Tuesday, July 23, 2013
"Celebrity Book Review" returns with actress Anne Hathaway on Claire Messud’s latest from Knopf, "The Woman Upstairs." Git it while it’s hot at Electric Literature!

"Celebrity Book Review" returns with actress Anne Hathaway on Claire Messud’s latest from Knopf, "The Woman Upstairs." Git it while it’s hot at Electric Literature!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
"Celebrity Book Review" is back after a celebrity vacation.
This month: Gary Shteyngart reviews Mark Leyner’s “The Sugar Frosted Nutsack.” Bust a nut(sack) here.

"Celebrity Book Review" is back after a celebrity vacation.

This month: Gary Shteyngart reviews Mark Leyner’s “The Sugar Frosted Nutsack.” Bust a nut(sack) here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Well, we know what Gwyneth thinks about being in Paris. In this month’s Celebrity Book Review on Electric Literature, we learn what she thinks about poetry.

Well, we know what Gwyneth thinks about being in Paris. In this month’s Celebrity Book Review on Electric Literature, we learn what she thinks about poetry.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Jonathan Franzen reviews Adam Levin’s story collection “Hot Pink.” What the what, indeed.

Jonathan Franzen reviews Adam Levin’s story collection “Hot Pink.” What the what, indeed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A public response to @ACreatureofFlux

This is a response to a person who goes by the internet aliases of Flux, Flux Conundrum and @ACreatureofFlux, to a disgruntled comment he posted about my latest “Celebrity Book Review" column on Electric Literature. 

Flux, you uploaded the below comment/question underneath the humor column I write for Electric Literature entitled, “Celebrity Book Review.” This particular review was written from the point of view of the singer, Sinéad O’Connor.

Flux says (March 30th, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.) what is the point of making these fictitious book reviews besides disrespecting the artist and misleading fans?


First of all, your Twitter bio says you are a “sensitive creature with much love and compassion for all beings.” Because I do not know you, I am going to guess that you are upset by my satirical review because you think it lacks compassion for Sinéad O’Connor (and maybe for Blake Butler). Because you think I’m poking fun, perhaps, just for shits and giggles.

Let me tell you a little bit about the process behind the column, Flux. First of all, I buy the book I am going to review. Usually I buy the book in an independent bookstore. I read it very carefully—it takes a long time. Then, I start researching the reviewer. Sometimes, this means that I have to purchase the targeted reviewer’s books or music, also. Once I have all the material I need, I spend quite a while studying the biography, blog postings, interviews and other creative work of the targeted reviewer. I spend days studying their syntax, making lists of words and phrases they actually use, trying to understand when they end a sentence, when they use a comma, how and why they make grammatical mistakes.

With the exception, I’ll grant you, of John Mayer, I truly don’t feel like I made fun of any reviewer or author. In fact, Electric Literature, as a rule, does not post negative reviews. I reviewed the biography of Steve Jobs from Michael Dell’s point of view because I wondered how it would feel to be Michael Dell in a Steve Jobs world. That is to say, to walk in to restaurants, bars, airplanes, to simply walk down the street and be inundated, day in and day out, by glowing apples.

If you pay more attention to the Sinéad O’Connor post, I think you will see that I try to portray her as a singer who is struggling because she’s not a size 2 pop princess with a faultless mental bill of health. Blake’s book deals a lot with mental illness, and Sinéad O’Connor has been a sensitive—if volatile—supporter of people who do not feel “normal” in the mainstream world.

It may surprise you to hear that I asked Blake Butler for permission to review his book from Sinéad’s point of view. I don’t usually. I don’t feel that I have to. Pairing two seemingly incompatible artists together allows people to reconsider each person’s work in light of the other’s. It also brings them virtual traffic, and sometimes (I hope) sales.

You’ve greatly misunderstood the intent of the column. I write it from a place that is the very opposite of disrespect. There is no silver spoon included with each post—my hope is that the reader will try to decide why I have paired these two people together on his or her own, and….hopefully, buy their damn book.