These Cats and Dogs Know A Good Thing When Their Roommate Leans It Up Against Them And Prays For Them To Be Still

Hello friends, nemeses, erstwhile lovers perhaps?  Welcome to another installment of "How Many Ways Can I Shill This Book I Wrote Without Being A Goober That Talks About Writing, Publishing, My Interior Life, Or Other Boring Shit That Won't Have Fun Pictures With It." I will get straight to the point: cats and dogs fucking love my book. They can't stop butting their little heads against it in their desire to become literate, verbal, and superior to us in even more ways. Below, an assortment of God's creatures being photographed with my book (their favorite book) entirely of their own volition. 

First up, a personal acquaintance of mine, Dorito. Dorito has long been a champion of my work and his patronage continues apace. God bless you Dorito. 

Who is this dog? What are his/her/their hopes and dreams, besides one day meeting me and having me sign their book? Trick question, that is their only hope or dream.

Next up is a photo taken in Heaven, the only place it is possible to live with four cats and still be cool as Dani is: 

Here we have Hank, a gentleman of the wilderness who occasionally dreams of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Many thanks to his assistant Molly for the photoshoot on short notice:

Leila reports her dog as neurotic and elderly here but to me it is clear that he is merely protective and full of wisdom, seeing as he will not surrender his treasure: 

HOLY SHIT THESE CATS ARE NAMED CHEESE AND CRACKERS, LIFE IS ABUNDANT AND FULL OF BLESSINGS: 

Emily sleeps in a bed made of lies because there is nothing about Monkey's face that suggests "taking a liking to" but alas, he need not like the book to respect and endorse it for its incisive prose: 

And last but not least, my somber son, my funny Valentine, my April Fool, and my Always: Keith Aaron Massey. 

Look At These Wild Heroes Reading My Book

So it was cool when galleys went out and the occasional friend sent me a photo of themselves with my book. But I have to say, that now that hardcovers have shipped and actual fans I don't know (or who I do know but bought it anyway! do that HERE if you haven't!) have the book and are photographing it in interesting ways, I really feel like this is a living thing that matters. BEHOLD, THE  BOOK IN THE WORLD:

First up, we have the crown prince of Air Jordans, Mychal Denzel Smith, rocking matching shoes to the book. He later vowed that he could never be seen wearing these sneakers again, since they appeared on his Instagram. WHAT A HERO: 

Next we have Katy and her adorable cat, two babes I adore: 

I don't know Meredith Salisbury but she took an excellent photo of the book for which I am eternally grateful:

 

Corey Kindberg came through with a face masque, cereal, and other forms of decadence to celebrate: 

 

And here we have another hero, Michelle, who put the book where it belongs: ON SOME TITTIES:

The ever-elegant and refined Rachel Vorona Cote brought some class to the affair with this set-up with the book:

I don't know this woman but her name is Elizabeth she is stunning and reading my book, the only two things that matter in this world:

My favorite little Grim Creeper, Eve Peyser, was the only friend willing to take this macabre photo that I took (a Sylvia Plath death reference) and put it out publicly. May Satan bless her: 

Rachel Berkey, whose name rhymes with turkey but that I won't CALL turkey, kept it simple: 

Martha Burzynski CLEARLY gets the message of this book and surrounded it with beauty products: 

We got Caitlin Cruz, repping both this book and the high seas with that nautical star: 

And last but NEVER LEAST, my own parents went to their local bookstore to be certain I wasn't just lying about this whole book deal thing: 

If you have a pic you want to share of your copy of All The Lives I Want, use hashtags, #allthelivesiwant or #alanamassey or tag me, @alanakm in them! 

On Self-Promotion In A Time of National Crisis

Greetings friends! If you are reading this in the future, you likely know that I am writing this blog in the last days of the republic. So it stands to reason that I should be lamenting the disintegration of our checks and balances, our swift descent away from decency, and more constitutional crises than you could shake a gavel at. BUT ALAS, I am not going to talk about those things! I am going to talk about my book that is entirely unrelated to politics! People are enjoying it, just look at Zayn and Keanu's incredulity at learning about the treatment of their female colleagues: 

 

Or so I have felt for the last several weeks as I've mostly abstained from talking about the book, promoting it aggressively because the conversations about our country's fate are more important than the ones about my book and it feels uncouth to barge into that discourse with self-promotion. When I have told people about this trepidation to promote, they encourage me to do so because they say that writing about other topics and engaging meaningfully with culture and ideas in ways that aren't political is important right now.

I was heartened by their belief in the project but ultimately decided that the book doesn't even have to be an antidote to the present fatigue and uncertainty for me to promote it, be proud of it, and try to get people to buy it. The reasons I should do those things is because they are my job: I wrote a book and it is my responsibility to promote it, sell it, convince people that it is worth their while. I don't have to promise a reprieve from political madness with this book, though I do hope I can offer one with it. But in the same way I don't quit feeding the cat or reading books I like or going to parties sometimes instead of protests, I also promote the book and think about it. 

I really hope that people will enjoy it, that you will pre-order it so you can have it the day it comes out, and that it might bring you some joy or understanding. I mean, look at how clearly engrossed this parrot lamp is in it. It must be good! 

And if you're like me and think birds are SUSPECT AS HELL, you can read all of these kind words that have been written about the book in the lead-up to publication! (Yes, this is the blog post equivalent of RTing your compliments. I do not care.) 

VICE

Alana Massey's chapter titles sell themselves: "On Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and the Singularity," "Heavenly Creatures: The Gospels According to Lana, Fiona, and Dolly." What's less apparent from the essays' glittery surfaces is that they are also searingly insightful reminders of shared experience — humor-filled rafts of humanity in a sea of contemporary TMZ- and Trump-fueled despair. Massey's prose captures barely perceptible nuances of feeling we have all felt and holds them up to hilarious effect — all while discussing Daily Mail headlines and Gwyneth Paltrow's kids' multilingual tutors. All the Lives I Want is Massey's first book of published essays, and picks up where her viral BuzzFeed essay "Being Winona in a World Made for Gywneths" left off (Grand Central Publishing, February 7).

Nylon Magazine

“This sharp, brilliant collection of essays weaves personal anecdotes alongside incisive analysis of cultural icons and phenomenons including Winona Ryder, Amber Rose, and Lana Del Rey. Massey’s voice is wholly original, and her critical instincts are always spot-on as she illuminates the reasons behind why we celebrate and excoriate the women who exist in the public eye, and what that says about cultural attitudes toward all women.”

The Observer

"Alana Massey is rightfully hailed as one of the sharpest voices today. When she’s writing about women and pop culture, there’s no one I’d rather read."

The Week

You might have already read Alana Massey and not known it. She is the author of the "Being Winona In A World Made for Gwyneths," an explosive BuzzFeed essay that landed her a literary agent in less than 24 hours, or perhaps you've read "Against Chill," a takedown of the titular "garbage virtue that will destroy the species." In All the Lives I Want, Massey bridges the gap from Sylvia Plath to Amber Rose, and all the high- and lowbrow female celebrities in between with her deeply contemporary voice and sense of humor. "These women — often the subjects of great scrutiny by celebrity magazines — prompt the author to ponder, with wit and keen self-reflection, what our feelings about them reveal about us," Kirkus Review writes.

Huffington Post

"The title of Alana Massey’s essay collection comes from a Sylvia Plath quote that reads, in part, “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want.” Massey’s meditation on our cultural fascination with the iconic, prematurely deceased writer is a standout of her upcoming collection, in which she probes the lives of famous and infamous women and incorporates her own experiences to arrive at sharp insights on celebrity fascination and personal examination."

Refinery29

"When Alana Massey's essay, "Being Winona In A World Made For Gwyneths," debuted on Buzzfeed in January 2015, we sensed that maybe we'd found a new favorite writer to add to our lists. 

In this new collection of essays, Massey delves into other pop cultural and public figures — from Britney Spears to Sylvia Plath and beyond — with a critical eye but also an empathetic one. These works are each a reminder that what glitters is not always gold, and what lies beneath the surface is actually much more interesting than the superficial impression."

BuzzFeed

"Alana Massey’s All the Lives I Want is a collection of essays examining the lives of famous and infamous women in pop culture through an intimately personal lens. Part clever cultural critique and part passionate fan love letter, All the Lives I Want forces us to see ourselves and our vulnerabilities in the legacies of prominent female figures, from Sylvia Plath to Lil’ Kim."

Bustle

"In this breathtaking collection of personal essays, columnist and critic Alana Massey explores pop culture and womanhood through the lives of some of the most famous female figures of the last fifty years. All the Lives I Want is at once a fan letter to female celebrities, a sharp cultural critique, and a thorough examination of some of the biggest issues facing women today, including mental illness, sexual violence, and body image. Featuring the likes of Sylvia Plath, Anjelica Huston, Anna Nicole Smith, and many more, All the Lives I Want is a must read for every fangirl out there." 

 

ALL NINE LIVES I WANT: One Cat's Fan Fashion Tribute To Women In Pop Culture

One of the earliest champions of All The Lives I Want was my cat Keith, a noted pop culture junkie and feminist scholar in his own right. Keith has been by my side since the beginning and today, he surprised me with the incredible gift of this dramatic retrospective wherein he portrays several of the women discussed in my book with the authenticity and profound reverence they so rightly deserve. 

Come, let us go on a journey through the pages of this book with Keith as our guide, illuminating the glamour and gore that characterizes their lives. 

ANNA NICOLE SMITH 

"The American Dream is to be pursued on strict terms dictated by a class of people who generally had the luxury of being born into a family that had already achieved the dream...Those who find fortune without these accoutrements of middle class respectability better have some enormous talent that got them where they are. Anna did not have any of the talents we give any credit or credence to in America. And so Anna did not accept these terms."  – From "American Pain"

FIONA APPLE IN "CRIMINAL"

"The perverse brand that rendered the teen Fiona the commissioner of her own exploitation was one that girls of a certain age and disposition were enthralled by. We were the kind of girls who fantasized about look beautiful at our funerals instead of our weddings. But we were not girls who especially wanted to die." – From "Heavenly Creatures" 

SYLVIA PLATH

"With all that smiling she did in photos, she struck me as the kind of woman who didn't want to cause a lot of trouble except when she was ready to cause nothing short of a disaster." – From "All The Lives I Want"

LIL KIM

"What is lost to all of the manufactured squabbling in Kim's career is the fact that christening herself "Queen Bee" in the 1990s was always about dominating men rather than competing with other women." – From "There Can Be Only One"

WINONA RYDER IN REALITY BITES

"I had made her an avatar that represented my own suffering and refused to register both at stated facts and notable omissions from the record that might suggest otherwise. The public discourse about Winona had trapped her as the long-suffering girl, and I was in collusion with it. The decision to actively disengage from that way of looking at Winona made me sympathetic to an unlikely ally: Gwyneth Paltrow." – From "Being Winona; Freeing Gwyneth"

LANA DEY REY

"Unlike Fiona, she is not a girl recognizing her own sin in penitential retrospect; she is a woman broadcasting it, perhaps exaggerating the authenticity of her own wickedness as sex appeal. Lana surrenders to man rather than God, begging to retreat to the shadows of the narcissistic but ordinary men whose toxicity seems to intoxicate her." – From "Heavenly Creatures"

I hope you have enjoyed this brief voyage through the book and that Keith's enticing dramatic turn as these iconic women has opened your heart to the possibility of seeing these women, and yourself, in a new light. 

All The Lives I Want will be published February 7th but if you have one lick of sense, you'll pre-order it from any retailer listed here today.