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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Don't Get Too Comfortable

I just flew in from Boston, boy are my eyes tired. Lots of flying time = mega-book marathon for Jamie. I managed to knock out 6 books on the trip, so I guess my blog-agenda is pretty set for the next week or so.

Let's kick off the reviews with book #17 of my aught-six reading list, David Rakoff's fine collection of aptly-titled: Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems.

The book consists of 15 humorous essays spanning a diverse array of intriguing topics. Here's a quick summary:

  1. "Love It Or Leave It" - Hands down the gem of the book. This is a hilarious and moving tale of Rakoff's decision to become an American citizen and the ensuing naturalization process.
  2. "What Is The Sound of One Hand Shopping?" - An examination of our infatuation with delicacy in which the author contemplates "Just how fucking good can olive oil get?"
  3. "Sesion Privada" - In which our gay male author goes on set in San Pedro for the shooting of a Latin American Playboy TV show.
  4. "Wildman" - On scaveging edible plants with 'Wildman' Steve Brill in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
  5. "As It Is In Heaven" - Flying on Hooters Air (R.I.P)
  6. "J.D.V. M.I.A" - A night of Midnight Madness (similar to The Game or MIT's Mystery Hunt
  7. "Privates on Parade" - The indignity that is Puppetry of the Penis.
  8. "Beach Bummer" - A day in the life of a Miami Beach pool boy
  9. "Morning In America" - Standing outside the Today Show. Includes an excellent Upright Citizens Brigade reference!
  10. "Martha, My Dear" - On Martha Stewart and the perils of giving away one's art
  11. "I Can't Get It For You Wholesale" - Fashion week in Paris
  12. "Beat Me, Daddy" - The paradox that is the Log Cabin Republican
  13. "Whatsizface" - Contemplating plastic surgery
  14. "Faster" - In which our author fasts for 20 days
  15. "Off We're Gonna Shuffle" - Cryogenics and attending the Alcor's Extreme Life Extension Conference. This was probably my second favorite essay in the book.

Rakoff's writing is described in a blurb on the book jacket as 'snarky without sacrificing emotional generosity'. I think that's a darned fine way to sum it up (nicely done Boston Phoenix). If you're the kind of person that gets a good chuckle out of Go Fug Yourself but are also looking for a bit of substance to offset the humor Rakoff will be right up your alley.