by Nora Ephron
Subtitled "And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman," I Feel Bad About My Neck is a collection of mostly-funny essays by famed screenwriter Nora Ephron. She was 65 when the book was published in 2006, and many of the essays deal with aging (gracefully).
I'm probably not the right audience for this book. There's an essay "On Maintenance," about all the things women do to keep aging at bay, but (at 56) I am and have always been very low maintenance. Yes, I dye my hair, but the about the only other thing I do is put Oil of Olay on my face. No manicures or pedicures, thank you. I feel pretty good about how my neck looks at my age. I only have two small purses (albeit Coach leather), and the contents are very well organized. I also couldn't relate to the essays on life in New York City (such as renting a $10K apartment there). Other essays address cookbooks, parenting, Bill Clinton, and JFK.
The final essay, "Considering the Alternative," is a rather morbid one about death. Rather poignant, considering that Ephron died of complications of leukemia, just six years after this book was published. She wrote the essay about turning 60, which I just don't think of as old anymore.
Bottom line: this was a 137-page quick, fun read; but not especially deep.
by Virginia Ironside
Subtitled "Diary of a Sixtieth Year," No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club is a humorous novel in diary format narrated by a British woman who is turning sixty. Marie Sharp is happy to be doing so, and rejoicing in all the things she no longer HAS to do. She feels no pressure to do the things others think they should do just because they now have the free time, like volunteer work, or long-distance traveling - or joining a book club. She's also thrilled about all the privileges she gets (at least in Great Britain) from being an official senior citizen.
Her amusing friends include a gay male couple and a hypochondriac girlfriend. The plot revolves around the announcement of and arrival of her first grandchild, but the illness of one of her friends is also a primary storyline.
Like I Feel Bad About My Neck, I did not relate to much in this book. I'm still a number of years from retirement, don't have any grandchildren (other than steps who are age 8 and up) and am NOT looking forward to getting any, and I'm not British and have never been to England. (You might need a British slang dictionary to learn, for instance, that a dummy is a pacifier, although most of the slang eventually becomes clear in context.) As mentioned above, I don't think of 60 as old - maybe 80, but definitely not 60 - perhaps because it's less than four years away for me!
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book for its humor and for its sympathetic treatment of dealing with friends through illness and loss. At 231 pages, it's a light, easy summer read.
© Amanda Pape - 2013
[I won I Feel Bad About My Neck in a book blog contest. I purchased No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club used at a Friends of the Library book sale – the title and cover art caught my eye. Both books will be donated to Friends groups.]