Are you curious enough about other people’s lives to glance into their windows after dark when they leave their drapes open and the lights on? Do you watch reality TV obsessively? Have you ever spied on an ex’s Facebook or MySpace page? If so, you’re going to want to check out what I call “voyeuristic literature.” I find these types of books irresistible and I hope you will, too.
Milk, Eggs, Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found by Bill Keaggy.
The author’s collection started out as a blog proclaiming to be “the world’s largest online collection of found grocery lists.” The book is chock-full of grocery lists you forgot you wrote. The book includes commentary on each writer’s paper, penmanship, spelling and list of contents. One list of pretzels, 40 waters, ice and chocolate is deemed to be the ingredients for the “lamest party ever.” There are stories that go along with some of the lists. The list with Chevy Chase’s autograph is particularly funny (page 199). I’m going to copy the list on page 141, take it to the grocery store and leave it in the cart when I’m done, just like it says to do, with hopes that it will be mailed back to the author.
PostSecret Series compiled by Frank Warren.
Our humanity has never been more humiliating…or interesting. PostSecret invites anyone to write a secret—usually on a postcard that is decorated to coordinate with the secret—and send it to the author for inclusion on his website or in his many books where anyone and everyone can read it. Some are funny: “Every time I’m on the phone with my parents I have to poop.” Some are ponderous: “I still look at your 3rd grade picture and think what might have happened if I hadn’t moved 825 miles away.” Some are just heart-wrenching: “If I died, no one would notice.” The creator of PostSecret, Frank Warren, has compiled many thousands of secrets into several different books.
Found: The Best Lost, Tossed and Forgotten Items from Around the World compiled by Davy Rothbart.
This book combines concepts from both of the other books. Davy Rothbart created a magazine called Found, which consisted of papers he and others had found. Love letters, grocery lists, Valentines, printed emails, all discarded, all collected by people from all over the country and submitted to Found. Reading through them is a decidedly weird experience. These people didn’t realize that what they wrote, whether casual or passionate, would be tossed on the ground and eventually shared with the world. Items in the book have contributors’ names and locations where they found the items. This is useful if you’re like me and think that the handwriting on a page looks awfully familiar. Is that what happened to the note I left in my crush’s desk in eight grade? Nope, I didn’t live in Baltimore, so my secret is still probably safe. For now.