book, cover, judged

I have no joke, I just like saying “Old Man Eggers”.

edit: quisatsatterak wrote the best comment in that thread. Oh dear god that was good.

I want books written by the kids of today! With upgraded brand names and rock bands and haircuts! This “Moby-Dick” thing doesn’t fit my TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC!

18 thoughts on “book, cover, judged

  1. omg i just totally slammed that dude. eggers had his own publishing empire when he was that guy’s age. i have to defend eggers, and i don’t even like him!
    i think if like rory from gilmore girls wrote a book? it would be SO SUPER AWESOME and SO SMART and i would ready every word three times right then just so i got the whole like MAGNITUDE of the depth of her, uh, like soul.

    1. call me indiemael
      “Hipsters” are the worst cultural conservatives. If you set out to define your entire esthetic experience by its relevance to your age group’s tight little pop culture demographic, you’ll end up with the full spectrum of literature from A to B.

  2. i work in the book industry…
    Boy do I feel sorry for whoever’s working the shift he manages at Borders.
    “There is only one school: that of talent.” — old man Nabokov

  3. Oh shit. I guess I was supposed to start writing literary fiction in high school. Dammit! Why didn’t any of you people tell me?
    I’ve never heard of this Pessi lady before tonight, but stop me if I’ve gotten this all wrong: do we really need a remake of Lolita for her just yet? I mean— I haven’t even read the original by Nabokov. I’m supposed to read a remake by some 22 year-old overachiever while it’s still fresh?
    What’s next, some 19 year-old hipster asshole wearing three-inch cowbone earlobe plugs is gonna rewrite Madame Bovary?

    1. I don’t think anyone is attempting a blow-by-blow in the literary equivalent of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho 2.0. Furthermore, I think your assessment is a bit unfair. You haven’t read Nabokov’s Lolita? Your bad. That doesn’t mean other people can’t be inspired by or riff on the material of their betters in creating new works. That and I’m still not sure why age matters in artistic endeavors. If someone is talented, has a fresh perspective, and a workable contextual grounding, why does it matter how old they are?
      (From Publishers Weekly
      Starred Review. Pessl’s stunning debut is an elaborate construction modeled after the syllabus of a college literature course—36 chapters are named after everything from Othello to Paradise Lost to The Big Sleep—that culminates with a final exam. It comes as no surprise, then, that teen narrator Blue Van Meer, the daughter of an itinerant academic, has an impressive vocabulary and a knack for esoteric citation that makes Salinger’s Seymour Glass look like a dunce. Following the mysterious death of her butterfly-obsessed mother, Blue and her father, Gareth, embark, in another nod to Nabokov, on a tour of picturesque college towns, never staying anyplace longer than a semester. This doesn’t bode well for Blue’s social life, but when the Van Meers settle in Stockton, N.C., for the entirety of Blue’s senior year, she befriends—sort of—a group of eccentric geniuses (referred to by their classmates as the Bluebloods) and their ringleader, film studies teacher Hannah Schneider. As Blue becomes enmeshed with Hannah and the Bluebloods, the novel becomes a murder mystery so intricately plotted that, after absorbing the late-chapter revelations, readers will be tempted to start again at the beginning in order to watch the tiny clues fall into place. Like its intriguing main characters, this novel is many things at once—it’s a campy, knowing take on the themes that made The Secret History and Prep such massive bestsellers, a wry sendup of most of the Western canon and, most importantly, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity. (Aug.)
      Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.)
      I’d hardly call a few similarities enough to garner the title of “remake”.
      I’m sorry, I really don’t mean this to be an attack. I was just bothered by the assumption that somehow being young means one is incapable of contributing anything worthwhile in terms of culture.

      1. I guess my own skepticism comes down to figuring out when a young author found the time to do the assload of reading required to riff on Nabokov. Did she start reading inside the womb?

      2. I won’t dis on the book because I haven’t read it yet. And, devil’s advocate, some young first novelists in the last thirty years have produced first novels that read as though, well, as though they’d been reading since the womb. Michael Chabon, for example.

      3. “I was just bothered by the assumption that somehow being young means one is incapable of contributing anything worthwhile in terms of culture.”
        I don’t make that assumption. It’s hard to read Gödel, Escher, Bach and continue to subscribe to that. But spare me the hype from the publisher on this one. I’m with the host on this one, I’m afraid— we’ll know if this one is a classic in ten years or so. In the meantime, the conclusion of the Publisher’s Weekly review is enough to tell me why I can safely pass on this book: “a wry sendup of most of the Western canon and, most importantly, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity.”
        And, no— being young doesn’t mean you have nothing to contribute to culture, but don’t expect me to be charitable toward claims about the canonical ANSI-standard 19 year-old with the cowbone earplug who some publisher is telling us now has written the next Madame Bovary. There are just some things you can’t write effectively about unless you’ve lived through it.
        p.s. Yes, we’ve all been through the indignity of having 40+ year-old pseudo-intellectual cripples lecture us about our insubstantial experience. It’s your turn now.

      4. I wasn’t trying to defend the hype surrounding the book at all. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of it until I followed this link. I don’t keep up with the hot news of the publishing world (I spend too much time fixating on film — I know, I know, I’m such a boor). I’ve done some research so I know a little more now, but I’m still not defending the marketing. I don’t know why I’d even care to. Anyway, yes, I was just responding to the claim that somehow the writer was discredited by her age.
        I don’t have to be told that I lack experience; I’m not the one attempting to write “Nabokovian” thrillers. Although, I think from now on I’ll refer to everything I write, including journal entries, as Nabokovian thrillers, and look into getting one of these cowbone earplugs I’ve been hearing so much about.

      5. Just to clarify; for my part I wasn’t criticizing the book or its author. I haven’t read the book and I will; it looks interesting. And youth is no barrier to sophisticated writing!
        What set me off was the assumption that literature has to be generationally relevant, so that what’s really needed is a book by someone of my age, social class, and cultural background. And secondarily, that a 35 year old writer and editor just settling into his prime is “old” and therefore irrelevant. That’s MTV talking, not the library.
        The book? I’ll read it. And even if it’s not a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, I’ll read the next one. Someone that young who’s already attacking ideas this big has a future, and will probably do some amazing work when she’s old and wrinkly no matter what.

      6. Oh, I know you weren’t criticizing the book — my response was really just to the idea that, as you put it, age is a barrier to sophisticated writing expressed by the commentator above.

      7. Yes. For examples of young writers who appeared to have been reading in a previous life, I think: Michael Chabon’s first novel, Roberta Smoodin (no one has heard of her, unfortunately), and, well, all writers before about 1950.

  4. The “reading the website” requirement cracks me up. I don’t need mishy mashy buzzwords to decide to read a book. H U R R !

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