Reality Matters

I'm glad I'm not the only one with a guilty affection for reality television.  Anna David has edited a new book called Reality Matters, compiling a number of essays by different authors examining their favority reality shows.

Stacy Grenrock Woods (I, California: A Memoir) writes about The Real Housewives of New York City.

Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods) examines The Hills.

Neal Pollack (Alternadad) looks at Married By America.

Jancee Dunn (Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?) raves about Project Runway.

Toby Young (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) investigates The Other Boat Race.

Will Leitch (Are We Winning? Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball) presents an excellent essay about Dog Whisperer.

Jerry Stahl (Pain Killers: A Novel) shares his thoughts on Lockup.

Amelie Gillette (The Onion's "Hater") opinionates about Ladette to Lady.

Ben Mandelker ("TVgasm" blog) expounds about Big Brother.

Anna David (Party Girl and Bought) joins the fun by writing about The Real World.

Austin Bunn ( chats up Survivor.

John Albert (Wrecking Crew) reviews Sober House.

Helaine Olen (Office Mate) pontificates about What Not to Wear.

Richard Rushfield (Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost) offers his two cents about American Idol.

Wendy Merrill (Falling Into Manholes) provides her views on The Bachelor.

Mark Lisanti ("Lisanti Quarterly") delves into Jersey Shore.

Rex Sorgatz ( provides an essay on Storm Watch.

Neil Strauss (Rules of the Game and The Pickup Artist) wraps things up with some words about Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Flavorpill raves about the book: "If there's anything more entertaining than experiencing the guilty pleasure of reality TV firsthand, it's reading a bunch of brilliant people trying to rationalize their obsessions with the genre."

Amazon writes: "Reality television is the ultimate guilty pleasure -- a nonstop parade of cast members and scenarios that make fictional ones seem downright dull. Increasingly absurd challenges, hair-yanking catfights, and hot tub makeouts dripping with yet-to-be-acknowledged regret are only part of its appeal. In this collection of wry and moving essays, bestselling authors explore the programs we obsess over, cringe at, and occasionally feel inspired by. From a Real World casting call and American Idol tattoo to a look at the appeal of Big Brother, Survivor, The Real Housewives, and more, a vibrant mix of literary luminaries examine the form of entertainment that’s dominated our TV screens for more than a decade. Entertaining and insightful, Reality Matters is a must-read for anyone who adores reality TV, wants to know what kind of an impact it’s having on our society, or simply wonders just how real any of it actually is."

If you enjoy reality shows, (whether you like to admit it or not) you'll probably get a kick out of this book.