BookBin2011: It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me

Behold the wonder of teh Interwebz, denizens. Earlier this year, one of my amazing British ImagiFriendsTM suggested that I might like It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me, a collection of journalist Ariel Leve’s essays that appeared in her Sunday Times’ column, “Cassandra.”

I’ve trusted his recommendation before (for a book that has already appeared in my BookBin adventures), so I happily added Leve’s book to my wishlist…where my lovely friend Z saw it and selected it as a birthday present for me this year.

Oh, the awesome power of teh Interwebz!

So let me show you the lines that made me fall madly in love with this book and know with all certainty that I was going to keep it:

I can’t imagine a life without coffee. The way some people can’t imagine a life without children.

This is the kind of line that only a deliciously warped person could write. Leve fits this description perfectly. Of course, I already suspected that she would; anyone who would name her column after (I’m assuming) the tragic figure Cassandra of Greek mythology, she who could predict the future with unflinching accuracy, but who was cursed by Apollo himself so that no one would ever believe her…well, she’s going to be my cup of tea, indeed.

I will say this: The book is a bit much to consume in one sitting (which I practically did while flying cross-country last week to San Francisco [more to come on that]). There’s a certain degree of repetitiveness as well as an overwhelming pessimism when you read all these essays in one massive chunk. They definitely have more appeal in smaller, weekly doses.

That, however, simply means that this is the perfect book to pull off the shelf and peruse on those dark days when you just feel like staying on the couch in your jammies (I believe Leve would call those moments “days that end in y”). Actually, though, I suspect that Leve uses her journalistic endeavors, such as “Cassandra,” as her own personal Portrait of Dorian Gray-esque venting outlets. I bet she’s quite upbeat and lively in real life. Maybe?

Final Verdict: Definitely a keeper. I’m delighted to have a literary-minded ImagiFriendTM who knows me so well as to recommend such a perfectly suited collection for me. Of course, it does worry me that Leve’s rather pessimistic outlook reminded him of me…