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Random House, Inc.
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,  gosh­ 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.

Baker & Taylor
Presents a whimsical defense of pessimism that intersperses accounts of the author's own experiences with wry observations on universal absurdities and injustices.

Blackwell Publishing
The inimitably witty David Rakoff, 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 sneakily poignant) book, David Rakoff views through a dark lens our sunny, gosh-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.

Through stories both reportorial and personal Rakoff follows several of the paths we are told will lead to bliss only to discover that his real subject is the variety of human disappointment. Sex, fame, money, religious devotion, therapy, art, the innocence of childhood, atomic-age technology, ruminating on the failures of our enemies---these all promise a form of happiness. Among other sojourns and contemplations Rakoff searches for the pinnacle of desire at an erotica convention, savors the "glamour" of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and reminisces about that perfect late evening in Manhattan when he was a young romantic and the big city brimmed with such endless possibility that the street shimmered in the moonlight---and then he came to realize that the street actually flickered with rats in a feeding frenzy.

While making good sport out of cultural phenomena like the tortured Jewish love affair with pork or the positive psychology movement, Rakoff has more on his mind than satirizing the mindless optimism of our benighted age. He has crafted a manifesto of sorts, one that praises all the scorned emotions---dread, anxiety, misgiving, to name a few---that offer different, more fruitful forms of human satisfaction, like appreciation for what is, or beauty, even.

By turns funny, serious, and seriously funny, Rakoff's signature combination of deadly wit and human sympathy will have you positively reveling in the power of negativity.

Baker
& Taylor

The author of the best-selling Don't Get Too Comfortable and Fraud presents a whimsical defense of pessimism that intersperses accounts of his own experiences with wry observations on universal absurdities and injustices.
The witty David Rakoff defends the notion that you should always assume the worst, because you'll never be disappointed.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385525244
0385525249
Branch Call Number: 814.54 R137h
Characteristics: 224 p. ; 22 cm

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jblane
Dec 26, 2015

Intellectual masturbation.

multcolib Feb 27, 2014

Highly recommended in both book and audio form - From our Embarrassment of Riches blog: "Boarding the plane with earbuds in place, I smiled politely at my neighbor and escaped into Mr. Rakoff's soothing voice."

JCLBeckyC Jul 06, 2013

If you liked Rakoff's "Fraud" you'll like this book of essays too. Intelligent and witty. I'm sad Rakoff passed away before he got to write more.

t
TumTumMcPuff
Aug 08, 2012

Sharp, hilarious, and cynical with a perfect touch of sweetness. If Davids Rakoff and Sedaris were to star in a remake of "Beaches" and Sedaris was (obviously) Bette Midler, Rakoff would be a deliciously darker Barbara Hershey.

m
MikeEe
Aug 12, 2011

Any body who can see the glass half full with this much self deprecating humour and intelligence is all right in my books.

Michael Colford Jun 27, 2011

David Rakoff tackles pessimism in his usual sardonic and funny way. This collection of essays does involve a sobering twist that makes it one his most personal efforts.

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