What We’re Reading / What You’re Reading 02.08.13


It’s time for another Friday edition of the segment where we fill you in on what we’re reading, and we hope that you’ll reciprocate by telling us what you’re enjoying (or loathing) as well.

Don’t be shy, we want to hear from you! Feedback from our followers will play a role in helping us to determine what books to read, review, and feature on this site over the coming months. It will also give us a better idea of the topics and genres that interest you.

Karli is currently reading Truth in Advertising by John Kenney

Chosen as this month’s Critical Era Book Club selection, Truth in Advertising, follows Finbar Dolan, a lonely and overworked man who just wants a fucking vacation.  His job requires him to write and produce commercials, which might sound like a fun, creative career, but Fin’s current client is a diaper company with big ideas about a superbowl commercial.  To make matters worse, it looks like Fin is going to have to cancel his long-overdue vacation in order to complete filming, and at the same time, he must deal with a family crisis with some of his least-favorite relatives.  Kenney’s book is hilariously sarcastic, and wryly raises questions about consumerism, language, and family dynamics:

The irony of advertising – a communications business – is that we treat words with little respect, often devaluing their meaning.  The all new Ford Taurus.  Really?  Five wheels this time?  Great for any occasion. I saw these words on a large sign in front of a national chain of cupcake shops.  Any occasion?  Doctor: Mr. Dolan, the test results are back and I’m afraid you have an inoperable brain tumor.  Cupcake?”

I’m only a few chapters into the novel, but so far, I’m a big fan of Kenney’s sense of humor and writing style!

Aaron is currently reading A Man’s Place by Annie Ernaux and translated from the French by Tanya Leslie.  Its content is best described by the author herself:

What I meant was to write about my father, his life and the distance which had come between us during my adolescence.  Although it had something to do with class, it was different, indefinable.  Like fractured love.

A while later I started writing a novel in which my father was the main character.  Halfway through the book I began to experience feelings of disgust.

I realize now that a novel is out of the question.  If I wish to tell the story of a life governed by necessity, I have no right to adopt an artistic approach, or attempt to produce something “moving” or “gripping.”  I shall collate my father’s words, tastes, and mannerisms, as well as the main events of his life.  In short, all the external evidence of his existence, an existence which I too shared.

The text is cold and matter-of-fact, but so far that’s what makes it so powerfully moving.  It’s a hard book to put down.

Let us know your thoughts on what you’re currently reading using the comment field below.

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.