Monday, August 28, 2006


The Formerly SuperSecret Double Probation Project is officially released tomorrow, and you may recall my extremely professional approach to the reviews. But now, due to an alert from Tamar The Reader, I've had the authorly luxury of whining about being underappreciated ripped away. Thanks a lot, Tamar.

Normally I bypass the "Womens' Interest" section at the Barnes & Noble, so I don't know much about JANE. What I do know is on the sparkly side: They once did an incredibly nasty, and therefore true, article about the general horribleness of Faith Hill, and I met one of the writers once at a conference, who said she thought I was funny, which of course reflected extremely well upon the entire publication.

So I wasn't sure about picking up the September issue even though the Twentysomething Authors are in it. This was foreign territory, apparently populated by women who actually pay $60 for a belt. As in, a belt.

I had to ask around for it. I went through two different B&N staff members, and it was on "special display," which meant it was out of the magazine section and positioned at the front of the store in a totally separate rack, which at first thrilled me until I realized that JANE was on the very very bottom rack to the far right of the display, and people were, like, kicking it on their way to the Starbucks line.

Hopefully they were kicking it open to page 64:

"You'll devour this compilation of essays by funny, smart, insightful young writers in just a few hours. While there are the requisite stories on Internet obsession and cubicle angst, there are ones that have that 'How did ya read my mind?' feeling. In 'The Waltz,' Mary Beth Ellis details what it feels like to have OCD, and in 'Sex and the Sickbed,' Jennifer Glaser writes her thoughts as her boyfriend dies from leukemia. You'll bawl after that one, but don't worry--there are laugh-out-loud essays just a few pages later."

The whole section is tagged in the TOC as "New books that aren't on the fall semester syllabus--but should be." That's what my syllabus is missing! More MEEEEEEEEEEEE!

belt shopping at:


Rachel said...

Jane is, as far as I can tell, the most cynical popular women's magazine out there, and therefore the best.

tamar said...

Oh, and $64 for a belt? Not so much. Checking out the $64 belts, so I can find one at a discount retailer for $5, YEAH, that's it! :)

Carrie said...

I just got my Amazon notice that it was shipped - I can't wait to read it! Congratulations!!

tamar said...

Oh, and sorry for robbing you of your ability to mope. I hope you'll forgive me :)

AlaskaMe said...

Mine just shipped too - or so it said. Yeah!

Anonymous said...

OMG, you guys bought the book?! That's awesome! Thank you so much. I hope it doesn't smell.

Jill said...


Just wanted to let you know that I agree with you about Faith Hill. I used to love her, but her last 2 songs out sound like a Carnival cruise ship entertainer on crack. Horrible, cheesy songs must go before I poke out my own eardrums....

tamar said...


Oooh Oooh, I'm FAMOUS!!!

This is my 1st time to be named in a post! Do I get a certificate? Or maybe a car? Ahh, was worth askin'.


mike the unintentional hermit said...

I was hoping to order the book via MB's Amazon donation-by-proxy link; however, I've just moved, and the phone company is heartily screwing me over, so I don't have the Internet, and all my Amazon info is on my computer, so I didn't want to start over from scratch on somebody else's machine.

(On the plus side, my dad and stepmom took one look at the name of this site and immediately assumed it was for pr0n. Fun!)

So, without phone, internet, or satellite TV until after the holiday weekend, I picked up three books at Barnes & Noble, of which Mary Beth Ellis' "The Waltz" And Twentysomething Other Essays was one. As opposed to the poor placement of the JANE magazine in MB's local B&N, the book was quite prominently placed in my store, in the center aisle under "New Nonfiction."

Here's a mini-review, for those of you still waiting for the delivery.

MB's essay is second in line, which is great placement. It's also, not surprisingly, the funniest essay of the bunch, although a lot of the other ones do have some humorous moments.

As promised by the title, there are twenty-something essays contained in the collection, and of them something-teen are just fantastic compositions, thoughtful and provocative. Some of them I didn't get, and at least two of them are pieces of crap which, in my ever-so-humble opinion, reflect very poorly on the book's editors for printing them to the exclusion of others which had to be far more deserving.

If there's one thing I like about MB, she at least had the decency to use references from cultural touchstones like Star Wars instead of more obscure ones. Two essays name-checked Joan Didion. I have no idea who the hell this woman is, and the essays gave no reason why I should care.

If you're like me and you can't stand pretentiousness, then some of these essays are really going to grate on you. As a red-blooded American male I was looking forward to one story, where a nude art model talked about her job. Sadly, halfway through it I wanted her to emulate her profession and shut up.

However, the essays are, on the whole, great. It's a fine collection, made better by the inclusion of our hero MB. It would have been perfect if they got rid of the few stinkers among the jewels.

And also, if MB won the twenty grand for the best essay.

Anonymous said...

Mike, that was so tremendous of you. Thanks :)

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