I will distill you into your bookshelf.
April 19, 2010 12:37 PM   Subscribe

What books can you use to judge a person's fiction preferences?

Once upon a time, I used to work in a bookstore. When people came in and asked for a book rec, I'd ask if they'd read A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius and what they thought of it. That helped roughly split the books I could recommend into two categories - the high-falutin' literary work and the heartbreakingly-hip stuff. It worked well enough then, but I need more.

I'd like to be able to distill peoples' book preferences into a smallish collection of books, like a representative democracy! What people thought of things like Twilight, The Stranger, and The Da Vinci Code help me know what kinds of books they're after.

A fill-in-the-blank method would be: "If someone likes _____ books, they probably own _____. If they REALLY like that stuff, they probably also own ____."
posted by soma lkzx to Writing & Language (45 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
This site: whatshoudireadnext may help you.
posted by kanata at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Filling in the blanks: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2010


I hated Life Of Pi with the burning fury of a thousand suns, but a lot of people (like, a LOT of people) seem to love it; I think it could be a good litmus test for whether one might like other books that pertain to the nebulously-spiritual-agnostic-thoughtful-Ethnic-Other.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:47 PM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I use Lolita, The Satanic Verses, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Sandman, and One Hundred Years of Solitude.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 12:49 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry, the first blank is a category - you'd end up with something like (modern fantasy, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman)

I hated Life Of Pi with the burning fury of a thousand suns

I am on your team on this one in terms of both Life-Of-Pi-hate as well as litmus testability
posted by soma lkzx at 12:49 PM on April 19, 2010


Along the same lines, I'd be sure to ask what their most hated book was. Telling you that I like Pale Fire is useful; also mentioning that I mildly dislike Catch-22 adds some more info.
posted by tantivy at 12:57 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Along the same lines, I'd be sure to ask what their most hated book was. Telling you that I like Pale Fire is useful; also mentioning that I mildly dislike Catch-22 adds some more info.

Agreed. You can tell a lot by me by the fact that I loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - but you can probably tell more by my undying and red-hot hatred of Earnest Hemingway.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought this was a dating thread and was about to tell you that if they don't read fiction, RUN AWAY.

There is a Good Reading Guide available in British libraries - do they have an equivalent in your country? I'm a voracious reader with Catholic tastes - I dislike Dave Eggers and Stephen Chbosky (no idea on the spelling there) but I like a lot of other 'hip' stuff. One of my favourite books is The Age of Reason by Sartre, but I also love Jennifer Weiner. I think genre is a good starting point - there's good and bad in every genre, and knowing the lauded authors in each may help. I've read some bad chicklit in my time - I've read even worst literary fiction. (I will read literally anything, and quickly, but I could not parse William T Volmann, and yet some think he's amazing.)

I use Lolita, The Satanic Verses, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Sandman, and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I've only read one of these. Clue: my copy of OHYOS went mouldy.
posted by mippy at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2010


whatshouldireadnext isn't always (or often) very reliable for me, but here's hoping you'll have better luck with it.

House of Leaves is a good one (have they heard of it? did they love it? do they roll their eyes?)

Lord of the Rings trilogy could work as a geeky one (have they read the books or just seen the movies? have they read the Silmarillion or one of the extended histories? etc)

I would tend to use The Kite Runner (again, you can split into read book versus only seen the movie people, and seeing as I have strong feelings about the ending, I like to ask people their thoughts on it) for this as well.
posted by librarylis at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2010


If they liked The Alchemist by Paul Coelho they probably own a head full of sawdust. If they REALLY like that stuff, they probably also own a dry mouth from breathing out of it all the time."
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:11 PM on April 19, 2010 [21 favorites]


the high-falutin' literary work and the heartbreakingly-hip stuff.

Well right off, "hip" is an extremely surface-level judgment. You're saying that because some consider Dave Eggers hip his work can't possibly have literary merit- when anyone who is serious about books and has read his work knows that it definitely does.

I do actually use "Heartbreaking Work..." as a test, come to think of it. I assume those who tell me they hate it, or who discuss what they hate about Mr. Eggers the person without even mentioning the contents of the book, don't take the actual substance of literature very seriously. And they probably love stuff like "The Mysterious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime."
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:14 PM on April 19, 2010


I've heard before that some people use a love/hatred of Don DeLillo as a marker to separate those who read contemporary fiction for prose versus those who read for plot. I'm not sure how well it works, but there it is.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're saying that because some consider Dave Eggers hip his work can't possibly have literary merit- when anyone who is serious about books and has read his work knows that it definitely does.

Nope, I'm saying that because his work is hip. Have you ever seen the design of anything put out by McSweeney's? Totally hip! I am also hip, and I like his work. But yes, Mysterious Incident was definitely bad news.

Along the same lines, I'd be sure to ask what their most hated book was.

This sounds right. Can people give me examples of hated books that divide genres? Something like, say, chick-lit might just be one mass to me, but maybe there's some big divide that a single book can help stand for?
posted by soma lkzx at 1:23 PM on April 19, 2010


I assume those who tell me they hate it, or who discuss what they hate about Mr. Eggers the person without even mentioning the contents of the book, don't take the actual substance of literature very seriously.

So Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers is Substantive Literature, but discussing Dave Eggers without discussing Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers is for chowderheads.

Gotcha.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't know if this is helpful, but telling people that I love Wodehouse's Jeeves/Wooster stuff often leads to other recommendations of things I might like. So I guess for your fill-in-the-blank:

"If someone likes quirky aristocratic British comedies, they probably own (Forgettable title here), Jeeves!. If they REALLY like that stuff, they probably also own Jonathan Ames's Wake Up Sir! or Kyril Bonfiglioli's After You With The Pistol."
posted by Greg Nog at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's impossible for someone to remember despising "Heartbreaking . . . " but not why, exactly, they hated it when they read it a decade ago, so anyone who claims to dislike that book is anti-literature.

It's pretty easy to use any of the airplane authors to get to another one -- someone who likes Patterson will probably also like Linwood Barclay, Jennifer Weiner and Meg Cabot, most of the urban fantasy authors, etc. But I assume you are thinking more of books that are more thoughtful books, and how those can be used (though of course lots of people like both kinds of books).

Susanna Clarke, perhaps, or China Mieville, for a certain kind of literary SFF.
posted by jeather at 1:31 PM on April 19, 2010


I think this is the book mippy mentioned. I like it, although it is somewhat slanted toward classics.

There must be an Oprah Book Club criterion that the OP could use.
posted by lukemeister at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2010


Can people give me examples of hated books that divide genres?
Infinite Jest, dude. Infinite Jest. Divides the entire world.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 1:36 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


esmerelda_jenkins FTW! Every indicator suggested that I should have enjoyed Infinite Jest, but man, oh man, did I ever hate that book.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2010


Along the same lines, I'd be sure to ask what their most hated book was. Telling you that I like Pale Fire is useful; also mentioning that I mildly dislike Catch-22 adds some more info.

Agreed. You can tell a lot by me by the fact that I loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - but you can probably tell more by my undying and red-hot hatred of Earnest Hemingway.


I've observed that feelings on Catch-22 and Hemingway tend to have a positive correlation. I, for instance, love both. People who don't like one are usually iffy at best on the other. My finace is a possible exception, in that she loves Hemingway but hasn't read any Heller, because she doesn't think she'll like it.

I've used Kurt Vonnegut and Cormac McCarthy as a starting point for distilling tastes.
posted by spaltavian at 1:51 PM on April 19, 2010


I've observed that feelings on Catch-22 and Hemingway tend to have a positive correlation. I, for instance, love both. People who don't like one are usually iffy at best on the other. My finace is a possible exception, in that she loves Hemingway but hasn't read any Heller, because she doesn't think she'll like it.

Really? Most of my friends like Catch-22; almost all dislike-to-hate Hemingway. I'm probably at the extreme of both.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:54 PM on April 19, 2010


Some authors I use for litmus tests are:

The Brontë Sisters
Jane Austen
Stephen King
Kurt Vonnegut
Vladimir Nabokov
Henry James

For Lord of the Rings:

Only read the Hobbit: casual fan, watched the movies
Read the Hobbit and the Trilogy: fan, watched the movies, owns them
Read the Hobbit, the Trilogy, the Silmarillion, and any others: diehard fan, either watched and owns the movies as well as LOTR merchandise, or avoids it all like poison so that their vision of Middle Earth is not tainted

:)
posted by halonine at 1:54 PM on April 19, 2010


Looking back on the used place I worked at, in 2004-5, their rough classification system used to classify readers and recommendations was something like this (written without prejudice!):

Lowbrow: Dan something
Lower middlebrow: Aubrey-Maturin series
Upper middlebrow: Bel Canto
Highbrow: Richard Pevear translations of Russian novels

Of course, there are parallel spectra in the more strict genres. For example, in sci-fi/fantasy the franchise pulps were lowbrow, Dune closer to the top. Mystery stuff: lowbrow was any author advertising that they were "writing as" their pseudonym (pseudo-pseudonym?), and then you progress to Rendell, Mankell, Chandler...

And then there are all sorts of things that don't fall onto a low/middle/high scale, but from which you can tell a lot: Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski fanship often go hand-in-hand.
posted by Beardman at 1:56 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Beardman,

'Lower middlebrow' people plowed through 20 (or 21) novels about the Napoleonic Wars?
posted by lukemeister at 2:00 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


former bookseller, and this is an excellent question. I can only favorite it once, but it deserves many favorites.

This will change over time. The books here are litmus tests, but there are so many books that defy categorization that I'd be careful of relying too heavily on a narrow set of titles.

However:
Great Expectations
Infinite Jest
The Stand
Da Vinci Code
William Gibson
Margaret Drabble/Penelope Lively / AS Byatt / Margaret Atwood (Literary Lionesses)
William Trevor / John Updike/ John irving / Ian McEwan (Literary Lions)

This question makes me want to write quite a bit about recommending books, but I'm late to leave for a dinner. I always asked someone to name a book or 2 they liked, then tried to finds a thread.
posted by theora55 at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2010


Really? Most of my friends like Catch-22; almost all dislike-to-hate Hemingway. I'm probably at the extreme of both.

It's all ancedotal of course, but it's funy to see how things can play out is differently. I read A Farewell to Arms and Catch-22 in the same three month period in high school, so that's probably biased to torwards seeing parallels in the two, that I might not have otherwise saw.

If wonder if the Cormac McCarthy-Hemingway correlation I've noted as held true for anyone else. I think that one is a lot more solid.
posted by spaltavian at 2:06 PM on April 19, 2010


Beardman,

'Lower middlebrow' people plowed through 20 (or 21) novels about the Napoleonic Wars?

Not defending it, just reporting on the sense at that shop. I haven't even read O'Brien, and I've thought about giving it a go. But subject matter and prose quality don't have any particularly tight relationship (cf. historical romances).
posted by Beardman at 2:19 PM on April 19, 2010


I dunno - Ian McEwan makes the best-seller list, whereas William Trevor isn't that well-known in comparison (he wrote one of my favourite novels).

Best selling lit-fic/Booker Prize winners will probably have readers in common. If you've read Midnight's Children, chances are you've made your way through Disgrace, White Teeth and Half A Yellow Sun.

A Child Called It - spawned a whole misery-lit genre. However, there are books I can think of that could fall into the category from description alone yet are almost novelistic in style - Paul Morley;s Nothing, Ken Dornstein's The Boy Who Fell from The sky, Andrea Ashworth's Once In A House on Fire, or Alexander Masters 'Stuart: A Life Backwards. If you like one, you'll like the others; you probably won't want to read Ma, He Sold Me For A Pack of Cigarettes.

I would write more but my hand has gone to sleep.
posted by mippy at 2:30 PM on April 19, 2010


I find the whatshouldyoureadnext interface really frustrating, and I quit on it - however, I use LibraryThing, and find the member recs there very helpful.
posted by mccn at 2:32 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm not a bookseller or anything, but when I want to get a sense of people's taste in books, I ask them about their favorite books from childhood. Since kids' tastes are less self-consciously literary than adults', it can often give you a better picture of what people really like to read rather than what they think they're supposed to like. It also gives you a sense of how wide people's tastes are, which makes it easier to recommend books across genres.
posted by colfax at 3:25 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I haven't even read O'Brien, and I've thought about giving it a go. But subject matter and prose quality don't have any particularly tight relationship (cf. historical romances).

O'Brien's prose is really good, though. His control of syntax and diction puts a lot of serious "literary" authors to shame.

I feel like a really good book recommendation metric would need more than one axis. Obviously there's genre and subject matter, but prose style is at least as important when it comes to determining which books I'll like. For example, I freaking love A.S. Byatt but I'm kind of meh about Atwood, but you'd think I'd like both based just on subject matter.

(It's not just a matter of spare v. ornate, either--I like both if they're done well. But trying to pull a Faulkner and failing will bite you in the ass a lot harder than trying to pull a Hemingway.)
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 3:32 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll agree with Hypocrite that prose style is really important to my recommendations. For instance, I will only recommend O'Brien to people that like Pride and Prejudice (or other classics like Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre) because the prose is similar. There's a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary in both and people need to be comfortable with not exactly knowing what's going on. Unfortunately, most of the people that I know that read the classics are also women and tend not to have an interest in naval fiction (but they should!).

Categories of books that I use to make recommendations (I haven't read all of these but I'll pass on recommendations just based on what people seem like they'd like):
'male' books - Hunter S. Thomson, Palahniuk, MacCarthy, Hemingway
mystery novels - whatever modern serial (e.g. Elizabeth Peters), Christie, Sayers
Canadian fiction - Atwood, Margaret Laurence, Mordecai Richler
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:04 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Henry Miller might work for this sort of thing. If you like it, you'd probably like John Fante, perhaps Louis-Ferdinand Celine, maybe Bukowski. Or maybe what you're looking for is more You're one type of person if you liked Tropic of Cancer, you're another if you liked The Rosy Crucifixion.

If you like Kerouac, you might like Thomas Wolfe. Specifically if you like Kerouac's The Town and The City you might like You Can't Go Home Again or Look Homeward, Angel.

If you like Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground or Crime and Punishment you might like Knut Hamsun's Hunger or Pan.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:22 PM on April 19, 2010


I think you can tell more about a person from what they consider to be solid "beach reading." Literary masterworks are often loaded and open to interpretation. Beachin reading goes straight to what their little lizard brain most desires.

What, to them, is a relaxing, easy read? Romance novels? Sci-fi novels? Spy novels? Horror novels? Crime novels? Short stories? Tom Clancy or John Le Carré? Alex Patterson or Elmore Leonard? What do they think of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling, to say nothing of Stephanie Meyer and Dan Brown? Chuck Palahniuk? Tom Robbins? Chick lit? No beach reading written before they were born? Or is even their "beach reading" too highfalutin to be considered beach reading? Or would they rather read poetry, or a magazine, or a literary journal?

I'd ask what their LEAST favorite book is, or which Great Author they'd like to strangle.

I'd ask what their favorite not-so-famous book is.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:48 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


These are totally subjective of course, but here's my stab at it:

If you like dystopian sci-fi a la "Brave New World," you might enjoy Jose Saramago's "Blindness."

If you liked "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" (and Dave Eggers), you'd probably also like Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and you might even like Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things."

If you like pop physics, you probably like Stephen Hawking, and you'd love James Gleick's "Chaos."

If you want your chick-lit with a little bit more substance, you'd probably enjoy Curtis Sittenfeld's "Prep" and you'd really like Mary McCarthy's "The Group."

If you like sweeping multi-generational historical epics, you've probably read Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex," and you'd also like Julia Alvarez' "In the Time of Butterflies."

If you like mysteries like Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" (I kind of didn't), you'd probably like Marisha Pessl's "Secret Topics in Calamity Physics," and you'd really like Anne Marie MacDonald's "As The Crow Flies."

If you liked "Guns, Germs, and Steel," you probably also love Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States."
posted by Fifi Firefox at 6:24 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Getting back to your actual question:

- Fans of H. P. Lovecraft and fans of G. K. Chesterton have more in common than either camp thinks. They should read one another's books.

- Further, fans of G. K. Chesterton and fans of P. J. O'Rourke have quite a bit in common as well.

- Further and further still, H. P. Lovecraft fans should check out Thomas Ligotti, Arthur Machen, and William Blake.

- Those who enjoy David Sedaris should check out James Thurber, Robert Benchley, and Dorothy Parker.

- Thomas Pynchon fans and Robert Anton Wilson fans have quite a bit in common, but invariably one has a preference one way or another. Pynchon is more literary; Wilson is more countercultural. Those who like neither? They're a type as well, and not necessarily a bad one. Those who've never heard of either, though? They're not real readers, no matter how much they may swear up and down that they are. Regardless: Pynchon/RAW fans should be directed to read Borges and Rushdie, with Steve Aylett on the side for some vulgar beach reading.

- Chuck Palahniuk fans should read Amy Hempel, J. G. Ballard, the adult work of Kathe Koja, and such collections as Apocalypse Culture, RE/Search's work, and Amok Journal.

- Dave Eggers fans should read Dan Chaon and Denis Johnson.

- Stephen King is a pulp author who cannot be ignored. Stephen King fans should check out Jonathan Carroll, Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Raymond Chandler, and King's own son Joe Hill. Those who have never read King should check out The Dark Tower or the truly brilliant On Writing. Those who refuse to ever check out Stephen King are being painfully self-conscious and should be directed to purchase whatever is the most expensive book in your store.

- Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett fans should check out Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In A Boat and the work of P. G. Wodehouse.

- Everyone should read A Confederacy of Dunces, even though not everyone will like it. Everyone should read Catch-22, even though not everyone will like it.

- People who don't like Kurt Vonnegut on any level tend to be either snobbish or illiterate. There's nothing wrong with reaching your "fill" of Vonnegut, but if he's never made you happy, then there really is something wrong with you. People who say they hate Vonnegut should be told they they should read Slaughterhouse-5 or Mother Night, and while they are either checking those out or arguing with you, put on your special sunglasses that will let you see that they are aliens. That said, fans of Kurt Vonnegut should check out Theodore Sturgeon, Karel Čapek, and Jeff Noon.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [23 favorites]


Sort of a tangent - I heard of one librarian that would also ask about the person's favourite/hated TV shows to determine what books they would love. Useful for anyone who hadn't read much. Could add a whole other level of fun complexity :)
posted by SarahbytheSea at 7:03 PM on April 19, 2010


On Twitter recently Neil Gaiman recommended against giving someone American Gods as their first book of his to read as it tends to polarise audiences – people either love it or hate it. Personally, I can't imagine hating it, so I'm not sure what you'd recommend someone who did (so that's probably not very helpful).

Personally, I think someone who has previously enjoyed reading Isaac Asimov would probably enjoy a lot of the contemporary space opera authors, particularly Peter F Hamilton and at least some Iain M Banks.

Someone who enjoyed old cyberpunk-era William Gibson would probably like Ian McDonald and vice versa, although that is not necessarily true of newer William Gibson (which I also like).

Naturally, such generalisations will eventually fall down. I have read pretty much everything Ian Rankin has written, but as a rule don't read crime fiction (I used to read the occasional Patricia Cornwell, back before she went nuts). I have no idea what it is about Rankin that makes him the exception to my rule.

That said, I too hated Life of Pi, and if someone had a good general rule-of-thumb that if you hated Life of Pi you should probably also avoid x, I'd probably find that handy!
posted by damonism at 7:49 PM on April 19, 2010


There are other factors at play here. I like some books but get tired of them and don't finish them. Then there are those I stick with to the end. Some I can't get into, but if forced somehow, really love. Like and don't like is too binary. I'll bet there can be some breaking down into factors and then rating books by those factor. E.g. Inviting vs. forbidding, descriptive vs. dialog-bound, surprising vs. a lot of the same, experimental vs. conventional. Etc.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:56 PM on April 19, 2010


If they like Ayn Rand books, they probably own Glenn Beck books. If they really like Ayn Rand, then they probably have Sun Tzu's Art of War because they are a psychopath.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 6:46 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


That said, I too hated Life of Pi, and if someone had a good general rule-of-thumb that if you hated Life of Pi you should probably also avoid x, I'd probably find that handy!

Don't read Ishmael or The Celestine Prophecy!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:02 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


People who don't like Kurt Vonnegut on any level tend to be either snobbish or illiterate. There's nothing wrong with reaching your "fill" of Vonnegut, but if he's never made you happy, then there really is something wrong with you.

I'm indifferent to Vonnegut but I still think you're speaking utter bollocks. There's nothing 'wrong' with not enjoying any particular author, although someone genuinely 'illiterate' would probably struggle to read them.
posted by mippy at 8:16 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thomas Pynchon fans and Robert Anton Wilson fans have quite a bit in common, but invariably one has a preference one way or another. Pynchon is more literary; Wilson is more countercultural. Those who like neither? They're a type as well, and not necessarily a bad one. Those who've never heard of either, though? They're not real readers, no matter how much they may swear up and down that they are.

Again, this is horribly elitist of you. I know a few people who read constantly, yet their tastes tend towards mysteries and vampire fiction. Sure, they might not pass a pop quiz on the modern American canon, but who am I or you to judge what a 'real' reader is? Reading and enjoying literature, or even just books, is a hobby. There's no right or wrong way to do it. And lit fic is as much genre fiction as Twilight or Amanda's Wedding.

Though I agree with you on Stephen King. Same with chick-lit - Bridget Jones' Diary is a clever satirical novel, not a book about someone who's too fat (the whole point, for those who haven't read it, is that she isn't remotely fat but consumed by neurosis). It's also a very light and fun read.
posted by mippy at 8:21 AM on April 20, 2010


I assume those who tell me they hate it, or who discuss what they hate about Mr. Eggers the person without even mentioning the contents of the book, don't take the actual substance of literature very seriously.

I'd fall into that category - I've read an average of 70 books a year since then, and I only remember the stuff that made me feel strong love or hate. I was more indifferent to Eggers, reading AHWOSG on the crest of the hype and wondering where that hype came from, then finishing his follow-up in an afternoon and forgetting it almost instantly. I suppose it's the archness I don't like. A lot of McSweeney's stuff just doesn't gel with me for some reason, though I appreciate their aesthetic. Maybe it's an American/UK divide thing - I didn't get Sedaris in print at all, even though I love a lot of similar dry humour (Ed Reardon's Week being an example) but loved his pieces when read.
posted by mippy at 8:26 AM on April 20, 2010


So Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers is Substantive Literature, but discussing Dave Eggers without discussing Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers is for chowderheads? - Bitter Old Punk

More like: discussing the book Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers, without mentioning the actual merits of the book Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers, is a pretty silly thing to be doing.

If someone asks you how you feel about Eggers, by all means hold forth.

If someone asks you how you feel about the book Dave Eggers discussing Dave Eggers, you'll probably have a more fruitful chat if you engage with the actual topic of the conversation.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 5:10 AM on April 21, 2010


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