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Hey Josh looks like i am the first this time around i am glad that your book tour is going good even though you arent coming to orlando anyway have you ever read any of David Sedaris' work? I think it is great. Just like Radiohead they are such a good band If you have never listened to Travis they are really good anyway i will let you get back to your life now have fun with thanksgiving and all of those yams bye

P.S. sorry about no capital letters really and also no punctuation i think you can manage
feel free to e-mail


Hey if your are actually looking for a portable media device I found a great website that helps you compare them based on your needs it's

Glad to hear you're on your way home, I love the feeling, smell and sounds of your own place.

Happy Thanksgiving!! We have much to be grateful for...

Ms. Jordan

Hi there,

right now I've got dried paint all over my hands, having painted walls all day long. I graduated in April, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and sociology, and now I paint walls.

it's not very stimulating, intellectually, but i do get a certain amount of satisfaction when I brush on a fresh coat of white paint over yellowed baseboards. A clean, straight line can be a wonderful thing.

work seems to take over everything about your life. I never noticed this when i was a student, because I wasn't working, I was learning all sorts of different things, so I never allowed one subject to dominate.

but now I find myself bringing up painting in a lot of conversations - telling funny stories about moldings and the caulking gun. sometimes when i close my eyes at night, all I can see is the roller sliding across my ceiling.

this job is temporary. i know this, my boss knows this. it's supposed to be the job i work to make money while i look for a real job in a field that interests me. but it's been two months now, and i've got five different painting outfits to choose from, and i don't seem to ever have the time or energy to look for that new job, or to work on a story, or to take photos, or to do anything creative besides writing a random message to a stranger's blog site.

i'm just sick of this town, how cliché, how country-western. i like the idea of strangers in foreign countries reading messages from me, and maybe cracking a smile or rolling their eyes.

i have not read your book yet, though i've gone to the trouble of putting it on my wishlist, so maybe i'll get it for christmas.

i noticed you haven't been listing too many canadian writers in your book recommendations, so might i suggest a few?

On the more classic, older gay male side we have Timothy Findley. He can be hit or miss - or could be, before he died - but my two favourites (notice the canadian "u") are 'Famous Last Words' and 'Not Wanted on the Voyage'. His book of short stories, 'Dinner along the Amazon', is also remarkable.

Wayne Johnson is another excellent writer, who also happens to be from Newfoundland like myself. Try 'Colony of Unrequited Dreams' to become thoroughly educated on the history of Newfoundland (at least how Johnson sees it).

Michael Winter is also from here, and I just finished his new book, 'The Big Why', which was bitchin'. No joke, bitchin'. And his first, 'This all Happened', is equally as good.

Anyway, there's a couple to start you off.

I hope you have a nice rest at home, and a belt-busting thanksgiving (our thanksgiving was weeks ago, by the way, but little canadian children aren't taught what it stands for. no pilgrims or plimouth rock; just turkey and brown construction paper cornucopias)

Feel free to write, I'm not usually this disgruntled.


Andrea (in TO)

Dude, I had Coleco AND Atari. I was a child of the 80s.

I haven't been able to find your book locally (Toronto). With the good exchange rate I could order it from but I'll probably read some of the other books that have been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read and hope that your book lands sometime in the next couple of months. Or I'll feed my comic book addiction some more. I've got to balance the cerebral stuff with the mental junk food.

I look forward to your book because I adore JewFic and don't read enough of it.
...Actually, I don't read enough of ANYTHING. Since I discovered the Internet in the mid 90s I read a lot less, which is sad. Maybe I should become shomer shabbos just to force myself to read instead of watching TV or surfing the internet once a week.

Re. Thanksgiving:
For years I thought it was a gentile holiday or a secular one that used to have religious meaning because no one I knew celebrated it. Years ago I learned that my orthodox relatives in Jersey (Morristown) celebrated it. My next theory- which lasted until last month- was that the Canadians adopted thanksgiving because the Americans had it. It wasn't until this year that I finally looked up Canadian Thanksgiving after years of wondering. It's about something else entirely ( - damn Typepad for not allowing HTML in the comments, unless they use other tags of which I'm unaware). I think I only know one Canadian Jew who celebrates it, though.

Hillary Reitman

Hi Josh,

Newark Academy is quite nice. Right across the street from Kushner Academy and the Livingston Mall. Glad you had fun.

I've always had trouble writing a coherent story. I'm always beginning scripts, knowing how I want them to start and end, but never really knowing how to create something whole in the middle. It's a bit of a problem. Another thing is that I'm always writing scripts like I would write a book, which isn't too good either. Very detailed and imaginative. Do you have any advice?

I have a movie recommendation for you (if you haven't already seen it): 'Le Grand Bleu' (AKA 'The Big Blue'). It's a Luc Besson film back in the day when he still made great movies. I love it for it's usage of fantasia paralleling real life.

One more that you have probably seen because it is possibly one of the most famous/brilliant films ever made: Fellini's '8 1/2'

When I saw it I said to myself, huh, this is the story of my life (except for the whole, being famous part): always seeming to have ambiguous ideas and not quite knowing what to do with them.

Well, there are my two cents. Thanks for the post. Happy Thanksgiving (mmm turkey...stuffing...gravy...mashed potatos...oh boy, an escape from the monotonous life of college food!)

Hillary Reitman


Dear Josh,

Have you read Interpreter of Maladies or The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri? The first one is a really interesting collection of short stories which are, I agree, more difficult to write well.

How about the ole classic Grendel?
It's one of my favorites.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Plane rides are the worst, sometimes. I read your book to keep me entertained on the last one I took. :)



Q-Bert was my favorite, and I've actually been trying to find it somewhere so that it will be on hand for Thanksgiving, which I am hosting this year.


Hi Joshua,

First off, I wanted to comment on your book...of course it was fantastic. It made me laugh out loud so many times, but I think the best part of it was that someone finally put my dad into words. For years I've been trying to untangle my dad's personality, but you concisely laid it out. Thank you so much for that.

Also, I must say you have excellent taste in music and books...Elliott Smith and Zora Neale Hurston are two of my all time favorites.

Some of the humor of your book (as well as the age of the narrator and his hilarious thoughts) reminded me of "Youth in Revolt" by C.D. Payne. To give you an example of how fun this book is, its the book I read on my worst days and it still makes me chuckle.

Anyway, hope you have a great Thanksgiving filled with yams and wrinkle-free shirts ;)



I love how most of the comments left on your site are the "Look at me: I am clever and talented and therefore you want to exchange emails with me; you know you do," kind. :) Made me giggle to myself knowingly. Regardless, I really do love your writing as well as your story suggestions. Keep them coming. And thank you for taking the time to communicate with your many admirers. Have a superb Thanksgiving with those you love.


Hi, Josh.

I checked your book out of the local library, and I appreciated Jacob's perspective. I grew up Catholic, and I definitely could relate to the conflict of a young person growing up and having thoughts that I did not feel like I was "supposed" to have. You did an excellent job depicting a family that is both in pain AND loving to one another in the ways that they know how to love.

I hope it's not offensive that I checked the book out rather than buy a copy. I am not buying books right now -- too much clutter. But, I'll have you know, that prior to reading your novel, I hadn't read a novel in about 3 months, and the book reminded me why I enjoy reading. So, thanks for that.


P.S., Bird by Bird is very helpful for getting me unstuck. (It's Lamott, though... not Lamont. No biggie in my book, I'm just sharing.)


Hi Josh,

I hope you have a great thanksgiving holiday with your family. Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada but I would love to have more turkey and stuffing. I definitely think it's time for an ipod, I got one last spring and I am addicted to it, it goes with me everywhere:) I like your musical selections, you and I have the same taste in music especially pearl jam, they been my favourite band since way back in the early nineties. I've also had the pleasure of seeing them in concert five times over the last 10 years or so, if you haven't seen them yet I highly reccomend it, they put on a great show.


P.S. You didn't miss much by not watching the notebook, it's big chick flick and even I couldn't handle it, lol.


I never tasted a yam. Am I really missing something?


getting to go home for a couple days is ALWAYS a good thing...i get to go home this weekend for thanksgiving for the first time since august and i'm so stoked. and i too love Thanksgiving...and YAMS on that note!!

wow - so not only are you a talented writer, you have an impeccable taste in music! awesome. i hate trips in planes, i'mnot scared of flying or anything, it's just so boring, and i can never sleep on planes - it's annoying. and then when i'm on the plane, i can't figure out which cds to listen to...but it's great for people watching! you never know who you'll meet in an airport/airplane!!

well have a fantastic thanksgiving (i'm grateful for your kick-ass book!) and enjoy your break!!

much love,


Hello Josh,
So, I am sort of a dope, cos last time I chose to "contact" you, I did so through email. I mean, it seems to me that emailing someone like yourself, who gets tons of comments, should be used only in emergencies or if I were a close friend. So, sorry about that. I didn't realize there was a place for comments.
Anyways, I was impressed with your list of music. I love, love, love Elliot Smith. And the others you listed (not sure I've heard Ben Harper). You should check out The Velvet Teen on Slowdance Records. Penning the Penultimate is one awesome song. But, I actually like every song I've ever heard of theirs. They only have three albums out, but seriously I was not disappointed by a single song. there are obviously songs I like better than others. Bla bla bla. Sorry. As evident I am passionate about them. Listen.
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't take it forgranted that you get to be with your family. Some less fortunate people can't afford to fly take time out of our booooring work and definetly can't afford the ticket to go home. Not to whine or sound like I am feeling sorry for myself. I'm just saying what you surely already know - enjoy them. Take care.


Hi Josh,

Have you read 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon? If not, you really must read it, it's amazing, one of the best books I've read in ages - very loosely it's a detective story, but narrated by a boy with asperger's syndome. It's sometimes funny, often enlightening, frequently very moving, but all in all absolutely fantastic, left me seeing the world in a different way.

Enjoy Thanks Giving, I'm never quite sure when it is as we don't celebrate it in England, but sometime soon I guess!

best wishes,


DUDE - no one has mentioned Ms. Pacman, the Queen of All 80's Video Games!

Finished your book the other day. Wonderful! Loved the ending!

You do have great taste in music (and books!). I'm also enjoying your little writing assignments. Keep 'em comin'

Esther Kustanowitz

Hi Josh,

I know I said it when you signed my book on Sunday in Cherry Hill, but I have to tell you again how hilarious the more epistolary portions of Unthinkable Thoughts were. And I SWEAR that I recognized some of the names you used in the book; I went to high school with Hartsteins and Dardiks...

You've really inspired me to get moving on my own yeshiva memoir (although it seems to be non-fiction right now, that could definitely change). And I write (a singles column) for the NY Jewish Week, so feel free to drop me a line if there's anything I can do for you.

Anyway, great job with all the questions on Sunday--hope you're enjoying the ride!

(ex-Yeshiva Jersey Girl) Esther

Brandon Ronk

I too am preparing for a trek home for the holiday, I'm a college student living in Ohio from Illinois. But I'll be driving as opposed to ye old aircraft. Regardless, for my final paper in my Lit for Young Adults I'm doing a comparison contrast paper between your book which is outside the cirriculum (for now) and Stephen Chbosky's book "Perks of Being a Wallflower." The books both have such a similar feel to the characters. Wondering if you've read it and if you have any thoughts to help me to write this thing. E-Mail me if you can.

Brandon Ronk


Well, as quick as I started The World According to Garp it was over. Part of me sad to see it go, part of me quite exstatic to be able to pick something else up. I have to say, up until the last 100 pages or so, I was not enjoying Garp's personality or Helen's and was ready to bury it but thought I should finish it because I despise unfinished books. By the end though, it won back its glory and is back on my recommendation list, pretty high up.
The day after finishing Garp, I picked up and finished The Body of Jonah Boyd by David Leavitt. Very well written book.
I'm glad you put Catcher in the Rye on your list. That is probably in my top three books off all time and I go back to it every so often.
Do you read many memoirs? I flock to those books more than any other and right now on my stack of books to read is Steven King's memoir, along with about three others. Just recently have I started to appreciate fiction more for what it is. As I friend once said, I guess I see myself more relating to the characters and their strengths and weaknesses versus good story plots and drama. Which is why I lean towards memoirs.
So, having said all that, keep up with the writing advice and the recommendations because as I am sure you can tell I am unemployeed and love to read.


I totally agree about liking Thanksgiving so much. I like Christmas, but I think everyone is so caught up in the materialistic holiday that they pass over Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is really one of the only wholesome holidays we have left. I don't know whether or not you can relate, being Jewish. I just know I get really mad when I see stores putting out holiday displays and people putting up lights and trees before Thanksgiving. Anyway, I read "Life of Pi" because of your recommendation and loved it. I went out and got a collection of short fiction by Martel titled "The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios". I'm reading it now and you should seriously pick it up. It's a collection of four fairly long short stories, (novellas?). I finished the first and it blew me away. So much emotion. Really worth the time. Anyway, happy thanksgiving. Get some rest. On your next book tour come through Cincinnati, yeah?


hey, did you e-mail me the other day? It was from your e-mail, but I couldn't really beleive it =)

I've never been on an airplane.



Did you know that the guy who founded PONG also did so of Chuck E. Cheese's? just thought I'd throw that semi-random fact in there.


Dear Josh,
Thanks sooo much for the writing exercises. I love it. Anyway, I have no idea where you live, but if you are in the LA area Anne Lamott is going to be speaking at Scripps College in Claremont. Claremont, if you have never heard of it, is about 45 minutes east of dowtown LA. If you are a big fan of hers, it might be worth the drive. Kepp up the awesome tips/exercises. I check in all the time for them!


Excellent writing exercise suggestion! Keep those coming! Here's my situation: I am a journalist (feature writer) and spend my day talking to people and then writing down what they say (in so many words...) And they pay me for this! It's great. But the only downside is when I get home from work, my mind needs to do something else. Knit. Cook dinner. Talk to DH. Play with my cat. Anything but write. And yet, I know that if I actually spent the time writing, I could create something worthwhile. Any advice? Also any tips for folks like me who are trying to transition from writing non-fiction to writing fiction?

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