Autodidact: self-taught


Laughing at Modern Lit

by V. L. Craven

You know what’s fun? Laughing at people with bigger opinions of themselves than justified. You know what’s more fun than that? Laughing at people with more talent than you.

If you enjoy doing either of those things, boy, do I have a book for you: The Digested Read by John Crace. It’s a collection of his columns in the Guardian that, yes, you could read for free online, but it’s not very easy to take your laptop to the loo with you, which is where this book is best read. That’s not to mean that if you run out of bog roll you would want to use it (though some of the authors satirized may think that’s a cracking idea) but that each column is 400 words long…and written in the style of the book being ‘reviewed’. Some made me laugh out loud, some made me wince for the writer of the book, some made me want to stay as far from certain books as possible.

Crace’s weekly book reviews are of the book that got the most media attention that week. He then writes the column in the style of the author in question, thereby skewering any foibles or unfortunate tendencies of said author. This provides the reader with just enough info to get along fine at a dinner party–one can chat away about the most popular books of the day and do a fair impression of a person who doesn’t pay too very much attention to the books they read… or perhaps are quite bitter.

And here’s a link to his column on the Guardian’s website.

[This post is from a previous blog. Original date: April 12, 2008] [The link is current]

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