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Don't Get Too Comfortable

by David Rakoff

The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems David Rakoff's collection of autobiographical essays,Fraud, established him as one of our funniest, most insightful writers. InDon't Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff journeys into the land of plenty that is contemporary North America. Rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly and wittily portrayed. Whether contrasting the elegance of one of the last flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good times and chicken wings of Hooters Air, portraying the rarified universe of Paris fashion shows where an evening dress can cost as much as four years of college, or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch a soft-core Playboy TV shoot, where he is provided with his very own personal manservant, David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of excess, delving into the manic getting and spending that defines the North American way of life. Somewhere along the line, our healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism, and Rakoff is there to map that frontier. He sits through the grotesqueries of "avant garde" vaudeville in Times Square immediately following 9/11. Twenty days without food allows him to experience firsthand the wonders of "detoxification," and the frozen world of cryonics, whose promise of eternal life is the ultimate status symbol, leaves him very cold indeed (much to our good fortune). At once a Wildean satire of our ridiculous culture of overconsumption and a plea for a little human decency,Don't Get Too Comfortableis a bitingly funny grand tour of our special circle of gilded-age hell. From the Hardcover edition.

Fraud

by David Rakoff

A frequent contributor to the New York Times magazine, Outside, Salon, and GQ, and a regular on Public Radio International's "This American Life,"David Rakoff's debut collection of essays is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and take-your-breath-away poignant.David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether he finds himself on assignment climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire -- donning a pair of Timberlands for his trek, only to realize with horror that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in." -- sitting quietly impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window...for a month, or musing on the unique predicament of being undetectably Canadian in New York City ("...what's more spicy than being Canadian, I ask you?"), Rakoff has a gift for exposing life's humour and pathos. Fraud takes us places even we didn't know we wanted to go: expeditions as varied as a search for elves in Iceland, a foray into soap opera acting, or contemplating the gin-soaked olive at the bottom of a martini glass.With the sharpest of eyes, David Rakoff explores the odd and ordinary events of life, spotting what is unique, funny and absurd in the world around him. But for all its razor-sharp wit and snarky humor, Fraud is also, ultimately, an object lesson in not taking life, or oneself, too seriously.From the Hardcover edition.

Fraud

by David Rakoff

A frequent contributor to theNew York Timesmagazine,Outside,Salon, andGQ, and a regular on Public Radio International's "This American Life,"David Rakoff's debut collection of essays is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and take-your-breath-away poignant. David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether he finds himself on assignment climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire -- donning a pair of Timberlands for his trek, only to realize with horror that "the shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in. " -- sitting quietly impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window. . . for a month, or musing on the unique predicament of being undetectably Canadian in New York City (". . . what's more spicy than being Canadian, I ask you?"), Rakoff has a gift for exposing life's humour and pathos. Fraud takes us places even we didn't know we wanted to go: expeditions as varied as a search for elves in Iceland, a foray into soap opera acting, or contemplating the gin-soaked olive at the bottom of a martini glass. With the sharpest of eyes, David Rakoff explores the odd and ordinary events of life, spotting what is unique, funny and absurd in the world around him. But for all its razor-sharp wit and snarky humor,Fraudis also, ultimately, an object lesson in not taking life, or oneself, too seriously. From the Hardcover edition.

Half Empty

by David Rakoff

The inimitably witty David Rakoff, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Get Too Comfortable, defends the commonsensical notion that you should always assume the worst, because you'll never be disappointed. In this deeply funny (and, no kidding, wise and poignant) book, Rakoff examines the realities of our sunny; gushy; everyone-can-be-a-star contemporary culture and finds that, pretty much as a universal rule, the best is not yet to come, adversity will triumph, justice will not be served, and your dreams won't come true. The book ranges from the personal to the universal, combining stories from Rakoff's reporting and accounts of his own experiences: the moment when being a tiny child no longer meant adults found him charming but instead meant other children found him a fun target; the perfect late evening in Manhattan when he was young and the city seemed to brim with such possibility that the street shimmered in the moonlight - as he drew closer he realized the streets actually flickered with rats in a feeding frenzy. He also weaves in his usual brand Oscar Wilde-worthy cultural criticism (the tragedy of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, for instance). Whether he's lacerating the musical Rent for its cutesy depiction of AIDS or dealing with personal tragedy, his sharp observations and humorist's flair for the absurd will have you positively reveling in the power of negativity. From the Hardcover edition.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

by David Rakoff

From the incomparable David Rakoff, a poignant, beautiful, witty, and wise novel in verse whose scope spans the twentieth centuryThrough his books and his radio essays for NPR's This American Life, David Rakoff has built a deserved reputation as one of the finest and funniest essayists of our time. Written with humor, sympathy, and tenderness, this intricately woven novel proves him to be the master of an altogether different art form.LOVE, DISHONOR, MARRY, DIE; CHERISH, PERISH leaps cities and decades as Rakoff sings the song of an America whose freedoms can be intoxicating, or brutal. The characters' lives are linked to each other by acts of generosity or cruelty. A daughter of Irish slaughterhouse workers in early-twentieth-century Chicago faces a desperate choice; a hobo offers an unexpected refuge on the rails during the Great Depression; a vivacious aunt provides her clever nephew a path out of the crushed dream of postwar Southern California; an office girl endures the casually vicious sexism of 1950s Manhattan; the young man from Southern California revels in the electrifying sexual and artistic openness of 1960s San Francisco, then later tends to dying friends and lovers as the AIDS pandemic devastates the community he cherishes; a love triangle reveals the empty materialism of the Reagan years; a marriage crumbles under the distinction between self-actualization and humanity; as the new century opens, a man who has lost his way finds a measure of peace in a photograph he discovers in an old box--an image of pure and simple joy that unites the themes of this brilliantly conceived work.Rakoff's insistence on beauty and the necessity of kindness in a selfish world raises the novel far above mere satire. A critic once called Rakoff "magnificent," a word that perfectly describes this wonderful novel in verse.

Showing 1 through 5 of 5 results

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