Jenny Slate is an actress (Parks and Recreation), stand-up comedian (a season on SNL), and author of the children’s book Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which is the basis for a series of videos and an upcoming movie.
She is back on the publishing scene with Little Weirds (Little, Brown, Nov.), a nonfiction collection best described by Slate herself: “The straight answer is that it is a collection of small pieces about pain and pleasure, emergency and emergence. If this book were an artifact from my inner world, and it were buried in the ground and found by someone else from a different realm, it would appear as something that could be defined as halfway between a menu and a Bible.”
Slate says that the book is an expression of her truest voice. “I wrote this book in the voice that is there when I am alone, when I am speaking my wishes in my head, when I am concerned with being understood and pleased—first and foremost—by myself. This is the book that I would choose to read, in the voice that I know is uncorrupted. There are hints of this voice in my comedy, and in things like Marcel the Shell, but this is the first time that I’ve just blasted it out as if my mouth itself were some kind of cosmic horn. It feels very good!”
She promises that you will find inside her book the smell of honeysuckle, heartbreak, a French-kissing rabbit, a haunted house, death, a vagina singing sad old songs, young geraniums in an ancient castle, birth, a dog who appears in dreams as a spiritual guide, divorce, electromagnetic energy fields, emotional horniness, the ghost of a sea captain, and more.
Slate also describes Little Weirds as a great feminist take on what she sees as a misogynistic world. “I’m not able to be unaffected, unharmed, and I’m not unflappable. But I’m very sharp and I’m very resilient, extremely hopeful and resourceful. I think the one thing I make sure to do is to not be in cheap combat with predatory or closed-minded people. I try to engage in a way that is useful for me and my world, and this means keeping focus on my beliefs whether I am doing my small daily tasks or addressing a larger group of people.”
Today, 11 a.m.–noon. Jenny Slate will sign at the Little, Brown booth (1338).
Today, 3:30–4:05 p.m. Slate will be on the “Laugh Out Loud” panel, on the Downtown Stage.