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Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Voices: Sara Benincasa's 'Agorafabulous!'

In debut memoir Agorafabulous! Dispatches From My Bedroom (William Morrow, $24.99), author and stand-up comedian Sara Benincasa describes in hilarious and sometimes horrifying detail her struggle with panic attacks and the dark days when she was too terrified to leave her room.

Why the book is notable: Benincasa has a growing reputation in comedy. She hosts the popular podcast Sex and Other Human Activities.

Memorable line: "In simplest terms and most convenient definitions, my psychiatric diagnosis is that I'm afraid of the mall. Which, I can assure you, is untrue."

Quick bio: Benincasa, 31, grew up in New Jersey and went on medication for depression and anxiety at 16, finding the right ones at 21. Today, she writes, performs and visits colleges, where she explores issues such as suicide prevention in her routines.

The appeal of living in New York City: "I've always felt like such a weirdo and New York is full of weirdos."

Why she loves performing: "Performing is an affirmation of life for me. I am doing something that would have been impossible 10 years ago."

Up next: A young-adult novel based on F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is a girl, and the story is set among modern teens in the Hamptons.

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