another and before you know it, it's 3 in the morning and you have to be up for work in 2 hours. It's like a horror show/train wreck that you just can't look away from. But she does it really well. The writing is great.

Rebecca - I've never been a part of one of those girl's nights, but I think I get it. And I think I'd have to agree, then.

I just finished Black Beauty. So far that's my favorite essay in the collection. I laughed so hard and I was finding myself reading every few lines out loud to Christina. She eventually asked - what the hell are you reading?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 5, 2013 - 6:25am

Richard - I want to know - is there are any people in her life (family or friends) that she doesn't want to read this collection? It's so honest and raunchy, it's bound to surprise people that know her. But then, maybe those people have been reading her blog all of these years anyway?

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 5, 2013 - 10:34am

@bek—right? i feel like i want to give her a hug, and then tell her to stop telling these stories in public. but just one more, first.

@pete—totally. sucked me in, i read it in like two days. not sure about her family and friends, but based on her blog, maybe not?

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 5, 2013 - 10:57am

I love blunt honesty. Women's blunt honesty tends to come off as more striking because women aren't technically supposed to be raunchy (as in, literally raunchy, not this Miley Cyrus business) even by today's standards. I guess for some women you hit a point where you really and truly don't give a fuck anymore. You just want to say it like it is.

I wish I could hit that point, but books like MEATY get me a little bit closer. The list of the things she hates about her body in "Forest Whitacker's Neck" must have been tough to really get down, but it reads in a hilarious and intimate way. Parts of the list I checked off on myself. She mentions skin pigmentation issues a few times in there, which is something not a lot of people know about, is that people with darker skin tones have darker patches of skin in places all the white girls in the Dove deoderant commercials definitely don't have.

I'm all for Dove's whole campaign about celebrating different body types, but the problem with Dove is that they're a beauty company. They're still trying to sell women solutions to all their problems. The list Irby wrote reads like a real celebration. It's like all the small miniscule things she hates about her body, but overall they really just add up to a bunch of irrelevent tiny things she can't bother to fucking deal with. Because seriously, it's way too much of a pain in the ass.

Women complain about their bodies all the time. That's okay. But I'd love to hear more body scrutiny that's read a bit more like Irby's prose. 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 5, 2013 - 1:31pm

great commentary, bek. i thought this book would resonate with you.

where are you guys laughing? ARE you laughing?  i've posted up a few lines, but let me know that parts that had you laughing out loud. i'll have to post more, but towards the end of the book, there was an essay, i'll have to look it up, but she was trying out a new diet (cabbage?) and the synopsis every day, the conclusion was like, "SHITTING MY MOTHERFUCKING BRAINS OUT." by the seventh entry, reapeting it, i was seriously in tears, you know that out of control, hysterical can't stop laughing thing? omg. i'm almost triggering it just typing this.

hoping to have answers back from Sam on the first round of questions, i know she's not always online.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 5, 2013 - 7:44pm

@Pete: I just read "Black Beauty" this afternoon. It's probably my favourite thus far as well, had a great mix of backstory, plus the dating seminar was just PAINFUL to read about. She had her setup idea of making new friends (which is something I think about all the time when I'm going to a new place with new ladies). When it turned out that she and her friend were the only two who'd signed up...that must have been utter misery.

Seriously, though, after reading about her hair issues was like a whole new experience I would have never known about otherwise. Who knew hair could be so much work? 

I laughed so hard at the part where she was talking about trying on the shirt, complaining about how fat she is when her friend just kept on doling out the fake-ass shit that actually happens all the time. It was exaggurated so perfectly.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories November 5, 2013 - 7:53pm

YES, I am loving the raw intimacy of it all.

Bek--I think I'm right about where you are. I was reading the dressing room scene while I was in my car waiting for my kid to get out of school, and I was laughing so hard I was in tears. Been there.

But the chapters on her mother just ripped my heart out. "Children should never die before their parents." UGH punch to the gut, right there. More tears, lots of feelings.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 5, 2013 - 10:30pm

rigiht? i didn't see the serious stuff coming. it's a nice mix, not just one note.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 6, 2013 - 6:50am

Yeah that story My Mother, My Daughter - gut wrenching. I couldn't imagine going through any of that. I keep thinking of my aunt who got diagnosed a few years ago. But her kids are grown and they all have amazing support systems and she's not that bad. Man, for a 9-13 year old to go through all of that alone. Crazy.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 6, 2013 - 10:53am

oh, sam is touring, in NYC as we speak, but hopefully we'll get some response from her soon. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 7, 2013 - 1:28pm

One of the things I think I like most about this book is how it almost feels like you're haning out in a support group. She's saying a lot of things that I'm thinking. And I'm sure a lot of us have our insecurities, so it's kind of nice when you find out somebody else is dealing with the same issues as you (not that I like seeing other people suffer).

For instance, I'm 34. But I don't feel like I've grown up at all. I definately haven't figured out what I want to do with my life. And saying 34 out loud, it seems like such an old age to be. I remember when I wouldn't think an actress was cute any more if I found out she was reaching her mid 30s. Now I'm there. But I really don't feel any different than I did in my mid 20s. Still don't feel like I've figured anything out.

Does any of that make sense?

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 7, 2013 - 2:13pm

totally does. misery loves company, and sam isn't afraid to put it all out there. i'm sure most of us would be terrified to not only admit that we masturbate, but to get into excruciating detail about what turns us on (and off), or to discuss our bedroom behaviors and fetishes, or our poop habits, or anything else of that nature.

and yeah, i'm 45, but don't "feel 45" unless i go shoot hoops with 25 year old kids. i still feel mentally, emotionally and spiritually "young" and even though i have a wife and kids and a dog and a 2-car garage attached to a house with a mortgage, it all feels very strange sometimes, being a "grown up" i hate being called Mr. Thomas. :-)

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 7, 2013 - 2:17pm

Or the first time somebody that you don't feel is that young calls you sir and opens a door for you or something... yeah, that's weird. lol

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 7, 2013 - 2:23pm

But I totally agree with what you're saying too. I have no problem admitting those things, but getting into the minute details - then it gets extremely uncomfortable.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 9, 2013 - 1:53pm

Richard and Pete: Maybe I'm a bit on the reverse here, because most of the time I DO feel like I've got my shit together. I KNOW I'm still young, though, but at 26, being married and owning a house (okay, a townhouse, but still a house that has my name legally attributed to it that my husband and I have to pay taxes on and shit) is pretty damn good. The economy is pretty rough at this point, so I guess for me the concept of "owning property" is kind of like a sign that you've established yourself as a legit adult or whatever. 

I get super proud of myself a lot of the time, because I know I'm in a lucky situation, and even as a little kid all I ever wanted was to get married and have a house and kids and live the happy suburban life. It's a pretty lame society-dictated dream, but I was never much of a rebel to break outside the norm. I'm okay with that.

Still no kids yet, though. I've definitely got some motherhood fears, so I'll probably be slammed in the face with some real realization bricks once I've got a couple of children relying on me for absolutely everything under the sun. 

Whenever I read tales like Samantha's though, I get sort of nostalgic for the days when life was about shitty apartments and meeting random dudes and always having your girlfriends there to support you. I miss when life was sort of about how shitty things were can you could talk about it and not make excuses. Because the further you delve into marriage and home-ownership and spawning little versions of yourself, the less you can be doubtful and shit-together-having. 

You know those gif-lists that are popping up all over the net comparing about life in your twenties vs life in your thirties? Like this one about parties? I feel mostly like I'm ALWAYS in the 30's camp, but MEATY reads a lot to me the way those article do. The essays are visual in the way animated gifs are, and you read them in see yourself along some sort of spectrum, where you are and where you probably should be, or where you are and you look back on the way you were and you just have to laugh because you remember the crappy times and you can think back upon the crappy times in the best possible way. I just love that.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 8, 2013 - 3:09pm

Yeah, I get that comparison (from your last paragraph). That makes sense - and I'm feeling that way about the book sometimes too.

I just finished The Triplets. Hilarious!

I keep thinking of Sam (or the narrator of the stories) as Ugly Betty. I know she doesn't look like Ugly Betty. But the way she describes herself in some parts. I don't know. Somewhere the image popped into my head, and it's not going anywhere.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories November 8, 2013 - 3:57pm

I really like the contrast between how she doesn't feel like a grown up, but she felt like her mother's mother. She was a grown up before she was an adult. It's like being forced to become a surgeon before you finish Biology 101. So she's had to learn on the fly--like with her taxes she talks about. And she's making it work!

I'm on "The Many Varieties of Hospital Broth." I want to give her a hug. And then a high-five.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 8, 2013 - 4:02pm

^

I just read "Thumbsucker" and it totally goes along with what you mentioned, SRead. It's a really interesting contrast, that coping mechanism. 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 9, 2013 - 1:42pm

good post, Bek. age is weird. maybe i enjoy her stories becuase i AM already married with kids. what's cool is seeing the different reactions, we all come at it from a different direction. and damn, you DO have your shit together. at 26 i was a MESS.

sarah, seriously, i met her at the release party, and if i'd read this book first i would have given her a hug and bought her a drink or six. :-)

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon November 9, 2013 - 10:21pm

At 26 I was just starting to realize my life was a mess.

At 34 I finally feel like I'm starting to piece my life together.

Granted it's a later start than most people. And it mostly sucks. But it makes me feel good that she's starting to accomplish things and she was on the same page as me there. Though I don't think I could ever deal with the shit she's had to deal with...

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts November 10, 2013 - 1:21pm

Just got home from traveling all week, about 60 pages in to the book already. My favorite lines so far were the "re-wearing gross panties with the hardened crotch" and the thing about being in the shitter the whole time during the Drake concert, but it's cool because she only wants to hear "The Resistence" anyway.

I kind of had preconceptions about the genre of the book, I think the whole blogging/personal essay style is cool and new and fresh and validly literary, if a little lacking in quality control. But that seems to be a thing with all these next-generation styles, it's all about quantity yet somehow it seems to work out to be good. These essays never let up either, sentence by sentence there's some well-crafted jokes and comments with well-layered or conflicting emotion. Some good stuff.