A few of my favorite things: people who are smart, funny and drunk. There's just something about a person who can keep up with quick witticisms and dish them out. It's why I wrote of my love of Chelsea Handler a few posts ago, why I love Tina Fey, and probably the reason I'm still single. No offense to Tina and Chelsea, because I love them, but there was a lady not too long ago who takes the caustic wit to a level that is yet to be seen before or since. Yes, the Lady of the Algonquin Round Table herself, Ms. Dorothy Parker.
Besides being one of the three books of the Portable series to be constantly in print (the other two are Portable Shakespeare and Portable Bible), she's by far one of the most underrated and profoundly moving writers ever. Like May West, she was famous for the quick, zippy one-liners often heard in the Oak or Rose Room of the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, but her short poems, as well as her prose are not to be overlooked.
Though famous for her wit, Parker was obsessed with the idea of suicide, and even attempted it a few times. This darkness in her often comes out in her poems, perfectly rhyming poems that make you want to cheer until you figure out what they're about...and by that time Ms. Parker has usually moved on to the next poem.
Penguin Classics recently released a beautiful new paperback version of The Portable Dorothy Parker that contains new poetry and prose that Ms. Parker, ever the self-critic, wouldn't allow in the first few editions.
If you're looking for a great book to sit next to your bed and keep you company before you go to sleep at night, Dorothy Parker would be more than happy to sleep with you...she told me so herself.