Saturday, November 03, 2007

Library Coup

I don't know how I did it, but I was somehow able to check out the library's copy of the 2007 Best Non-Required Reading before Sarah Jane got to it. She must have been asleep at the switch or something, or maybe she's re-reading Twilight for the third time.

I want to like this collection so much, but those durn teeny-weeny McSweeney's wanna-beeny's who edit it just turn you off with their smugness in the opening pages. It's a group of high school kids who are plenty bright, but just too, too convinced of their own cleverness. From the Q & A they wrote about themselves and put at the front of the book:

Are they touched by some kind of divine light?
The question is a good one. There is rampant speculation on the subject.

Are they all great looking and charming and well dressed?
Yes. All of them, and especially Felicia Wong, who can even make her own clothes.

They even put their own photographs and bios at the back of the book. So, when they come to this blog after Felicia Wong Googles her name to see what people think about their collection, they will read the above excerpt and think "c'mon, man, it was a joke" and I will respond here in advance: yes, but not the kind that is funny.

And even Sufjan's essay was useless as an introduction--I think they just wanted to get his name on the cover.

Man, I didn't intend for this to be so hatin'. I better go rake some leaves for a little bit.


sarahjane said...

In your face, Scott, I have a copy too! The library owns more than one. And, for the record, I didn't even believe Sufjan's introduction (that he learned to read that well in one evening). I liked the piece on Burma, the fiction piece about La Doll, and the Conan commencement speech (I cried at the "tell your grandparents what a cat is" line). We'll have to chat about it. I'm almost done with it. (Low blow with the Twilight jab).

Mr. Hill said...

Oh, I see. The library orders the Sarah Jane copy and the for-everybody-else copy. That's a good deal you have worked out.

I haven't even read any of the full length essays yet because I'm trying to get through the Pushcart Prize book--maybe the club could read something like that next.

countvonsexy said...

Oh, come now. The introductions are ALWAYS useless. One year it was Beck, the next it's Matt Groeing,--and now Sufjan? It just adds to their ever-growing mission of stealing all the street credibility in the world.

I ALMOST picked this badboy up the other day, but I decided to get my Egger on by getting a copy of "What Is The What" instead. And it is...


So, check it out when you get a chance.

As for "The Best Non-Required..." the series is pretty hit-and-miss in my mind. They should do a collection of the collection, featuring the best of the best from the prior volumes, that way I don't have to search for the short that I actually DO love that are hidden deep within my bookshelf in god knows WHICH issue.

Only...they should let me do the pickin'.


P0ST SCRIPT: Are there a lot of comics in this edition? I feel like they added a bunch more last year. To the series credit, "The Best American Non-Required Comics" that came out was stellar all around.

Mr. Hill said...

I counted a total of one comix total.
Last year, they had some funny'ns; I bet the Best Comics people told them to back off their turf.

I want to get What is the What, but am waiting until I can find a copy of the hard cover version. I love the way it looks and feels like an old textbook.

sarahjane said...

Yeah, I wondered about using this book or one like it for the next group, but I wondered if it'd be too hard to talk about since it's a collection of different stories by different authors, you know? I'm not sure.

countvonsexy said...

They have one hardbound edition left at Borders. I saw it yesterday when I was looking for HOW THE WATER FEELS TO THE FISHES.

Josh said...

Yikes! How long have I had your poems? Soon and soon they will hit the mailbag. Promise. With some of my own.

Mr. Hill said...

Thanks for the "What?" tip. I will buy it so I can hold my face to its rare cool, textured surface. Am I the only one who does that? At the store, people always look at me like I am.

And I think we could do an anthology, SJ. Might be fun, but I'll bow to the will of the majority.

Thanks for the status report, Josh. I hope your reading went well last weekend.

sarahjane said...

I am certainly not the will of the majority. I'm just remembering trying to discuss pieces from anthologies in W405:
"Which one was that again?"
"You know, the one where the mom dies."
"Oh, the one where she has cancer?"
"No, the one where the cat kills her."
"Oh yeah, I think I read that one."

Mr. Hill said...

oh yeah, good times.

I remember always being a little foggy about what exactly was assigned in that class and what was just suggested. I was just ready to answer "it's about the father" every time she asked us "so what is this ABOUT?"