Sloane Crosley @ BookCourt

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1. Daniel Hind, Sloane’s agent’s assistant at WME and fan. 2. Sloane Crosley signing books. Colson Whitehead has called Crosley, “Hilarious and affecting and only occasionally scatological.”

I like Sloane Crosley. She’s funny, she’s smart, and her writing effortlessly glides from revelations of bitter disappointment to in-depth discussions of My Little Ponies, Girl Talk, and yes, turds (I couldn’t resist). She does this unapologetically. As a fellow child of the Eighties, I can appreciate how Crosley shines a light on the totems of our youth (excepting the turd, which I’m fairly certain is a totem of everyone’s youth regardless of decade).

1. Stefanie Gilry and Andy Gavora are fans too! Stefanie interned at Penguin (though she now works in Japanese anime). 2. Ashley Thompson and Corey Lugg, still more fans. Thompson: “When I read her books, I’m that person laughing out loud in the subway.”

Yes, I like Sloane Crosley, but who doesn’t? The New York Observer has called her “the most popular publicist in New York,” and certainly the crowd at Book Court last night was less a gathering of critical readers than the Sloane Crosley Fan Club. When I asked several of the attendees why they were there, I got answers like: “I’m not a writer, I’m just obsessed with her books, “ or “I just can’t be in a bad mood when I’m reading her work.”

A more bitter person (i.e. me, usually) would scoff at such unchecked adoration. But here’s the truth: Crosley’s writing is witty, literary, fun, and it does make you happy. She paints characters with startling detail, though when asked about that she claims, “It’s not like I’m walking around with a cryogenic brain like Truman Capote, but I think that everyone has the ability to remember a story or event that made an impression, and that’s all I do.” Crosley’s writing does tend to appeal heavily to women, but her books have more in common with those by Jonathan Ames rather than those by Sophie Kinsella. How Did You Get This Number is not Tolstoy, but at the risk of being attacked a la Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, I would say that her work is decidedly not chick lit. These are essays that use humor (and sometimes toilet humor) to cleverly dress up wry observation.

Like Egan, I want to see more young women writers “shoot high and not cower.” With two books of essays and a fiction novel in the works, Crosley is blazing the way.

–Cassie Hay is a regular contributor to The Dish.

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