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I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections [Large Print] [Paperback]

Nora Ephron
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Book Description

Nov. 9 2010 Random House Large Print
Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cool, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.

Ephron writes about falling hard for a way of life (“Journalism: A Love Story”) and about breaking up even harder with the men in her life (“The D Word”); lists “Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again” (“There is no explaining the stock market but people try”; “You can never know the truth of anyone’s marriage, including your own”; “Cary Grant was Jewish”; “Men cheat”); reveals the alarming evolution, a decade after she wrote and directed You’ve Got Mail, of her relationship with her in-box (“The Six Stages of E-Mail”); and asks the age-old question, which came first, the chicken soup or the cold? All the while, she gives candid, edgy voice to everything women who have reached a certain age have been thinking . . . but rarely acknowledging.

Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true—and could have come only from Nora Ephron—I Remember Nothing is pure joy.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Review

I REMEMBER NOTHING / Nora Ephron
978-0-307-59560-7     Alfred A. Knopf          Fall 2010
 

“At 69, she’s just two years older than Keith Richards, but to hear her tell it, Ephron’s recall’s far worse. Luckily some synapses are still firing: The follow-up to I Feel Bad About My Neck includes chapters on her youth and career and drily hilarious musings on the trials of aging. If we have to grow old (and as they say, consider the alternative) there’s no better guide.”
People Magazine (Top 10 Books of 2010)

“Vivid . . . Nora Ephron’s newest book is titled I Remember Nothing. She’s lying. Although her confessional about forgetting people’s names rings all too true to those of a certain age, she’s still lying. Ephron remembers quite a bit in this entertaining collection of stories about her life so far. . . . Ephron has been handed some good material to play with over the years and she knows what to do with it. Anyone who has grown to appreciate her witty and carefree way of telling a story will not be disappointed here. She remains the neighbor we all wish we had. Someone to share a cup of coffee with. Or better yet, a glass of wine. Maybe two. . . . [Ephron] has not lost her ability to zero in on modern life’s little mysteries, like our obsession with freshly ground pepper and bottled water. As for the essay about remembering nothing, which kicks off this delightful collection, it’s one that millions of aging Americans will relate to. Listen. . . . If we’re all headed to the old folks home, we couldn’t have a better guide than Nora Ephron.”
—Craig Wilson, USA Today  

 “The seduction of Nora Ephron’s writing is that after reading a couple of paragraphs you think you can do it, too. Her writing is so straightforward, so honest, so direct that gee, it shouldn’t be hard to make sentences like that. So you try, and then you realize that not only do your sentences sag in the middle and end in semi-colons; you realize that you don’t live in New York, haven’t gone to endless dinner parties, are not a fabulous cook, have never directed a film, written a play or novel, or actually anything . . . It’s not just that she gives us permission to eat butter and say unkind things about our parents . . . It’s that she is so clear-eyed, so free of vitriol and sarcasm and artifice that we believe everything she says. . . . ‘The D Word,’ her reflection on divorce, ought to be tacked up on the wall of every divorce court in the world, and the judge should say, before reaching a decision, ‘Read this.’ It is a powerful section [and] heartbreaking . . . She [also] writes about her own shortcomings, about betrayals by people she admired and most movingly, about the death of her best friend. If a theme runs beneath the wit and cleverness of I Remember Nothing, it is about the difficulty of coming to terms with one’s mortality. . . . At the end she writes a list of things she will miss . . . What I will miss is not being around for all the books Nora Ephron is going to write.”
 —Jane Juska, San Francisco Chronicle 
 
“Fabulous . . . Masterly . . . [Ephron is] a tremendously talented woman . . . She’ll dazzle you with strings of perfect prose.”
—Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World 
 
I Remember Nothing reads like a swan song . . . But here’s hoping that Ephron, who will turn 70 next year, has at least a few more terrific books and movies in her.”
—David Kamp, Vanity Fair 
 
I Remember Nothing: Fortunately that’s not quite true. In these essays, Nora Ephron covers her divorce, her early years in journalism, her obsession with online Scrabble and her mother’s alcoholism. She does forget what happened when she met Eleanor Roosevelt. But she remembers plenty.”
Time

 “[I Remember Nothing has] the rare combination of youth and wisdom. . . . Ephron’s skill as a personal essayist resides in her finesse. She locates a kernel of universality . . . She’s practicing the social criticism she’s so good at.”
—Wesley Morris, Boston Sunday Globe 
 
“Tantalizingly fresh and forthright . . . Essays about her mother’s alcoholism and Ephron’s sense of betrayal by the writer Lillian Hellman cover previously uncharted territory and are also among the most thoughtful parts of the book. . . . She’s self-effacing and brilliant. I use lines of hers all the time. . . . She’s like Benjamin Franklin or Shakespeare: her words are now part of the fabric of the English language.”
—Alex Kuczynski, The New York Times Book Review 
 
“The piece titled ‘Journalism: A Love Story’ is a wonderfully evocative portrait of a certain time—the ’60s and ’70s—in New York print journalism . . . [In] the piece titled ‘Pentimento,’ . . . Ephron precisely captures how dangerous admiration can be to both parties. . . . Ephron’s voice helped launch a whole new way of writing, and I still love to hear it.”
—Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Book Review 
 
“Introspective . . . Rich with self-deprecating humor at its finest . . . Known for her casual humor and her realistic spin on the world, Ephron writes in an engaging manner, so much so that you can almost hear her laughing as she pounds away at the keyboard. . . . She’s never been more real in this collection—a full pleasure to read.”
—Helen Gallagher, New York Journal of Books
 
“Inviting . . . Companionable . . . The best essay in I Remember Nothing . . . is an article about Ms. Ephron’s first, excited glimpses of journalism as a profession, and it is fittingly called ‘Journalism: A Love Story.’ Here she writes about rising from a lowly ‘mail girl’ at Newsweek in 1962 to a more elite ‘researcher,’ the person charged with filling in the ‘tk’ . . . The newspaper strike that began in late 1962 propelled Ms. Ephron into parodying a New York Post column. . . . A well-loved, much-mimicked, wonderfully tk writer was born. . . . ‘The Six Stages of E-mail’ is a very funny guide to the novelty of e-mail. . . . Ephron retains her magnetic hold on a reader’s attention . . . She can write an entertaining riff about practically anything or everybody.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Reading these succinct, razor-sharp essays by veteran humorist, novelist, and screenwriter-director Ephron is to be reminded that she cut her teeth as a New York Post writer in the 1960s, as she recounts in ‘Journalism: A Love Story.’ Forthright, frequently wickedly backhanded, these essays cover the gamut of later-life observations, [like] the dourly hilarious title essay about losing her memory, which asserts that her ubiquitous senior moment has now become the requisite Google moment . . . Shorts such as the several ‘I Just Want to Say’ pieces feature Ephron’s trademark prickly contrariness . . . Other essays delve into memories of fascinating people that she knew . . . Most winning, however, are her priceless reflections on her early life . . . There’s an elegiac quality to many of these pieces, handled with wit and tenderness.”
Publishers Weekly 
 
“The legions of readers who loved I Feel Bad About My Neck will pounce on Ephron’s pithy new collection. A master of the jujitsu essay, Ephron leaves us breathless with rueful laughter. As the title suggests, she writes about the weird vagaries of memory as we age . . . But the truth is, Ephron remembers a lot. Take her stinging reminiscence of her entry into journalism at Newsweek in the early 1960s, when ‘girls,’ no matter how well qualified, were never considered for reporter positions. . . . Whether she takes on bizarre hair problems, culinary disasters, an addiction to online Scrabble, the persistent pain of a divorce, or that mean old devil, age, Ephron is candid, self-deprecating, laser-smart, and hilarious.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Nora Ephron is the author of the huge best seller I Feel Bad About My Neck as well as Heartburn, Crazy Salad, Wallflower at the Orgy, and Scribble Scribble. She recently wrote and directed the hit movie Julie & Julia and has received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay for When Harry Met Sally . . . , Silkwood, and Sleepless in Seattle, which she also directed. Her other credits include the script for the current stage hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore with Delia Ephron. She lives in New York City with her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nora Ephron i remember Nothing May 12 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved this book written by the late, great Nora Ephron. I love her style of writing, and her entertaining way of putting words on paper. when you read this book, it feels like you are talking to a good friend. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great author, great book! April 14 2013
By Nona
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Also enjoyed "I feel bad about my Neck" She writes with great wit and humor. Have just passed on to my sister.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars hmm. Not sure what all the fuss was about. April 2 2011
By Dorothyanne Brown TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book by Nora Ephron as part of my researching writers, especially those who write personal essays. Of course I know of Ephron from her successful novels/movies, and I was hoping for some insights from this memoir. I purposely selected the one written for my age plus, thinking some wisdom for dealing with aging might be present.
Wasn't impressed. The book flew by - easy to read, well-written - but overall, insignificant. I regret buying it and not taking it out from the library. I'll be passing this on to a used book seller (or maybe even gift it) - it's not going to stay in my library.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I remember nothing:And other reflections Dec 4 2011
By chl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book did not disappoint. My only complaint was that it was too short. It made me smile and I could relate to so much of it. She writes about everyday situations that we have all been in. A very good read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  249 reviews
125 of 134 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Disc Is Not Full It Is Empty Nov. 9 2010
By prisrob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Nora Ephron has written a very humorous book with which I agree. She makes fun of herself as she ages, and I think many of us can identify with her plight. As she says, her memory is akin to a disc, it is not full, it is empty.

'I Remember Nothing' is a small book but filled with some wisdom and observations that make it well worth the read. The first chapter is a take on the title, 'I Remember Nothing', and it appears that is true. She relates many of the instances she can remember where she forgot. The films, books and times that were filled with fun, but gosh, what was the name of that actor. We can relate, where are my keys and glasses? Nora copes with her forgetfulness by keeping a list of things she refuses to know about. I agree with The Kardashians, American Idol and the Bachelor. But, soccer and mojitos, no way. 'Who Are You' another chapter deals with people you can't remember. A silly chapter, really. I have no trouble telling someone I am sorry but I can't remember their first name. Nora goes through hoops, it seems, to disguise her forgetfulness. 'Journalism, A Love Story, is the reason to read this book. This is a love story of her profession, and she tells us about her first job at 'Newsweek' and her rise as a woman in the field of journalism. In-between she gives us a few stories of Philip Graham, Newsweek's owner and his difficulty with Bi-Polar Disorder. The life of a young woman working in 1960's New York City, hard liquor, no wine; no take-out and lots of swearing, but not the F word. She got a job at the New York Post and started writing by-lines, and she learned her craft. She then went on to writing for magazines and films. She married and divorced and remarried. She learned that she was correct, she loved journalism and it was right for her.

Nora talks about her alcoholic parents and in particular her mother, and how she held her mother up as an idol until her alcoholism took her away. The story of her mother and Lillian Ross is memorable and quite profound. The bits and pieces of her life give us a glimpse into the soul of Nora Ephron, and she doesn't really want to give much away. She talks about diets, Teflon, her bald spot, the meatloaf named after her. The Christmas dinners with friends of twenty two years, and the memories and the people she loves. Divorce and how it became who she was for a time, and then how, she is getting old, not older but old. Times change, the children leave, it is just the two of you and how you cope, and then finally, the list of things she won't miss: emails, vacuum cleaners, mammograms, and the things she will miss, bacon, waffles, her kids, her friends- a much longer list than any of the others.

'I Remember Nothing' is a love story of growing old and older, a time that many of us will face, and Nora Ephron faces old age with grace and humor. And, I like it. I want to grow old just like her. Too much to do and see, and so little tme.

Recommended. prisrob 11-09-10

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman (Vintage)

You've Got Mail (Deluxe Edition)
121 of 140 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What A Waste Of Time And Money Nov. 14 2010
By montanarose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Nora Ephron: her books, her screenplays, her essays. But, boy, did she snooker me into this one. I purchased it for my Kindle and inhaled it in under an hour. I got to the end and said "huh?" to myself ( "huh?" as in, is that all there is?)

Yeah, there were a few bon mots, a few chuckles, but not much of substance (even humorous substance). I wish I'd gone to my local bookstore and curled up in an easy chair with a latte and a copy of this book: I could have polished it off around the same time I finished my latte.

What's sad is that Ephron could offer us -- her sixty-ish female cohorts -- so much more. More depth, more reality, more humanity; along with the humor and the brittle witticisms. Save your money on this one: go to your local bookstore and enjoy that latte for a third of the price of the book.
151 of 189 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Attuned to the Popular Zeitgeist Nov. 9 2010
By Eileen Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Despite the title of this collection of essays, Nora Ephron remembers quite a bit, as she displays in this intermittently amusing semi-memoir, a slim, even underweight, volume of essays. There is superficial wit on display, glibness and the quick quip, but little substance. Her new book is surely destined to be a "huge best seller", as the jacket describes her previous foray, reflections on her crepey neck. Those readers who enjoyed "My Neck" will down her new book in one gulp. They may forget it as quickly.

Nora Ephron is a craftsmanly writer. But since her subject is herself, I can't help focusing on the personal side of this book. I found something rather sad in a woman who admits she jettisoned her first husband under the influence of the early 70's women's movement. This is of a piece with her penchant for acting on the mood of the present cultural moment. She is a too absorptive sponge, deeply in touch with popular delusions, though she disdains any belief system that might give her life meaning. One suspects she has chosen to marry at least two men because they are celebrated writers, and one turned out to have poor character. She is a woman of independent accomplishment, yet she makes sure to add flourish to her author bio with the carefully casual mention of her present husband, whose name she expects everyone to recognize. Is it strictly necessary to mention twice in the first several pages that you are a graduate of an Ivy League college? And then there's her sorry conclusion: "Now the most important thing about me is that I am old." There is much more that is important about Nora Ephron, particularly her loyal family, close friends and her talent. Many people appreciate her.

What has she learned from her experiences? That she has not forgotten the pain of betrayal by her second husband. That children suffer in divorce. That unfaithfulness is natural to the young. This at least was her experience. There is a glimmer of elegiac reflection in her last chapters, but somehow depth eludes her. Seeking a meaningful life would require her to veer away from what she is so good at, describing preparations for a Christmas dinner with madcap humor, or regaling us with how a restaurant meat loaf was named after her. She has a fine ear for anecdote and an inner true north for trifles. But compare a little known, not very prolific essayist, Julie Hecht. Julie Hecht also writes about quotidian subjects with humor, but she has a deeper underlying message - see my review of Do the Windows Open. Nora Ephron is all surface. This book is sure to be a "huge best seller", for Ms. Ephron is always finely attuned to the popular zeitgeist.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! Nov. 20 2010
By Anne Raymond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I loved Nora Ephron's "I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections". It is a book of musings - some serious, some funny, all interesting. I especially appreciate the way it was written making you feel like you're sitting across from a friend chatting over a cup of coffee. It is a short book but one that definitely hit the spot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny, insightful but short Nov. 14 2010
By Robin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once again Nora Ephron gives us the chance to pretend we are her best friend and that's a great thing. Nora Ephron is one of the great essayists around. This book, like I Feel Bad About My Neck, is full of pithy observations about life at age 60 something in New York City. Ephron's merciless observations on growing older in the 21st century can't help but delight. (The way that Google, for example, has become the savior of aging dinner companions who can't remember the movie titles.)

There's an awful lot to laugh about in this book and as with her previous books, I loved every minute of it. But when it was done, I felt sad. Ephron has so much, but she seems depressed. She's wealthy and the excitment of living in NYC, while clearly dear to her, is not new. She's still on top of her game writing and directing movies, and yet there seems to be little that thrills her about that. (She barely mentions Julie & Julia.) Ephron badly misses her best friend Ruthie, who passed away and worries about her other friends. There is a strange essay about an annual Christmas dinner among friends where the hostess takes away Ephron's traditional assigned task of making dessert. The hostess's behavior is so odd that you can't help but wonder what else there is to the story--or what the hostess's reaction is going to be when she reads and extended chapter in a best selling book, about taking the job of pie maker away from Nora Ephron.

I couldn't put this book down, but it is very, very short and I finished it in a day. "I wish it were longer," is generally a great thing to say about a book but this book really should have been longer, 100% longer, to justify the price. Had it been a reasonable length, I would have given it five stars. If you love Nora Ephron, and I really do, keep that in mind.
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