How I spent my summer: hungover on the porch accruing overdue fines. Actually I worked too much and sort of got paid to write this:
“Super Sad True Love Story came out three years ago; I’m a bit late to the game because if you’re going to jump on every new ‘triumphant’/ ‘genius’/ ‘great American novelist under 40’ you’d have to quit your job and take your lawn chair to the desert. Take a mini-retirement with Story: if you’ve ever felt weird about the ubiquity of social media, growing class disparity or corporate takeover, you’ll forget about your Instagram and your weekend plans the minute you open the book.
Our protagonist in a dystopic New York, Lenny, is a lovable loser who sells immortality to High Net Worth Individuals and vies for the affection of a troubled younger woman who refers to him as Tuna Brain. The satire is pointed and brilliant; books are ‘nonstreaming Media artifacts’, dollars are pegged to the yuan, women wear transparent jeans and people speak in elaborate acronyms (Shteyngart joked in interviews that the book is set ‘next Tuesday’). About twelve pages in, Shteyngart’s uncanny ability to assume the voices of twenty-four year old women, aging immigrants and other lost citizens of his dystopic New York convinced me that he is a shape-shifting sorcerer. All too aware of the declining cultural value of literature, Shteyngart has created a nonstreaming Media artifact that’s both brutally funny and sad, and that I devoured in a weekend while dreading the last page the entire time. If you don’t laugh and at least almost cry, come visit me in the desert and we can talk about it.”
— John to the Apostles
Oh actually it’s Sandra Cisneros. Close enough.
From Loose Woman, 1994.
Saturday morning means theory + caffeine mainline sesh. GET IN MY VEINS, ROLAND.
From the jacket: “we think we are free. Yet all around us… there are codes and symbols that govern our choices. They are the fabrications of consumer society.” KABOOM
The cover of this 2012 FSG edition of the 1957 classic features Garbo’s face, of which Barthes contested: “her nickname, Divine, probably intended to suggest less a superlative state of beauty than the essence of her corporeal person, descended from a heaven where things are formed and finished with the greatest clarity.”
I might have paid attention in CCD if we’d read this version of Genesis.
"The best fig-leaf ripping I’ve seen since last Tuesday."
Not to be confused with volume 2: “The Sanity of a Tea-Partier” in the Political Oxymoron series, just out from Penguin.
C’MERE KIDS I WANNA TELL YOU SOME POEMS - Shel Silverstein
From Alli Warren’s “Here Come The Warm Jets”, City Lights 2013.
Lots of people find Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism cogent and sound, even righteous and inspirational. Then they start their second semester of college.
Like the Bible, but with quaaludes + Bianca Jagger. “I had a lot of dates, but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows”: the Gospel according to Andy.
Also identical to the Bible in that if you read this when you’re seventeen instead of talking to boys, you’ll be less pregnant and more self-righteous.
One time when I was fresh off my philosophy minor, I dropped “Kierkegaardian leap” in conversation with some dude who wanted to touch my boobs. “You’ve never read Kierkegaard,” he said, egregiously equating a great rack with illiteracy (to his great detriment). “Yes I have!” I was indignant. (I hadn’t, obviously.)
Now I don’t need to, because, cheer up man. It’s summer.