Books By Leslie Simon


Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide To Emo Culture by Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley (It Books, 4/2007)

Illustrations by Rob Dobi

What is emo? For starters it’s a form of melodic, confessional, or EMOtional punk rock. But emo is more than a genre of music–it’s the defining counterculture movement of the ’00s. Everybody Hurts is a reference book for emo, tracing its angsty roots all the way from Shakespeare to Holden Caufield to today’s most popular bands.

There’s nothing new about that perfect chocolate and peanut butter combination––teenagers and angst. What is new is that emo is the first cultural movement born on the internet. With the development of early social networking sites like Make Out Club (whose mission is to unite “like–minded nerds, loners, indie rockers, record collectors, video gamers, hardcore kids, and artists through friendship, music, and sometimes even love”) outcast teens had a place to find each other and share their pain, their opinions, and above all, their music–which wasn’t available for sale at the local record store.

With a healthy dose of snark and sarcasm, Everybody Hurts uses diagrams, illustrations, timelines, and step–by–step instructions to help the reader successfully achieve the ultimate emo lifestyle. Or, alternately, teach him to spot an emo kid across the mall in order to mock him mercilessly.


*    *    *


Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide To Your Favorite Music Scenes—From Punk To Indie And Everything In Between by Leslie Simon (It Books, 04/2009)

Illustrations by Rob Dobi

Wish You Were Here is a snarky, fact-filled look at the people and places that made the indie/punk scene what it is today. Yes, the American underground music scene is exploding everywhere—not just in New York City and L.A. (although we’ve got those cities covered too!):

In Washington, D.C. . . . Ian MacKaye and Fugazi inspired the straightedge culture, which had kids everywhere drawing black X’s on their hands in magic marker.

In Omaha, Nebraska . . . A young Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes, started writing and performing gut-wrenching love songs at the tender age of thirteen.

On Long Island, New York . . . Taking Back Sunday and Brand New battled for emo supremacy and the fragile hearts of a million teenage girls.

From the coauthor of the cult-worthy Everybody Hurts comes Wish You Were Here—a combination travel guide and tortured history covering everything from what constitutes proper rock critic etiquette in Minneapolis to why pop-punk bands in Chicago have so much suburban angst, to how freegans in the Bay Area can feed themselves on a budget that would make frugal Rachael Ray’s face blush.


*    *    *


Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, And Other Misfits Are Taking Over The World by Leslie Simon (It Books, 10/2011)

Illustrations by Nan Lawson

For every girl who marches to the beat of her own drum, Leslie Simon has your manifesto: a smart, expansive, and winningly entertaining celebration of comedy queens, film geeks, bookworms, craft mavens, indie chicks, and other all-star women. Following the breakaway hit book Everybody Hurts, Simon’s energizing look at today’s pop-culture and counterculture heroines—like Amy Sedaris, Tina Fey, Sofia Coppola, Regina Spektor, and Jenny Hart—is an empowering, eye-opening, and, above all, fun journey. Readers of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life will love joining forces as Geek Girls Unite!

3 Responses to “Books By Leslie Simon”
  1. Matt Mauldin says:

    Dear Leslie Simon (and/or Leslie Simon’s assistant reading this),

    I realize that this letter comes 2 years too late, but I just finished reading Wish You Were Here. What can I say, I’m a very very slow reader. Actually, the book was suggested to me a couple days ago by a friend… ok fine, it was my sister, I don’t have any friends. Anyshit, I rarely read books because usually I have better things to do with my time like playing video games, general debauchery, or playing video games while debaucheratededededed. So congratulations, you have won Matt Mauldin’s: The Only Book I’ll Read This Decade Award. And now that you know that I’m no bookworm, the following praise will probably mean nothing to you. So, I’ll make it short and sweet because I’m sure you’re a very busy woman and all. But I thoroughly enjoyed you’re refreshingly bold sarcasm. And I have to compliment you on how well it was written. Somehow you managed to keep sarcasm and side comments legible and not make it seem like the ridiculous ramblings of a 14 year old girl on AIM (Does AIM still exist?). Your wit and wisecracks were brilliantly displayed and really showed a lot of your personality.
    Question: Have you ever heard of Brian Wilson? (Sorry I have ADHD) He’s a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. I feel like you two should date, he’s like the male, athletic version of you. Not to say you’re not athletic… but let’s face it, you’re not. I would suggest dating me, however I look like a combination of Michael Cera and Robin Pecknold, with the awkward personality to match. And that’s not attractive to anyone. Anyway, I also should mention that I laughed multiple times while reading your book but none compared to when you reminded me of Ryan Key’s break down on the MTV2 Music Awards. I had forgotten all about that, and I literally laughed for 5 minutes. I remember in that moment, I stopped liking Yellowcard. But back to the book, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the book-publishing world but I can tell that you put a lot, a lot of time into your research, which was displayed masterfully via all the nitty-gritty details.
    I would read Everybody Hurts, however I’m not in high school anymore and I no longer listen to that kind of music. Ah those were the days, nothing healed the heartaches of high school like the music of Thursday, Saves The Day, and some other bands that ended in “day”. Oh ya, I said I’d make this short and sweet, sorry. Ummm…. ok then I guess this is it. You don’t have to respond to this but a friendly “Go F yourself” (or something to that affect) would be much appreciated. Ok, welp thanks for teaching me how to tie and Windsor knot and, ya, keep it real.

    Matt Mauldin

  2. Matt Mauldin says:

    P.S. I really just wanted to email Leslie but I couldnt find an email address so I just posted here. Do you think I could get an address?

  3. Krista says:

    I would kill for an updated version of How To Be Emo….So much has changed lately the music, the style, the books, I know a lot of my friends would kill for it…..Hopefully not me though

Leave A Comment

More about Leslie Simon

Leslie is the author of Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World, out now through It Books. She is also the author of Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes and co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.