Doll Palace

In this brilliantly rendered, LA Times Book Prize nominated debut collection, Sara Lippmann draws the reader into the intimate lives of characters seeking connection beyond their scripted worlds. She captures the beguiling transformation from child to adult with humor, heartache, and desperation. From grieving mothers to fathers adrift, old flames to restless teens, isolated characters in Doll Palace are united by conflicting desires and the private struggles of the heart. A girl ditches her innocence at a state fair. Strippers ponder love over a Brazilian wax. A father falls for a drug-addled babysitter. A mother ends a pregnancy. Doll Palace dwells in the harder-edged territories of human compassion, navigating the powerful, often unsettling ground rarely spoken of with awareness, care, and grace. Doll Palace is that rare collection that invites imitation but leaves a vast majority wondering how she did it.

ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer



Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer

Lost in Space is a sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always lively essay collection about fathers and sons, and their relationship to not only one another, but pop culture, death, and sex—because sex sells, even if you’re otherwise focused on parenting and the generation spanning cultural impact of Star Wars.

The essays in Lost in Space are focused on an array of child-rearing topics including sleep, discipline, first haircuts, deceased parents/grandparents and illness, and the inherent challenges and humor that coincide with, and are intrinsically tied-into, these stages of life. The essays also recognize the ongoing presence of the author’s dead father in his life even as he seeks to parent without his father’s guidance or advice.



“Ben Tanzer explodes the myths of fatherhood and reassembles the pieces into something altogether more precious and fascinating: the truth. The ugly, gorgeous, shameful, miraculous, transformative truth. This book is both funny and heartbreaking, and at times I thought he was transcribing directly from my own parent brain. Tanzer has a rare talent for making the everyday seem luminous.” —Jillian Lauren, NY Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and Pretty

“In Lost in Space, Tanzer manages to be both heartbreaking and funny, producing a book of beauty and truth about the complexity, the fear, pain, and primal love that being a parent entails. Tanzer raises the bar with this memoir, insisting that writers be truly honest, not make excuses for their feelings, to stare deep inside themselves, and still be entertaining, if not enlightening.” —Paula Bomer, author of Nine Months and Baby

“Ben Tanzer has that ever elusive elixir, that ability to be both funny and poignant simultaneously. These essays have that requisite gallows humor about being a parent, but there’s tenderness oozing from the page, too, a kind of trickling empathy.” —Joshua Mohr, author of Fight Song, Termite Parade, Some Things That Meant the World to Me and Damascus 

“They said it couldn’t be done. They said, “nobody dunks on Bill Cosby in the basketball court of dad-lit.” And then Ben Tanzer’s Lost in Space arrived. Funnier, more honest and a million times more relevant than the writing of JELL-O’s favorite son, this tight little collection cuts to the soul of fathering children like nothing else.” —Patrick Wensink, Bestselling author of Broken Piano for President.

“Ben Tanzer’s Lost In Space will have you vacillating between laughter and despair, all the while reveling in the beauty of his razor-sharp prose and candid, witty observations on fatherhood, sleep deprivation, Patrick Ewing, and family life. Buy this book, yo. And prepare to be astonished. —Jennifer Banash, author of White Lines and Silent Alarm


Publisher Information & Purchase Links:

Publisher: Curbside Splendor
Page Count: 200
Cover Price: $14.95
Size: 5 x 8
Release Date: March 2014
ISBN: 978-0988480469

Discussion Questions:

  1. What kinds of rules do you have about writing about your kids?
  2. Have your kids read any of the essays?
  3. Do you seek to balance humor and pain in your work?
  4. Why do you use pop culture as a reference point?
  5. Who are you inspirations?
  6. Have you no shame?



Ben Tanzer is the author of the books My Father’s House, You Can Make Him Like You, So Different Now, Orphans and Lost in Space, among others. Ben serves as Director of Publicity and Content Strategy at Curbside Splendor and can be found online at This Blog Will Change Your Life, the center of his growing lifestyle empire. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.