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Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry about people's lives
June 9, 2014 5:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for essays, books, poetry, nonfiction, or whatever else about normal people's everyday lives and pasts, humorous if possible. I'm looking for stuff in the vein of the New York Press's old columns (like the ones Ned Vizzini wrote) or like Books of Adam. Writing that is casual, but well written.
posted by holmesian to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might like the stories of Raymond Carver, though most of them are set in the rural northwest USA.
posted by vrakatar at 5:55 PM on June 9


I was reminded of James Kochalka's cartoon diary "American Elf" the other day. Like all diaries its power comes from immersing yourself in the mundane struggles and friendly absurdity of a regular weirdo. And that reminded me of American Splendor. To me, comics are the perfect medium for capturing this sort of thing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:39 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Based on the general tone of Books of Adam, you are probably looking for something like Tales of the City. Carver is great, as is Alice Munro, or the entire genre of Kitchen Sink Realism (Pulp and Jarvis Cocker are great examples of this).

I quite like the social realism of Ken Loach's movies, notably My Name is Joe and Sweet Sixteen, but everything he does is about the lives of regular people. Of course, there is also Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff.

Studs Terkel is also great for this sort of thing.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:46 PM on June 9


The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup by Susan Orlean

Class Dismissed! High School Poems by Mel Glenn. I so loved this book when I was young. Out of print but you can find copies on Ebay.

On preview: YES! Studs Terkel! Any of his books will do.

Bob Greene does this well too.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:50 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Ted Berrigan! He's my favorite poet and I suppose he may not be to everyone's taste, but his style came to mind immediately when I read your question. In fact I would say a good portion of his body of work is exactly as you've described, but a few I especially like:

10 Things I Do Everyday

Red Shift

Personal Poem #9
posted by deliciae at 7:12 PM on June 9


Giving Good Weight, Uncommon Carriers, and The Pine Barrens, all by John McPhee.

Studs Terkel is also great for this sort of thing.

Working is my favorite of his.
posted by sallybrown at 7:58 PM on June 9




My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard
posted by perhapses at 9:01 AM on June 10


Tony Hoagland?
posted by Quilford at 1:43 AM on June 12


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