Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat

I Love You More Than You Know

by Jonathan Ames

“Ames delivers more droll, exhibitionistic essays about his romantic misadventures, his beloved great-aunt and (of course) his underwear. His hyperkinetic readings are never less than joyous.” –Time Out New York

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date February 06, 2006
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-7017-0
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00

About The Book

Whether he’s chasing deranged cockroaches around his apartment, kissing a beautiful actress on the set of an avant-garde film, finding himself stuck perilously on top of a fence in Memphis in the middle of the night, or provoking fights with huge German men, Jonathan Ames has an uncanny knack for getting himself into outlandish situations. He’s also quite good at finding himself in banal situations and making them extraordinary. In his latest collection, I Love You More Than You Know, Ames proves once again his immense talent for turning his own adventures, neuroses, joys, heartaches, and insights into profound and hilarious tales.

Jonathan Ames has drawn comparisons across the literary spectrum, from David Sedaris to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Woody Allen to P. G. Wodehouse, and his books, as well as his abilities as a performer, have made him a favorite on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Alive with love and tenderness for his son, his parents, his great-aunt–and even strangers in bars late at night–in I Love You More Than You Know Ames looks beneath the surface of our world to find the beauty in the perverse, the sweetness in loneliness, and the humor in pain. Open to what the world has to offer, Ames takes us where we’d be afraid to go alone. As a gentle tour guide, Ames is one of the most brilliant humorists of our day, and a writer whose work continues to astound in its originality and sheer verve.


“Utterly delightful . . . I had moments of paralyzing laughter while reading these essays, but while Ames is certainly funny, his real gift is his generosity of sprit. . . . One of the reasons we read memoir, autobiography and, for that matter, fiction, is simply to be reassured that others have visited the same wonderful and awful moments in life that we have, that we are not as horribly alone as we sometimes feel. Although writing about oneself may seem the ultimate act of narcissism, it can also be a gift to others, a hand to hold in the darkness. I Love You More Than You Know is just such a gift, and it is a delight to unwrap.” –Brendan Halpin, Los Angeles Times

“In his new collection of essays, twisted humorist Jonathan Ames recounts his often perverted, always funny adventures with cockroaches, trannies, erections, and–sweetly–his great-aunt Doris.” –Rolling Stone

“Both poignant and silly–an irresistible mix. . . . Moving to the point of tears, and silly to the point of incontinence. In short, this is a joyous book. . . .Usually depraved, always original, and a lot more tender than one might guess.” –John Dicker, Philadelphia Weekly

“Ames delivers more droll, exhibitionistic essays about his romantic misadventures, his beloved great-aunt and (of course) his underwear. His hyperkinetic readings are never less than joyous.” –Time Out New York

I Love You More Than You Know is Jonathan Ames at his hilarious and honest best. His talent is to go panning for life and to find shiny nuggets of humanity in banal situations and subjects.” –D. Grant Black, Globe and Mail

“As an essayist and storyteller at the former New York City club Fez, Jonathan Ames became Generation X’s Woody Allen, a dirtier David Sedaris.” –Colorado Spring Independent

“A humorist of the spontaneous pee-inducing caliber.” –Karla Starr, Willamette Week

“Ames’s trademark combination of (literal) bathroom gags, hipster grotesquerie and neurotic free association achieves an inspired synthesis of confessional humor . . . his prose sparkles with offhand comic insights.” –Publishers Weekly

“There is a forensic clarity to the pieces he has compiled here . . . Ames has discovered the world outside his own skull, and he has rather gracefully adapted.” –John Freeman, San Diego Citybeat

“It’s a tough job, making light of one’s battles with genital warts, irritable bowel syndrome, and untimely erections. Luckily, there’s Jonathan Ames. Like a modern-day martyr, he’s done all of this over the course of his career so we don’t have to. But Ames’s new essay collection I Love You More Than You Know is more than a series of base tales of bodily malfunctions. In it, we begin to see a tender, more sentimental side to the man who once wrote that he should sue himself for libel.” –Jason Mojica, Time Out Chicago

“More genuine than David Sedaris, more introspective than David Rakoff, Ames’s humour is a canny mixture of pathology and pathos. Reading him, you’re struck by two things: his self-lacerating wit and his indomitable gall. Your first assumption is that Ames goes looking for trouble/humour. He attests that his pieces merely chronicle a lively existence.” –Andre Mayer, CBC (Canada)

Praise for Jonathan Ames:

A new collection of mad and enchanting essays from Jonathan Ames, who has been praised as a “shy exhibitionist and killer comedian” by Bret Easton Ellis, “authentic” by Philip Roth, and “extraordinary” by George Plimpton”Ames is more genuine, daring, and unabashed than other humorists. . . . An edgier David Sedaris.” –The Oregonian on Wake Up, Sir!

“Laugh-out-loud funny.” –The New York Times Book Review on Wake Up, Sir!

“Ames has the one thing Fitzgerald lacked: a sense of humor.” –Francine Prose, The New York Observer on The Extra Man

“An authentic voice of youthful suffering . . . The style is the real achievement: strong, clean, and poker-faced.” –Philip Roth on I Pass Like Night

“Cinematic in its short, graphic takes, chilling in its authority, this novel is a disturbing and often funny portrait of a man without illusions.” –Joyce Carol Oates on I Pass Like Night

“Mildly perverted and wildly amusing.” –Vanity Fair on What’s Not to Love?

“Jonathan Ames is a true original who invests everything he writes about with his own trademarked mix of pathos, tenderness, and real wit.” –George Saunders on My Less Than Secret Life

“Hilarious . . . compulsively readable.” –Entertainment Weekly on My Less Than Secret Life

“Ames wants to write about his soul but his body keeps getting in the way. There’s something endearing, even remarkable, about his manner of following up tasteless admissions with scenes of genuine and tender affection. This debased curiosity of his . . . keeps the reader giddily off-balance.” –Bookforum on What’s Not to Love?

“The self-deprecating Ames is a cheerfully gracious neurotic, which makes laughing at his humor feel easy, uncomplicated and unexpectedly joyful.” –Salon on What’s Not to Love?

“Ames is a remarkable comic writer. He excels at punching out hilarious monologues on subjects ranging from nose fetishes to the planks of Buddhism.” –Time Out New York on Wake Up Sir!

“Jonathan Ames’s latest comic novel is so brilliant and charming that any description of it is bound to be impossibly dull by comparison.” –Seattle Weekly on Wake Up Sir!


“The Onion Asks: What is Funny?”

My ass was itchy for fifteen years. I never knew why but I thought maybe it was coffee. So sometimes I would quit coffee for a day, but then I’d break down and drink it the next day. Thus, there was no way to know if coffee was causing the ass-itch, but I definitely suspected it for fifteen years, and I have to say that the pleasure I took in coffee was greatly diminished.

Then I wrote an article for a newspaper about how my ass had been itchy my whole adulthood and a lot of people wrote to me–mostly fellow-sufferers. One guy wrote that he hadn’t left his house for years because he didn’t want to scratch himself in public. Who knows how many agoraphobes are actually people with ass problems?

The best letter came from a kindly scientist who told me that I probably had athlete’s foot in my ass.

He was a physicist and had cured himself of a twenty-three-year ass itch with athlete’s foot powder. So I got some foot powder and put it in my ass and it worked! I couldn’t believe it! I enjoyed my coffee for the first time in years. I said to my girlfriend, “I have athlete’s foot in my ass.”

She said, “Which athlete?”

I then imagined an athlete’s cleat sticking out of my butt and I really laughed, which I think is a fitting end to this tale, this anecdote, which has been my way of answering that age-old question: What is funny?

©2005 by Jonathan Ames. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.