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(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and…
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(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions (utgåvan 2007)

av Steve Almond

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2332787,532 (3.43)8
How does Steve Almond get himself into so much trouble? Could it be his incessant moralizing? His generally poor posture? The fact that he was raised by a pack of wolves? Frankly, we haven’t got a clue. What we do know is that Almond has a knack for converting his dustups into essays that are both funny and furious. In(Not that You Asked), he squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, nearly gets arrested for stealing “Sta-Hard” gel from his local pharmacy, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of the Red Sox Nation. Almond is, as they say in Yiddish, a tummler.Almond on personal grooming: “Why, exactly, did I feel it would be ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’ to have my girlfriend wax my chest? I can offer no good answer to this question today. I could offer no good answer at the time.”On sports: “To be a fan is to live in a condition of willed helplessness. We are (for the most part) men who sit around and watch other men run and leap and sweat and grapple each other. It is a deeply homoerotic pattern of conduct, often interracial in nature, and essentially humiliating.”On popular culture: “I have never actually owned a TV, a fact I mention whenever possible, in the hopes that it will make me seem noble and possibly lead to oral sex.”On his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut: “His books perform the greatest feat of alchemy known to man: the conversion of grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination.”On religion: “Every year, when Chanukah season rolled around, my brothers and I would make the suburban pilgrimage to the home of our grandparents, where we would ring in the holiday with a big, juicy Chanukah ham.”The essays in(Not that You Asked)will make you laugh out loud, or, maybe just as likely, hurl the book across the room. Either way, you’ll find Steve Almond savagely entertaining. Not that you asked.“A pop-culture-saturated intellectual, a kindly grouch, vitriolic Boston Red Sox hater, neurotic new father and Kurt Vonnegut fanatic… [Almond] scores big in every chapter of this must-have collection. Biting humor, honesty, smarts and heart: Vonnegut himself would have been proud.”——Kirkus Reviews(starred review)… (mer)
Medlem:DDay
Titel:(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions
Författare:Steve Almond
Info:Random House (2007), Hardcover, 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek, Lästa men inte ägda
Betyg:***
Taggar:essays

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(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions av Steve Almond

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I wasn't familiar with Steve Almond before reading this collection of essays. I am much more familiar with him now. Not that I asked.

Not That You Asked is that kind of essay collection that tends to get attention these days; a personal memoir that is equally narcissistic and self-deprecating, humorous yet poignant, and involves more discussion about the author's sex life than was necessary. None of these are negative critiques, especially the narcissistic and self-deprecating part, which if we're perfectly honest with ourselves, is how most of us approach the real world on a daily basis.

Like most interesting people, Almond has a very eclectic range of interests, which usually means that you might be less than interested in some of topics touched on in his essays. Personally, the highlights in this collection are the essays that touch on literary themes (Kurt Vonnegut, Bloggers, Writers) and cultural criticism (Reality TV, Politics, Dead Bodies). The parts about sex, sports, and fatherhood? Not so much. But beyond personal preferences, Almond is a funny with a serious side, and no matter what he is writing about, he always manages to make it relate to the human experience that we are all currently fumbling around like lunatics. ( )
  smichaelwilson | Jul 1, 2019 |
What you want to know is this: (NTYA) is at times laugh-out-loud funny, at times hee-haw funny, at times poignant, at times trenchant and humane--but always compulsively readable. If you like David Foster Wallace's essays for their humor, insight and high-caliber prose then you will LOVE (NTYA). Is (NTYA) worth your money? Absolutely. You'll spend more money on two movie tickets (forget the popcorn and coke) and have way less fun. So do it already: hustle your clicker over to the order button and get the man paid. Now!

If you've never before read Almond, then you, my review-reading friend, are in for a treat. (NTYA) will introduce you to one of the best authors currently wringing prose from laptop. I've read every one of Almond's books, and I like this one the best.

What I haven't yet mentioned is the fact that Almond's essay on Demagogue Days not only confirmed my belief that Fox News is an intellectual and moral Gomorrah; but it also schooled me on how to better approach my duties as a citizen. Morality matters, is Almond's message, and he brings it home without getting preachy. Not only will Almond's stuff entertain you, it will guide you right; and unlike Bill Bennett's Book of Virtues, you won't find out later that Almond's a big, fat gambling-addicted hypocrite. Nope. He's straight forward about his vices. (Hint: S. Almond = pervert.)

Buy this book. Buy it now.

(Full disclosure: I'm not related to Almond, I don't live near him, I've met him only a handful of times, and I'm a registered Republican.) ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Only worth it for "12 ways I killed my newborn..." Or whatever it's called. ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 14, 2013 |
Entertainingly written but ultimately forgettable. I'm not in love with Almond's writing, though I find reading it a pleasant use of my time. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
I picked up this collection of essays from Boston writer (and Bay Area native) Steve Almond on a total whim and found it to be one of the explosively funny books I’ve read since Ozzy’s autobiography. Almond is just nuts—and honest to a fault—which may or may not be a product of his insanity.

Not that You Asked is organized thematically with the chapter entitled About My Sexual Failure (Not that You Asked) being the most cringe-worthy of the bunch.

In the extended piece Shame On Me (Why My Adolescence Sucked Donkey Cock), we are regaled with tales of his late-blooming sexuality via the water jets in the Almond family hot tub; hand jobs con sharp, inexperienced fingernails; the family dog’s rooting out of a used condom from the trash and subsequent tug-of-war with Almond’s mother leading to predictable, but no less horrifying results; and getting publicly busted for shoplifting condoms and Sta-Hard gel from Longs Drugs.

Chestfro Agoniste and My First Fake Tits reveal waxing and breast implants to both be somewhat less wonderful than advertised, the former resulting in this conversation painfully recounted by Almond:

Me: Ow! Please. Please, don’t—Fuck!
Her: It’s almost out.
Me: You have to do it faster, really—No! Ow! Fuck! Please move to another—that part really—Owwww!
Her: Stop being a baby.
Me: Please, sweetie. Please, I’m not joking.
Her: Lie still. Just fucking lie still and let me—
Me: Owwwww! You fucking bitch! You mean fucking bitch!


For every writer who has attempted to wince his or her way through a sex scene, Almond offers a 12-step program that lays out some pretty good (and common sense) advice, such as Step 5 (Real people do not talk in porn clichés):

“Most of the time, real people say all kinds of weird, funny things during sex, such as ‘I think I’m losing circulation,’ and ‘I’ve got a cramp in my foot,’ and ‘Oh, sorry!’ …”

Given my utter lack of interest in the sport of baseball, it took me awhile to battle my way through one of the longer essays in the collection, Red Sox Anti-Christ, which ended up having some interesting and insightful things to say about sport and its place in a war-loving society such as our own.

He equates the coverage of the kick off to the invasion of Iraq with a major sporting event. “Nightly highlight reels charted the day’s major offensive drives. Correspondents offered sandswept on-the-field interviews with our burly combatants, while generals served up bromides fit for a head coach.”

Almond goes further and takes part of the blame for the unnecessary war onto his own shoulders. “As a fan, I had helped foster a culture governed by the sports mentality, in which winning mattered above all else, and the application of violence was seen as a necessary means to that end rather than a betrayal of our democratic standards.”

In a chapter entitled In Tribute to My Republican Homeys, Almond turns on the vitriol. Demagogue Days, Or How the Right-Wing Hateocracy Chewed Me Up and Spat Me Out spins the story of how Almond, an adjunct professor at Boston College at the time, resigns over the school’s invitation of Condoleezza Rice to give the commencement speech. Almond uses the format of Dante’s descent into hell to map out all of the insidious devils of punditry that all wanted a piece of him for a brief, terrifying moment.

With the ability to ride out ridiculous situations with the artistry of a Mavericks surfer (see How Reality TV Ate My Life), one starts to wonder just what would really get to Almond, what would crack his smooth, white chocolate exterior and let the creamy nougat pour forth? That force majeure comes in the form of a baby girl, the arrival of whom is hilariously recounted in 10 Ways I Killed My Infant Daughter in Her First 72 Hours of Life. It’s this window into the hopes and fears that people have shared from time immemorial, that saves Not That You Asked from being simple a collection of ravings from another smart ass cynic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ( )
  railarson | Feb 8, 2011 |
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How does Steve Almond get himself into so much trouble? Could it be his incessant moralizing? His generally poor posture? The fact that he was raised by a pack of wolves? Frankly, we haven’t got a clue. What we do know is that Almond has a knack for converting his dustups into essays that are both funny and furious. In(Not that You Asked), he squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, nearly gets arrested for stealing “Sta-Hard” gel from his local pharmacy, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of the Red Sox Nation. Almond is, as they say in Yiddish, a tummler.Almond on personal grooming: “Why, exactly, did I feel it would be ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’ to have my girlfriend wax my chest? I can offer no good answer to this question today. I could offer no good answer at the time.”On sports: “To be a fan is to live in a condition of willed helplessness. We are (for the most part) men who sit around and watch other men run and leap and sweat and grapple each other. It is a deeply homoerotic pattern of conduct, often interracial in nature, and essentially humiliating.”On popular culture: “I have never actually owned a TV, a fact I mention whenever possible, in the hopes that it will make me seem noble and possibly lead to oral sex.”On his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut: “His books perform the greatest feat of alchemy known to man: the conversion of grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination.”On religion: “Every year, when Chanukah season rolled around, my brothers and I would make the suburban pilgrimage to the home of our grandparents, where we would ring in the holiday with a big, juicy Chanukah ham.”The essays in(Not that You Asked)will make you laugh out loud, or, maybe just as likely, hurl the book across the room. Either way, you’ll find Steve Almond savagely entertaining. Not that you asked.“A pop-culture-saturated intellectual, a kindly grouch, vitriolic Boston Red Sox hater, neurotic new father and Kurt Vonnegut fanatic… [Almond] scores big in every chapter of this must-have collection. Biting humor, honesty, smarts and heart: Vonnegut himself would have been proud.”——Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

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