Oct 1
Did you download the Emily Books Reader, our FREE iOS 7 app, yet?  I hope so. It’s the best and easiest way to read our books, beginning with this month’s fantastic pick, MEATY by Samantha Irby (The Toast approves!)   There are also four back issues available for in-app purchase, including Meghan Daum’s MY MISSPENT YOUTH. You get an interview and two bonus essays with your purchase, plus a new introduction from yours truly, which follows. It contains meta-oversharing.
[[MORE]]

The first time I read My Misspent Youth, I was living temporarily in a downtown Brooklyn sublet with nubby blue floor covering that was closer to Astroturf than actual carpet. This carpetlike stuff had those black ground-in gum stains more commonly found in a car service waiting room or especially divey dive bar. Months after I moved in, clots of my sub-landlady’s dog’s hair would occasionally come tumbleweeding out from behind the furniture. It was Mungers in the extreme, and if you already know what I mean by “Mungers,” I’m thrilled to introduce you to this improved, portable new edition of a book you already love.
Originally published in 2001, My Misspent Youth collects an assortment of essays that, as Daum writes in her new Foreword, constitute “a lament for all those fantasies that had the audacity to fade into tedious, heartbreaking realities.” It was a book that took the problem of being an ambitious young woman seriously, even at the risk of being called ’whiny,’ ‘entitled’ and ‘shallow.’ It is also about the time Daum spent living in New York, and her decision, in the title essay, to leave it.
To say that this book rescued me from that astroturf apartment is not hyperbole. Like Daum, I’d imprinted on a New York City ideal that looked “like Mia Farrow’s apartment in Hannah and Her Sisters.” Like Daum, I was on the verge of realizing that certain aesthetic signifiers made me feel “that I had betrayed a basic premise of my existence.” But like Daum, I was condemned by my own unrealistic choices and youthful willed ignorance to stay for a while in a situation that made me “feel ‘other’ to my own self,” and this turned out to be a way of determining the boundaries of that self. Ultimately it was good for me in the way that only very unpleasant experiences can be. I remember lying on that carpet—well, on a yoga mat, but still—chanting the mantra “हं haṃ,” the seed mantra of the throat chakra, in the hopes that it would empower me, enable me, to “tell the truth.” I was in, as I am pretty sure I’ve written elsewhere, a very bad place.
But the essays I read during that time in this book showed me that it is possible to transmute that kind of bad experience into writing. And not only that: it is possible to do so without being self-indulgent or apologetic, or seeming to indulge in some kind of public therapy. Even when I disagreed with Daum, I found her extreme forthrightness and her steely prose inspiring.
More concretely, the book entered my life as I was trying to decide what the hell I was going to do with my life. I had written a cover story for the New York Times magazine that I knew would give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write and sell a book. The question was, what kind of book? I had an agent at the time who thought it was a good idea for me to write a What The Internet Is Doing To My Generation (And How We Can Stop It)- type book. This possibly was a good idea for someone, but not me. Reading My Misspent Youth that first time, I vacillated between a few different recurring thoughts: “This is so good. I could never pull off something like this.” “This kind of book is possible. This kind of writing exists, and people want to read it.” “I want to write something that will resonate for someone else like this book is resonating for me.”
I told my agent I wanted to write a collection of essays, and pretty soon after that she was no longer my agent. The friend who’d given me My Misspent Youth to read became my agent. I started working on the first essay I wrote for And The Heart Says Whatever, “Off Leash.” Soon after that, I moved into an apartment with hardwood floors, and while my life has not exactly been a steady uphill climb from that moment on, I’m glad things worked out the way they did, and also I didn’t write What The Internet Is Doing To My Generation. For that, we can all be grateful.
In this issue, we have an interview I did with Meghan where she reflects on some of the essays and discusses her other books, nonfiction writing in general, the best and worst reactions to her work, and what her next book is about. We also have an essay by Kate Axelrod that’s a reaction to Meghan’s essay “On the Fringes of the Physical World,” about how relationships born online suffer when translated into meatspace. And finally we have an inflammatory essay by Zan Romanoff about her own decision to leave New York City and her own feelings about Daum’s adopted hometown, L.A. I’m excited to be publishing their work, and also to be making this book available in a new format for the first time. I hope it will find someone else the way it found me, at the exact right time, in the exact right wrong place.

Did you download the Emily Books Reader, our FREE iOS 7 app, yet?  I hope so. It’s the best and easiest way to read our books, beginning with this month’s fantastic pick, MEATY by Samantha Irby (The Toast approves!)   There are also four back issues available for in-app purchase, including Meghan Daum’s MY MISSPENT YOUTH. You get an interview and two bonus essays with your purchase, plus a new introduction from yours truly, which follows. It contains meta-oversharing.

The first time I read My Misspent Youth, I was living temporarily in a downtown Brooklyn sublet with nubby blue floor covering that was closer to Astroturf than actual carpet. This carpetlike stuff had those black ground-in gum stains more commonly found in a car service waiting room or especially divey dive bar. Months after I moved in, clots of my sub-landlady’s dog’s hair would occasionally come tumbleweeding out from behind the furniture. It was Mungers in the extreme, and if you already know what I mean by “Mungers,” I’m thrilled to introduce you to this improved, portable new edition of a book you already love.

Originally published in 2001, My Misspent Youth collects an assortment of essays that, as Daum writes in her new Foreword, constitute “a lament for all those fantasies that had the audacity to fade into tedious, heartbreaking realities.” It was a book that took the problem of being an ambitious young woman seriously, even at the risk of being called ’whiny,’ ‘entitled’ and ‘shallow.’ It is also about the time Daum spent living in New York, and her decision, in the title essay, to leave it.

To say that this book rescued me from that astroturf apartment is not hyperbole. Like Daum, I’d imprinted on a New York City ideal that looked “like Mia Farrow’s apartment in Hannah and Her Sisters.” Like Daum, I was on the verge of realizing that certain aesthetic signifiers made me feel “that I had betrayed a basic premise of my existence.” But like Daum, I was condemned by my own unrealistic choices and youthful willed ignorance to stay for a while in a situation that made me “feel ‘other’ to my own self,” and this turned out to be a way of determining the boundaries of that self. Ultimately it was good for me in the way that only very unpleasant experiences can be. I remember lying on that carpet—well, on a yoga mat, but still—chanting the mantra “हं haṃ,” the seed mantra of the throat chakra, in the hopes that it would empower me, enable me, to “tell the truth.” I was in, as I am pretty sure I’ve written elsewhere, a very bad place.

But the essays I read during that time in this book showed me that it is possible to transmute that kind of bad experience into writing. And not only that: it is possible to do so without being self-indulgent or apologetic, or seeming to indulge in some kind of public therapy. Even when I disagreed with Daum, I found her extreme forthrightness and her steely prose inspiring.

More concretely, the book entered my life as I was trying to decide what the hell I was going to do with my life. I had written a cover story for the New York Times magazine that I knew would give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write and sell a book. The question was, what kind of book? I had an agent at the time who thought it was a good idea for me to write a What The Internet Is Doing To My Generation (And How We Can Stop It)- type book. This possibly was a good idea for someone, but not me. Reading My Misspent Youth that first time, I vacillated between a few different recurring thoughts: “This is so good. I could never pull off something like this.” “This kind of book is possible. This kind of writing exists, and people want to read it.” “I want to write something that will resonate for someone else like this book is resonating for me.”

I told my agent I wanted to write a collection of essays, and pretty soon after that she was no longer my agent. The friend who’d given me My Misspent Youth to read became my agent. I started working on the first essay I wrote for And The Heart Says Whatever, “Off Leash.” Soon after that, I moved into an apartment with hardwood floors, and while my life has not exactly been a steady uphill climb from that moment on, I’m glad things worked out the way they did, and also I didn’t write What The Internet Is Doing To My Generation. For that, we can all be grateful.

In this issue, we have an interview I did with Meghan where she reflects on some of the essays and discusses her other books, nonfiction writing in general, the best and worst reactions to her work, and what her next book is about. We also have an essay by Kate Axelrod that’s a reaction to Meghan’s essay “On the Fringes of the Physical World,” about how relationships born online suffer when translated into meatspace. And finally we have an inflammatory essay by Zan Romanoff about her own decision to leave New York City and her own feelings about Daum’s adopted hometown, L.A. I’m excited to be publishing their work, and also to be making this book available in a new format for the first time. I hope it will find someone else the way it found me, at the exact right time, in the exact right wrong place.


  1. no-coke-for-satan reblogged this from italicsmine
  2. italicsmine reblogged this from emilygould
  3. emilygould reblogged this from emilybooks
  4. emilybooks posted this