Many writers struggle to find their form: the genre in which they feel most free and productive — most themselves. Will Schwalbe once planned to be a playwright. His mentors included Larry Kramer (best known for his autobiographical play “The Normal Heart”) and Robert Chapman (the Harvard professor who helped bring “Billy Budd” to Broadway in 1951). Schwalbe may have his own “Normal Heart” tucked away in a drawer somewhere. An early AIDS activist, he once labored on a play called “Traitors” about roommates who turn on a young man after he “lets down his guard,” a favored phrase. But — after dabbling in journalism, advancing to top positions in book publishing, starting a cooking website, and co-writing a treatise on email etiquette — he seems to have settled with slight unease on the ultimate let-down-your-guard category, memoir as if trying to get comfy on a convertible sofa. Schwalbe had a best seller a decade ago with “ The End of Your Life Book Club,” which featured the literary works he discussed with his mother when she was dying of pancreatic cancer, following it with a collection of essays on books that had changed his life. He isn't a bookworm, he's a bookaholic, and in his latest memoir, “We Should Not Be Friends,” he seems to be admitting he has a problem. Long before the smartphone became our universal social escape hatch, he'd carry […]
WE SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS: The Story of a Friendship, by Will Schwalbe
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