Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trendiness reviewed

Torrisi Italian Specialties: I remembered this as a new sandwich place near campus where the food was Italian but made in the States. I remembered sandwiches in the $4-7 range, and so suggested it as a lunch option. They've shot up to the $10 range, thanks, presumably, to this. That, and the place is this odd mix of table-service (food is brought to your table and dishes are taken away) and order-at-the-counter (and pick up your own water, cutlery, and paper napkins, cafeteria-style), where it's not clear what to do in terms of a tip. I opted to leave one of about 15%, which makes me, I'm convinced, either a miser or a fool.

Super Sad True Love Story: Fellow Stuyvesant grad and longhaired dachshund (and James Franco) aficionado Gary Shteyngart has written another novel, and it's serving as my reintroduction to contemporary fiction, after a deep foray into the parallel universes of 19th C French newspaper fiction and 20th C Fran Fine. A full report would require me having finished the book, but I'm almost there. If the ending changes my view, expect an update. But lord almighty. Do we need another story about the tender yearnings of a nebbishy New Yorker? (Asks this nebbishy New Yorker.) As with The Ask, I like the book, but I feel as though this is not so much a narrator as part of some kind of giant narrator-thing, constant across novels and authors. Genre fiction, for those who don't hold it against a book that ones just like it have been written before. As much as I get a certain insider's kick out of reading about the shame of having a mediocre GPA at unnamed-math-and-science-high-school, I keep cringing. Cringing at the fact that a story set in the future centers on (along with Existential Angst as experienced by Woody Allen 2.0) an older, unattractive man's lust for a younger, universally-agreed-upon-to-be-attractive woman. What makes this woman so special? Well, she's Asian-American, which fits the protagonist's self-proclaimed type (he's a Jew with a thing for non-Jewish women - finally, a novel on that topic!), and she weighs less than 90 pounds. At Jezebel, so many references to a woman's weight would be called "triggering." However, I find the discussion of whether Tiny Asian Love Object weighs 83 or 86 pounds triggering me to wish I had talent in the literary arena, and that I had it in me to write a novel about for god's sake any romantic attraction that has not already been explored on "Seinfeld." What bothers me isn't that the book is set in NYC - it's a giant city, and there are more than enough stories to tell. It's that this story has already been told so so so so so so so many times. If you're a neurotic, high-libido, heterosexual Jewish man in Manhattan or Brooklyn, approaching middle age, think hard, think really hard, before unloading your semi-autobiographical fiction on the reading public.

American Apparel "bamboo" tights: The hipster cashier warned me they were non-returnable. I took this as a good sign - who wants to wear pre-owned tights? They lasted a few hours before a decent-sized hole formed in the toe, probably a lifetime record for shortest lifespan for tights. And these weren't even pantyhose/stockings, but thick tights, the kind that are supposed to be worn for more than five minutes, and that can't be repaired with nail polish. So, readers in search of "sweater" tights, I suggest Nordstrom Rack, which has the same Hue ones as sold at Ricky's, but for half the price. Barring any unforeseen burst of creativity, leading me to write a New York Jewish novel that hasn't already been written, expect a post in the near future on the difficulty of finding so-called "basics" in the clothes-shops of our age.

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