Tag Archives: books

Lowbrow Books For Highbrow People

"Serious" writer with "serious" glasses.

In the course of internetting regarding mass market books for my last post, I came across several articles that mentioned “Franzenfreude.”  This non-word was created as part of a Twitter campaign waged by mass market faves Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner.  The two were questioning why “chick-lit” books, books that deal with women-centric themes, get ignored by the literary establishment while similar books written by men get considered serious works of fiction.  Men like Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, Freedom, and every other books that “teaches us about ourselves.”  Franzenfreud.

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An Explanation of Why My Book Is Cuter Than Yours

A few years ago I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a question.  I was looking for the cheapest possible edition of “Dreams of My Father,” the Obama autobiography.  Yup, guilty.  I knew on some level that I would never actually read this book, but while travelling I had seen a teeny-tiny sized $8 copy and thought, “Yeah, I could buy that.  It’s cute.”  I didn’t, but I thought maybe the book would be available next to the mysteries and romance novels in the little paperbacks’ section.  It was worth $8, I thought, but, like, only that much.


When I asked customer service whether they had this edition, I got a surprising response.  Not only did they not carry it, but they assured me in their obnoxious bookseller voice that the publisher had “never released the book in mass market size.”  Like, at all.

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R.I.P. Books. In Related News, R.I.P. Civilization.

I woke up to some unsettling news regarding the book population of New York City this morning.

Gone but not forgotten

At 2am est last night, while Occupy Wall Street was getting booted from Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park by the city, one of the first live reports I heard was that the NYPD had thrown away the entire contents of the 5,554 book library that was being maintained in the Occupy camp.  For some reason, though the entire event involved horrifying reports of one type or another, the idea of the city throwing away this many books really unnerved me.

When I was in college I had a semi-friend who, at the end of one semester, casually raised her intention of throwing away her school books for that term.   Continue reading

The Fauxhemian Rhapsody

I recently had occasion to do some reading up on the life of novelist Carson McCullers, and I found what I read quite engrossing. She was a passionate, unconventional woman who, in spite of being plagued by a recurring illness that left her entire left side paralyzed by her early 30s, possessed an incredible drive to live and create. And here’s where it got really fun for me:

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Murakami is A Lot Like a Murakami Novel

From Sam Anderson’s wonderful profile of Haruki Murakami in the New York Times Magazine:

When I met Murakami, finally, in his Tokyo office, I made a point of asking him what his own first memory was. When he was 3, he told me, he managed somehow to walk out the front door of his house all by himself. He tottered across the road, then fell into a creek. The water swept him downstream toward a dark and terrible tunnel. Just as he was about to enter it, however, his mother reached down and saved him. “I remember it very clearly,” he said. “The coldness of the water and the darkness of the tunnel — the shape of that darkness. It’s scary. I think that’s why I’m attracted to darkness.”

Of course.