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Real Artists Have Day Jobs: And Other Awesome Things They Don't Teach You in School

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For readers of Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and #Girlboss, a hilarious—yet heartfelt—guide to growing up and taking your place in the world by the popular comedian and author of the highly praised Agorafabulous! While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and For readers of Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and #Girlboss, a hilarious—yet heartfelt—guide to growing up and taking your place in the world by the popular comedian and author of the highly praised Agorafabulous! While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world. Author and comedian Sara Benincasa, now in her mid-thirties, had an absolutely harrowing early twenties and now, on the other side, she has a LOT of hard-earned wisdom and common sense to share. Real Artists Have Day Jobs includes 52 witty, provocative essays on how to live like a real adult—especially for those who have chosen a slightly more offbeat path to get there. Chock full of information and advice, Sara’s warm, smart, empathetic, and quirky voice is relatable to everyone from twenty-somethings and recent college grads to anyone a bit older who’s still trying to figure things out. While Sara doesn’t have all of life’s answers, this indispensable book has more than its share! Essays include: How to Read a Book, Real Artists Have Day Jobs, The Power of Being a Dork, Put Your Clutter in Purgatory, Ask for Exactly What You Want, Elect Your Own Executive Board.


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For readers of Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and #Girlboss, a hilarious—yet heartfelt—guide to growing up and taking your place in the world by the popular comedian and author of the highly praised Agorafabulous! While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and For readers of Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and #Girlboss, a hilarious—yet heartfelt—guide to growing up and taking your place in the world by the popular comedian and author of the highly praised Agorafabulous! While the practical aspects of new adulthood can be nerve-wracking—dating, job-hunting, money-managing—the most important task of all is figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world. Author and comedian Sara Benincasa, now in her mid-thirties, had an absolutely harrowing early twenties and now, on the other side, she has a LOT of hard-earned wisdom and common sense to share. Real Artists Have Day Jobs includes 52 witty, provocative essays on how to live like a real adult—especially for those who have chosen a slightly more offbeat path to get there. Chock full of information and advice, Sara’s warm, smart, empathetic, and quirky voice is relatable to everyone from twenty-somethings and recent college grads to anyone a bit older who’s still trying to figure things out. While Sara doesn’t have all of life’s answers, this indispensable book has more than its share! Essays include: How to Read a Book, Real Artists Have Day Jobs, The Power of Being a Dork, Put Your Clutter in Purgatory, Ask for Exactly What You Want, Elect Your Own Executive Board.

30 review for Real Artists Have Day Jobs: And Other Awesome Things They Don't Teach You in School

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest The first thing I remember seeing Sara Benincasa in was CollegeHumor's since-retired video game series, Bleep Bloop. She was the guest star when they did the Grey's Anatomy on Wii video game. The video came out while I was in college, and I remember being so excited because at the time, CollegeHumor didn't have as many women in their videos. I remember thinking, "Oh my God, a cool nerdy girl! Who likes video games! Who likes making fun o Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest The first thing I remember seeing Sara Benincasa in was CollegeHumor's since-retired video game series, Bleep Bloop. She was the guest star when they did the Grey's Anatomy on Wii video game. The video came out while I was in college, and I remember being so excited because at the time, CollegeHumor didn't have as many women in their videos. I remember thinking, "Oh my God, a cool nerdy girl! Who likes video games! Who likes making fun of video games! Who doesn't take herself too seriously! Oh my God, this is so cool!" The second thing I remember seeing Sara Benincasa in was Buzzfeed's video, What It's Like To Be A Woman Online . This is a powerful video where various women, some controversial and some not, but all with social media platforms with a fair amount of followers, all talk about their experiences with internet harassment - specifically from men. This was the video that made me actually go to Twitter & follow her, because yaaass. It never clicked until later that she was the same Sara Benincasa that was also the author of the book GREAT, which I see floating around on Goodreads a lot but never actually read. Prior to this, I suppose I just assumed that there were just several Sara Benincasas running around, equally blessed in talent. Then one day it hit me - all these awesome women who just so happened to have the same name were actually the same person. Mind = blown. Or maybe I'm just slow on the uptake. EITHER WAY. When I saw that her newest book, REAL ARTISTS HAVE DAY JOBS, was only $1.99 in the Kindle store, buying it was a no-brainer. I follow her on Twitter, remember, so I know that she's not just funny, she's also articulate as hell and her witticisms and pop-cultural references are on point. Plus, her coolness is at #lifegoals levels, so obviously I had to read this and see if she let any trade secrets about coolness slip. REAL ARTISTS HAVE DAY JOBS is a collection of autobiographical essays. If you're going into this book expecting to laugh, however, you are apt to be disappointed. Her essays are witty, but serious examinations of various topics, ranging in scope from "how to get rid of the toxic people in your life" to "the importance of embracing your inner-geek" to "go adopt a dog." Since I already sound pretty stalkery from that review intro, I'm going to quickly summarize some of my favorite takeaway points from this book. 1. I love that she validates struggling artists and writers. I am a writer, and I have been told that you can't call yourself a "real" writer unless you are doing it full time. I love that she debunks that and says, no, you are an artist, even if the art you're producing doesn't have a price tag. You can have another job that you love in addition to writing, and still be a writer. Doing both doesn't make you a failure. Choosing another career path and designating your art to being a hobby doesn't make you a failure. Not having a degree in English or an MFA doesn't mean you're not worthy of time. You can be self-taught. You can be an amateur or a hobbyist. You can still be an artist. Or a writer. Embrace your day job and your art. <3 2. I love that she really makes an effort to point out that dealing with mental illness isn't a straight path to instant healing. It's more like one of those shitty mazes you get on kids' menus at family eateries. There are dead ends, u-turns, and backtracks. All you can do is try to forgive yourself, practice self-care, and surround yourself with non-toxic people who support you, no matter what. Oh, and medication, treatment, and therapy, too, if that's what it takes to get the help you need. #noshame #youdoyou 3. I love the part of the book about learning to embrace your geekiness instead of trying to suppress it to be "cool." I was into geeky things well before they were cool, and while it sounds like I'm bandying about my hipster cred, this actually wasn't very fun for me. I got teased for a lot of my passions, and to this day, I still have to bite back that instinctive shame when I tell people, "Yes, I love anime. I enjoy reading manga. I enjoy reading fantasy books about dragons. Pokemon are awesome." Because back in my day, admitting to these things made you a "loser." She points out that rather than trying to fit in with the popular crowd, you'll be happier and have better relationships if you live authentically and instead of trying to please everyone, do you, and look for others who share your interests with the same enthusiasm you do. It's a great message. Embrace your "loser," and you become a "winner." Because F the haters, that's why. 4. There are several essays about privilege, intersectionality, and prejudice. I love that she describes what these things are, and how she had to work to overcome some of her own biases. I love that she emphasizes the need to stay silent sometimes and let people share their stories instead of hijacking the conversation to talk about yours. These are words that tend to send some people running or have others screaming that rallying cry, "SJW! SJW!" but it really is important to understand that a lot of people out there are hurting from some truly unjust biases that are ingrained within our society (and not always in an obvious way), and they deserve a platform to address these issues. REAL ARTISTS HAVE DAY JOBS is a pretty solid collection of essays. There is something in here for everyone, and whether you agree with Benincasa or not, her thoughts are bound to stir up dialogue - and really, isn't that the point of essays? And dialogue, for that matter? You might also find the essays incredibly helpful on a personal level, because the woman gives pretty good advice, too. P.S. Watch the videos I linked to. I swear, even though I name drop the Woman Online video at every opportunity, I'm not an affiliate. I just really, really like that video and want people to watch it. 3.5 stars!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah O

    There are some really well-written and important essays in here, but they are bogged down by essays about getting more sleep and decluttering and taking compliments and all the other self-improvement-loop topics that women continually tell each other but apparently don't master because we keep writing about them. They're tenderly written and I do think these kinds of essays would be powerful in other hands, but I've been advised to spray lavender on my pillow and declutter my space enough times There are some really well-written and important essays in here, but they are bogged down by essays about getting more sleep and decluttering and taking compliments and all the other self-improvement-loop topics that women continually tell each other but apparently don't master because we keep writing about them. They're tenderly written and I do think these kinds of essays would be powerful in other hands, but I've been advised to spray lavender on my pillow and declutter my space enough times to never want to read those self-help tropes again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    A total win from beginning to end. All 52 of these essays are a combination of funny, sad, hopeful, and heartbreaking for different reasons. Each is approachable, thought-provoking, and really relatable, especially for younger women. Benincasa balances serious stuff with the more fun, but even in those fun essays, there’s a big old piece of wisdom to walk away with. Some key takeaways: masturbate, enjoy rainbows, mental illness sucks, writer fan letters to people whose work you love, you’re an ar A total win from beginning to end. All 52 of these essays are a combination of funny, sad, hopeful, and heartbreaking for different reasons. Each is approachable, thought-provoking, and really relatable, especially for younger women. Benincasa balances serious stuff with the more fun, but even in those fun essays, there’s a big old piece of wisdom to walk away with. Some key takeaways: masturbate, enjoy rainbows, mental illness sucks, writer fan letters to people whose work you love, you’re an artist if you think you’re an artist, having kids or getting married doesn’t make you an adult, tell people what you want and that you deserve it (outside the bedroom and inside it, too), make art like a little kid (just play because you want to play!), breath work is great, taking walks without a purpose except to move is excellent, ask people more questions, fire people from your life who don’t deserve to be there, and you don’t have to like everyone. Probably perfect for those 20-somethings trying to feel their way into the world, as well as more mature readers who need some more love along the way (or want to feel like they get it because they’re right there with Benincasa). — Kelly Jensen from The Best Books We Read In February: http://bookriot.com/2016/03/01/riot-r...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    I like Benincasa's writing a whole lot; she's smart and funny and this was an easy collection of essays to devour. Nenia wrote a lovely review you could check out for more detail. I like Benincasa's writing a whole lot; she's smart and funny and this was an easy collection of essays to devour. Nenia wrote a lovely review you could check out for more detail.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Ok let me just start off to say that I was deceived with the title of this book. Yes, I read the description of the book but the title of the book gave me hope. As a creative, it's hard for me to find books about the hard struggles of being an artist. So anyone out there that got excited like me because of the title, don't bother. The title of the book is just the title of the first chapter and after that its other topics that aren't related to artists. The first chapter regarding artists was a Ok let me just start off to say that I was deceived with the title of this book. Yes, I read the description of the book but the title of the book gave me hope. As a creative, it's hard for me to find books about the hard struggles of being an artist. So anyone out there that got excited like me because of the title, don't bother. The title of the book is just the title of the first chapter and after that its other topics that aren't related to artists. The first chapter regarding artists was a nice inspirational chapter but I just wish the whole book was about artists. So the reasoning for my low rating is because of that. Rating the book overall, I would say the book was alright. I'm not really a fan of comedian books so that's another reason. Overall disappointed with this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Yeah, so, I loved this book so much that I'm sure the owning library thinks they're never getting it back (don't worry, I'm still within my allowed renewals). I've followed Sara Benincasa on Twitter for a while, and this was my first book of hers, and now I wish we were real-life BFFs and talked about life together. I kept a document of favorite quotes and it's ridiculously long. Don't say I didn't warn you. “The biggest myth we are fed as artists is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on ou Yeah, so, I loved this book so much that I'm sure the owning library thinks they're never getting it back (don't worry, I'm still within my allowed renewals). I've followed Sara Benincasa on Twitter for a while, and this was my first book of hers, and now I wish we were real-life BFFs and talked about life together. I kept a document of favorite quotes and it's ridiculously long. Don't say I didn't warn you. “The biggest myth we are fed as artists is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on our art.” (I can't quite describe how it felt to read this so plainly stated. It was never so plainly stated in art school -- maybe that's why I feel guilty and confused all the time about art vs. work...) “Real artists make things other than art, and then they make time to make art because art is screaming to get out from inside them. Screaming, or begging, or gently whispering.” (I appreciate “gently whispering” because that’s true for me.) “When you are raised to be perfect and then you inevitably turn out to be so very imperfect, it is tempting to stress out over every little thing in life. The fear of failure can emotionally cripple you to the point that you do not attempt anything cool or fun or great. You lead a life that is small and unhappy, or smaller and unhappier than it would be if you attempted something fantastic.” “You must tell people exactly what you want from them if you have any hope that they will give it to you.” “Magic is about taking the time to check in with yourself, to honor your own needs and desires as valid, and to engage in the ridiculous art of hope.” “I ate practically nothing…I thought, ‘Let me save these calories for the ice cream.’ This is a bullshit way to think about food and nourishment, but it’s exactly the kind of thing we’re taught from the cradle – you must deny yourself in order to be worthy of that thing you desire.” Elect your own Executive Board – I love this idea. “How you do the little things in life is how you do everything in life.” “I saw very clearly how closely dental health is linked to the rest of the body. I also saw how dental health is linked to economic privilege.” “I’m going to go in that room and own it. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never adapted one of my books to a film before. I’ve done it for television, and that’s a great start. Everyone gets a first shot, and I’ve earned this one. I know I can do it because I’ve done the work to prepare and I’m more than willing to do the work to see this thing through…It would be a smart investment on their part.” “Quite often, we humans prefer what is familiar to what is healthy.” “There are times when your voice is vital and necessary. And there are times when you need to stay in your lane, and shut the f*ck up.” “Understand that for some folks, the world of Pokemon is as real a world as the world of the Bible is for others. Before you giggle at that comparison – okay, go ahead and giggle, then hear me out – I would add that both worlds have been used to make sh*tloads of money for individuals in power, and that both worlds have been reclaimed, reinvented, and reinterpreted by people who find solace, hope, and even fun in the characters in these stories.” “This isn’t actually true, but it FEELS true, and what FEELS true is often more important than what IS true.” “I think that happens when people see other people’s success as a referendum on their own place in life. Zero-sum thinking.” All of Ch 24, Self-Care for Women in Comedy “Most people will give you a hint of who they are within the first few hours of your meeting. Your job is not to be a detective but simply to keep your eyes and ears and heart open to receive information. If he doesn’t answer your texts? That’s information. If he doesn’t answer your calls? That’s information. If he cancels on you repeatedly? That’s information.” “In order for you to ask for exactly what you want, you have to believe that you deserve it.” “If you are confident you can make good on your promises, why not go for what you truly want? Why not take the risk of failure – or, sometimes even more scarily, the risk of success?” “My gratitude does not replace my anger, my hurt, my sadness, or my loss. It is simply something upon which I rely to help get me through life, moment by moment, piece by piece.” “Person-to-person contact is the most important aspect of change. It is hard to look into another person’s eyes and hear their honest story and still fear them, or hate them, or see them as less than you.” “When you are afraid to claim your own truth, you may become jealous of people who are unafraid to claim theirs.” “It is solved by walking.” “I have discovered that boring people measure your value by your dress size, your marital status, and whether or not you reproduce or plan to reproduce.” “Don’t wait until you lose ten or twenty or ninety pounds to start treating yourself kindly. You have to love yourself for what you are: a work in progress.” “If I’d been popular and pretty in elementary school and in middle school, I don’t know that I would have developed such a rich inner life.” “Anyone who doesn’t get excited over rainbows, or at least smile a little bit at the sight of one – well, that person is a dried-up raisin of a human. Do you want to be a dried-up raisin? No. You want to be a luscious, full-bodied, delicious grape. If grapes could talk, they’d talk about rainbows.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A total win from beginning to end. All 52 of these essays are a combination of funny, sad, hopeful, and heartbreaking for different reasons. Each is approachable, thought-provoking, and really relatable. Benincasa balances serious stuff with the more fun, but even in those fun essays, there's a big old piece of wisdom to walk away with. Put this one on the shelf next to You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism for ladies who want to read a collection of A total win from beginning to end. All 52 of these essays are a combination of funny, sad, hopeful, and heartbreaking for different reasons. Each is approachable, thought-provoking, and really relatable. Benincasa balances serious stuff with the more fun, but even in those fun essays, there's a big old piece of wisdom to walk away with. Put this one on the shelf next to You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism for ladies who want to read a collection of essays that are humorous and feminist and full of eagerness to learn, grow, and explore. Probably perfect for those 20-somethings trying to feel their way into the world, as well as more mature readers who need some more love along the way (or want to feel like they get it because they're right there with Benincasa). Some key takeaways: masturbate, enjoy rainbows, mental illness sucks, writer fan letters to people whose work you love, you're an artist if you think you're an artist, having kids or getting married doesn't make you an adult, tell people what you want and that you deserve it (outside the bedroom and inside it, too), make art like a little kid (just play because you want to play!), breath work is great, taking walks without a purpose except to move is excellent, ask people more questions, fire people from your life who don't deserve to be there, you don't have to like everyone, and the one I'm going to do now, which is look up FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING by Jon Kabat-Zinn. That last one will make a lot of sense to people who read this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    This is not a book. It isn't. It's a bunch of half asses blog entries. I'm not sure why someone thought this was a good idea? Look, I like the authors voice and she didn't offend me but I didn't laugh a single time nor did I feel like I got anything out of this book. Reading this book was actually kind of a chore and I really cannot recommend it to anyone. It was like a shitty inspirational gift book disguised as a hipster memoir- that book cover tricked me! But it won't trick you. Really, don't This is not a book. It isn't. It's a bunch of half asses blog entries. I'm not sure why someone thought this was a good idea? Look, I like the authors voice and she didn't offend me but I didn't laugh a single time nor did I feel like I got anything out of this book. Reading this book was actually kind of a chore and I really cannot recommend it to anyone. It was like a shitty inspirational gift book disguised as a hipster memoir- that book cover tricked me! But it won't trick you. Really, don't bother.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gina Boyd

    Funny and earnest. Sweeter than I expected, but in a good way. I really wish I could hang out with this woman-I feel like she'd be the kind of friend who makes you a better version of yourself. Funny and earnest. Sweeter than I expected, but in a good way. I really wish I could hang out with this woman-I feel like she'd be the kind of friend who makes you a better version of yourself.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bradley

    I can appreciate the heartache and wry sense of humor the author brings to this collection of essays about her life, dealing with mental health issues, and basically being an artistic woman in this world. I was very excited when I bought the book, looking for another voice who, on the cover, seemed to share several of the same life experiences one way or another with me. Unfortunately, any wisdom or entertainment one might glean from this book is lost in a barrage of vulgar language. I'm hardly a I can appreciate the heartache and wry sense of humor the author brings to this collection of essays about her life, dealing with mental health issues, and basically being an artistic woman in this world. I was very excited when I bought the book, looking for another voice who, on the cover, seemed to share several of the same life experiences one way or another with me. Unfortunately, any wisdom or entertainment one might glean from this book is lost in a barrage of vulgar language. I'm hardly a prude when it comes to language and I fully understand that in today's world certain words are simply accepted as normal parts of our regular vocabulary. But the author's use of several words, especially one word in particular, takes away from the overall intelligence of her essays and jars the reader (or perhaps just me) from the point the author is trying to make. It is unfortunate. I really wanted to love this book. The topics are timely, the author's life story is certainly compelling. But, for an educated woman, a teacher, to bury all of that under a mountain of vulgarities even a Hollywood director might balk at, that is disappointing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I read this book as part of my ongoing attempt to find things to read that will not make me sad. While not a total failure, also not a success really. I had read a piece of the authors on the internet recently and laughed a lot. I wanted more of that. I laughed more times reading that piece than during this entire book of 52 essays. Also, I don't think you can publish a book in 2016 and claim to ascribe to the ideals of intersectional feminism while also name dropping Lena Dunham. Like. No. There I read this book as part of my ongoing attempt to find things to read that will not make me sad. While not a total failure, also not a success really. I had read a piece of the authors on the internet recently and laughed a lot. I wanted more of that. I laughed more times reading that piece than during this entire book of 52 essays. Also, I don't think you can publish a book in 2016 and claim to ascribe to the ideals of intersectional feminism while also name dropping Lena Dunham. Like. No. There was an essay or two I kinda liked? But mostly stuff that I feel has been said by others in ways that definitely resonated more with me than this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sassafras Lowrey

    Surprisingly queer (somehow I didnt' now that going into this book which was a GREAT surprise!). I didn't give this one more stars because I was dissapointed to realize this book wasn't all essays about what it's like to be a working artist maintaining a day job. It veers much more into this authors' advice on daily life which is cool - but less of what I was actually interested in Surprisingly queer (somehow I didnt' now that going into this book which was a GREAT surprise!). I didn't give this one more stars because I was dissapointed to realize this book wasn't all essays about what it's like to be a working artist maintaining a day job. It veers much more into this authors' advice on daily life which is cool - but less of what I was actually interested in

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sindhu S

    I remember reading Sara Benincasa’s article Real Artists Have Day Jobs. It made an impression on me, which is why when I came across her book of the same name, I added it to my Amazon wish list. Out of all the books on that list, my friend chose to buy it for me as this year’s birthday gift. The book refutes the idea that artists are always dreamily thinking up or romanticizing things. It also says that you don’t have to be wealthy or go to college to be an artist. However, the 52 essays in it d I remember reading Sara Benincasa’s article Real Artists Have Day Jobs. It made an impression on me, which is why when I came across her book of the same name, I added it to my Amazon wish list. Out of all the books on that list, my friend chose to buy it for me as this year’s birthday gift. The book refutes the idea that artists are always dreamily thinking up or romanticizing things. It also says that you don’t have to be wealthy or go to college to be an artist. However, the 52 essays in it don’t militantly advocate any of this. Instead, they are funny, thought-provoking, heartbreaking, relatable, and persuasive. Although Benincasa admits that she is no expert at anything, she uses her experiences to impart some sound advice on life, without being condescending. She is outspoken and matter of fact, and at times her essays seem breezy. However, Benincasa’s sincerity is quite evident even as she uses self-deprecating humor and blasé style. I laughed and cried as I read this book. I am sure I’ll read it again. The following is a non-stalkerish fan letter to her based on her template from Chapter 39: Write Fan Letters. Dear Sara: Hi! My name is Sindhu, and I think your work is just amazing. I wanted to tell you that the stuff you make genuinely affects my life in a very positive fashion. For example, your book entertained and kept me laughing through a time when there was very little else to help me do so. Anyway, thanks so much for reading my letter. Keep up the great work. I believe in you. Best wishes, Sindhu

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Keele

    As someone currently going through the throws of finding her foothold in adult life, reading this book was like a coach or a friend or a mentor or someone who really cares about me and my success kneeling down next to me telling me “it’s okay to cry over a scraped knee but you still gotta get back up.” Probably more like 4.5 stars but I’ll bump it up because I cried. I love you.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Prigg

    An easy meander of 52 essays about things Sara has learned and wants us to know too. Some deep (you don't have to love your family, you do need to learn to live with yourself) some less so (brush your teeth, join the fancy club at the airport) but all worthwhile. I get the sense Sara would be an excellent friend to have. I'd love to have her on my Executive Board that's for sure. An easy meander of 52 essays about things Sara has learned and wants us to know too. Some deep (you don't have to love your family, you do need to learn to live with yourself) some less so (brush your teeth, join the fancy club at the airport) but all worthwhile. I get the sense Sara would be an excellent friend to have. I'd love to have her on my Executive Board that's for sure.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie Marie

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this cover to cover. I’m not a “self help” type reader, but a lot of these essays really provided me with perspective I would not have thought of otherwise. The author is super down to earth, humorous and shares lots of honest anecdotes from her life. This is one book I definitely appreciate as a late 20’s adult.

  17. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    It's like all the Thought Catalog articles I bookmarked when I was in college have been collected and published as a single book. Not particularly hilarious or groundbreaking, but amusing enough to consume in a few bites. It's kind of like going to brunch with some #girlbosses you're acquainted with. You're all trying to uplift each other and show off how you've grown since you've all seen each other last. But the moment is not especially poignant and you're eager to schlep off as soon as the bu It's like all the Thought Catalog articles I bookmarked when I was in college have been collected and published as a single book. Not particularly hilarious or groundbreaking, but amusing enough to consume in a few bites. It's kind of like going to brunch with some #girlbosses you're acquainted with. You're all trying to uplift each other and show off how you've grown since you've all seen each other last. But the moment is not especially poignant and you're eager to schlep off as soon as the buzz from your mimosa wears off. I don't regret sitting through this, at least.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Literary Mama

    "The premise is exactly what you'd think, but the hilarious, poignant, and honest essays within provide endless surprises and laughs. What's great about Benincasa is that she is 100% without pretense—her self-deprecating humor and relatable nature make reading this book feel like you're having a cocktail with that one particularly snarky and witty friend. But beyond all that, the advice and insights are thorough and spot-on. 'Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Don't "The premise is exactly what you'd think, but the hilarious, poignant, and honest essays within provide endless surprises and laughs. What's great about Benincasa is that she is 100% without pretense—her self-deprecating humor and relatable nature make reading this book feel like you're having a cocktail with that one particularly snarky and witty friend. But beyond all that, the advice and insights are thorough and spot-on. 'Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Don't ever let them tell you you're not a success. No matter how much time you spend at the office, it's just a side gig. You are an artist, full-time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.' With chapter titles like #23, 'Life is Too Short for Shitty Friends,' #35, 'Ask for Exactly What You Want,' and #47, 'Realize Your Dress Size Doesn't Matter,' it's hard to find a part of this book I DON'T resonate with. And at a time when so many other aspects of life are competing for the precious energy I need to write, think, edit, and create, and I'm feeling like I'll never write another half-decent essay again, it's great to have someone like Sara around to make me laugh and remind me that (at least according to #48) 'The Darkness is Where the Good Stuff Starts." For more January reading, http://bit.ly/2jNM0bV

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I received this through the Goodreads Giveaway Program. This is the first book I've read by Sara Benincasa and I've decided I'd like to sit down to dinner with her. She can converse on so many topics speaking from a wealth of experience. She is funny, compassionate, insightful, introspective, honest, and has the capacity to look at herself and reveal who she really is. Almost as if she has a 'magical' self=reflection mirror. This is not a 'memoir' that glosses over painful topics, or one in which I received this through the Goodreads Giveaway Program. This is the first book I've read by Sara Benincasa and I've decided I'd like to sit down to dinner with her. She can converse on so many topics speaking from a wealth of experience. She is funny, compassionate, insightful, introspective, honest, and has the capacity to look at herself and reveal who she really is. Almost as if she has a 'magical' self=reflection mirror. This is not a 'memoir' that glosses over painful topics, or one in which the author attempts to make themselves look like they're 'above' all the rest of us, as we muddle through life, making mistakes along the way. I'm sure everyone who reads it will gain some knowledge about their own existence, and how to open up to others they are close to, or want to be intimate with. May you have a wonderful life, Sara.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    An acquaintance who writes the niftiest yet realest of Email Newsletters about dramaturgy, writing, and simply being a human in this world recommended this book to me. There's something about Benincasa's writing that feels essentially human to the reader. Instead of being a stuffy self-help book that assumes superhero status declaring "this is how to live your best life" or "you too can be like me," Benincasa offers us more by bringing us through the real, dark, and even sometimes dirty or gritt An acquaintance who writes the niftiest yet realest of Email Newsletters about dramaturgy, writing, and simply being a human in this world recommended this book to me. There's something about Benincasa's writing that feels essentially human to the reader. Instead of being a stuffy self-help book that assumes superhero status declaring "this is how to live your best life" or "you too can be like me," Benincasa offers us more by bringing us through the real, dark, and even sometimes dirty or gritty realities of this life (with humor, of course) to her hard-earned wisdom and whimsy. A professor once told me the most precious thing you can offer as an artist is your own lived experience, and this book does just that. The perfect post-college book, but I can also see myself revisiting in my thirties, forties, or whenever I seek the witty, offbeat, relatable charms of her essays.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    This isn't branded as self help but this really helped... My self. [coughs]. In brief chapters Sara shares her wisdom on relationships, sex, body issues, anxiety, depression, failure, hard work, relaxing, pets, water, exercise, etc. And not in the way you might hear from, say, a Christie Brinkley lifestyle book. Sara really GETS INTO IT. She's funny and wise, like a cool sister you never fought with or had to share a room with. So like a sexy, smart half-sister who lives on (both!) coasts. After This isn't branded as self help but this really helped... My self. [coughs]. In brief chapters Sara shares her wisdom on relationships, sex, body issues, anxiety, depression, failure, hard work, relaxing, pets, water, exercise, etc. And not in the way you might hear from, say, a Christie Brinkley lifestyle book. Sara really GETS INTO IT. She's funny and wise, like a cool sister you never fought with or had to share a room with. So like a sexy, smart half-sister who lives on (both!) coasts. After each chapter I was like "huh. Great idea!" It might come off as common sense but it takes years and years of trying and failing for the topics in Sara's chapters to really resonate. This is like a book of Rumi quotes if Rumi were a sharp and witty Catholic-Italian Jersey-born author and comic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    I had never heard of this author but her response to a comment about her weight makes me want to read all of her books. I had never heard of this author but her response to a comment about her weight makes me want to read all of her books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    Funny, helpful and honest – a great collection of essays from a writer I admire.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    I feel bad giving stars to something that is so personal, so I'm just going to say, I should have looked past the title and found out what it was about first... I feel bad giving stars to something that is so personal, so I'm just going to say, I should have looked past the title and found out what it was about first...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Y.S. Stephen

    How do you know, within the first 10 pages of a book, if it was written by a feminist? First, you’ll notice signs of self-flagellation - with a hint of oversharing. Afterwards, you are likely to witness an intense session of self-love, followed by unabashed self-bigging-up in form of grandiose statements. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on which side of the table you are sitting), "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" by Sara Benincasa ticks these boxes. "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" is a collectio How do you know, within the first 10 pages of a book, if it was written by a feminist? First, you’ll notice signs of self-flagellation - with a hint of oversharing. Afterwards, you are likely to witness an intense session of self-love, followed by unabashed self-bigging-up in form of grandiose statements. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on which side of the table you are sitting), "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" by Sara Benincasa ticks these boxes. "Real Artists Have Day Jobs" is a collection of essays on issues such as mental illness, creativity, relationships, work, etc. The book reads like a series of light blog posts - you will find no in-depth analysis or intellectual discussion here. Most of the articles in the book are based on the author's past experiences and how she overcame her situation and moved on. "Real Artists Have Day Jobs"sometimes feels like reading the lost-but-found letters of your weird but interesting aunt. For example, in the first essay of the book, the author advises artists not to wait on external validation before referring to themselves as artists. She writes: Have you ever described yourself as someone who does something amazing and magical and wonderful and life affirming and then added 'on the side'? ...Because I have come here today to deliver the unfortunate truth that you are lying to yourself. You are not going to become a real artist one day. You are a real artist right now. You are a real artist when you sit in traffic, when you wait for the dentist, when you clean up the toys in your kid's bedroom. Also, on the importance of having close confidantes, Sara Benincasa writes in the essay, "Elect Your Own Executive Board": Any successful corporation has an executive board of individuals who presumably guide the complex, multicelled business organism towards a bright and prosperous future. Ideally, each board member brings to the table a unique and valuable set of skills that enhances the operations of the board and, by extension, the entire company.I figure, why not do this for a human being? Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, plus Han Solo and Leia and Chewbacca and other teammates. Why not create a dream team of your very own?Your executive board needn't be comprised of superstars... or adorable animatronic puppets like Yoda. The board members should be people you trust. They should have sharp minds, good hearts, and a generosity of spirit. They may not all agree with one another, which is absolutely fine. Your aim in selecting them is to get a variety of perspectives on your life from people who are invested in your well-being but can remain clear-eyed enough to give you a logical evaluation. Real Artists Have Day Jobs is full of uncomplicated but relevant observations about modern life. The author's no-nonsense approach strengthens its impact, making the book an engaging read. If you are a fan of Amy Poehler, Roxane Gay, Mindy Kaling and the likes, then you'll probably love this book. Turn offs? Well... there is a bit of oversharing for one. Vulnerability is different from "my scars are probably bigger than yours" pose, which this book kind of projects. Also, most of the essays focus heavily on women's issues (though the author makes an effort to balance it out by addressing men on a few occasions). Overall, Real Artists Have Day Jobs is a fun and insightful book, though I wouldn't adopt any relationship advice from it. Many thanks to Morrow Paperbacks for review copy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kendall Morgan Hall

    I’m not sure how I missed this book when it was first released but I’m so grateful to the member of my writing group who suggested that I pick it up. It is full of humour and ‘real talk’ about what it is like to be an artist or writer, have a mental illness, and be an ‘adult.’ Sara Benincasa is probably best known for her book Agorafabulous, which I highly recommend. This book is broken down into 52 essays so theoretically you could read one a week for a year. I doubt you’ll be able to hold out I’m not sure how I missed this book when it was first released but I’m so grateful to the member of my writing group who suggested that I pick it up. It is full of humour and ‘real talk’ about what it is like to be an artist or writer, have a mental illness, and be an ‘adult.’ Sara Benincasa is probably best known for her book Agorafabulous, which I highly recommend. This book is broken down into 52 essays so theoretically you could read one a week for a year. I doubt you’ll be able to hold out reading it that way though. This is one of those ‘more-ish’ books. I’m not sure if that is a word people use, or if my mother coined the term, but it just means that you cannot get enough of something. You always want more. That is how I felt about this book, which I read in a day. Sara Benincasa has a strong, confident voice. She delivers the reader practical advice sprinkled with humour. Some of the essays are more serious, and even sad, so do not expect belly-laughs the whole way through. I loved her advice on decluttering your house, asking smart women for advice or asking “What would Amy Poehler do?”, believing in magic, dealing with haters, handling shitty days, surrounding yourself with geniuses, taking care of your teeth, not apologizing for things that aren’t your fault, developing “radical overconfidence,” feeling like you deserve the best, remembering the importance of water, how to take a compliment, practicing masturbation regularly, not being afraid to wear a weird hat, really listening to people, taking pride in being a dork, accepting that not everything is going to be alright, that life is too short for bad friends, practicing self-care and prioritizing sleep, making peace with your body and sleeping naked, learning to ask questions, accepting that you don’t have to love family members if they don’t deserve it, remembering to breathe and dealing with panic, the importance of giving things away, how you should never stay in an abusive relationship, that you should make art like a little kid would, the importance of pop culture knowledge, that you should believe people when they tell you or show you who they really are, how to learn to ask for exactly what you want, to not buy into the idea that you have to get married, to tell your partner what you like in bed, that gratitude is underrated, the importance of writing genuine fan mail, to remember that having a child doesn’t make you an adult, to not use sex as a means of distraction, to always pay attention to your elders, to “let an animal adopt you,” that taking a walk will often help you find the solution to a problem, that it is important to make time to play, to embrace your body’s size, that creativity can grow from dark times, to remember that your version of normal does not have to coincide with anyone else’s version of normal, to remember that “this too shall pass,” to celebrate the awesome things in life, and to love yourself. I know that is a very long list, but if you saw one of two topics that interested you, then definitely pick up this book. You can thank me later. I was amazed at how much I identified with the author from the little things (not learning how to put on make up from our mothers and gaining weight on the same antidepressants) to the big things (how we approach the world.) My favourite part, the part that I underlined almost every sentence of, is the first essay that deals with being an artist/writer. In this chapter, she validates the fact that ‘the struggle is real,’ especially when it comes to calling yourself a writer or artist when you have a day job that pays your bills. You might be a doctor, or lawyer, or work in retail, but she says that as long as you create art you are an artist. I love that. She says that you don’t need to make art full time to be an artist and in fact most real artists don’t do it full time. She writes, “You are not going to become a real artist one day. You are a real artist now” and “Real artists make things other than art, and then they make time to make art because art is screaming to get out from inside them. Screaming, or begging, or gently whispering. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not a success. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not good enough. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not the real deal. Most important: don’t ever tell yourself any of these things.” I also loved her chapter on mental illness, something that she struggles with. It was real and beautifully written. She writes, “When I was twenty-one, I had a nervous breakdown and dropped out of college. I used to sleep in my bed at home with books. They felt like guardians.” I love that. She urges the reader not to see mental illness as a flaw but to practice self-care, and loving yourself, and to surround yourself with supportive, non-toxic people who love you for who you are. “My psychologist says I’m bipolar. May psychiatrist says no way. I have major depressive disorder and I have panic disorder and I have agoraphobia. My psychiatrist has excellent hair and a medical degree. I decide to go with what the psychiatrist says, because it’s what all the other psychiatrists have said over the years.” The struggle is real. “I tell the kids that I’m crazy but in a good way, and that crazy doesn’t have to mean what you think it means, and that you can reclaim the word and make it your own. There is no shame in crazy.” Sara Benincasa is a self-proclaimed geek, which I love, and she urges the reader to embrace this in themselves. She makes the excellent point that we will all be happier once we accept who we are and begin to live authentically. I loved what she had to say about perfectionism. “When I was growing up, I thought, ‘Nothing is worth doing unless you can do it perfectly.’ This is a stupid bullshit devil thing to think and/or believe. I now say, “Nothing is worth doing unless you can do it mostly okay.” These are words to live by. Goodreads suggests that this book would be ideal for “readers of Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and #Girlboss” and I completely concur. I would add Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to that list. This thought-provoking book tackles so many subjects, some of them sad, with such grace. There is the perfect balance between laugh out loud funny and near tears poignancy. There is a lot of wisdom here for someone so young [She is in her 30s]. The essays are also very short so they are perfect for reading on the bus, train, or any other occasion when you don’t have a lot of time to dive into a bigger novel. Grade: A Check out more book reviews at https://kendallsbookreviews.wordpress... https://kendallmorganhall.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I'd somehow missed Sara Benincasa's funny and insightful self-help essays until now. Reading her work felt like listening to a close friend. "Suck at stuff. Fuck up. Fall down. Get rejected. Get shut down. Get passed over. What the fuck else were you doing with your time? Imagining potential failures? Why not turn that potential into reality? At least you can say you went for it." "I'm from the Claire Danes school of crying, which is to say - when I cry, I fucking go for it. I commit...If you're I'd somehow missed Sara Benincasa's funny and insightful self-help essays until now. Reading her work felt like listening to a close friend. "Suck at stuff. Fuck up. Fall down. Get rejected. Get shut down. Get passed over. What the fuck else were you doing with your time? Imagining potential failures? Why not turn that potential into reality? At least you can say you went for it." "I'm from the Claire Danes school of crying, which is to say - when I cry, I fucking go for it. I commit...If you're going to bother having human emotions, you may as well go all the way." "One of the great lessons my dog, Morley Safer, has taught me is that there is no wrong time to play." "I am no longer skinny. My weight fluctuates depending on the time of the month, the ready availability of fried dough-based snacks on the streets of New York, the drugs I'm taking, and my emotional commitment to vegetables." "Never make the mistake of assuming you know exactly what another person went through." "Anyone who doesn't get excited over rainbows, or at least smile a little bit at the sight of one - well, that person is a dried-up raisin of a human. Do you want to be a dried-up raisin? No. You want to be a luscious, full-bodied, delicious grape. If grapes could talk, they'd talk about rainbows. They would also request to not be made into wine, probably."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    I picked this up after hearing a shoutout on the lovely podcast Reading Glasses, mostly because I thought it would help me make peace with the trajectory of my career as it continues to diverge away from pursuing a life in theatre (By the way, this not a new revelation, in fact one that has been going on for onwards of 3 years, but still something I think about and struggle with semi-regularly). I came to find that "Real Artists" was a collection of essays generally about self-care and how to ma I picked this up after hearing a shoutout on the lovely podcast Reading Glasses, mostly because I thought it would help me make peace with the trajectory of my career as it continues to diverge away from pursuing a life in theatre (By the way, this not a new revelation, in fact one that has been going on for onwards of 3 years, but still something I think about and struggle with semi-regularly). I came to find that "Real Artists" was a collection of essays generally about self-care and how to make one's way in the world, and this turned out to be even more helpful! Benincasa is really funny and frank in describing her thrilling failures and triumphs while navigating through her 20s and 30s. Sure, a lot of the anecdotes are integrated into the context of her career as a writer, but these essays are a breezy insights applicable to readers of all ages and from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. I'd recommend consuming this as almost a devotional, reading a chapter a day to endow yourself with some centering wisdom for a given day (there are 52 chapters, and almost all of them are less than 5 pages).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Terra

    out of 52 chapters I anticipated finding at least a few small things to take away and improve my work-life balance as someone with hobbies that don't make me money. the first chapters? great. the turning point for me? the weirdly not funny at all joke about war crimes. a lot of this book is wishy-washy, missing trigger warnings (btw- hella trigger warnings about basically anything you could imagine a white woman mentioning for trauma points). a lot of this book has big "lol so random/quirky/chao out of 52 chapters I anticipated finding at least a few small things to take away and improve my work-life balance as someone with hobbies that don't make me money. the first chapters? great. the turning point for me? the weirdly not funny at all joke about war crimes. a lot of this book is wishy-washy, missing trigger warnings (btw- hella trigger warnings about basically anything you could imagine a white woman mentioning for trauma points). a lot of this book has big "lol so random/quirky/chaotic" energy; telling popular kids they're going to be lame one day. some of the points are things my mother would suggest for mental health improvement, taking a walk, doing something creative. like when she got fired from her full time job and had to start freelancing but also magically made connections and figured her life out or something?? I had to stop reading the book because now this has nothing to do with trying to be creative while still paying rent. maybe the true moral of this story is to find someone rich and/or successful to live with. I did eventually finish it, but I will end this by saying there's nothing particularly life changing inside this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nick B

    This is an interesting but very variable book. I'd previously read Agorafabulous! and a lot about her struggles in that resonated very strongly with me and my own experiences. I had the same reading this but only in shorter bursts as the format of it being 52 separate essays without any sort of consistent order or connection between them meant some parts felt very meaningful to me, but they could be right next to what felt like filler. For some chapters I've got lots of highlighted notes and thi This is an interesting but very variable book. I'd previously read Agorafabulous! and a lot about her struggles in that resonated very strongly with me and my own experiences. I had the same reading this but only in shorter bursts as the format of it being 52 separate essays without any sort of consistent order or connection between them meant some parts felt very meaningful to me, but they could be right next to what felt like filler. For some chapters I've got lots of highlighted notes and things to think about, others were just there. Nothing poorly written in here, and I love her writing style, but this is better as a book to dip into and find those bits that speak to you. And like other reviewers have said, the title is just that of one essay, not an overarching theme. I oscillated between giving this three or four stars, but ended up on four because I'm feeling positive. It would be wildly up and down if I was doing something for each chapter!

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