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Picks and Pans Main: Books

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

by Jenny Lawson |



Jenny Lawson says she grew up in a “violently rural” Texas town with a hunter and “lunatic” taxidermist father who stank of urine (“Hunters often use animal pee to cover their scent, and my father splashed it on like other men used Old Spice,” she writes) and entertained his daughters with puppets made from freshly killed squirrels. Now 38, Lawson-a.k.a. “the Bloggess,” whose blog was named one of Forbes’s Top 100 Websites for Women-suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. Sounds like the makings of a not-so-cheerful tale, but Lawson’s “Mostly True Memoir” is funny, raunchy and unexpectedly uplifting. Lawson writes of moving into a meth-infested neighborhood with the man she later married. “We were young and didn’t know how much it hurt to be shot yet,” she quips, “so we shrugged off the danger.” Studded with black-and-white photos, Let’s Pretend will leave you hoping Lawson’s next book happens and soon.

Drop Dead Healthy

by A.J. Jacobs |



At 41, Jacobs is pudgy, stressed and, by his own admission, prefers the “joy of lounging” to the “joy of running.” So when he sets out to become the healthiest man in the world, he’s got work to do. Body part by body part, he does it (sort of), synthesizing research from health zealots like extreme Caveman exercisers, who espouse eating and working out like our ancestors. You’ll learn fascinating facts, but really this book is a testament to the joys-and benefits-of moderation.