From Awl pals Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg comes The Toast, a new website that you should go read! They're having a couple of birthing issues at the moment, but keep trying, it'll work eventually.
It is December 20, 2007, the day before the release of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow, and John C. Reilly are sharing a beer, excited, expectant. There is a puff of smoke. A young woman appears in their midst. She is nondescript, but their attention is drawn to her dress. Peplum silhouettes aren't in. Not… yet. Apatow immediately senses she is from the future.
The Woman: I am from 2013.
The Three Men: Let's just totally accept that without asking a bunch of questions, and assume you're here to tell us about "Walk Hard." It's a hit, right?
The Woman: It is not. You are [...]
We don't usually tell you that reading a particular "Classic Trash" selection is mandatory, so let's take it slowly: "youuuuu mussssttttt reaaddddd thissss boookkkkk." Whew. Okay! Now we can talk about it.
Papillon is my jam. Papillon is the best. Papillon is the most fun. Papillon is the shit. Do you ever do that thing in a new relationship where you assign reading? NO, THE WORST, I KNOW, but you show up with a plastic bag containing four paperbacks and say: "You are not going to understand why I am this horrible, aggravating way unless you do the reading"? Does anyone else do that?
Well, I do that, and Papillon [...]
When I decided to go with Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as this month's pick, the first thing I did was call my dad, being generationally incapable of solving problems without parental input. My dad, last shanghaied into action for our Hammer of the Gods discussion, is a man of exquisite and discerning taste. Sometimes, though, he must be nudged along:
Nicole: Dad, you have to watch "Sherlock," it's a revelation. Dad: I watched about ten minutes. It's not believable that he's that smart. Nicole: YOU WATCHED ALL OF "BUFFY" TWICE, ASSHOLE, AND VAMPIRES AREN'T REAL. I'm sending you the DVDs. Call me back when you've seen [...]
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When I was little, I had a typewriter my parents got at a garage sale for about three dollars, plus the cost in shoe leather of tracking down a place to buy those awful inky ribbon things. And, being seven or eight, I knew that there was no point in writing my own book, because it wouldn't be any good, so I instead attempted to copy out The Lord of the Rings. I never got more than a third of a chapter in, due to my belief that any typo [...]
And here we come, at last, to the selection closest to my dark and twisty heart, Margaret Mitchell's hideous bitch-goddess of a novel, Gone With the Wind. It's awful! It's wonderful! It's Marlboro Reds. Apparently, in a 2008 poll, it clocked in at second place (behind The Bible) as the favorite book of the American people. If that doesn't explain your local news reports, what will?
I'd love to be able to say, as one does about C.S. Lewis, "oh, I didn't get the super-offensive subtext about how Muslims inadvertently worship a flaming devil-beast, even though Jesus will still consider taking them to heaven so long as they don't also [...]
Oh. Oh. WHAT could be more delightful? You've read it, of course. It's… oh, I can't even describe it. It's a delight. A melodramatic, delightful delight. Do you have a guest room? Put this next to the bed. Were you one of the many young people who became a classics major as a direct result of The Secret History? Put this next to your threadbare futon with the soy sauce stains on it. Donna Tartt: kicking ass and ruining lives since 1992.
Let's talk about that title. It's awful! And, obviously, I assumed that it was one of those situations in which the author has a totally boss title, and [...]