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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Two Classics from Nora Ephron

“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

The beloved Nora Ephron was a journalist, a novelist and she co-wrote and directed Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia, amongst other stellar films. Ephron also wrote these two short non-fiction books which lie at the cross section of memoir and essay, called I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, and I Remember Nothing, and Other Reflections.

In I feel Bad About My Neck, Nora ponders about what it is to be a woman over 60 in America:

“Sometimes I think that not having to worry a bout your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

She mourns the losses she experiences in her New York neighborhood as friends die, and longtime businesses close, such as the bakery where she used to buy and savor "cabbage strudel":

"The city throws curves. Rents go up, people get old and their children no longer want to run the store. So you find yourself walking uptown looking for Mrs. Herbst's Hungarian bakery, which was there, has always been there, is a landmark for God's sake, a fixture of the neighborhood, practically a defining moment of New York life, and it's vanished and no one even bothered to tell you.

In I Remember Nothing, Ephron shares anecdotes and observations from past experiences:

" - Journalists sometimes make things up.
- Journalists sometimes get things wrong.
- Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one."

Though she had many film hits, some were flops too:

“Failure, they say, is a growth experience; you learn from failure. I wish that were true. It seems to me the main thing you learn from failure is that it's entirely possible you will have another failure.”

With her dry sense of humor and deadpan voice, Ephron keeps the reader engaged and entertained with her reflections on life and love. I moved back and forth between reading and listening to these books. Ephron is a wonderful narrator in both formats!

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself...."

P.S. Dear Friends - I will be away for a few weeks as I celebrate my daughter's wedding in Italy and France! I hope to be reading A LOT, but am not sure if I will have sufficient wifi to be able to post reviews. If not, I will post when I return. Happy Summer Reading! - Gaili


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