Sunday, March 12, 2006

Don't Get Too Comfortable (David Rakoff)

As soon as I started reading David Rakoff's book Don't Get Too Comfortable, I was aware of a shift in my reading habits. I slowed down to really take in the sentences and I could hear David Rakoff's voice in my head. That may sound really strange, but I first heard David Rakoff before I read him. He's a contributor to This American Life (you may hear Jim and I bring that radio show up a lot. We're big fans), and like other TAL contributors David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, his voice is part of what makes his stories so great. I'd highly recommend that anyone remotely interested in reading Rakoff should listen this streaming audioclip at TAL's website here (put "Episode 192" in the search box and fast-forward to his section).

In his latest book Rakoff writes about his consultations with two top-notch Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, where he learns that a procedure replicating six-pack abs without the actual musculature will, if you gain weight, cause these "artificially differentiated lobes of your fat [to] expand and rise from your stomach like a pan of buttermilk biscuits." He becomes a pool ambassador for a few days in a fancy hotel in Miami, rides Hooters Air, takes a 20-day fast, and has a surreal encounter with the cryogenic company that has Ted Williams' head in cold storage.

The book is funny, at times infuriating (such as his conversation with Robert Knight, who is on the radical right and spent ten years at the Family Research Council), and does at times discuss some not so, oh how should I say, PG-related material.

Other good books: Have I mentioned that we love This American Life and all it's contributors? If you haven't checked out TAL, go to their website--you can get all their shows free on streaming audio or you can purchase them at Audible or through iTunes. Some of our other favorite TAL contributors include Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, John Hodgman, to name a few. Also, we once got to see TAL host Ira Glass live, and it was an amazing show. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, I'd highly recommend it.

Next book up: The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman

No comments: