Publish This Book: The (Incredible, Unforgettable, Hilarious, Heartwrenching, Unbelieveable, and) Completely (Mostly) True Story of How I Wrote, Got Published, and (Hopefully) Sold a Memoir About Nothing

Stephen Markley, Author Sourcebooks $24.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4022-2935-0

It doesn’t matter what problems you’ve got with Markley’s sprawling, self-referential account of his efforts to sell a book about his efforts to sell the book he’s writing at that very moment—he’s already anticipated your criticisms, from the imperfect echoes of writers like Dave Eggers and Chuck Klosterman to the preponderance of dick jokes and other forms of frat boy humor. “Of course, on a basic level, the book is a stupid idea,” he admits early on; later, he concedes, “I’ve just been winging it, and it shows.” He might have been better off cutting down some of the more self-indulgent sections, like a minihistory of his tenure as a “political sex columnist” for his college paper or an exploration of the fake memoir phenomenon featuring made-up conversations with Chicago drug dealers and underprivileged high school students. But there are compelling, emotionally resonant passages, too: a reflection on what it’s like to shake loose the influence of a literary mentor, for example, or a best friend’s realization of just how much an unplanned pregnancy has changed his life (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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