(Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions

Steve Almond, Author . Random $21.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6619-3
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This collection of essays on everything from Oprah’s Book Club to the joy of being a new father displays all the qualities that have made Almond’s short stories (The Evil B.B. Chow ) and nonfiction (Candyfreak ) entertaining. The wicked humor of “Dear Oprah” features an in-your-face attack on “the Savior of Publishing” and her book club, followed by equally obsequious apologies, including a “gift of trust” to her of his baby daughter. A section titled “About My Sexual Failure (Not That You Asked)” offers brutally honest dissections of his sexual obsessions as well as those of past girlfriends, including chest waxing, fake breasts and masturbating in the family pool. “Demagogue Days” is a hilarious look at Almond’s experience with Fox News that displays an abiding disgust at current arbiters of cultural and political life in America as well as an enduring empathy for the underdog. But best of all is a beautiful and angry essay on “The Failed Prophecy of Kurt Vonnegut (and How It Saved My Life),” a look at Vonnegut’s career-long concern over “whether mankind would survive its own despicable conduct” that serves as a summation of Almond’s personal and literary ethos. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/16/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 221 pages - 978-1-58836-654-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8129-7759-2
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