Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Freebie: How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti and Raw by Mark Haskell Smith

Congratulations to Nina Lehman, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: A True Novel by Minae Mizumura.

This week's book giveaway is a dynamic duo of two eyebrow-raising novels released in paperback in 2013.  (I'm clearing the shelves of some older books which have been sitting on deck for Friday Freebie for far too long--so, you're all the beneficiaries of my lassitude.)  How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti and Raw by Mark Haskell Smith are no-holds-barred, scathing novels about modern sexuality and culture.  One lucky reader will win paperback copies of both books.

Named a Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review,The New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, The New Republic, and The Huffington Post, How Should a Person Be? earned heaps o' praise, like this from David Haglund in The New York Times Book Review: “Funny...odd, original, and nearly unclassifiable...unlike any novel I can think of.”  By turns loved and reviled upon its U.S. publication, Sheila Heti’s “breakthrough novel” (Chris Kraus, Los Angeles Review of Books) is an unabashedly honest and hilarious tour through the unknowable pieces of one woman’s heart and mind.  Part literary novel, part self-help manual, and part vivid exploration of the artistic and sexual impulse, How Should a Person Be? earned Heti comparisons to Henry Miller, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, and Flaubert, while shocking and exciting readers with its raw, urgent depiction of female friendship and of the shape of our lives now.  Irreverent, brilliant, and completely original, Heti challenges, questions, frustrates, and entertains in equal measure.  With urgency and candor she asks: What is the most noble way to love? What kind of person should you be?

In Raw, Reality TV hunk and People magazine's “sexiest man alive,” Sepp Gregory goes on a book tour to promote his debut novel, a thinly veiled autobiography.  Not that Sepp has actually read the book, he doesn't have to, he lived it!  The book becomes a sensation, a New York Times bestseller, and, surprisingly, it even gets rave reviews from serious critics.  Aside from Harriet Post, that is.  One of the blogosphere's most respected critics, Harriet hears the host of her favorite, high-brow, radio show gush about Sepp’s abdominal muscles on-air and fears the end of civilization is upon us.  She takes matters into her own hands and sets off to reveal the truth behind the bestseller and to show Sepp as the buff fraud he really is.  But then Harriet reads Totally Reality, Sepp’s novel, and it’s totally great.  Now she needs to find Sepp’s ghostwriter and find out why he’s wasting his talent.  She finds him, appropriately enough, at the Playboy Mansion, where he’s supposed to be interviewing Sepp’s former television love Roxy Sandoval for his next, highly lucrative, project.  Reality and “reality” collide, and a tragic accident sends Sepp and Harriet off on a sex-fueled roadtrip through the southwest.  The mind meets the body, and both will be changed forever.

If you’d like a chance at winning both How Should a Person Be? and Raw, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Jan. 9, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on Jan. 10.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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